Archive for July, 2008

Artist Pipes Up for Internet Radio, Royalty Payment Talks Under Way

Monday, July 28th, 2008

michaelwhite.jpgWASHINGTON — Like any musician, New Orleans jazz clarinetist Michael White says he would love to collect royalty checks every time an Internet radio station plays one of his recordings.But not, White said, if the royalty payments force the Internet stations off the air.

White was in Washington this week for a concert and to lobby members of Congress to intercede and take steps to ensure that Internet radio continues.

White, 53, who recently released his first post-Katrina CD, “Blue Crescent,” said he accepts that few AM or FM stations, even the small number devoted to jazz, will play his songs. But he said he regularly encounters fans at concerts who tell him, ” ‘I found out about you on Internet radio.’ “

“A lot of blues, folk and jazz musicians make most of their money at touring concerts,” White said. “We’re not advocating destroying royalties, but want a royalty system that is fair with comparable media.”

There are currently hundreds of Internet radio stations, some of which cater to fans of music that will never make it on top-40 formats.

At issue is a decision by the Copyright Royalty Board last year to raise Internet royalty rates, calculated as a flat per-song fee for each listener. An association of Internet stations said that the fees would eat away all or most of their earnings.

Some Internet stations ceased operations in anticipation of the higher rates, but others are continuing, buoyed by a decision by SoundExchange, which represents major performers, not to seek immediate payment of the new rates until it engages in negotiations with Internet station owners. SoundExchange said that revenue for Internet stations is often higher than claimed by station owners, an argument disputed by the coalition of Internet station operators.

But White said Congress should step in to allow the Internet to continue to provide the kind of diverse programming not available on conventional or even satellite radio.

It’s been a difficult three years for White, who, like thousands of other New Orleans residents, lost his home during Hurricane Katrina, along with dozens of rare vintage instruments, thousands of recordings, footage of every filmed performance by Louis Armstrong, and his own recorded interviews with jazz greats. Most of the interviews can’t be re-created because the musicians are dead.

White has won support for his efforts from Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan. Both say they’ll push their legislation to roll back the royalty increases approved by the royalty board unless negotiations between SoundExchange and Internet stations are successful.

Not only do the stations help a diverse group of musical artists, Brownback said, but they also provide important programming opportunities for many churches and religious groups.

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Bruce Alpert can be reached at [email protected] or 202.383.7861.

BBC Jazz Awards 2008: A Winning Shindig

Friday, July 25th, 2008

The stars came out for this year’s event – and put on a show that proved to be a celebration of the artform, rather than a backslapping showcase July 23, 2008 4:30 PM

As this blog has recorded a few times before, awards ceremonies get a mixed reception from jazzers. At its best, jazz is frequently informal, unpremeditated and uncompetitive – something that seems to run against the spirit of handing out prizes for Best In Show.

This year’s BBC Jazz Awards shindig, held at the Mermaid Theatre at the beginning of this week, would probably have won over all but the most hardcore of dissidents. It made a stronger-than-usual case for the corporation’s public service remit – getting behind a sidelined artform that has nonetheless transformed modern music.

The attempt to confer mainstream respectability on music famous for its ornery tendencies was also present in the high-profile presenters (Jamie Cullum, Jeff Beck, Nigel Kennedy, Beatles guru Sir George Martin, Goldie, Soul II Soul’s Jazzie B, actor/musician Colin Salmon, Mica Paris, Barry Cryer) and the prudent avoidance of sounds with too many overly-disconcerting rough edges. But the performances were otherwise idiomatically varied, heartfelt, and qualified as possibly the best all-round display of jazz’s virtues the BBC Awards have so far seen (in the views of several of the great and good at the after-show bash).

The show went out on Radio 2, and is available to stream via the the iPlayer site until just after midnight on Wednesday July 30. Highlights and discussion about the 2008 Awards will also be presented on Radio 3’s Jazz Line-Up on July 26 from 4.00-5.30pm.

And there certainly were highlights. Perhaps a little more glitz than music-oriented was the most popular and virtuosi version of pianist Chick Corea’s famous fusion band Return To Forever (with bassist Stanley Clarke, guitarist Al DiMeola and drummer Lenny White), which was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by Beatles producer George Martin. They briskly rattled their way through Romantic Warrior before departing for the night’s main business, a concert at the 02 Arena.

