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Sunday 10/15/2017 Show: Rudresh Mahanthappa

Photo: Rudresh Mahanthappa @ New York’s Vision Festival | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.

The next show will air on Sunday, October 15, 2017 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 broadcast features an interview with alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader and educator Rudresh Mahanthappa. We’ll start the show with a brief check in with BRIC Jazz Festival co-organizer Brice Rosenbloom for a preview of this year’s schedule.

Few musicians share the ability of Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. The saxophonist/composer hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form reflecting his own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. Just as his personal experience is never wholly lived on one side of the hyphenate or the other, his music speaks in a voice dedicated to forging a new path forward.

One of Rudresh Mahanthappa’s projects titled Bird Calls (2015), which was named #1 album of the year by both Downbeat and NPR Music’s Jazz Critics Poll. This 21st Century tribute to Charlie Parker, which Downbeat Magazine recently named Best Album of 2015, includes a stellar band of pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist François Moutin, drummer Rudy Royston, and 20-year old trumpet prodigy Adam O’Farrill. The 2013 album Gamak featured guitarist David “Fuze” Fiuczynski, whose own microtonal vocabulary opened new possibilities for Mahanthappa’s compositional imagination, alongside bassist Francois Moutin and drummer Dan Weiss. The 2010 release of Samdhi (ACT Music + Vision), a multi-cultural ensemble that advances Mahanthappa’s blend of jazz and Indian music with modernist electronic music, was described by JazzTimes as “a landmark convergence of styles that didn’t lend itself to easy analysis… new music of this caliber hasn’t been attempted before.” Other projects run the gamut from the cross-generational alto summit Apex featuring Bunky Green; trios MSG and Mauger; the quintet Dual Identity co-led with fellow altoist Steve Lehman; and Raw Materials, his long-running duo project with pianist Vijay Iyer. Mahanthappa was enlisted by Jack DeJohnette for the legendary drummer’s new working group, while a collaboration with the renowned Carnatic saxophonist Kadri Gopalnath resulted in Mahanthappa’s critically- acclaimed 2008 CD Kinsmen (Pi).

Hailed by the New York Times as possessing “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation,” Mahanthappa has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, two New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, and numerous commissions. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year four of the past five years in Downbeat Magazine’s International Critics Polls and for five years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association. In April 2013, he received a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award, one of the most prominent arts awards in the world. In 2015, he was named a United States Artists Fellow.

Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition has been hailed by The New York Times as “a trio equally grounded in folk tradition and jazz improvisation, propos[ing] a social pact as well as a musical ideal.” The ensemble’s three formidable talents — Mahanthappa on alto saxophone, Rez Abbasi on guitar, and Dan Weiss on tabla — first documented their group conception in 2008 with Apti, which won praise from The Guardian for its “irresistible urgency.” Agrima, the long-awaited follow-up, finds Mahanthappa and the group expanding aesthetic horizons: adding a modified drum set, incorporating effects and electronics, and working with a broader audio canvas overall.The core of the band’s sound, the vibrant presence of Indian rhythmic and melodic elements in a charged, modern improvisational framework born of the New York jazz scene, remains firmly in place. The scheduled release date is October 1 as a digital download for $2.50.

(Bio adapted from Mahanthappa’s official website.)

This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition is scheduled to appear as part of the BRIC Jazz Festival on Saturday, October 21.

Web Extras:

Watch Mahanthappa and the Indo-Pak Coalition in this 2010 live clip from the Flushing Town Hall.

Watch the video preview of the Indo-Pak Coalition’s Agrima.

Watch Mahanthappa and pianist Vijay Iyer in this live clip from the 2007 JVC Jazz Festival in New York.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

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Sunday 6/25/2017 Show: James Brandon Lewis

Photo: James Brandon Lewis @ the Cell Theater | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.

The next show will air on Sunday, June 25, 2017 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 week’s show features an interview with up-and-coming saxophonist James Brandon Lewis.

Visionary composer and tenor saxophonist James Brandon Lewis’s bravest, yet most palpable artistic feat, Days Of FreeMan, opens with a poignant and profound introductory monologue from a maternal sage. She says, “The best thing of living is living who you are. You can’t be somebody else; you gotta be what God gave you to be and who you are. You look in the mirror and see yourself and say ‘I’m James Brandon Lewis.”’Next, bass and drums congeal around the sapphire melodic motif of “Brother 1976,” recalling one of those jazzy jewel-like hooks from a 1990s Native Tongue hip-hop jam. The effect is like 1990s hip-hop’s fascination with jazz being spit back by a prodigious jazz innovator. Welcome to Days Of FreeMan.

