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Sunday 10/2/2016 Show: Milford Graves

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Photo: Milford Graves at the Vision Festival – 6/13/2013 | Joyce Jones. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, October 2, 2016 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 a rare interview with percussionist/drummer, acupuncturist, herbalist, gardener, builder, scientist, inventor and martial arts master Milford Graves.
 

 
Milford Graves (born August 20, 1941 in Queens, New York) is an American jazz drummer and percussionist, most noteworthy for his early avant-garde contributions in the early 1960s with Paul Bley and the New York Art Quartet alongside John Tchicai, Roswell Rudd, and Reggie Workman. He is considered to be a free jazz pioneer, liberating the percussion from its timekeeping role. In fact, many of his music contemporaries, musician inspirees, and fans world-wide would argue that Graves is perhaps the most influential known musician in the development and continuing evolution of free-jazz/avant-garde music, to date. Milford Graves taught at Bennington College, in Bennington, Vermont, being a tenured professor from 1973 to 2011; in 2011, he is awarded Emeritus status.
 
Initially playing timbales as a kid growing up in Queens, Graves has worked as a sideman and session musician with a variety of jazz musicians throughout his career, including Pharoah Sanders, Rashied Ali, Albert Ayler, Don Pullen, Kenny Clarke, Don Moye, Andrew Cyrille, Philly Joe Jones, Eddie Gómez, and John Zorn. He has invested his time in research within the field of healing through music.
 
In 2013, Milford Graves along with Drs. Carlo Tremolada and Carlo Ventura received a patent for an invention that relates to a process of preparing a non-expanded tissue derivative, that is not subjected to cell proliferation in vitro, which has a vascular-stromal fraction enriched in stem and multipotent elements, such as pericytes and/or mesenchymal stem cells, or for preparing non-embryonic stem cells obtained from a tissue sample or from such tissue derivative, wherein the tissue derivative or such cells are subjected to vibrations derived from a heart sound to control the degree of differentiation or possible differentiation of the stem and multipotent elements into several other types of cells and optimize their potency. The invention relates also to a device for carrying out the process, to stem cells obtainable by the process as well as a drug for the regeneration of an animal tissue.
 
Bio adapted from Graves’ Wikipedia entry.
 
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.
 
Graves will be appearing at The Village Vanguard with saxophonist Jon Zorn on October 9th and at The Stone in a trio with guitarist Marc Ribot on December 3.
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Milford Graves and saxophonist John Zorn in a 2013 duo performance at the Museum of Modern Art.
 

 
Watch Graves play with saxophonist Marshall Allen and bassist Henry Grimes in this live 2012 set.
 

 
Watch Milford Graves lead a trio in this vintage 1973 clip from European TV.
 

 
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 9/04/2016 Show: Richard Bona

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Photo: Richard Bona | Flickr user tom.beetz. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, September 4, 2016 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 bassist and multi instrumentalist Richard Bona.
 

 
Fans call him “The African Sting,” critics call him a pro, but it’s his unique and electrifying style of connecting with his audience that titles him what he really is—a true musician. Richard Bona’s seemingly effortless voice, fierce skills on the bass, unique songwriting/arranging expertise and ability to learn just about any instrument simply from watching, position him as a rare African artist to have established an unscalable reputation on an international platform.
 
Originally from Cameroon, Bona remains true to his roots, with African rhythms reflected in each of his seven albums; the first three, Scenes from My Life, Reverence and Munia display his unique approach to storytelling through sounds. Seeking inspiration from his origins, the themes of Bona’s albums address international issues which mirror his desire of using music to take a stance on issues affecting the oppressed. As an artist with a purpose, he expanded into new musical territories and teamed up with Congolese star, Lokua Kanza and Antillais singer/composer Gerald Toto to create the 2004 collective, Toto, Bona, Lokua on which Bona wrote four tracks.
 
The trio then hit the road and toured across France; however, Bono remained in Europe to tour with guitarist Mike Stern and guest star on Japanese guitarist Kazumi Watanabe’s album Mo Bop 2. Shortly after, the pair embarked upon a tour of Japan, providing Bona with the opportunity to incorporate the culture and sounds of a new territory into his work. Furthermore, he toured with Pat Metheny and appeared as a guest on two of Bobby McFerrin’s albums, along with numerous notable collaborations.
 