Surely, no coincidence in the synchronicity of dates with the London leg of the band’s 2008 Reunion Tour?

But if Corea’s group was understandably in a hurry, everybody else stuck around to enjoy a rare chance to swap compliments and not a few good musical ideas – not least those two unstoppable 80 year-olds Dame Cleo Laine and Sir John Dankworth; Gold Award winners who got a standing ovation for the vivacity of their performance with Guy Barker’s powerful specially-assembled big band at the finale.

Singer Ian Shaw delivered a haunting first public performance of Humphrey Lyttleton’s Sad, Sweet Song (Humph, posthumous winner of the BBC Radio 2 Jazz Artist Of The Year prize, apparently sent it to the singer not long before he died), and Jamie Cullum, Jeff Beck and Clint’s bass-playing son Kyle Eastwood jammed on Let The Good Times Roll – a tribute to octogenarian Candid Records boss Alan Bates, who won Services To Jazz In The UK.

Scottish saxophonist Tommy Smith played some of the most dramatic and powerful Coltrane-tradition tenor-sax of the night, after winning the BBC Radio 2 Heart Of Jazz award – dedicating it to all the places in the world where uptight regimes still view music-making as dangerous.

Acoustic Ladyland pianist Tom Cawley’s Curios trio took the Radio 3 Jazz Line-Up Best Band Award, and Jazz On 3’s Innovation Award went to that stylistically jump-cutting band Fraud – though its saxophonist James Allsop put his finger on the event’s nervousness about the sharp end by saying he was “embarrassed to win this category in a list that includes Evan Parker, one of the most innovative musicians ever to pick up the saxophone”.

Link to article.

Wayne Wallace

Friday, July 25th, 2008

waynewallace.jpgCheck here weekly for the WNCU Staff Jazz Pick of the Week. This week’s pick is Wayne Wallace. Tune into WNCU 90.7 FM this week to hear featured selections from his CD, The Nature of the Beat. Learn more about Wayne Wallace at

WNCU 90.7FM and Alumni Affairs Collaborate on a New Talk Show

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

truitt.jpgDURHAM, N.C. – WNCU 90.7 FM and North Carolina Central University’s Alumni Affairs office have developed a new partnership to connect with NCCU graduates. Beginning Saturday, July 12, 2008, at 10:30 a.m., WNCU will air the first installment of NCCU Alumni Today, a new talk show. The show will offer graduates information about what¹s happening on campus and in the lives of their fellow Eagles.Truitt O’Neal hosts the show. He is a 2001 graduate of NCCU with his bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in electronic media. He is the former general manager of Audionet, NCCU’s student radio station. He also worked as a student staff member for WNCU. Currently, O’Neal is the news and public affairs director for WNNL The Light 103.9 FM and the Raleigh affiliate producer of the Yolanda Adams Morning Show.

“I am enthusiastic about returning to WNCU to produce NCCU Alumni Today,” said O’Neal. “Over the upcoming weeks I look forward to talking with NCCU alumni from all walks of life across the country and around the world.”

Norma Petway, a 1977 graduate of NCCU and director of Alumni Relations, says the mission of NCCU Alumni Today as an extension of the mission of her office. According to Petway, the show “will update graduates on activities at NCCU and give information on how they can participate in university activities and contribute financially. The goal is to encourage every graduate to become an active Eagle.”

Since its debut in August 1995, WNCU, 90.7 FM, licensed to North Carolina Central University, has consistently fulfilled its mission to provide quality, culturally-appropriate programming to public radio listeners in the Triangle area. The format of this listener supported public radio station entertains the jazz aficionado, educates the novice jazz listener and disseminates news and information relative to the community-at-large. WNCU 90.7 FM is a 50,000 watt public radio station and an affiliate of NPR, PRI and Pacifica Radio.

Louis Armstrong: ‘The Trumpeter’

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

louisarmstrong22.jpgHe is the most important jazz musician of all time, and even that’s an understatement. Louis Armstrong defined American popular culture in the 20th century as a musician and an entertainer. As a singer and trumpeter, he taught the world to swing…from NPR

Celebrate the 4th of July with Louis Armstrong and WNCU. It is our annual tribute to the undisputed master of swing. All day during the jazz programming, Louis Armstrong will get heavy rotation. From his early days with the hot 5’s and 7’S all the way to Hello Dolly, WNCU will broadcast the best of Louis.