James Brandon Lewis is one of the modern titans of the tenor. He’s received accolades from mainstream cultural tastemakers such as Ebony Magazine who hailed him as one of “7 Young Players to Watch,” and earned the respect of a diverse cross section of esteemed artists. James has shared stages with such icons as Benny Golson, Geri Allen, Wallace Roney, Grammy® Award-winning singer Dorinda Clark Cole, and the late “Queen of Gospel Music,” Albertina Walker. In bold contrast, James has also worked with such intrepid artists as Weather Report bassist Alphonso Johnson, William Parker, Gerald Cleaver, Charles Gayle, Ed Shuller, Kirk Knuffke, Jason Hwang , Marilyn Crispell, Ken Filiano, Cooper Moore, Darius Jones, Eri Yamamoto, Federico Ughi, Kenny Wessel, Marvin “Bugalu” Smith, and Sabir Mateen. In addition, he has collaborated with the dance company CircuitDebris under the direction of Mersiha Mesihovic. James attended Howard University and holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts.

Currently, James resides in New York City where he actively gigs as a sideman and leads his own ensembles. In NYC, he is a co-founder of “Heroes Are Gang Leaders” with poet Thomas Sayers Ellis—a collective of poets and musicians—and he is a member of the collective “Dark Matter,” a conceptual musical collaboration exploring that which is invisible but is detected by it’s gravitational effects. Outside NYC, James is an active national and international touring artist with a highly respected profile. Some career highlights are playing such esteemed festivals as Winter Jazz Festival /Sony Okeh records Showcase with William Parker and Gerald Cleaver; The Eric Dolphy Festival with an ensemble featuring Grachan Moncur III, Richard Davis, Andrew Cyrille, Angelica Sanchez , Ted Daniel , and Alfred Patterson; and Princeton University as part of Fred Ho’s “Journey to the West,” an interdisciplinary dance and music project.

James is deep in an intrepid artistic continuum that explores identity and spirituality through challenging and awe-inspiring concepts and epiphanic playing that melds formalistic technique, bold exploration, and strains of gospel and blues. Each new James Brandon Lewis release presents a rich dialogue with his audience that is both fiery and cerebral. For his third album, Days Of FreeMan, he uses ideas from 1990s hip-hop to masterfully weave together threads of cultural identity, cross-generational identity, and personal reflection.

“I didn’t grow up a hip-hop head, but where I grew up in Buffalo, New York, on Freeman Street, the sound of 1990s hip-hop was ubiquitous,” James says. “I decided to go back and explore that time through music.”

Days Of Freeman is imaginatively organized in chapters with classic hip-hop style breaks and interludes functioning as chapter breathers. Like the cross-cultural and generational mosaic on Freeman Street proper, the album invites the listener into many dialogues. It is a nod to 1990s hip-hop, and explores rhyme-scapes and the musical conventions of that golden age of hip-hop in a revolutionary way. The album also explores hip-hop as a culture through taking inspiration from the original four pillars of hip-hop: dance, rapping, graffiti, and DJ-ing. Days Of FreeMan also loosely functions as a memoir with an underlay of nostalgia for the carefree boyhood days of fly nicknames, basketball, and those first encounters with the transformative power of music. Adding to the power and emotionality of this thread on growing up, are pontifications on love, identity, and God peppered throughout the album, culled from informal conversations James recorded with his grandmother, Pearl Lewis. James’s immersive creative process to realize his vision for Days Of FreeMan include poring over hip-hop documentaries for up to eight hours a day, and dissecting albums by KRS-One, Digable Planets, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, A Tribe Called Quest, Medeski, Martin & Wood, along with fearless jazz trumpeter Don Cherry’s 1985 album Home Boy and Lauryn Hill’s 1998 masterpiece The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill.

How all of this preparation plays out musically is stunning. For years instrumentalists held fast to the lofty notion of “singing through the instrument,” but on Days Of FreeMan, Lewis aspires to MC through his tenor. The album’s title track perfectly captures the clipped cadence of a master MC with speech-like phrases and a long flowing solo that conjures up a blazing freestyle battle rap session. “Black Ark” traces the legacy of hip-hop from the balmy and pioneering dub explorations of Lee “Scratch” Perry in Jamaica (“Black Ark” is the name of his famed studio) to the burgeoning sounds of hip-hop blaring out in the Bronx. On “Lament for JLew,” in five vigorous minutes James ties together the dual lineages of classical music to hip-hop and classical music to rock using original classical-flavored motifs to illustrate the overlaps.The second to last track of Days Of FreeMan is the political and timely “Unarmed With A Mic” and is a reminder of hip-hop’s power as a form of protest music. On this track Lewis plays with seething sentimentality. The album concludes with “Epilogue,” a reprise of the infectious melody of the opening track “Brother 1976.”

