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Sunday 12/8 Show: Bob James

Bob_James_crop-cropReminder: Suga’ in My Bowl now airs weekly on WBAI, except for the last Sunday of the month! Please update your calendars, pass the word on to friends, and share on social media if you like the show.

The next show will air on Sunday December 8, 2013 from 11:00 PM – 1:00 AM Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature an interview with pianist, composer, arranger and producer Bob James. This interview originally aired in June 2006 as part of WBAI’s Hip Hop Takeover. We discussed James’ career and his relationship to the hip hop art form.



The career of Bob James is long, varied and continues to evolve at every turn. From his first days in Marshall, Missouri, the music of Bob James has captivated audiences throughout the world.

Discovered by Quincy Jones at the Notre Dame Jazz Festival in 1963, James recorded his first solo album, Bold Conceptions, that year for Mercury Records. 58 albums and innumerable awards would follow through five decades. He honed his skills working with Creed Taylor, working on albums for artists like Hank Crawford, Grover Washington, Jr, among others. While with CTI, James found great popular success overseeing significant hits for Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, Maynard Ferguson, and Kenny Loggins.

In 1974, James finally recorded his own album, One, which launched a lifelong career of recording and performing live. After three more albums, James began his own label, Tappan Zee Records. This allowed James to spend more time in the studio, focusing on his own creative works. It was during this time that he recorded his own gold seller, Touchdown, which included his composition, “Angela”, the instrumental theme from the television sitcom Taxi, and possibly James’ best known work. James composed all the original music used in the series for its entire run. One On One, the first in three collaborations with Earl Klugh, was awarded a Grammy in 1980 for Best Pop Instrumental Performance, and has sold over a million copies. During this time, James set the standard for the smooth jazz sound in the late 1970s.

James is recognized as one of the progenitors of smooth jazz, however, his music has also had a profound effect on the history of hip hop music, having been sampled often. Two of James’ songs – “Nautilus” from 1974′s One and “Take Me to the Mardi Gras” from 1975′s Two – are among the most sampled in hip hop history. According to whosampled.com, “Nautilus” and “Take Me to Mardi Gras” have been sampled in thirty-two and forty-three hip-hop recordings, respectively. The title track from his 1981 album Sign of the Times was sampled in De La Soul‘s “Keepin’ the Faith”, and Warren G‘s “Regulate”. His “Angela” was sampled in the track “Cab Fare” by Souls of Mischief. The track “El Verano” from the 1977 album “BJ4″ is used as a sample in the song “Blown Away” by the Cocoa Brovaz and also in the Masta Ace Track “NY Confidential”. N.W.A‘s “Alwayz into Somethin’” uses a sample of “Storm King” from the album Three. “Can’t Wait” by Redman features a sample of “Caribbean Nights” from the album Touchdown. English Drum & Bass pioneer Adam F extensively sampled “Westchester Lady” on his 1995 breakthrough release Circles. Röyksopp sampled his version of “You’re as Right as Rain” for their instrumental track “Eple.” In addition, James is mentioned in a verse by André 3000 on “Black Ice” from Goodie Mob’s second album Still Standing.

While recording his Grand Piano Canyon album in 1990, James reunited with longtime friend drummer Harvey Mason, Jr. It would also be the first time James would work with guitarist Lee Ritenour, and bassist Nathan East. This would be the start of something beautiful, as these early sessions ignited a spark which would engulf the Jazz world as Fourplay. Fourplay’s first album was recorded and released in 1991. The Group would collaborate on a total of three albums, until 1998 when Ritenour left the group, and Larry Carlton took over. This version of Fourplay continued the group’s huge success for seven more albums. After 12 years, Carlton decided to delve further into his solo career, and the band brought in guitarist Chuck Loeb in 2010.

In 1985 James moved to Warner Bros Records, and kicked things off with Double Vision, a collaboration with David Sanborn, and produced by Tommy LiPuma. Double Vision was another Grammy winner, selling over a million albums.

Bob James & David Sanborn introduced Quartette Humaine in May 2013. It’s the first collaboration between James & Sanborn since their 1986 Platinum-Selling, GRAMMY® Award-Winning Album, Double Vision, and features bassist James Genus & drummer Steve Gadd on the all acoustic project.

Quartette Humaine pays tribute to the late iconic pianist-composer David Brubeck, putting a prime spotlight on his work that featured alto saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Bob James will appear with Fourplay at New York City’s Blue Note jazz club from December 10-15, 2013.

Web Extras:

Watch the intro and closing credits of the 1970s TV show Taxi, which features James’s “Angela”:



Watch Fourplay perform “Blues Force” live in Cape Town, South Africa, in 2009.

