Archive for July, 2009

Horace Clarence Boyer (1935 – 2009)

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Horace Clarence Boyer 1935 – 2009 AMHERST – Horace Clarence Boyer of Amherst, passed away Tuesday morning July 21, 2009 in Amherst. He was born July 28, 1935 in Winter Park, Florida to Mr. & Mrs. Climmie, Sr. & Ethel M. Boyer. He was the fourth of eight children born to this union.

He is a graduate of Bethune-Cookman University (Daytona Beach, FL) and held Masters and Doctorate degrees from the Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY). His teaching career included tenures at Albany State College (Georgia), the University of Central Florida at Orlando and from

1973 to 1999, the University of Massachusetts as a member of the Faculty of Music and Dance. As a very young boy, he formed a gospel-singing duet with his brother, James (a Professor of Education & American Ethnic Studies at Kansas State University).

As the Boyer Brothers, they began recording as teenagers making several recordings for Excello, Vee-Jay and Savoy Records. He also wrote liner notes for re-issues of Mahalia Jackson records for Columbia Records. As a gospel performer, he traveled into some 40 states. Additionally, he served as a lecturer and clinician on gospel music and the African American Sacred tradition. One of the highlights of his career was being named as Curator of Musical Instruments at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. During his residency at the Smithsonian, he also served as Distinguished Scholar-at-large of the United Negro College Fund where his duties included directing the famed Fisk Jubilee Singers. Boyer’s research resulted in the publication of over 40 articles in journals such as Music Educators Journal, the New Grove Dictionary of American Music, the Black Music Research Journal, and Black Perspectives in Music. He is the author of HOW SWEET THE

SOUND: The Golden Age of Gospel Music, published in 1995. For several years, he was director of the Voices of New Africa House Workshop Choir, an ensemble of 50 voices drawn from Smith, Amherst, Mount Holyoke and Hampshire Colleges as well as the University of Massachusetts. Their specialty was gospel music.

Boyer is listed in the Biographical Dictionary of Afro-American and African Musicians, as well as International Who’s Who in Music and Musicians’ Directory. The recipient of a Ford Foundation Fellowship, he served on the Editorial Advisory Board of the journal, REJOICE. In recognition of his teaching and contributions to music, Boyer was named a Chancellor’s Distinguished University Lecturer by the University of Massachusetts in 1990 and was awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion. During his career, he received many citations, awards and honors from schools, colleges, churches and professional groups including the Martin Luther King Heritage Award from the city of his birth in Florida, the Lifetime Achievement Award of The Society of American Music which he received during their Denver Conference in 2009–as well as the Union of Black Episcopalians in 2008. The University of Colorado conferred an Honorary Doctorate upon him in 1996.

He leaves to mourn his passing–his loving and caring wife of forty-four years, Gloria Boyer, 92 Grantwood Drive (Amherst), three brothers: Clem Boyer (Juanita) of Maitland, Florida; James Boyer (Edna) of Manhattan, Kansas and Joe Boyer (Patricia) of Huntsville, Alabama–two sisters:

Minnie Boyer Woodruff of Orlando, Florida and Edythe Boyer Jones of Orangeburg, South Carolina, his god-daughter, Dr. Edythe Woodruff Stewart (Robert) of Fresno, California, and sisters-in-law Armetta B.

Cason of Olustee, Florida; Fannye L. Morton of Jacksonville, Florida and Fairy Blue of Buffalo, NY and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, friends and associates. A private graveside service is planned. A public memorial service, to be held at Grace Episcopal Church, will be held at a later date. Obituary and register at .

Jazz Great Teddy Washington Dies at 78

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

Teddy Washington, a Jacksonville native who played the trumpet with such giants as James Brown, B.B. King, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Dizzie Gillespie, died Tuesday night. He was 78.

Mr. Washington died at Shands Jacksonville, apparently from complications caused by a blood clot, said his manager, Ron Pathac.

Pathac called Mr. Washington “one of Jacksonville’s cultural jewels … our own ambassador of music.”

“A kind and gentle man,” said Cindy Mosling, founder of the bird sanctuary B.E.A.K.S., for whom Mr. Washington played charity concerts for more than 20 years.

After moving back to Jacksonville in the early 1980s, Washington was best known for his involvement with the Jacksonville Jazz Festival. Inducted into the festival Hall of Fame in 2006, he performed in the festival 19 times, most recently this spring with other members of the Hall of Fame.

“Teddy was a giant,” said Dan Kosoff, who spent eight years as festival director. “He not only played for us, he brought a lot of friends. He was more than a local legend. He was absolutely respected all over the country. Everybody loved Teddy.”