On the album Lewis is accompanied by former Ornette Coleman Prime Time bassist Jamaaladeen Tacuma and Bill Frisell and Ravi Coltrane drummer Rudy Royston. Both took the weighty undertaking of album deeply, researching 1990s hip-hop jams for inspiration and vision. Their attention to the vocabulary of the era Lewis sought to explore, and their panoramic musicality and sympathetic musical skills, match James’s artistic ideal to authentically and thoroughly fuse genres and cultures without pandering to trends in jazz-groove records. The record also features a guest spot from the gifted freestyle rapper Supernatural on the track “Days Of FreeMan.”

Days of FreeMan has turned out to be one James Brandon Lewis’s most ambitious works, and, interestingly enough, his most accessible. Reflecting on this intriguing duality he says: “The artist is charged with taking creative risks, but the universe lined up this time and I was able to connect with my audience conversationally.”

The James Brandon Lewis Trio’s latest release No Filter (BNS Records, 2016) is considered “an edgy but short LP which pays respect to early 90’s hip hop, experimental jazz, and groove” by All About Jazz.

(Bio from Lewis’s website)

This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

James Brandon Lewis will be at Scholes Street Studio in Brooklyn NY on July 1.

Web Extras:

Watch the video preview of Lewis’s Days of FreeMan release.

Watch  the James Brandon Lewis Trio play live in this short clip.

Watch  Lewis play with Heroes are Gang Leaders in this live clip.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 5/28/2017 Show: Kidd Jordan

Photo: Kidd Jordan @ the 2016 Vision Fest | © Joyce Jones/ Suga Bowl Photography. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND. Used with Permission.

The next show will air on Sunday, May 28, 2017 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. Suga’ In My Bowl continues its Vision 22 coverage featuring the 2008 Lifetime of Achievement recipient composer, saxophonist, teacher and mentor Edward “Kidd” Jordan.

Edward “Kidd” Jordan (May 5, 1935) was born in Crowley, Louisiana, and was raised during the time when rice farming was the predominant economic activity in the area. Jordan has noted that the music in southwestern Louisiana was “strictly Zydeco and Blues from way around, and that’s what I came up listening to.” Zydeco musician Clifton Chenier hailed from the same area, as did tenor saxophonist Illinois Jacquet (whose music teacher also instructed Jordan).

Jordan’s first instruments were C-melody and alto saxophones. While in high school, Jordan began performing “stock arrangements for three or four saxophones” with some older musicians, and immersed himself in the music of Charlie Parker. Jordan read transcribed solos in Down Beat magazine but also learned Parker’s music by ear. He credits Illinois Jacquet with first giving him the idea of playing free improvisation, but was more profoundly affected by the free jazz of Ornette Coleman (who had previously performed in the area with blues bands).

Jordan majored in music education at Southern University, attending the school at the same time as Alvin Batiste (his brother-in-law). He originally planned to become a classical alto saxophonist. He moved to New Orleans in 1955, and began playing frequent R&B gigs with musicians such as Guitar Slim, Ray Charles, Big Maybelle, Big Joe Turner, Chuck Willis (with George Adams on baritone) and Choker Campbell. Jordan has described these gigs as being “satisfying for me, because there was a feeling that you’d get from dealing with that. I’ve played with some of the great female vocalists, from Gladys Knight to Aretha Franklin, or Big Maybelle, Little Esther, Lena Horne, and there’s an aesthetic in dealing with those people that a whole lot of people don’t get to. And the aesthetic from the Blues is a part of the thing that I want to have in my playing. I don’t care how out it gets.”

Jordan performs on tenor, baritone, soprano, alto, C-melody and sopranino saxophones, as well as contrabass and bass clarinets. He has indicated a preference for playing “outside” music (for example, free improvisation) on tenor, because he closely associates the alto with his earlier study of classical repertoire, tone, and technique. Jordan has performed and recorded with a wide selection of musicians in styles ranging from R&B to avant-garde jazz, including Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, R.E.M., William Parker, Alvin Fielder, Archie Shepp, Fred Anderson, Ornette Coleman, Ellis Marsalis, Cannonball Adderley, Ed Blackwell, and Cecil Taylor. In 2008, he was awarded a lifetime recognition honor by the Vision Festival.

In his performances and recordings his music is entirely improvised: “Everything you hear on my albums is improvised.” he explains. “It’s collective improvisation, but there are no tunes. I tried writing down ideas a long time ago but I don’t do that anymore.”