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Sunday 9/8 Show: Michele Rosewoman

Chris +M Publicity shot #3The next show will air on Sunday September 8, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will feature an exclusive interview with pianist and composer Michele Rosewoman, who will talk about (among other things) her new CD release New Yor-Uba. You can hear a short preview of the show below.

Vega_Marta_Moreno-thumb-336x428-4283Keeping with the theme of Michele Rosewoman’s work, we’ll begin the show with a short interview with Dr. Marta Moreno Vega, head of the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute, who is working on a documentary titled Let the Spirit Move You on African based spiritual traditions that continue in Puerto Rico and are grounded in ancestral worship. (You can watch the trailer for it in our web extras at the bottom of the page.)

Michele Rosewoman was born in Oakland, CA where she studied jazz traditions with the great pianist/ organist Ed Kelly while also playing percussion and studying Cuban/Haitian folkloric idioms. By the time she moved to New York in 1978, Rosewoman had performed at major venues in the San Francisco Bay Area with her own ensembles and with Julian Priester, Julius Hemphill, Baikida Carroll and Oliver Lake. In New York, Rosewoman continued to present her music while collaborating with artists including Rufus Reid, Reggie Workman, James Spaulding, and Billy Hart as well as with Cuban master drummer/ vocalist, Orlando ‘Puntilla’ Rios.

In 1983, Rosewoman received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to form the pioneering 14-piece ensemble New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America, featuring Orlando Puntilla’ Rios. The ensemble debuted at The Public Theater that December and toured Europe in 1984. New Yor-Uba has since toured throughout the United States and Europe; ensemble members have included many great jazz and latin musicians such as Andy Gonzales, the recently departed Steve Berrios (ibaye tonu), Pedro Martinez, John Stubblefield, Gary Bartz, Joe Ford, Bob Stewart, Oliver Lake, and Gary Thomas. In celebration of this year marking 30 years and an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, Rosewoman will officially release a 2-CD set titled Michele Rosewoman’s New Yor-Uba, A Musical Celebration of Cuba in America on Tuesday, September 10, on Advance Dance Disques (Rosewoman’s label).

Rosewoman has recorded eight albums as a leader, most with her critically acclaimed ensemble Quintessence. Since its debut in 1986 at the Cooper Union Great Hall in New York, Quintessence has been the main vehicle for Rosewoman’s evolution as pianist, composer and bandleader. Quintessences members have included some of the most inventive voices in jazz, including Steve Coleman, Greg Osby, Gary Thomas, David Sanchez, Steve Wilson, Miguel Zenon and Mark Shim; trombonists Robin Eubanks and Vincent Gardner, bassists Kenny Davis, Brad Jones and Lonnie Plaxico; drummers Terri Lyne Carrington and Gene Jackson, and guitarists Liberty Ellman and Dave Fiuczynski.

Rosewoman’s most recent release before the New Yor-Uba project was a recording with Quintessence, The In Side Out, was released in 2006 on Advance Dance Disques. The album had earned tremendous critical acclaim, with Jazziz declaring “Once again, Rosewoman showed that she’s an original thinker making uncompromising and forward-looking jazz – which just happens to be accessible and viscerally exciting.” In addition to five recordings with Quintessence, Ms. Rosewoman has two trio recordings. Occasion to Rise (Evidence/1993) voted one of the year’s best recordings by six critics’ polls and the critically acclaimed Spirit (Blue Note/1996), recorded live at the Montreal Jazz Festival.

Rosewoman has received numerous grants, including a 1984 ASCAP/Meet the Composer Commission for Emerging Composers resulting in a new work written for and performed by the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra and a quintet of improvisers. Rosewoman and Quintessence received a 2003 and a 2008 Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation New Works Creation and Presentation Commission, and in 2006 they received one of the first Chamber Music America Encore Grants.

Michele Rosewoman has appeared at jazz festivals, concert halls and clubs throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. As an educator, Rosewoman conducts classes, workshops and clinics at colleges and universities throughout the US while teaching piano and composition privately. Ms. Rosewoman has also held past and current teaching positions at NYU and the New School for Social Research.

This show is produced, engineered, edited, and hosted by Joyce Jones.

Web Extras: Watch Michele Rosewoman and New Yor-Uba perform “The Egun and the Harvest” at a 2009 tribute to Orlando “Puntilla” Rios recorded live at the Schomburg.

Watch a trailer for Dr. Marta Moreno Vega’s in progress documentary Let the Spirit Move You on African ancestral religious traditions in Puerto Rico.