He later garnered recognition at the Victoires du Jazz Awards where he won the trophy for “Best International Artist of 2004;” such a prestigious award confirmed his ability to appeal to a multitude of audiences ranging from jazz, pop, bossa nova, traditional, afro-beat and funk. In 2005, Bona guest appeared on Mario Canonge’s album Rhyzome and contributed to the soundtrack for Pascal Plisson’s film Massai, les guerriers de la pluie. Also known for his role in the group, Steps Ahead, Bona has performed on many stages such as the Adelaide International Guitar Festival and with many luminaries such as John Legend for his album, Tiki, which was also nominated for a Grammy in 2007 for “Best Contemporary World Music Album.”
 
Despite the fact that he spent the entirety of 2008 and 2009 on a non-stop tour, Bona released The Ten Shades of Blues, which illustrates his experience with different shades of the blues that he interacted with during his tours throughout locations such as the Sahel, Brazil, India, United States and Cameroon. Shortly after, Bona was honored by the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal with the Antonio Carlos Jobim Award; as one of seven recipients, he is distinguished as an artist in the field of world music whose influence on the evolution of jazz is widely recognized. He also received the prestigious SACEM Jazz Award (Grand Prix Jazz SACEM) in 2012 for the Jazz Grand Prize. Additionally, his certified Gold 2013 album, Bonafied, demonstrates a fusion of cultures in which he is continuously developing into a new album that will be toured internationally. With numerous awards, performances, and years of expertise, Bona has become one of the most accomplished and sought-after musicians of this generation. As he continues to redefine his sound, Richard has released his Afro-Cuban project Mandekan Cubano on June 2016 with his new album Heritage.
 
Bio from Richard Bona’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.
 
Bona will be appearing at Club Bonafide from September 9-10 with Mandekan Cubano.
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Bona in a live version of “Teen Town” with a great solo at the beginning.
 

 
Watch another amazing Bona solo.
 

 
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 8/21/2016 Show: Connie Crothers Memorial

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Photo: Connie Crothers at Vision 21 2016 | Joyce Jones. Some Rights Reserved. Creative Commons CC-NC-BY-ND.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, August 21, 2016 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 is a memorial to the late pianist Connie Crothers.
 

 
Connie Crothers expressed her musical life as performer, recording artist and teacher releasing feeling–her source–through spontaneous improvisation. This edition is a memorial broadcast in honor of Connie Crothers by guest contributor Chris Becker, who provides an interview he recorded for his book released earlier this year titled Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women in Jazz. Additional remembrances will be provided by Arts for Arts/Vision Festival organizer Patricia Nicholson Parker, percussionist/drummer Warren Smith and trumpeter Lewis “Flip” Barnes.
 
As a solo performer, she appeared in the Berlin Jazztage, Jazz at Middleheim when she received a feature article in Knack, the Toronto International Jazz Festival, and at Carnegie Recital Hall, presented by Lennie Tristano. Tristano wrote on her first record, “Perception,” SteepleChase, “Connie Crothers is the most original musician it has ever been my privilege to work with.”
 
Crothers recorded duo with Max Roach as part of his historic duets recording project–”Swish,” New Artists–and performed duo with Roach in Tokyo, Bologna, New Orleans and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company. They were honored by Harvard University as Visiting Jazz Artists; during the ceremony they performed with the Harvard University Band. For this concert, Anthony Braxton wrote a composition for them.
 
Bio excerpts from Connie Crothers’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.
 
Details for a memorial service haven’t been released yet. We’ll be sure to share them when they are. Watch our Facebook page for details and we’ll be sure to announce it on upcoming On the Bandstand segments, which also appear weekly on our blog.
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Crothers talk about the value of art in this short promo clip for the 2015 Vision Festival.
 

 
Watch Crothers lead a quartet at Brooklyn’s Roulette in this live 2014 clip.
 

 
Watch Crothers and Max Roach in a 2000 live performance from Bologna, Italy.
 

 
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 11/29/15 Show: Gary Burton

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Photo: Gary Burton | Bruno Bollaert/Flickr. Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, Some Rights Reserved.
 
The next show will air on Sunday, November 29, 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 will feature an interview with vibraphonist, composer, educator and 2016 NEA Jazz Master Gary Burton.
 