So get ready to tap your feet, snap your fingers and sing along with your favorites!

Tune in at noon on the 4th for a special Jazz Profiles program, Louis Armstrong, the Trumpeter.

WNCU, 90.7 FM Partners with Kitty Kinnin for a New LIVE Blues Show

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

kitty2.jpgDurham, N.C. – Kitty Kinnin, a fixture in Triangle radio for almost two decades, returns to the airwaves to host a new blues show, “Tell Mama – Saturday Night Blues” on WNCU, 90.7 FM.

Kinnin joins the station after four years in Wilmington, N.C., hosting a local TV show on WWAY TV3 and narrating the documentary, “Diversity, Part 1” for Step Up Wilmington. Kinnin also managed the marketing and public relations campaign for the new luxury condo development downtown, The View on Water Street. Edith Thorpe, general manager of WNCU says, “Kitty is a seasoned radio professional and we are elated that she has joined our team.”

Kinnin admits, “I’m back where I belong – in the Triangle and in front of a mic playing the music.” Although she spent her entire Triangle career in commercial radio—12 years on WRDU as midday personality and host of Sunday Jazz Brunch, four years doing the same on FOXY 107/104 and briefly, at Curtis Media—Kinnin looks forward to the challenge of public radio.

“At WNCU, 90.7, they are all about the music and that’s rarely found in local commercial radio,” said Kinnin. “I’ve always had a passion for jazz and the blues, so this is a perfect fit for me.” Saturday nights on WNCU are dedicated to the blues. From its roots in the field hollers, work songs and church choirs, from Africa to the Mississippi Delta, Beale Street to the Streets of Chicago and to our own Piedmont, Kitty will put together her own special mix during “Tell Mama – Saturday Night Blues.” The show debuts Saturday night, July 5, at 8 p.m., on WNCU 90.7 FM.

Ahmad Jamal to receive the Donostiako Jazzaldia Award

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

The great pianist Ahmad Jamal will be receiving this year’s Donostiako Jazzaldia Award. Starting in 1994, the San Sebastian Jazz Festival has given this award to an outstanding musician for his lifetime career and his contribution to jazz.Ahmad Jamal is unique. Alter being considered one of the greatest musicians by his colleagues, Miles Davis among them, he now lives a splendid maturity assuring him a position among the most important names in jazz. He revolutionized jazz piano in the 50s thanks to his subtlety under the simplicity of his music, and has been a major influence for all piano players since then. In his recent recordings, specially those together with George Coleman, the richness of his musical universe and his permanent vitality are always present. His career has been recognized with several important awards such as the Knighthood of Arts and Letters of France (Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres) and the American Jazz Masters Award.

*Award winners since 1994*
Doc Cheatham (1994)
Phil Woods (1995)
Hank Jones (1996)
Steve Lacy (1997)
Chick Corea (1998)
Max Roach and Clark Terry (1999)
Kenny Barron (2000)
Ray Brown (2001)
Elvin Jones (2002)
Bebo Valdés (2003)
Shirley Horn and Fernando Trueba (2004)
Keith Jarrett and Charles Mingus (In Memoriam) (2005)
Herbie Hancock (2006)
Wayne Shorter (2007)

Music: When Ambassadors Had Rhythm

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

When America was having problems with its image during the cold war, the State Department decided to deploy its secret weapon: jazz musicians.

Click here to read more.

Jazz Week Summit Presents the Best in Jazz Radio Awards—WNCU’s BH Hudson Among the Nominees

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

jazzsummit.jpgROCHESTER, N.Y. — Awards were presented in 14 categories at the fifth JazzWeek Awards, held June 21 at the JazzWeek Summit at the Clarion Riverside Hotel in Rochester, N.Y. The JazzWeek Summit is a gathering of radio programmers, record labels and promoters, musicians, and others interested in jazz radio promotion and programming.

Radio stations and radio programmers were recognized in three market-size categories. Radio station of the year in markets 1-25 was WBGO, Newark, N.J. In markets 26-79, radio station of the year was WWOZ, New Orleans. In markets 80+, WAER in Syracuse, N.Y. was the station of the year.