Mr. Washington, who grew up in LaVilla, began playing music when he picked up a bugle at 8. Soon he switched to the trumpet.

One of his favorite stories from his musical boyhood was joining a band that included R.C. Robinson, a blind singer who was living with an aunt in LaVilla while attending the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine. R.C. Robinson went on to fame as Ray Charles.

After graduating from Old Stanton High School in 1949, Mr. Washington was drafted and played with the Army band. Back in civilian life, he toured for a time with B.B. King.

He told the Times-Union in 2007 that he was performing at the Palms, a club at 45th and Moncrief previously known as the Two Spot, when he was spotted by James Brown in the early 1960s. Brown invited Washington to join his band.

In a 1985 interview with the Times-Union, Brown said he had wanted Mr. Washington to remain with the band. “I enjoyed working with Teddy Washington,” Brown said. “… He was a very fast and a very accurate musician.”

But Mr. Washington left Brown so he could work in New York City and Miami.

In 1975, with his mother in poor health, he made the first of a series of returns to Jacksonville. But the city, once a musical hotbed, had very few jazz venues and Washington soon moved to Atlanta.

In 1979, he was involved in an automobile accident that almost derailed his musical career. He told the Times-Union in 1985 that he fractured his pelvis and tore ligaments in his right arm. As a result, he was forced to learn how to play the trumpet left-handed, an incredibly difficult transition he eventually made.

He returned to Jacksonville in 1981 and launched a cable TV show, “The Teddy Washington Show,” that lasted about five years.

In the last decade, Mr. Washington, who had an extensive collection of musical memorabilia, became increasingly interested in musical history.

Beginning in 1999, he produced a series of awards shows, called the Teddy Washington Follies, that honored those who had contributed to Jacksonville’s musical heritage.

“He really wanted to better the conditions of his fellow musicians in Jacksonville,” said his brother, Frank Washington.

In addition to his brother, who lives in Jacksonville, Mr. Washington is survived by three sons, Teddy Washington Jr., of Washington, Roderick Washington, of Los Angeles, Terry Washington, who lives in Germany, and a daughter, Mistye Washington, who lives in Atlanta, as well as eight grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. There will be a celebration of Mr. Washington’s life at the Jacksonville Landing at a date not yet determined.

NCCU Jazz Band to Perform at the Newport Jazz Festival

Friday, July 17th, 2009


For the first time in NCCU history, the NCCU Jazz Band and Jazz Combo will be performing at the world famous Newport Jazz Festival.

WNCU is bringing it to you live on Saturday and Sunday, August 8th and 9th.  The stream starts at 11:30am and concludes at 7pm each day. For the complete schedule, click here.  The line up includes such luminaries as Branford Marsalis, Cedar Walton, Roy Haynes, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenon and many more.

Don’t miss the opportunity to be part of this history making performance by NCCU students and faculty as they perform for an international audience at the Newport Jazz Festival.

Free ‘NPR Music At Newport’ Samplers

WNCU Celebrates Louis Armstrong

Friday, July 17th, 2009

louisarmstrongWNCU will play Louis Armstrong in heavy rotation all day on Tuesday, August 4, and will air a special two-part documentary from NPR’s Jazz Profiles: Louis Armstrong the Singer and Louis Armstrong the Instrumentalist from 9-11pm. If you like to swing, be sure to tune in on August 4 for Louis Armstrong’s birthday celebration.

Mark Whitfield

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

mwhitfield2Mark Whitfield was born in October 1966 in Long Island, New York. The youngest of five, his love for jazz and blues music came early.  At the age of 15, all his siblings were moving into careers as doctors and lawyers and Whitfield himself, had obtained a medical student internship at Georgetown University. While that’s impressive for any 15-year-old, it was the scholarship he won to the Berklee College of Music, in Boston, which excited him even more. After his family moved across the country to a suburb of Seattle, Whitfield convinced his parents to let him attend Berklee after graduating from high school early, at the age of 16. It was while studying the guitar at Berklee where Whitfield met a young piano and vocal student from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, named Jody Davis.

Whitfield’s tenure at Berklee was not as smooth as his acceptance to the school had been. He wanted to play traditional mainstream jazz, which was not in vogue at Berklee at the time. “I was looking for pure sound, a hollow-body guitar, a small amplifier, no effects,” he told Offbeat. He found a core of jazz purists that he could jam with, which included Delfeayo, Wynton, and Branford Marsalis.