The French Ministry of Culture recognized Jordan as a Knight (Chevalier) of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1985. The French government bestowed him with their highest artistic award for his impetus as a visionary educator and performer.

Jordan taught Donald Harrison and Branford Marsalis while the two were teenagers, and was an instructor at New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA). As an instructor of jazz studies at Southern University at New Orleans, Jordan encouraged his students to pursue new approaches to traditional musical forms. One of Jordan’s students was trombonist Charles Joseph, who would go on to co-found the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Jordan composed “Kidd Jordan’s Second Line” for the Dirty Dozen Brass Band prior to their first European appearance in 1982, and has also performed with the band.

In 2006, Jordan lost his home and most of his possessions during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A few weeks after the hurricane, he recorded the album Palm of Soul in Brooklyn with William Parker and Hamid Drake. Jordan has since returned to New Orleans In 2011, the television series Treme featured a track from Palm of Soul, “Last of the Chicken Wings.” Jordan later made a brief appearance in Treme.

(Bio adapted from Wikipedia)

Vision 22 starts Sunday, May 28 at Anthology Film Archives. Vision 22 features film, dance, music, visual art and poetry. Suga’ will open the program with a spoken word piece titled “Negroidal Noise” by Kalamu Ya Salaam featuring Kidd Jordan from his release My Story My Song.

Kidd Jordan will appear at Vision 22 on Friday, June 2, for the 9:30 p.m. set with the Dave Burrell Quartet: Dave Burrell – Piano, Kidd Jordan – Tenor Saxophone, William Parker – Bass, William Hooker – Drums. See our blog for an extended preview and full coverage of this year’s Vision Fest. WBAI proudly returns as a media sponsor.

This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Web Extras:

Watch Jordan lead a quartet with bassist William Parker, drummer Hamid Drake, and the late violinist Billy Bang in this live performance.

Watch  Jordan with drummer Milford Graves and pianist DD Jackson in this 2013 live performance at the Vision Festival.

Watch  Jordan in this 2017 improvised set at the Hi Ho Lounge in New Orleans.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 4/2/2017 Show: Claire Daly

Photo: Claire Daly | © Judy Schiller (supplied by Claire Daly)

The next show will air on Sunday, April 2, 2017 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. “Suga’ In My Bowl” continues to honor women who solo by recognizing baritone saxohphone and flute player, educator and composer Claire Daly.

Claire Daly grew up in Yonkers, NY, affording her access to many jazz greats performing live in NYC. Her father supported her enthusiasm about the music and brought her to many live shows including Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, Earl “Fatha” Hines, Benny Goodman and more. At the same time, she was hearing contemporary music with her peers at venues like The Schaeffer Music Festivals in Central Park. Her taste runs from the classics through the avant garde, and Daly still believes in the importance of hearing live music regularly.

She graduated Berklee College of Music as an alto player and traveled on the road with both jazz and rock bands, but her life changed significantly the first time she played a baritone sax. It happened to be the first horn tuba player Howard Johnson had owned, for sale by a mutual friend. “It was an epiphany. I felt like, There I am – this is my voice.” Daly hasn’t looked back and has become a well known, leading voice on the big horn.

Her first CD as a leader was released on Koch Jazz in 1999. Swing Low was received very warmly. Daly was nominated by the Jazz Journalist Association for “Best New Artist of the Year” and Swing Low was subsequently added to a listening station in the William Jefferson Clinton Library in Little Rock, AK as a CD significant to the President while in office. Since then, she has been a winner/nominee of many critic and reader polls and has won the JJA Baritone Saxophonist of the Year award.

The Mary Joyce Project was composed by Claire and Steve Hudson. It is music dedicated to her father’s cousin – Mary Joyce – who traveled by dogsled from Juneau to Fairbanks AK, solo, in unchartered territory, in 1934/35. Mary is an American hero and an Alaskan legend. Adventurous women run in the family. The piece premiered in Juneau. Claire has always liked a good theme and Mary made an unforgettable impression on her as a child when she came to stay with the Daly family.

Her move back home to New York from Boston was the beginning of her playing extensively as a freelance musician in NY. She struck up a lifetime collaboration with pianist/composer Joel Forrester (composer of the theme for “Fresh Air” w Terry Gross on NPR). Their band People Like Us released 5 CDs on Koch Jazz and they continue to play and record 25 years later. She was the original baritone player in the Diva Big Band, anchoring it’s section for the first 7 years as well as doing multiple recordings as a side person (Taj Mahal, George Garzone, many more) and leading her own groups. Some projects include Movin’ On, Heaven Help Us All, The Honorable Hustlers (with beat boxer Napoleon Maddox), Speak, Spake, Spoke with wordslinger Kirpal Gordon, Scaribari, Rah Rah – a tribute to Rahsaan Roland Kirk and The Mary Joyce Project.

