December 21, 2007
Contact:
Anna Christopher, NPR

   

NPR MUSIC AND WBGO/JAZZ88.3FM RING IN 2008
WITH 28TH ANNUAL “TOAST OF THE NATION”
NINE-HOUR PERFORMANCE SPECIAL

LIVE JAZZ, SWING, SAMBA AND SALSA CONCERTS
FROM PUBLIC RADIO
IN MANHATTAN, SAN FRANCISCO, BOSTON,
WASHINGTON DC, MINNEAPOLIS AND DENVER

SPECIAL ALSO FEATURES PERFORMANCE FROM AMSTERDAM


December 21, 2007; Washington, D.C. – The 28th annual New Year’s Eve special "Toast of the Nation" rings in 2008 with nine hours of live jazz, swing, samba and salsa from leading music venues across the country.

NPR Music and WBGO/Jazz88.3FM in Newark, NJ reunite for their 23rd year of co-producing the special, which will air Monday, December 31 from 8:00PM-5:00AM(ET) on NPR Member stations nationwide. For local stations and broadcast times, visit www.NPR.org/stations A list of stations that will be offering live online streaming of "Toast of the Nation" is available at www.NPR.org/music

This year’s program will feature live performances from coast to coast. They include The Count Basie Orchestra with special guest Ledisi at the new Yoshi’s Jazz Club in San Francisco; Danilo Perez and his Big Band in Boston; Grammy nominee Patti Austin in Washington, D.C.; Trio da Paz and pianist Kenny Barron in New York City; Nachito Herrera and the Steele Family Singers in Minneapolis; and the Denver-based sextet Convergence performing in their hometown.

WGBO’s Rhonda Hamilton, who has hosted many "Toast of the Nation" specials since its 1979 premiere, will anchor the entire evening live from Yoshi’s. "Toast of the Nation" begins in Boston and concludes in San Francisco, with the following events:

8:00PM(ET) Boston – Pianist Danilo Perez and his Big Band perform Perez’s composition The Panama Suite from the Berklee College of Music. The concert is being presented by WGBH Radio and airing in Latin America on Voice of America.

9:00PM(ET) Amsterdam – This jazz party from Amsterdam features Dutch saxophonist Piet Noordjik, accompanied by an organ group, a quartet and a boptet. Presented by Radio Netherlands.

9:30PM(ET) Washington, D.C. – Grammy nominated entertainer Patti Austin sings music from Avant Gershwin – her album of the Gershwin brothers’ most memorable compositions – in "A Jazz New Year's Eve" from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

11:00PM(ET) New York City – Trio da Paz is joined by pianist Kenny Barron for a Brazilian jazz new year. WBGO’s Michael Bourne hosts from Jazz Standard.

12:15AM(ET) Minneapolis – Cuban piano virtuoso Nachito Herrera and the Steele Family Singers play a tribute to Earth, Wind & Fire at the Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant. Presented with KBEM Minneapolis.

1:15AM(ET) Denver – Local sextet Convergence entertain with selections from their new album and perform a reggae chorus of “Auld Lang Syne” at Midnight, at the Dazzle Restaurant & Lounge. Presented with KUVO Denver.

2:15AM(ET) San Francisco – The Count Basie Orchestra is joined by Grammy-nominated newcomer Ledisi to swing in the first New Year's Eve at the new Yoshi's. Presented with KCSM Jazz 91 and KQED San Francisco.

"Toast of the Nation" was first broadcast in 1979 and has become a New Year’s Eve tradition since. The 2004 edition was the highest-fidelity live radio broadcast in history, transmitting in 5.1 discrete digital surround sound. The following year, "Toast of the Nation" became the first live national music program broadcast from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and featured numerous local artists who hadn’t performed in their hometown since the disaster.

"Toast of the Nation" is the capstone of NPR Music’s holiday offerings, which are available on-air and online at the new NPR Music multimedia Web site: www.NPR.org/music/ The Holiday 2007 section includes seasonal concerts from the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Morehouse and Spelman Glee Clubs and the Klezmatics; critics’ picks for tolerable Christmas albums; and jazz, classical and rock holiday music lists.