Sunday 3/24 show: Diane Schuur

The next show will air on Sunday March 24, 2013 from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern Standard Time on WBAI Radio, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of the program will feature vocalist and pianist Diane Schuur. Listen to a short preview below:

481165_10151495232041170_424525180_nBorn in Tacoma, Washington, in December 1953, Schuur was blind from birth. She grew up in nearby Auburn, Washington, where her father was a police captain. Nicknamed Deedles at a young age, Schuur discovered the world of jazz via her father, a piano player, and her mother, who kept a formidable collection of Duke Ellington and Dinah Washington records in the house.

She was still a toddler when she learned to sing the Dinah Washington signature song, “What a Difference a Day Makes.” Armed with the rare gift of perfect pitch, Schuur taught herself piano by ear and developed a rich, resonant vocal style early on, as evidenced in a recording of her first public performance at a Holiday Inn in Tacoma when she was ten years old. She received formal piano training at the Washington State School for the Blind, which she attended until age 11. By her early teens, she had amassed her own collection of Washington’s records and looked to the legendary vocalist as her primary inspiration.

Schuur made her first record in 1971, a country single entitled “Dear Mommy and Daddy,” produced by Jimmy Wakely. After high school, she focused on jazz and gigged around the northwest. In 1975, an informal audition with trumpeter Doc Severinson (then the leader of the Tonight Show band) led to a gig with Tonight Show drummer Ed Shaughnessy’s group at the Monterey Jazz Festival. She sang a gospel suite with Shaughnessy’s band in front of a festival audience that included jazz tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, who in turn invited her to participate in a talent showcase at the White House. A subsequent return performance at the White House led to a record deal with GRP, which released Schuur’s debut album, Deedles, in 1984.

Over the next 13 years, Schuur recorded 11 albums on GRP, including two Grammy winners: Timeless (1986) and Diane Schuur and the Count Basie Orchestra (1987).

After one album on Atlantic records in 1999 – Music is My Life, produced by Ahmet Ertegun – Schuur joined the Concord label with the 2000 release of Friends For Schuur. The move to Concord marked the beginning of a series of highly successful collaborative projects: Swingin’ For Schuur (2001), a set of finely crafted duets with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson; Midnight (2003), Schuur’s unique interpretations of thirteen songs (mostly new material) written or co-written by Barry Manilow; and Schuur Fire (2005), a decidedly Latin-flavored album featuring the Caribbean Jazz Project.

Schuur’s February 2008 Concord release, Some Other Time, is a recording of songs by jazz artists whom she first discovered via her parents during her childhood and adolescent years. The set also includes a surprisingly mature-sounding rendition of “September in the Rain,” recorded at the Holiday Inn in Tacoma in 1964 when Schuur was only ten years old.

Diane Schuur’s latest studio release, The Gathering, is unique in both material and style, and features special guests Alison Krauss, Vince Gill, Mark Knopfler, Larry Carlton and Kirk Whalum. The Gathering is a collection of 10 classic country songs, mostly written during the golden era of the 1960s, and is the first time Schuur has featured this genre of music to this extent.

Schuur’s most recent release is Diane Schuur Live, and it is a unique and special album as it’s a project close to Diane’s heart. This album is dedicated to Diane Schuur’s husband, Les Crockett. The recording takes place where she and her husband shared a magical night reflecting on memories of the very place they first met 16 years earlier.

Engineered, Produced, and Hosted by Joyce Jones.

WBAI’s financial situation remains dire due to back rent owed on their transmitter at NYC’s Empire State Building. Please give what you can to the WBAI Transmitter Fund and/or come out next Wednesday, March 27, for the WBAI Dance Party at S.O.B.’s.

Web extra: Watch Diane Schuur and Ray Charles perform live.

Sunday 12/23 show: Pianist Harold Mabern

H_Mabern_122312showThe next show will air on Sunday December 23, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. In this installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl,” we will present pianist, composer, educator Harold Mabern. Mabern is also the father of Michael Mabern, a longtime producer of the “Creative Unity Collective” show on WBAI. You can hear a 30-second preview of the show below.

Harold Mabern (born March 20, 1936), one of jazz’s most enduring and dazzlingly skilled pianists, was born in Memphis, a city that produced saxophonists George Coleman and Charles Lloyd, pianist Phineas Newborn Jr. and trumpeter Booker Little. He was an unsung hero of the 1960s hardbop scene, performing and recording with many of its finest artists, and only in recent years has he begun to garner appreciation for his long-running legacy in jazz and the understated power of his talent; as critic Gary Giddins has written, “With the wind at his back, he can sound like an ocean roar.”