Eric Jackson of WGBH, Boston, was named radio programmer of the year in markets 1-25. Brad Stone of KSJS, San Jose, was the winner for markets 26-79. WNCU’s music director and assistant program director B. H. Hudson was nominated in this category. While Bob Stewart, KCCK, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was named for markets 80+.
In industry categories, Terry Coen of Palmetto Records was record company promotion representative of the year. Dr. Jazz Operations of Detroit, Mich., was chosen as independent promotion company of the year.

HighNote received the label of the year award and was also presented with the award for most Top 10 releases on the JazzWeek chart between May 1, 2007 and April 30, 2008.

Record of the year honors went to the posthumous release /Pilgrimage/ by Michael Brecker on Heads Up. Instrumentalist of the year was pianist Herbie Hancock, while Dianne Reeves was chosen as vocalist of the year.

Brad Stone was named Duke Dubois Humanitarian Award winner, joining previous recipients Tom Mallison, Dick LaPalm, Joe Fields and Linda Yohn. The award is named for the legendary record promoter who was a mentor and friend to many in the industry and who was instrumental in the launching of many musicians’ careers. The award recognizes contributions to jazz and jazz radio.

All awards, except the Duke Dubois Award, which is chosen by previous winners, were voted on by the readers of JazzWeek and participants in JazzWeek’s Jazz Programmers’ Mailing List.

The Summit coincided with the final three days of the Rochester International Jazz Festival, named one of the top four festivals in the U.S. by the New York /Times/. More than 125,000 people attended the RIJF this year, setting a record for that festival’s attendance.

Vibraphonist Joe Locke and his group Force of Four, who have a forthcoming release on Origin Records, and violinist Christian Howes, who will have a release soon on Resonance Records, performed at showcases during the Summit.

Attendees at the Summit came from coast-to-coast in the U.S., from Canada, and from as far as Italy.

The JazzWeek Summit is held annually by JazzWeek (, which publishes the national airplay chart for jazz radio, based on measured airplay data provided by Mediaguide.

The next JazzWeek Summit is planned for June, 2009. The location, dates, and agenda will be announced in August, 2008, with registration opening in September.

Russell Malone

Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

rmalone4.jpgGuitarist Russell Malone was born on November 8, 1963 in Albany, Georgia. His first exposure to music was through his church. As guitars began to be incorporated into the church music, Russell found himself fascinated by it. Before he was five, his mother bought him a toy guitar and he began copying the church players.

At ten, Russell developed an interest in the blues and country music after seeing such musicians as Chet Atkins, Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Roy Clark, B.B. King and, especially, George Benson perform on television. Ultimately, it was jazz that Russell chose to play. He became a self-taught player influenced by players such as B.B. King, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, Kenny Burrell, and dozens of others whom he discovered through voracious research.

Russell first worked with master jazz organist Jimmy Smith in 1988, and between 1990 and 1994 toured with Harry Connick Jr. During the late nineties Malone toured internationally with Dianarmalone3.jpg Krall, receiving critical acclaim for his role as Diana’s right hand both in concert and on her recordings. Russell has also shared the stage with artists of the caliber of Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Claude Fiddler Williams, Bucky Pizzarelli, Natalie Cole, Benny Green, Jack McDuff, John Hicks, Clarence Carter, Little Anthony, Freddie Cole, Mulgrew Miller, Kenny Barron, Roy Hargrove, Cyrus Chestnut, Roy Brown and Patti Austin. Malone was also a featured performer in Robert Altman’s 1996 film Kansas City.

His first recordings as a leader were made for Columbia: Russell Malone (1992), Black Butterfly (1993) and Wholly Cats (1994). Later, he joined the Verve Music Group and has recorded three albums for them, including Sweet Georgia Peach (1998), Look Who’s Here! (2000) and Heartstrings (2001). Russell also has a stellar career as sideman. He played a very important role in Diana Krall’s first recordings, the Grammy-nominated All For You and Love Scenes. He has also recorded, with Harry Connick Jr., Branford Marsalis, Natalie Cole, Ray Brown, Don Braden, Dianne Reeves and Etta Jones.

He is currently touring with his Quartet, as well as with Benny Green to promote their new duo CD, Jazz at the Bistro on TELARC.