Archive for July, 2014

New Program Schedule

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

On Monday, August 4, WNCU will offer an updated program schedule. The changes are below:

  • Weekdays will have mainstream jazz from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. At 7 p.m., tune into Democracy Now.
  • From 8 – 10 p.m., Ben Boddie will be our new evening host. Ben is a long time jazz fan and historian, and has been hosting jazz radio for many years.
  • The Saturday schedule has no changes. All the programs and times will remain the same.
  • On Sunday nights, State of the Reunion will move to 7 p.m., Making Contact  to 9 p.m. and Cambridge Forum to 9:30 p.m. All other programs will be unchanged.


20th Anniversary Celebration

Monday, July 28th, 2014

WNCU 90.7 FM and North Carolina Central University will open the radio station to the public on August 13, 2014, for an open house reception.  This is the first in a series of activities in celebration of WNCU’s 20th anniversary leading up to August 2015.  The ceremony will feature elected officials, high profile NCCU officials, giveaways and live music from NCCU’s own Robert Trowers, co-host of Eagle Jazz, on the air at WNCU.  Join the staff and management in the lobby of the Farrison-Newton Communications Building at 1801 Fayetteville Street in Durham.

The evening kicks off at 6 p.m. with an introduction by WNCU General Manager Lackisha Freeman.   More than a dozen well-known names and faces will wish WNCU a happy anniversary.  The station will also open for tours.

The anniversary celebration continues throughout 2014-15, with a wide variety of events and activities that underscore WNCU’s impact on Durham and surrounding communities, as well as the history and enduring appeal of public radio. Among the year’s highlights:

  • August 18, 2014 – Durham, NC WNCU Partnership with the Blue Note Grill
  • August 29, 2014 – Durham, NC Cuban Revolution Remote Broadcast
  • September 13-14, 2014 – Hillsborough Jazz Festival, 12 – 6 p.m.
  • September 18, 2014 – Durham, NC WNCU Panel Discussion, 11 a.m. – noon
  • September 20-21, 2014 – Durham, NC Centerfest, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • September 22, 2014 – Durham Blue Note Grill Jazz Jam
  • September 26, 2014 – Durham, NC Cuban Revolution Remote Broadcast, 8 – 10 p.m.
  • October 15-24, 2014 Durham, NC WNCU Fall Fest
  • October 11, 2014 – Durham, NC Blue Note Grill, 8 – 11 p.m.
  • October 31, 2014 – Durham, NC Cuban Revolution Remote, 8 – 10 p.m.
  • November 11, 2014 – Durham, NC WNCU Food Drive
  • November 21, 2014 – Durham, NC Cuban Revolution Remote, 8 – 10 p.m.
  • December 12, 2014 – Durham, NC Blue Note Grill Remote Ann McCue, 9 p.m. – midnight

WNCU will host several other events over the course of the celebratory year.

“This yearlong celebration is a tribute to our listening audience, corporate sponsors and our university for their support throughout the years,” said WNCU general manager Lackisha Freeman.  “Please come join us in celebrating 20 years of presenting and preserving great music, news and information in the Triangle community and surrounding areas.  This is truly an exciting time for WNCU and a pivotal moment in our history as we catapult into many more years of success.  We are the most listened to jazz station in the Triangle.  I thank everyone for keeping WNCU relevant and pushing to keep this public radio station around for future generations.” Freeman has been the general manager of WNCU since September of 2010.

Before Freeman, Edith Thorpe was the general manager.  She came to WNCU in April of 2001.  “It was sheer joy to share such an artistic and cultural gift worldwide and to break ground on some of the most interesting and provocative news and public affairs programming,” Thorpe said of her time at WNCU.  “WNCU was established to share these gifts and I am blessed to have had the pleasure for eight years.”

Donald Baker worked in the early days of WNCU with former NCCU chancellor Tyronza Richmond to lay the framework for the station.  Baker, WNCU’s first general manager secured the license for WNCU-FM under then chancellor Julius Chambers.  “WNCU is approaching its 20th year because listeners and supporters contribute to support the station,” he said. “The university, licensee to WNCU-FM, is the “silent partner” that created this public venture.  As licensee, the university assures that we continue to hear unique voices that share information and alternative perspectives on issues that affect the communities in which we live and work.”