In 2012, The North Coast Brewing Co. in California produced a CD for Claire called Baritone Monk to promote their Brother Thelonious Ale. It was on the Jazzweek Charts for 24 weeks – 9 of which were top ten. This led to headlining at the Monterey Jazz Festival, KC Rhythm‘n Ribs Fest, Pittsfield Jazz Festival and more in addition to touring the United States with the quartet.

Her most current project is called 2648 West Grand Boulevard and features jazz versions of Motown tunes from the Detroit years. It’s on the Glass Beach Jazz label, produced by Doug Moody. This CD is very close to Claire’s heart. It is likely that the first live music she heard was when she was under 10 years old. Her father asked to bring the kids in for a minute to hear The Supremes at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. The music and the spectacle were deeply influential to Claire, who grew up listening to the Motown sound as the soundtrack of her early years.

She continues to live in New York City, travel, teach (Jazz at Lincoln Center MSJA, Litchfield Jazz Camp), give clinics, teach privately and tour. Performing, listening, learning and mentoring young players are Claire’s musical goals.

(Bio adapted from http://www.clairedalymusic.com/bioframe.html)

To recognize National Poetry Month, Suga’ will open the program with a recitation of “Together / To The Tune of John Coltrane’s Equinox” from the late poet, literary critic and educator Sarah Webster Fabio. Fabio is considered a foundational member of the West Coast Black Arts Movement.

This program is hosted, engineered, produced, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Web Extras:

Watch Daly lead the Rah Rah Band in this 2008 live performance at the Litchfield Jazz Fest.

Watch Daly’s Quintet do a selection from The Mary Joyce Project in this live performance.

Hank Williams is assistant producer for Suga’ in My Bowl and produces the weekly “On the Bandstand” segment as well as running the show’s website and blog, where he has reviewed several jazz festivals. His writing has also appeared in Left Turn magazine and American Music Review. He teaches at Lehman and Hunter colleges in the City University of New York system.

Sunday 10/4/2015 Show: Kamasi Washington

K_Washington_400

The next show will air on Sunday, October 4, 2015 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 broadcast feature an interview with saxophonist Kamasi Washingon, highlighting his debut 3-CD release as a leader, the appropriately titled The Epic.

Kamasi Washington is an American jazz musician based in Los Angeles, CA. Born into a musical family, Washington began playing saxophone at the age of 13, later attending the prestigious Hamilton High School of Music followed by UCLA. He has toured and recorded with the likes of Snoop Dogg, Rapahel Saadiq, Kendrick Lamar, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Mos Def, Harvey Mason and Chaka Khan, to name a few. Along with his own 10-piece band, “The Next Step,” Washington released his groundbreaking solo album, The Epic, on May 5th, 2015. The 172-minute, triple disc masterpiece, which includes a full string orchestra and full choir, debuted at #1 on several iTunes Jazz charts, including the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and UK. In addition to composing his own music, Washington is part of a west coast musical collective called the “West Coast Get Down.”

Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

Washington will be at Brooklyn’s BRIC Arts JazzFest on October 15 and Le Poisson Rouge in Manhattan on the 16th.

Web Extras

Watch Washington perform “Re Run Home” (from The Epic live in the studio of KCRW Radio.

Sunday 12/28/14 Show: David Murray

David Murray plays Nat King Cole "en Español", 16/08/2009, Jazz Middelheim 13-16/08/2009, Antwerp, BE

Photo: David Murray plays Nat King Cole “En Español”, Antwerp, Belgium, 2009. | Bruno Bollaert/Flickr. Creative Commons licensed. Some Rights Reserved by photographer.

The next show will air on Sunday, December 28, 2014 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 broadcast features an interview with tenor saxophonist and bass clarinetist David Murray. You can hear a short preview below.

Few musicians in jazz history have proven more vigorously productive and resourceful than David Murray. During the past 40 years, from the moment he first visited New York as a 20-year-old student, playing in a walkup loft, in 1975, Murray has careened forward in a cool, collected, rocket-fueled streak. He has released over 150 albums under his own name and appears on around a hundred other recordings as a guest artist. Yet more impressive than the numbers is the constancy of two abiding achievements: as a tenor saxophonist, he has perfected an instantly recognizable approach to improvisation that even in its freest flights acknowledges the gravity of a tradition he honors more than most; and he has altered the context for his improvisations as an infinite mosaic of musical challenges and explorations. David Murray goes down as a worthy successor for some of the biggest names in jazz, and he is now contributing to the rise of young talents such as Lafayette Gilchrist, Nasheet Waits, and Orrin Evans.

