The essence of jazz is improvisation, it's often said. But there should also be a special clause for collaboration or communion — the magic that can happen when two or more are gathered to a creative end. Take Five celebrates that ideal this week, with results all over the stylistic map. Start with a fresh take on a tricky bebop head, and keep it moving.

John Rogers

For more than a few musicians based in New York City, the path to Cuba has been facilitated by one extraordinary human, saxophonist and composer Steve Coleman. Trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, who appears with Coleman's Five Elements at the Village Vanguard through Sunday, is among the artists to partake in such a pilgrimage. 

Leo Sidran, Gary Walker and Ben Sidran together for Morning Jazz
Steve Williams

Ben Sidran observes life through a prism. As a musician and an interviewer, he's always looking to encourage dialogue. This week he stopped by Morning Jazz to play and talk about Picture Him Happy, a swinging new album with provocative lyrics.


Let us introduce you to Bokanté, a modern-day blues band dreamed up by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League. The group’s name means “exchange” in Creole, the native language of Guadeloupe. This French colony in the Caribbean is home to Malika Tirolien, the singer and co-songwriter in the band, who currently resides in Montreal. Hear her on a new Bokanté single, “O La,” which has its premiere here. 

Inside the front cover of saxophonist Walt Weiskopf’s new album, there’s a quote from writer Pearl S. Buck: “To find joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.” For Weiskopf, keeping young has meant exploring a wide vocabulary of styles – from big bands to Frank Sinatra to his long-running gig with Steely Dan. Fountain of Youth  finds him leading a tight quintet with vibist Behn Gillece, pianist Peter Zak, bassist Mike Karn and drummer Steve Fidyk.

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WBGO Member Event

Battle of the Bands - May 27

Catch Up With Buster Williams

Hear highlights of a recent performance, as Jazz Night in America celebrates one of the music's great living bassists.

WBGO News

Governor Christie insists his proposed $300 million renovation of the New Jersey Statehouse is going to happen.

Several lawmakers concerned about the expense have filed a lawsuit to block the work. They say only the repairs needed to ensure the safety of the building should be done.

Christie says it won’t be scaled back while he’s the governor.

The New Jersey Assembly has passed a bill intended to strengthen protections against employment discrimination.

Assemblywoman Joann Downey says it would prohibit employers from asking job applicants about their employment history.

“There’s only one reason for that and that’s to be able to pay a person less if they can. If a job is worth something, it’s worth something to each and every person who comes in, especially a woman.”

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt says the measure is another opportunity to take down a barrier toward equal pay.

Broadway
Michael Bourne for WBGO

 

It’s time for the theater awards. Theater critic Michael Bourne looks at the nominees for Best New Play on Broadway.

Click above to hear his choices.

Gulliver's Gate
Jon Kalish for WBGO

Times Square has been called the crossroads of the world. A new tourist attraction that opened there this month displays much of the world under one roof in miniature form.

Models of Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas comprise the new exhibit, Gulliver’s Gate.  WBGO's Jon Kalish went to check it out. Hear his report by clicking above.

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