WNCU is a 50,000 watt radio station.  Since its debut, the station 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.

Lackisha Freeman, 919-530-7267 [email protected]
Uchenna Bulliner, 919-530-7759 [email protected]
Kimberley Pierce Cartwright, 919-530-7833[email protected]

[MEDIA NOTE: Most speakers are expected to be available for photos and short interviews after the opening ceremony, from approximately 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. RSVPs are required by email at or by phone at 919 530 7445.]

To learn more about WNCU, visit Join WNCU of Facebook and Twitter.

Anyone wishing to contribute to WNCU may send gifts or donations to WNCU P.O Box 19875 Durham, NC 27707 or pay on line at  Click on donations/memberships.

The New Thing In Jazz, Revisited

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014

Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the “new thing” in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.

But over time, the new thing got old. Impulse went dormant for nearly a decade. When it was time for the label to come out of hibernation in 1986, New Orleans pianist Henry Butler sounded the wake-up call. In the 1990’s Impulse went on hiatus a second time, and now, once again, Henry Butler has been called upon to help reboot the label.

Viper’s Drag, out this month, is Butler’s collaboration with arranger and trumpeter Steven Bernstein. The two joined NPR’s Arun Rath to talk about the new record, and the importance of the Impulse name to jazz history. Hear the radio version at the audio link, and read their edited conversation below.

Originally published at

Give the Drummer Some Benefit Concert

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Come swing with North Carolina Central University’s alumni drummers and Thomas Taylor as they start the school year off with a bang.

Jazz drummer Thomas Taylor and some of the jazz percussion alumni will present a jazz concert and fundraiser in the B.N. Duke Auditorium on the campus of NCCU on Sunday, Aug. 24, at 6 p.m.. In the afternoon, there will be music and percussion-centered workshops starting at 2 p.m., followed by a silent auction starting at 5 p.m. Auction winners will be announced before the final group performs in the evening concert.

NCCU percussion alumni performers include Alvin Atkinson Jr., Larry Q. Draughn Jr., Dan Davis, Jasmine Best and Tyler Leak.

All proceeds will go to the Jazz Studies scholarship fund. The concert is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Thomas Taylor in the Department of Music at NCCU.

Legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden dead at 76

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Grammy-winning jazz bassist Charlie Haden, whose music career spanned seven decades and several genres, died Friday, his publicist said Sunday. He was 76.

Haden, who first performed as a yodeling toddler with his family’s country band in the 1930s, played on hundreds of recordings with the biggest jazz legends.

His wife and four children were with him as his life ended following a long illness, ECM Records spokeswoman Tina Pelikan said.

Haden, a sideman in saxophonist Ornette Coleman’s band in the 1960s, is known as a founding father of free jazz. He also led his own Liberation Music Orchestra and the Charlie Haden Quartet West.

The National Endowment for the Arts named Haden a “jazz master” in 2012 for his long career as a musician, composer, bandleader, educator, producer and activist.

“Lyrical and expressive on the bass, he embraced a variety of musical genres, ranging from jazz to country to world music,” the NEA’s bio of Haden said.

Haden was just 22 months old when he first sang on his parents’ country-western radio show. He took up the bass as a teenager before moving from his native Iowa to Los Angeles in 1957, the NEA bio said.

His work on the influential recordings with Coleman “helped move the bassist from an accompanying position to one of innovation and more direct improvisatory participation,” the bio said.

Originally published at

Clark Terry

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Clark Terry’s career in jazz spans more than seventy years. He is a world-class trumpeter, flugelhornist, educator, composer, writer, trumpet/flugelhorn designer, teacher and NEA Jazz Master. He has performed for eight U.S. Presidents, and was a Jazz Ambassador for State Department tours in the Middle East and Africa. More than fifty jazz festivals have featured him at sea and on land in all seven continents. Many have been named in his honor.

