Black History Month on WNCU

Savannah Music Festival LIVE Presents: Marcus Roberts

Monday, February 8th @ 9pm

In the 100 years since jazz music became an integral part of American culture, the piano has remained fundamental to its development. There have been many great pianists whose original contributions and achievements have helped define the course of jazz, and that tradition still remains intact today. In this episode of the Savannah Music Festival LIVE, we listed to one of the most extraordinary pianists of our time, Marcus Roberts. Hear Roberts perform solo, with his trio and with a few special guests (Wycliffe Gordon, Marcus Printup and Walter Blanding) during his spring 2008 visit to the Savannah Music Festival.

North Carolina’s Contribution to Jazz

Friday, February 12th @ 9pm

Thelonious Monk’s sound is one of the most recognizable in modern jazz. An original on and off the bandstand, he launch pad of modern bebop, and also created a body of work in its own orbit. (NPR Jazz Profiles)

Sunday, February 14th @ 3pm

Feb. 6th, 2010, marks the 62nd birthday of Bob Marley. In this interview/music mix, Dred Scott Keyes speaks with Christopher Farley, author of the best-selling book, “Before The Legend:The Rise of Bob Marley.” Farley lays to waste some of the myths surrounding Marley including the fact that his father was neither white nor served as an officer in the British army.

Savannah Music Festival LIVE Presents: Battle Royale

Monday, February 15th @ 9pm

The tradition of instrumental competition on the bandstand in jazz goes back to the origins of the music. By the early 1930s, such competitive on-stage battles became known as “cutting contests,” and they almost always produced some terrific entertainment for the audience in attendance. In this episode of SMF Live, we listen to a concert we produced at the 2009 Savannah Music Festival entitled Battle Royale. It featued a variety of instrumentalists squaring off against one another, but the purpose was completely musical. Driven by the creative conception of Marcus Roberts to put two rhythm sections on stage side by side, The Clayton Brothers and the Marcus Roberts Trio provided the foundation for an explosive display of musicality featuring such artists as Wycliffe Gordon, Andre Heyward, Terrell Stafford, Scotty Barnhardt and many others.

Friday, February 19th @ 8 and 9pm

John Coltrane’s never-ending quest for musical improvement and self-awareness distinguished his playing and compositions in the ’60s. It was driven by an increasing spirituality, most potently unveiled in his 1964 recording A Love Supreme. Coltrane later created music of great turbulence and ecstasy, and he remains a powerful inspiration to artists of all disciplines. (NPR Jazz Profiles)

Other specials:

Truckin’ My Blues Away : Saturday, February 13th, 9pm: – a look at the music and musicians of the drink houses and juke joints of the rural South. Host Barry Yeoman takes us into the lives of colorful artists named Captain Luke, Guitar Gabriel, Boo Hanks, Eddie Tigner, and Little Freddie King. Working men in their 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s, who have written, sung, and played songs about their world all their lives

Saturday, February 20th @ 2-4pm

This is award-winning musical documentary is about the life of Sam Cooke- from his days in Gospel music to his triumph in R&B to his untimely demise.

On Dec. 14th, 1964, the death of Sam Cooke was broken across the world. Some saw his death as the wrath of God- and an omen- for crossing the line between gospel and R&B music. Others saw his death as a needless tragedy. Still others saw Sam’s death as an end of the road towards self-reliance and musical independence. Today, Sam Cooke remains one of America’s most influential singer-songwriters, having been inducted into the Rock and Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame. “The Gospel Truth: The Sam Cooke Story” looks at the life of Sam Cooke through the eyes and voices who knew him well- his father and brother, the Rev. Charles and L.C. Cooke, Soul Stirrers member Leroy Crume, biographer Peter Guralnick and others.

Sunday, February 21st @ 3pm

While African-Americans are credited with inventing rap music, it was Jamaican artists like U Roy and I Roy who began that musical phenomena. A dub poet is a poet who has set his or her words to music, Jamaican style. Dred-Scott Keyes and Bernard White interview Mutabaruka, Jamaica’s original dub poet.

Monday, February 22nd @ 9pm

Imagine a musician single-handedly redefining what an instrument can do, elevating it to a whole other level. That’s what the late Max Roach did for the drums. Whether its jazz or rock or funk, there isn’t a drummer today who isn’t somehow influenced by what Roach played. But that’s only a part of Max Roach’s story, which spanned the Harlem Renaissance, the development of modern jazz, right up to hip hop and multi-media. Over a fifty-year career he blazed his way across genres as percussionist, bandleader and composer. Max Roach tells his story with frankness and a characteristic sharp wit, supported by “special guests” including Dizzy Gillespie, and noted drummers Paul Motion and Art Taylor.

Max Roach—Drums Unlimited is narrated by Kenny Washington, a host of shows on public radio and Sirius, and himself a well-known jazz drummer. Washington brings his own drum-knowledge to the table, as well as a friendship with Max Roach. Max Roach passed away in August, 2007.