At the age of 20, Whitfield graduated, married Jody, and the couple moved to a small studio apartment in Brooklyn, New York. Whitfield’s sister was a stockbroker and got him a position as a stockbroker’s assistant. More importantly, his brother-in-law, drummer Tory Davis, got him a job playing with the after-hours house band at the famous Blue Note jazz club in Greenwich Village.

mwhitfield3Later that same year, he was playing at the club’s 25th anniversary party when legendary jazz guitarist George Benson heard him. Benson was impressed and arranged for him to work with celebrated organist Jack McDuff. McDuff was not especially enamored of Berklee graduates but let him play with his band. It was a learning experience for Whitfield who incorrectly assumed he had a sophisticated theoretical and harmonic background. McDuff soon set him straight, “Stop playing those banjo chords,” he told Whitfield.

In 1990, around the time his debut album came out, Whitfield and Jody discovered they would soon be parents. They decided to move to Jody’s home town of Baton Rouge, to raise their child in a more traditional family setting. There, Whitfield met saxophonist Alvin Batiste, head of Southern University’s jazz program, who soon became his mentor. He began playing with his old classmate, Delfeayo Marsalis, and through him met other members of the New Orleans jazz community, including trumpeter Nicholas Payton. Since then, the two have played on each other’s albums and as backing musicians for famed organist Jimmy Smith.

mwhitfield4Whitfield’s second album, Patrice, was released in 1991. More avant garde than his previous album, it again did well with the critics but not in sales. In 1993, while working on his third album he had been persuaded to try a more salable approach and the smooth jazz of his Kenny G-style work produced a modest success. Whitfield toured with a large band for a few months but found he disliked playing pop songs. He returned to playing more traditional jazz with a trio and in turn confounded the audiences, who were expecting his pop material. “The alternative is, you sell out your musical and artistic vision,” he told Keith Spera of Offbeat. “If it’s not a huge commercial success, then you’re a complete failure–you have no recourse. You weren’t successful as a jazz musician, you weren’t successful as a pop musician. What do you do now?”

In 1994, Whitfield moved to the Verve record label and returned to his jazz and blues interests with True Blue, an album that featured seven original compositions and six jazz classics. The combination garnered both critical praise and impressive sales. “The maturation process of this standout jazz guitarist continues unabated,” wrote Bob McCullough in the Boston Globe. It was followed by 7th Ave. His new life in Louisiana had helped move his playing beyond the styles he learned in Boston and New York. Stroll readily calls to mind the eastern urban ambiance of his beginnings at the Blue Note.

WNCU 90.7 FM to Speak with North Carolina Health Director to Increase Awareness About the H1N1 Virus

Monday, July 13th, 2009

WNCU 90.7 FM announced today a special broadcast to discuss the H1N1Virus and its impact on the Triangle and North Carolina. Human cases of H1N1 influenza have been identified in North Carolina, the United States and several other countries. Researchers are working to develop effective treatment and a vaccine that will curb the spread of the flu.

On July 28, at 5:00 p.m. WNCU 90.7 FM will broadcast a one hour special on the H1N1Virus to give listeners an opportunity to hear from local professionals for an update on the virus. Among the invited guests will be state health director Dr. Jeffery Engel, Dr. Letitia Hazel medical director of student health and counseling services at North Carolina Central University, Durham County Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Beatrice Jackson and Dr. James Thomas Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Director of the Program in Public Health Ethics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The discussion about H1N1 will be listener driven. If you have a question about the virus that you would like the guests to answer call the WNCU studios and leave at message after 5:00 p.m. weekdays at 919-530-7445.  If you are a friend of WNCU on Facebook, you may submit your questions on our page.

For additional information, call the WNCU 90.7 FM newsroom at 919 530-7833.

Piano Jazz – Airing Sunday, July 12 at 6pm

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Marian McPartlandWNCU will air Piano Jazz weekly beginning Sunday, July 12th at 6pm.

Since April 1979, legendary pianist Marian McPartland has welcomed a stellar line-up of jazz artists for one hour of conversation and improvisation on her Peabody Award-winning program. Each week, McPartland, with her engaging personality and improvisational savvy, hosts a variety of performers in her radio living room.

Piano Jazz is a forum for jazz legends and influential performers as well as up-and-coming talents. Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Dave Brubeck, Diana Krall, Max Roach, Cassandra Wilson and Tony Bennett are among the over 500 guests who have joined McPartland to create dynamic duets and discuss their lives and music.

A production of South Carolina Educational Radio and distributed nationally by NPR, Piano Jazz is the longest-running national performance program on public radio and was called “an oasis of intelligence and grace and probably the best hour of jazz on the airwaves” by The Washington Post.

In 2000, McPartland was named an NEA American Jazz Master and received the ASCAP Lifetime Achievement Award and the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Award for her contributions to jazz.