 
Gary Burton was born in 1943 and raised in Indiana. Burton taught himself to play the vibraphone and, at the age of 17, made his recording debut in Nashville, Tennessee, with guitarists Hank Garland and Chet Atkins. Two years later, Burton left his studies at Berklee College of Music to join George Shearing and subsequently Stan Getz, with whom he worked from 1964-1966. As a member of Getz’s quartet, Burton won Down Beat magazine’s Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition award in 1965. By the time he left Getz to form his own quartet in 1967, Burton had also recorded three albums under his name for RCA. Borrowing rhythms and sonorities from rock music, while maintaining jazz’s emphasis on improvisation and harmonic complexity, Burton’s first quartet attracted large audiences from both sides of the jazz-rock spectrum. Such albums as Duster and Lofty Fake Anagram established Burton and his band as progenitors of the jazz fusion phenomenon.
 
During his subsequent association with the ECM label (1973-1988) the Burton Quartet expanded to include the young Pat Metheny on guitar, and the band began to explore a repertoire of modern compositions. In the ’70s, Burton also began to focus on more intimate contexts for his music. His 1971 album Alone at Last, a solo vibraphone concert recorded at the 1971 Montreux Jazz Festival, was honored with his first Grammy Award. Burton also turned to the rarely heard duo format, recording with bassist Steve Swallow, guitarist Ralph Towner, and most notably with pianist Chick Corea, thus cementing a long personal and professional relationship that has garnered an additional four Grammy Awards.
 
In the ’70s, Burton began his music education career with Berklee College of Music in Boston. Burton began as a teacher of percussion and improvisation at Berklee in 1971. In 1985 he was named Dean of Curriculum. In 1989, he received an honorary doctorate of music from the college, and in 1996, he was appointed Executive Vice President, responsible for overseeing the daily operation of the college.
 
June 2011 saw the release of Common Ground, Gary‘s first release on Mack Avenue Records featuring the New Gary Burton Quartet. The new group reunites the vibist with guitar star Julian Lage with the addition of drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Scott Colley. The group toured throughout 2011 and 2013 and released their second CD, Guided Tour, in August 2013.
 
Meanwhile, Gary‘s latest duet collaboration with Chick Corea, Hot House (2012), on the Concord Jazz label, has been released world-wide and won Gary his 7th Grammy Award in the Best Improvised Solo category.
 
Burton formed a new band in 2003 after retiring from 33 years of service at Berklee College of Music and began touring regularly. The “Generations” band featured a line-up of talented young musicians including then sixteen-year old guitarist Julian Lage and Russian-born pianist Vadim Nevelovskyi. Gary recorded two CDs with the group titled Generation and Next Generation and the band toured steadily from 2003 through mid-2006.
 
Burton is also the author of Learning to Listen: The Jazz Journey of Gary Burton. In Learning to Listen, Gary Burton shares his fifty years of experiences at the top of the jazz scene. A seven-time GRAMMY® Award winner, Burton made his first recordings at age seventeen, has toured and recorded with a who’s who of famous jazz names, and is one of only a few openly gay musicians in jazz. Burton is a true innovator, both as a performer and an educator. His autobiography is one of the most personal and insightful jazz books ever written.
 
Bio adapted from Gary Burton’s official website.
 
This program is 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.
 
Web Extras
 
Watch Burton in a live performance with guitarist Pat Metheny at the 2008 North Sea Jazz Festival.
 

 
Watch Burton in a 2011 live performance with Chick Corea.
 

 
Watch Burton in a live 1967 performance with guitarist Larry Coryell in Berlin.
 

 
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 11/1/15 Show: Craig Harris

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The next show will air on Sunday, November 1, 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 will feature an interview with composer and trombonist Craig Harris as we celebrate the anniversary of an afternoon Jazz series in Harlem, which he is one of the curators.

When Craig Harris exploded onto the jazz scene in 1976, he brought the entire history of the jazz trombone with him. From the growling gutbucket intensity of early New Orleans music through the refined, articulate improvisation of the modern era set forth by J.J. Johnson, and into the confrontational expressionism of the ’60s avant-garde, Harris handled the total vernacular the way a skilled orator utilizes the spoken word.