The son of Baptist parents, Murray discovered the Negro spiritual style in the time of Coltrane and during Albert Ayler’s best period. Before setting off on his musical journey, Murray jumped the gun somewhat for a jazz musician. Born in Oakland, he grew up in Berkeley and studied with Catherine Murray (his mother, an organist), Bobby Bradford, Arthur Blythe, Stanley Crouch, and many others until 1975 when he left Ponoma College in Los Angeles for New York, which he made his base.

In New York, he met many new musicians and musical styles: Anthony Braxton, Don Cherry, Julius Hemphill … Within Ted Daniels’ Energy Band, he worked with Hamiett Bluiett, Lester Bowie and Frank Lowe. In 1976, after a first European tour, Murray set up one of his mythical groups, the World Saxophone Quartet with Oliver Lake, Hamiett Bluiett and Julius Hemphill. From Jerry Garcia to Max Roach, via Randy Weston and Elvin Jones, David Murray continued working with ever more artists and making ever more recordings. From 1978 onwards, he entered into a period of intense creativity, one flexible grouping of musicians following on from another.

By the end of the 1990′s, Murray was referred to in terms of fusion, of world music, and even of Pan-Africanism, ever since he took on a backwards tour through the Caribbean and the ‘little’ Americas, via South Africa and Senegal.

At the same time, he was writing film music (W Dubois (1989), Dernier Stade (1996), and Karmen Gaye in 2000), working with the ‘Urban Bush Women’ dance company (Crossing Into Our Promise Land, 1998) and regularly working with Joseph Papp of the New York Public Theatre (Photograph, 1978 and Spell Number in 1979) and with Bob Thiele, founder of Impulse and Red Baron, who became his producer in 1988 and signed him with Columbia. Thiele produced more than ten of Murray’s albums on Red Baron up until his death in 1997.

Murray also likes rearranging the works of great composers, as in his 1997 project The Obscure Work of Duke Ellington (arranged for a big band and a 25-piece string orchestra) or his 1990 re-transcription of a Paul Gonsalves solo work in Tribute to Paul Gonsalves (with the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra).

In addition to this, he has written two operas: The Blackamoor of Peter the Great in 2004 for strings and voices, based on a selection of twenty poems by Pushkin, and The Sysiphus Revue, his 2008 bop opera sung by a gospel choir on an Amiri Baraka libretto.

In 2006, his Black Saint Quartet was reborn with Sacred Ground, featuring vocals by Cassandra Wilson. The album’s compositions pay tribute to one of his most auspicious periods with the mythical Italian label Black Saint, and to the republishing of this entire catalogue in digital format on the major digital download sites.

The Devil Tried to Kill Me (2007) with the Gwo Ka Masters features Blues great Taj Mahal.

David Murray Plays Nat King Cole En Espanol (Motema, 2011) is one of his most improbable and effective projects: an interpretation of two albums that Nat King Cole recorded in Spanish in 1958 and 1962, performing melodies from Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Rio de Janeiro, and Buenos Aires. It demonstrated a tremendous leap in his approach to a world of music that has long fascinated him. The arrangements are imaginative, compelling, and wily, especially in the integration between winds and stings. The band is as tight as a fist and the recording is a high spot in his massive discography.

Murray’s career has been documented on screen in Speaking in Tongues, which follows him for ten years from 1978 to 1988; Jazzman (1997); and Saxophone Man (2007), which follows a year in his life from New York to Pointe-à-Pitre, via Oakland and Paris that reflects the David Murray of today: a citizen of the world.

Murray’s most recent work is a collaboration with Macy Gray. Following their work within the musical project Questlove Afro-Picks (including Tony Allen, Questlove from The Roots, Amp Fiddler), Gray asked David Murray to rearrange a cover song (“Love Lockdown”) from Kanye West for her album Covered. Murray reciprocated by inviting Macy Gray to sing with his big band on Be My Monster Love (Motema Records).

Show engineered, produced, hosted, and edited by Joyce Jones. Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour with Associate Producer Hank Williams.

The next opportunity to see David Murray LIVE will happen during the marathon nights of the 2015 Winter Jazz Festival on January 9-10, 2015. We’ll have a preview and will be covering the fest on our blog.

Web Extras:

Watch Murray perform live in Poland with the World Sax Quartet in 1998.



Watch Murray and the Black Saint Quartet perform live in Berlin in 2007.



Watch Murray and his Infinity Quartet perform Duke Ellington’s “Solitude” live with Macy Gray.