During his over half-century on the scene as sideman and leader, he has played and recorded with such greats as Lee Morgan, Sonny Rollins, Hank Mobley, Freddie Hubbard and Miles Davis, just to name a few. Mabern takes his sideman work very seriously: “I was never concerned with being a leader,” he says. “I just always wanted to be the best sideman I could be”. “Be in the background so you can shine through.”

In more recent years, he has toured and recorded extensively with his former William Paterson University student, the tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander. To date, Mabern and Alexander have appeared on over twenty CDs together. A faculty member at William Paterson University since 1981, Mabern is also a frequent instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

His latest release is “Mr. Lucky: A Tribute to Sammy Davis Jr.” released this year on HighNote Records.

Produced, Hosted, and Engineered by Joyce Jones.

Web extras:

Live clip of Mabern playing with Eric Alexander

Eric Alexander talks about Harold Mabern as a teacher.

Sunday 11/4 show: Pianist Onaje Allen Gumbs

Onaje Allan GumbsThe next show will air on Sunday November 4, 2012 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. WBAI’s stream may not be available due to to damage suffered in Hurricane Sandy. Because the station is operating from a remote location, the show may not start exactly at 11, so please be patient if you’re listening live. We’ve decided to make it available on our archives page at the normal air time to make it as available as possible.

During this post-Hurricane Sandy installment, we will feature pianist/keyboardist/producer/arranger/songwriter Onaje Allan Gumbs (pronounced Oh-Nah-Jay), who is one of the music industry’s most respected and talented music collaborators. Gumbs has worked almost three decades with top talent in the musical fields of jazz, R&B/soul, and pop to hone his considerable skills. A partial list includes Woody Shaw, Nat Adderly, Norman Connors, Angela Bofill, Jean Carn, Cassandra Wilson, Marlena Shaw, Sadao Watanabe, Phyllis Hyman (“The Answer Is You” from his 1979 Somewhere in My Lifetime album), Stanley Jordan, Denise Williams, Vanessa Rubin, Jeffrey Osborne, Eddie Murphy, Rebbie Jackson, and Gerald Albright (Live at Birdland West).

In 1974, Gumbs enjoyed one of the highlights of his arranging career when he created a special arrangement of “Stella By Starlight” for the New York Jazz Repertory Company as a part of a concert honoring Miles Davis at Carnegie Hall. That same year, Gumbs performed on (former Suga’ guest) Woody Shaw’s “Moon Moontrane”. Later, he joined forces with trumpeter Nat Adderley and his quintet, contributing to the group’s recordings on the Atlantic and Steeplechase record labels. Steeplechase’s Nils Winter was impressed by Gumbs’ solo improvisations on several of Adderley’s performances and approached the young pianist that same year to record a solo piano album, Onaje. In 1985, Gumbs further heightened his visibility by contributing his arrangement of “Lady in My Life” to guitarist Stanley Jordan’s enormously successful album Magic Touch. The record held the number one spot on Billboard‘s jazz charts for 37 weeks. The pianist recorded two albums for MCA: That Special Part of Me and 1991’s Dare to Dream.

Gumbs received an NAACP Image Award in 2006 in the Outstanding Jazz category for his independent project Remember Their Innocence.

Jazz Improv Magazine selected his Sack Full of Dreams album featuring singer, actor, producer, and director Obba Babatunde as one of the best jazz recordings of 2007.

Hosted, engineered, and produced by Arts Producer Joyce Jones

Sunday 4/22 with Barry Harris

This installment will include the music and a couple of conversations with pianist, composer, instructor and NEA Jazzmaster Barry Harris. The show originally aired on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC Metro area on Sunday April 22, 2012 from 11 PM – 1 AM. You can hear a 30- second radio promo below:

Dr. Harris is the recipient of an Honorary Doctorate from Northwestern University. He has received the Living Jazz Legacy award from the Mid-Atlantic Arts Association, and an American Jazz Masters Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, Dr. Harris received the Manhattan Borough President Award for Excellence. This award was given for recognition of his devoted public service and in honor of excellence in the field of music. He received the 1999 Mentor award for his work with youngsters at the Manhattan Country School in NYC.

Dr. Harris has devoted his life to the advancement of Jazz and in the 1980’s founded the Jazz Cultural Theatre. For the past several decades Dr. Harris has been an exponent of the classic Jazz style that was developed by Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Coleman Hawkins

Dr. Barry Harris receives frequent requests to appear as a guest lecturer by universities and various musical venues all over the world. His lectures and interactive instrument and vocal workshops focus on the complete aspects of music including improvisation, harmonic movement and theory. His schedule includes lectures in the United States, Holland, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and Japan. When he is not travelling, Dr. Harris holds weekly music workshop sessions in New York City for vocalists, and students of piano and other instruments.

Hosted by Joyce Jones

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