The Checkout

The Checkout


Music and interviews featuring cutting edge artists from around the world.More from The Checkout »

Most Recent Episodes

Bilal: Make That Jazz Dirty

Bilal makes headlines, whether he's performing a fiery (and most hilarious) tribute to Prince at the BET Awards , or making a cameo on Common's Black America Again tour . But forget all of the stage fireworks and politics for a moment. What makes this singer so great is his range — not just vocally, but also with his uncategorical Soulquarian goodness. He dirties up our definitions of sound, melding jazz, rock, soul, and R&B. This program features our own unique recording of Bilal with Igmar Thomas' Revive Big Band , as well as a recent collaboration with the LA-based producer Adrian Younge, In Another Life (2015).

The Checkout: Synth-Master Bill Laurance Goes Acoustic

You probably don't know the pianist by name, but you may heard of the band he co-founded. Bill Laurance is the keyboard wiz for Snarky Puppy, the band known for its indefatigable work ethic, communal spirit, and almost cult-like following. Now, Laurance brews up some projects of his own that imbibe that "Snarky" vibe. In this podcast, the artist talks about that — his fetish for the clavinet, rarefied synth, and anything 88-key related; his affinity for Afrobeat; and the Miles Davis recording that made him not cancel his studio session, Aftersun . We'll also hear Laurance, in a special acoustic setting, as part of a new 360 video shoot with his London band, featuring Joshua Blackmore (drums), Chris Hyson (bass), and Felix Higginbottom (percussion). The keyboardist and majority of everyone associated with Snarky Puppy's crew kick off their inaugural GroundUP Music Festival this weekend in Miami . Watch him perform "The Pines."

The Checkout: NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron

In this episode of The Checkout, WBGO's Simon Rentner speaks with pianist Kenny Barron on the occasion of his induction as an NEA Jazz Master. First published January 13, 2010.

New on The Checkout: Drummer Nate Smith

Nate Smith is a drummer in high demand, and he could have gone in almost any direction on his debut album as a leader. What he explores on Kinfolk: Postcards from Everywhere is his family history — from his grandfather, who worked a blue collar job in the Jim Crow South, to his parents, who earned enough to send him to college.

Danilo Perez: A Man, A Plan, A Festival

Danilo Perez is more than a pianist. He's an educator, urban developer, the proprietor of his own jazz club – Danilo's Club – in the heart of old Panama City, Casco Viejo. He's also the Cultural Ambassador of Panama, where he presents his annual Panama Jazz Festival , which just wrapped up for the year. "Panama has been a hidden treasure (for jazz), starting with Luis Russell, who was the director of the famous Louis Armstrong orchestra. He was from Bocas Del Toro. Sonny White was the pianist on the famous recording with Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit. Sheila Jordan told me that Duke Jordan was from Panama. Billy Cobham, Santi Debriano, Carlos Ward, Carlos Garnett, there's a huge list."- Danilo Perez Listen above to explore Panama's hidden jazz history from Central America. We check out Luis Russell's classic "Panama," along with Perez's Grammy-nominated recording "Panama Blues" featuring traditional mejorana singers, plus hear our exclusive recordings on the grounds from the 2016

Beyond Now: Donny McCaslin

Donny McCaslin remembers his former mentor and old boss David Bowie one year after the rockstar's death with his recording Beyond Now (Motema). The tenor saxophonist joins Mark Guiliana (drums), Nate Wood (bass), and Jason Lindner (keys) in performance of new arrangements of classic Bowie material at the 2016 Charlie Parker Jazz Festival at Tompkins Square Park in Manhattan. The Donny McCaslin Group performs at the 2017 Winter Jazzfest on January 6th . Music mix by David Tallacksen.

The Westerlies

The Westerlies — two trumpeters and two trombonists from Seattle — breeze into our performance studio. This chamber jazz setting features a "blues fugue" and an arrangement from a 17th-century English and Scottish folk ballad discovered by Sam Amidon and Nico Muhly. The band features Riley Mulherkar & Zubin Hensler (trumpets), and Andy Clausen & Willem De Koch (trombones). They play Day 1 of The 2017 NYC Winter Jazzfest Marathon on January 6th.

One Man Orchestra: Jacob Collier

Originally published November 16, 2016. Jacob Collier, the multi-instrumentalist and Quincy Jones backed artist, performs in-studio at WBGO . He talks about his rise to stardom via the internet, the new technology he introduces in his live performances, an interface allowing him to play and sing every part in a live band setting. Engineered by David Tallacksen with assistance by Corey Goldberg

David Bowie's Blackstar with Donny McCaslin and Jason Lindner

Originally published February 4, 2016. Two of David Bowie's last band members, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and pianist Jason Lindner, visit our studios to celebrate the British rockstar's final album Blackstar, a recording that features some of the finest New York jazz-trained musicians. McCaslin and Lindner give us a unique duo performance. Music recording by David Tallacksen.

Snarky Puppy's Michael League: "Sylva"

Originally published May 27, 2015. Bassist Michael League talks with Alex Ariff about his band Snarky Puppy and their new album Sylva, which features the Metropole Orkest.

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