Tuesday, June 30, 2009

First Lady Hosts White House Jazz Workshop

Michelle Obama kicked off a series of musical workshops at the White House inviting 150 talented students from Middle and high school from across the country fanned out inside the White House for lectures and performance tips from professional jazz musicians.

The entire Marsalis family -- father Ellis and sons Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason participated, along with Cuban jazz master Paquito D'Rivera and D.C.'s own Davey Yarborough, passing along jazz tips and the larger lessons they've learned from music

The first lady referred to Jazz as "America's greatest artistic gift to the world."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

NPR Music's Evolution of a song: 'Strange Fruit'

Billie Holiday fashioned the haunting, poetic meditation "Strange Fruit" into a jazz landmark. She thus unwittingly invited scores of singers to try their hands at the song. Among those who did, Diana Ross, Nina Simone, Cocteau Twins, Cassandra Wilson, Sting and India.Arie

The story behind the song "Strange Fruit" is well-known in jazz circle. Shocked by a postcard bearing a photograph of the lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abraham Smith in Marion, Ind., Bronx schoolteacher Abel Meeropol put pen to paper. Full of unforgettable imagery, his poem "Bitter Fruit" was published under the name Lewis Allan in 1936. He later supplied a melody so it could be sung at political rallies, but jazz icon Billie Holiday and her pianist Sonny White refashioned the simple tune.

Adapted from Jazz Notes, NPR Music

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dr. Kathy Brown chit-chats on Miami based jazz radio

Jamaican jazz keyboardist Dr. Kathy Brown chit-chatted on Saturday with Florida based radio 88.9FM WDNA jock Howard "Flagga" Duperly as the 'Serious Jazz' radio broadcasts live interviews from RIU Club Hotel Ocho Rios as part of its coverage of the Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival from the Jamaica's tourist resort.

Brown, a medical doctor, jazz pianist, recording artist, fielded posers from the Saturday afternoon Reggae Ride host on the musician's double career of medicine and music or vice versa.

Signicantly, in a chat aired to millions of WDNA FM listeners, the 'jazzy doctor' repeatedly emphasized a yen to perform her Caribbean tinged, contemporary jazz styling overseas whether be in jazz clubs or jazz festivals.

Dr. Kathy Brown, a staple on the Jamaican jazz circuit, released the seminal, CD Mission: A Musical Journey in 2007 and is currently working on material for her sophomore set.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Miami jazz station returns to Ocho Rios Festival

Miami based jazz radio station 89.9FM WDNA returns to Jamaica’s North Coast for the third consecutive year to broadcast the week-long Ocho Rios International Jazz Festival. The station crew, on-air personalities, technical staff and come-along guests will be in residence at the RIU Ocho Rios Hotel, June 18-22.

The come-along guests comprise 88.9FM WDNA listeners who purchased packages to Ocho Rios and Mr. David Singh and family who is the grand prize winner of the jazz station on-air contest. Singh is the recipient of round trip airfare courtesy of Air Jamaica, an all-inclusive 5-day, 4-night stay at the RIU Ocho Rios, as well as admission to all the Ocho Rios Jazz Festival events.

Howard Duperly, WDNA FM’s sales & marketing manager and Reggae show host, informed Offbeat that the 88.9FM WDNA party to Ocho Rios currently totals 25 persons. In addition to live broadcasts of the station's very popular Latin Quarter shows with Cary Alexander, Hal Roland and Andy Harlow, the party will attend many of the Jazz Fest activities.

88.9FM WDNA “Serious jazz’ is the only source for prime time jazz, Latin jazz and world beat music in South Florida, a market of over 4 million people.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Ocho Rios Jazz Festival bowls off June 14

The Ocho Rios Jazz Festival bowls off Sunday, June 14 and for those intimately familiar with the British Commonwealth game of cricket the weeklong fest is concocted in cricket paralence.

So, jazzfest headman and chief selector Cecil “Sonny” Bradshaw picks a formidable side involving players from France, England, USA, and the Caribbean. Under the banner The Preservation and Promotion of Black Classical Music-Jazz, the Ocho Rios Jazz fest fixture begins in open air settings at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Kingston, following Jazz & Coffee in the Blue Mountains the evening before.

The matches begin with an All Jamaica Jazz 11 Team – dubbed Piano- Keyboard Giants comprized of two seasoned batsmen Harold Butler and brother Leslie Butler (Miami), team captain Marjorie Whylie, special spin bowlers Foggy Mullings and Obeah Denton ,four-pronged fast bowlers Dr. Kathy Brown, Andre Campbell, Courtney Sinclair, and Ozou'ne, opening batsmen Jon Williams and Peter Ashbourne, and fielding in the slip is vocalist extraordinaire Myrna Hague

Reserve players: Byard Lancaster (Sax/Flute), Sonny Bradshaw
COACH (Band) - Desi Jones & Skool
UMPIRES (MC): Don Topping, Fae Ellington, Anthony Cuffe

The jazz games move to homeground Ocho Rios for the rest of the week of activities the includes free public concerts, school band competition, leading up to the climax closing day show in Priory, St. Ann. Side shows are being held on the East (Port Antonio) and South (Treasure Beach) and West (Negril)coasts of Jamaica.