He has performed with a veritable Who’s Who of progressive jazz’ most important figures – including Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, Sam Rivers, Abdullah Ibrahim, Jaki Byard, Muhal Richard Abrams, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, The WORLD Saxophone Quartet, The Roots, RAKIM and the list goes on and on – his own projects displayed both a unique sense of concept and a total command of the sweeping expanse of musical expression. And it’s those two qualities that have dominated Craig’s past 15 years of activity, bringing him far beyond the confines of the jazz world and into the sphere of multimedia and performance art as composer, performer, conceptualist, curator and artistic director. Harris’ innovative approach to composition reflected in projects like Souls Within the Veil, composed to commemorate the centennial of W. E. B. Du Bois’ The Souls of Black Folk; Brown Butterfly, a multi-media work based on the movement of Muhammad Ali with video, dance, and music; and God’s Trombones based on James Weldon Johnson’s classic collection of poems that refigure inspirational sermons by itinerant Negro preachers. These works represent various strands of the African American folk tradition.

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.

This is a fund drive show and supporting WBAI Radio helps keep us on the air! Contributing as little as $5 supports the station and sends the message that people want to hear jazz and our show. If you like what you hear or are feeling generous, you can pledge for our exclusive “Who Owns Music” DVD with the full conversation with the above guests.

Harris will the headliner for for two lunchtime sets at his weekly Tuesday afternoon jazz series at Harlem’s Rendall Memorial Presbyterian Church on November 3.

Web Extras

Watch a live excerpt from Harris’s God’s Trombones.

Watch a live performance of Harris’s Brown Butterfly suite.

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 10/18/2015 Show: Who Owns Music?

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The next show will air on Sunday, October 18, 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 .

The popularity of the hit series Empire has let loose a flurry of conversation about the the hip hop industry’s inner workings and joins ongoing debates about the future of music and the music industry. With that backdrop, Suga in My Bowl presents a dynamic and timely discussion on the question of Who Owns Music with a focus on the present and future Jazz scene.

We’ll discuss the role of “gatekeepers.” Who decides what music gets produced? Who decides what gets airplay? Who has access to clubs and gigs? Who shapes the opinions and ideas of what people hear? And what does this mean for listeners and the future of music? What can we do about it?

This event brings together musicians, writers and broadcast professionals to discuss these important issues and raise funds for listener-supported community radio!

Participant bios:

William Parker is an improviser, and composer. He plays the bass, shakuhachi, double reeds, tuba, donson ngoni and gembri. Born in 1952 in the Bronx, New York, Parker has studied bass with Richard Davis, Art Davis, Milt Hinton, Wilber Ware, and Jimmy Garrison. In 1995, the Village Voice called Parker “the most consistently brilliant free jazz bassist of all time.” With dancer Patricia Nicholson Parker, this husband and wife team have been involved with artist collectives and the grassroots loft jazz scene since the 1970s. Through dogged determination, their Vision Festival celebrates 20 years in 2015. Parker is also a theorist and author of several books including a collection of writings titled Who Owns Music.

Sheila Anderson is primarily associated with being an on-air host and programmer at WBGO-FM, but is also a consultant for Jazzmobile and emceed their wildly popular Grant’s Tomb concerts for 8 years. She has also produced a jazz series at the Newark Museum. Anderson is the author of several articles and books, including the Little Red Book of Musician’s Wisdom; How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Need to Know to Succeed.

Quincy Troupe’s energetic, highly syncopated poetry melds contemporary music rhythms—such as rap, jazz, and be-bop—to a “furious rush of images, sometimes jarring, arising from personal experience,” according to Los Angeles Times critic Tony Perry. Celebratory, but also cautionary, Troupe’s subjects range from jazz and sports to racism and urban decay; a member of the Watts Writers Workshop in the 1960s, he is frequently grouped with Black Arts Movement writers like Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Haki Madhubuti. Troupe’s editorial skill was instrumental in the landmark publication of Miles: the Autobiography. He currently edits Black Renaissance Noire, New York University’s Africana Studies Department’s journal.

Ahmed Abdullah leads the group Diaspora (Dispersions of the Spirit of Ra), which combines poetry and lyrics with a large instrumental ensemble. He formed Melchizedek Music Productions in 1995 with his wife, Monique Ngozi Nri. Together, they have produced concerts locally and abroad. In 1998, Abdullah was offered the position of Music Director of Sistas’ Place in Bedford Stuyvesant. Since then, he has introduced many of the adventurous musicians of the 70’s Loft Movement to this venue with great success. His vision has allowed for the expansion of its Saturday Night Jazz programming, from a bi-monthly to a weekly format initiating several new forums along the way.