Sunday January 5th Show: Yusef Lateef Memorial

Yusef_Lateef_smallReminder: 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 Janury 5, 2014 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 be a memorial to the recently deceased Yusef Lateef. We’ll feature a 2010 interview with Lateef and a new interview with long-time collaborator and friend Adam Rudolph. The original show also featured an interview with journalist and educator Herb Boyd, who co-wrote Lateef’s autobiography The Gentle Giant.



Yusef Lateef is a Grammy Award-winning composer, performer, recording artist, author, educator and philosopher who has been a major force on the international musical scene for more than six decades. He is universally acknowledged as one of the great masters and innovators in the African American tradition of autophysiopsychic music — that which comes from one’s spiritual, physical and emotional self. In 2010, he was declared a Jazz Master by the National Endowment of the Arts.

As a virtuoso on a broad spectrum of reed instruments — tenor saxophone, flute, oboe, bamboo flute, shanai, shofar, argol, sarewa, and taiwan koto — Lateef has introduced delightful new sounds and blends of tone colors to audiences all over the world.

As a composer, he compiled a catalog of works not only for the quartets and quintets he has led, but for symphony and chamber orchestras, stage bands, small ensembles, vocalists, choruses and solo pianists. His extended works have been performed by the WDR (Cologne), NDR (Hamburg), Atlanta, Augusta and Detroit Symphony Orchestras and the Symphony of the New World. He won a Grammy in 1987 for his recording of “Yusef Lateef’s Little Symphony,” on which he performed all the parts.

As an educator, Lateef devoted much of his life to exploring the methodology of autophysiopsychic music in various cultures and passing what he learned on to new generations of students. He was a Five Colleges professor at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA, from which he was awarded a Ph.D. in Education in 1975. His doctoral dissertation was entitled “An Overview of Western and Islamic Education.”

As an author, Yusef Lateef has published a novella, A Night in the Garden of Love, and two collections of short stories, Spheres and Rain Shapes.

Listen for our On the Bandstand segment with NYC metro area appearances of Suga’ guests at the end of the first hour.

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

Photo: Yusef Lateef. Creative Commons licensed by Flickr user Tom Beetz via Wikimedia.

At this time, we don’t have information on memorial and funeral arrangements. See our blog and Facebook page for updates.


Web Extras:

Read his obituary in the The Guardian newspaper.
Watch Lateef and Rudolph in a live 2010 performance in Milan, Italy:

Sunday 11/10 show: Renè McLean

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Important programming note: Good news! Suga’ in My Bowl is now on weekly on WBAI, except for the last Sunday of the month! That means more shows, more opportunities to work through the backlog of people we’d like to talk to, and more great jazz and interviews for our listeners! So update your calendars and please pass the word on to friends if you like the show. We’re largely a D.I.Y. operation and rely a lot on word of mouth for growing our listening base. Thanks, and keep listening!

The next show will air on Sunday November 10, 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 saxophonist, flutist, multi-reed instrumentalist (and son of Jackie McLean) Renè McLean. Listen to a short preview below:

Born in New York City, Renè Profit-McLean (a/k/a Muhammad Al-Amien Abdul Kariem) world renowned Multi-reed Instrumentalist (Alto, Tenor, Soprano saxophone, Flutes, Ney, Shakuhachi), Composer, Band leader, Educator and Producer, began his musical training at the age of nine under the tutelage and guidance of his father, world renowned alto saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean. Renè recounts: “My father began giving me the saxophone in stages beginning with the mouth piece then the neck and finally the horn”. As an adolescent, the young McLean was already performing with local Jazz, R&B, Calypso, Latin and other bands of varied musical traditions, making his debut with Jackie McLean’s band in the early-1960’s as well as leading his own bands.

Renè McLean’s debut as a band leader and producer began at the age of 16 in August 1963 on New York City’s lower east side at the East River Park Amphitheater in a concert sponsored by Mobilization for Youth Inc. and produced by Renè featuring several bands of Young Lions of the era which included his group featuring : Larry Willis (Piano), Eddie Gale (Trumpet), Pete Pearson (vibes) and Alan Silver (Bass). In addition his band also played at the original world famous Birdland as part of Alan Grant’s Sunday afternoon Jazz series featuring young and up coming musicians, as well as being one of the first bands to perform at the famous lower eastside 60’s Jazz spot “ Slugs”. He later introduced the owners to Jackie McLean; that was the beginning of Jazz at Slug’s, the rest is history.