He is one of the most recorded musicians in the history of jazz, with more than nine-hundred recordings. Clark’s discography reads like a “Who’s Who In Jazz,” with personnel that includes greats such as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Dizzy Gillespie, Dinah Washington, Ben Webster, Aretha Franklin, Charlie Barnet, Doc Severinsen, Ray Charles, Billy Strayhorn, Dexter Gordon, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan, Sarah Vaughan, Coleman Hawkins, Zoot Sims, Milt Jackson, Bob Brookmeyer, and Dianne Reeves.

Among his numerous recordings, he has been featured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Dutch Metropole Orchestra, Chicago Jazz Orchestra, Woody Herman Orchestra, Herbie Mann Orchestra, Donald Byrd Orchestra, and many other large ensembles – high school and college ensembles, his own duos, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, octets, and two big bands – Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band and Clark Terry’s Young Titans of Jazz.

His Grammy and NARAS Awards include: 2010 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, NARAS President’s Merit Award, three Grammy nominations, and two Grammy certificates.

His original compositions include more than two hundred jazz songs, and he co-authored books such as Let’s Talk Trumpet: From Legit to Jazz, Interpretation of the Jazz Language and Clark Terry’s System of Circular Breathing for Woodwind and Brass Instruments with Phil Rizzo.

Writer Chuck Berg said, “Clark Terry is one of contemporary music’s great innovators, and justly celebrated for his great technical virtuosity, swinging lyricism, and impeccable good taste. Combining these with the gifts of a great dramatist, Clark is a master storyteller whose spellbinding musical ‘tales’ leave audiences thrilled and always awaiting more.”

After serving in the navy from 1942-1945 during the historic “Great Lakes Experience,” Clark’s musical star rose rapidly with successful stints in the bands of George Hudson, Charlie Barnet, Charlie Ventura, Eddie Vinson, and then in 1948 – the great Count Basie. In addition to his outstanding musical contribution to these bands, Mr. Terry exerted a positive influence on musicians such as Miles Davis and Quincy Jones, both of whom credit Clark as a formidable influence during the early stages of their careers. In 1951 Clark was asked to join Maestro Duke Ellington’s renowned orchestra where he stayed for eight years as a featured soloist.

Following a tour in the “Free and Easy” musical in 1959 with music director, Quincy Jones, Clark’s international recognition soared when he broke the color barrier by accepting an offer in 1960 from the National Broadcasting Company to become its first African American staff musician. He was with NBC for twelve years as one of the spotlighted musicians in the Tonight Show band. During that time, he scored a smash hit as a singer with his irrepressible “Mumbles.”

After his stint at NBC, between his performances and recording dates at concerts, clubs, cruises and jazz festivals, Clark became more dedicated to his greatest passion – jazz education. He organized a Harlem youth band which became the seed for Jazz Mobile in New York City.

Billy Taylor then asked him to teach in educational institutions. This motivated Clark to organize other youth bands and influence many other jazz legends to teach with him at jazz camps, clinics and festivals at colleges and universities, while still maintaining a hectic performance and recording schedule for the next thirty years.

On December 14, 2010, he celebrated his ninetieth birthday, and his students continue to fly from Australia, Israel, Austria, Canada, the United States, and many other locations to Clark’s home for jazz lessons. Clark says, “Teaching jazz allows me to play a part in making dreams come true for aspiring musicians.”

To celebrate his contributions to jazz education, he has been honored with fifteen honorary doctorates, and three adjunct professorships. He has also received numerous awards from high schools, junior high schools and elementary schools where he has shared his knowledge of jazz.

Among his many awards, he has received honors from his hometown in St. Louis, Missouri which include a Hall of Fame Award from Vashon High School; a Walk of Fame Award and Star on Blueberry Hill in St. Louis, and a life-sized wax figure and memorabilia display at the Griot Museum.

Clark has received dozens of other Hall and Wall of Fame Awards, Jazz Master Awards, keys to cities, lifetime achievement awards (four were presented to him in 2010), trophies, plaques and other prestigious awards. The French and Austrian Governments presented him with their esteemed Arts and Letters Awards, and he was knighted in Germany.
His long-awaited book – Clark: The Autobiography of Clark Terry – is available now, published by University of California Press.

Originally published at