Co-Hosts:

Joyce Jones is the creator, host, and executive producer of Suga in My Bowl on WBAI Radio. She has also created and produced several radio documentary specials. She is also a graphic designer, percussionist, and has had her photography published in Black Renaissance Noir.

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.

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.

This is a fund drive show and supporting WBAI Radio helps keep us on the air! Contributing as little as $5 supports the station and sends the message that people want to hear jazz and our show. If you like what you hear or are feeling generous, you can pledge for our exclusive “Who Owns Music” DVD with the full conversation with the above guests.

Sunday 7/26/15 Show: Kurt Elling

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The next show will air on Sunday, July 26, 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 will feature an interview with the versatile vocalist Kurt Elling.

GRAMMY® winner Kurt Elling is among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. He has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last fourteen years and has been named “Male Singer of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span. Every one Elling is a renowned artist of vocalese—the writing and performing of words over recorded improvised jazz solos. The natural heir to jazz pioneers Eddie Jefferson, King Pleasure and Jon Hendricks, Elling has set his own lyrics to the improvised solos of Wayne Shorter, Keith Jarrett and Pat Metheny. He often incorporates images and references from writers such as Rilke, Rumi, Neruda and Proust into his work. The late poet and Bollingen Prize winner Robert Creeley wrote, “Kurt Elling takes us into a world of sacred particulars. His words are informed by a powerful poetic spirit.” Said Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate of the United States, “In Kurt Elling’s art, the voice of jazz gives a new spiritual presence to the ancient, sweet and powerful bond between poetry and music.”

Elling has toured vigorously throughout his career, thrilling audiences throughout the world. In that time he has led his own ensemble and has collaborated with many of the world’s finest orchestras.

Elling’s new album Passion World is indeed all about “passions” – the forces that shake our souls. As one of the busiest touring jazz artists, Elling has encountered these passions around the world; he has observed how the same depth of feeling is shaped in different ways by each unique culture through which it is filtered. The result is an album vibrant with diversity and variety, and at the same time a singular celebration of what makes us all human.

Bio excerpt courtesy of www.kurtelling.com.

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.

Web Extras

Watch Elling’s stunning version of “Nature Boy” recorded live with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Watch the preview video for Elling’s Passion World release.

Watch Elling’s adaptation of Coltrane’s “Resolution” recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Sunday 7/12/15 Show: Nina Simone

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The next show will air on Sunday, July 12, 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 will feature an interview with filmmaker Liz Garbus; the writing of poet Pamela Sneed; and a conversation with Nina Simone’s brother, educator, bandmate and once manager Sam Waymon. We have included Mary Phillips, Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies at The City University of New York (CUNY)-Lehman College to discuss Black Power Feminism in relation to Simone’s political significance.

This show will use Garbus’s documentary film What Happened, Miss Simone? as a springboard to discuss Simone’s life, art, and politics and expand on what’s in the film.

Born Eunice Kathleen Waymon in Tryon, North Carolina on February 21st, 1933, Simone’s prodigious talent as a musician was evident early on when she started playing piano by ear at the age of three. Her mother, a Methodist minister, and her father, a handyman and preacher himself, couldn’t ignore young Eunice’s God-given gift of music. Raised in the church on the straight and narrow, her parents taught her right from wrong, to carry herself with dignity, and to work hard. She played piano – but didn’t sing – in her mother’s church, displaying remarkable talent early in her life. Able to play virtually anything by ear, she was soon studying classical music with an Englishwoman named Muriel Mazzanovich, who had moved to the small southern town. It was from these humble roots that Eunice developed a lifelong love of Johann Sebastian Bach, Chopin, Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert. After graduating valedictorian of her high school class, the community raised money for a scholarship for Eunice to study at Julliard in New York City before applying to the prestigious Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her family had already moved to the City Of Brotherly Love, but Simone’s hopes for a career as a pioneering African American classical pianist were dashed when the school denied her admission. To the end, she herself would claim that racism was the reason she did not attend. While her original dream was unfulfilled, Eunice ended up with an incredible worldwide career as Nina Simone – almost by default.