For five decades or more Renè McLean served as Protégé/Apprentice to Jackie McLean; twenty of those years as Musical Director to the numerous ensembles Jackie and Renè co-led. Renè McLean maintains an active travel/performance career leading his own band and various related projects. Renè is currently a Professor of African -American music on the faculty of the Jackie McLean Institute at the University of Hartford, and Master Artist /Director In -Resident of Music at the Artists Collective, Hartford CT. McLean has performed at many international & national festivals, conducted workshops and lectured at numerous universities and cultural programs in the U.S., Caribbean (including Cuba), as well as in South America, Europe, Lebanon, Japan, Indonesia, South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Mauritius. In 1990, the United States Information Agency invited and sponsored Renè McLean to perform and conduct workshop/lectures at the Jazz A Mada festival in Madagascar and Mauritius. In 1993 the United States Information Agency invited and sponsored the Jackie Mclean/Renè McLean Jazz Dynasty band to tour six Southern African Countries.

Renè McLean defines his music as “transcending socio-political and cultural boundaries—it’s a universal language.”

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

Remember to check out our On the Bandstand feature located on our blog for NYC Metro area listings of Suga’ guests.

Watch Renè McLean play with poet Amiri Baraka in this rendition of “So What”, recorded live in Italy in 2013.

Sunday 9/22 Show: Kenny Garrett

Kenny_GarrettThe 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 alto/soprano saxophone player and composer Kenny Garrett. We will discuss his career, and most importantly, his new CD release Pushing the World Away

We’ll begin the program with a short interview with Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, who are working on a documentary titled BaddDDD Sonia Sanchez about poet/author/educator (and former Suga’ guest) Sonia Sanchez. There’s a Kickstarter campaign actively in effect. We’ll find out about it and the documentary.

Over the course of a stellar career that has spanned more than 30 years, saxophonist Kenny Garrett has become the preeminent alto saxophonist of his generation. From his first gig with the Duke Ellington Orchestra (led by Mercer Ellington) through his time spent with musicians such as Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and Miles Davis, Garrett has always brought a vigorous yet melodic, and truly distinctive, alto saxophone sound to each musical situation. As a bandleader for the last two decades, he has also continually grown as a composer.

For his third Mack Avenue Records release, Pushing the World Away, alto/soprano saxophonist, composer/bandleader Kenny Garrett literally had to “push away” a steady flow of distractions to get to the inner core of the album, shifting priorities in his schedule and diving deep into the essence of the music.

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

Web Extras:

Watch Kenny Garrett’s solo on John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”, performed live in New York with Carlos Santana.


Sunday 2/3 Show: Lou Donaldson

Suga' in My Bowl guest Jazz Master Lou DonaldsonThe next show will air on Sunday February 3, 2013 from 11:00pm – 1:00am Monday Eastern Standard Time on WBAI, 99.5 FM in the NYC metro area or streaming online at wbai.org. This installment of Suga’ will feature one of the 2013 NEA Jazz Master recipients, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson. This program originally aired in May 2009 and focused on recordings that were sampled by hip hop artists to lead up to the June Hip Hop Takeover.

You can hear a 30-second preview below.

Donaldson has long been an excellent bop altoist influenced by Charlie Parker, but with a more blues-based style of his own. His distinctive tone has been heard in a variety of small-group settings, and he has recorded dozens of worthy and spirited (if somewhat predictable) sets throughout the years.

Donaldson started playing clarinet when he was 15, soon switching to the alto. He attended college and performed in a Navy band while in the military. Donaldson first gained attention when he moved to New York and in 1952 started recording for Blue Note as a leader. At the age of 25, his style was fully formed, and although it would continue growing in depth through the years, Donaldson had already found his sound. In 1954, he participated in a notable gig with Art Blakey, Clifford Brown, Horace Silver, and Tommy Potter that was extensively documented by Blue Note and that directly predated the Jazz Messengers. However, Donaldson was never a member of the Messengers, and although he recorded as a sideman in the ’50s and occasionally afterwards with Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson, and Jimmy Smith, among others, he has been a bandleader from the mid-’50s up until the present.

Donaldson’s early Blue Note recordings were pure bop. In 1958, he began often utilizing a conga player, and starting in 1961, his bands often had an organist rather than a pianist. His bluesy style was easily transferable to soul-jazz, and he sounded most original in that context. His association with Blue Note (1952-1963) was succeeded by some excellent (if now-scarce) sets for Cadet and Argo (1963-1966). The altoist returned to Blue Note in 1967 and soon became caught up in the increasingly commercial leanings of the label. For a time, he utilized an electronic Varitone sax, which completely watered down his sound. The success of “Alligator Boogaloo” in 1967 led to a series of less interesting funk recordings that were instantly dated and not worthy of his talent. These particular Blue Note recordings were often sampled by hip hop artists.

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