To survive, she began teaching music to local students. One fateful day in 1954, looking to supplement her income, Simone auditioned to sing at the Midtown Bar & Grill on Pacific Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Word spread about this new singer and pianist who was dipping into the songbooks of Gershwin, Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, and the like, transforming popular tunes of the day into a unique synthesis of jazz, blues, and classical music. Her rich, deep velvet vocal tones, combined with her mastery of the keyboard, soon attracted club goers up and down the East Coast. In order to hide the fact that she was singing in bars, Eunice’s mother would refer to the practice as “working in the fires of hell”, overnight Eunice Waymon became Nina Simone by taking the nickname “Nina” meaning “little one” in Spanish and “Simone” after the actress Simone Signoret.

When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman,” the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While thirty-three years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Simone’s uncompromising musical trademark.

By the end of her life, Simone was enjoying an unprecedented degree of recognition. Her music was enjoyed by the masses due to the CD revolution, discovery on the Internet, and exposure through movies and television. Simone had sold over one million CDs in the last decade of her life, making her a global catalog best-seller.

Bio excerpt courtesy of www.ninasimone.com.

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.

Web Extras

Watch the trailer for the Liz Garbus documentary film What Happened, Miss Simone?

Sunday 6/9 show: Joe Sample

Joe Sample/ Flickr user Tom.Beetz via Wikicommons

Joe Sample/ Flickr user Tom.Beetz via Wikicommons

The next show will air on Sunday June 9, 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 Joe Sample, known to many from his work with The Jazz Crusaders (later The Crusaders). You can hear a short preview below.One of the many jazzmen who started out playing hard bop but went electric during the fusion era, Joe Sample was, in the late ’50s, a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders along with trombonist Wayne Henderson, tenor saxman Wilton Felder, and drummer Stix Hooper. The Crusaders’ debt to Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers wasn’t hard to miss — except that the L.A.-based unit had no trumpeter, and became known for its unique tenor/trombone front line. Sample, a hard-swinging player who could handle chordal and modal/scalar improvisation equally well, stuck to the acoustic piano during The Crusaders’ early years — but would place greater emphasis on electric keyboards when the band turned to jazz-funk in the early ’70s and dropped “Jazz” from its name. Though he’d recorded as a trio pianist on 1969’s Fancy Dance, 1978’s Rainbow Seeker was often described as his first album as a leader. In contrast to the gritty music The Crusaders became known for, Sample’s own albums on MCA and, later, Warner Bros. and PRA have generally favored a very lyrical and introspective jazz-pop approach.

Sunday 5/19 show: Abbey Lincoln tribute

941476_10201258401371900_1206633860_nThe next show will air on Sunday May 19, 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. On the heels of pianist Marc Cary’s recent Harlem Stage events and new release honoring Abbey Lincoln, this installment of “Suga’ In My Bowl” will continue to honor renaissance woman Abbey Lincoln. This special was originally offered in October 2010. You can hear a short preview below.

Most people are only familiar with Abbey Lincoln as a singer and actress. However, Ms. Lincoln was also published poet, writer, visual artist and composer. During this special, several artists will either share their personal tributes and/or read the work of Ms. Lincoln. Contributing artists include:

Sonia Sanchez, who will read Ms. Lincoln’s piece “To Whom Will She Cry Rape?” from the 1970 Toni Cade Bambara anthology “The Black Woman” and originally printed in a 1966 issue of “The Negro Digest.” Latasha N. Nevada Diggs will read Ms. Lincoln’s poetry which was included in Amina and Amiri Baraka’s 1983 anthology titled “Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women.” Lashonda Katrice Barnett, author of “I Got Thunder: Black Women Songwriters on Their Craft,” which featured an exchange with Abbey Lincoln, will read excerpts from Ms. Lincoln’s unpublished autobiography. Rembrances from political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, writers the late Jayne Cortez, Amina and Amiri Baraka, Mark Anthony Neal, Farah Jasmine Griffin and Carl Hancock Rux, filmmakers Ifa Bayeza (“You Gotta Pay The Band”) and Carol Friedman (“Abbey Lincoln: The Music Is The Magic” in production), Maggie Brown (daughter of Oscar Brown Jr.), bassists Christian McBride and Charlie Haden.

These contributions will be offered as a 2-CD set in an effort to help continue this listener-supported experiment that is WBAI/Pacifica Radio. Please join us as we continue to remember Ms. Abbey Lincoln (Aug. 6, 1930 – Aug. 14, 2010).

Co-Hosted by Joyce Jones and Hank Williams. Produced and engineered by Arts Producer Joyce Jones.

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