NPR MUSIC, WBGO & JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER LAUNCH NEW JAZZ INITIATIVE
'Jazz Night in America' Establishes New Digital Platform, Video Series &
Weekly Public Radio Show With Host Christian McBride
Debuts Today Online And On Public Radio Stations Nationwide
October 9, 2014; Washington, D.C. – NPR Music is banding together with Jazz at Lincoln Center and WBGO, one of the nation's leading jazz producers, to create the next generation of jazz programming in public radio: Jazz Night in America. The new initiative premieres today with an online hub launching at npr.org/jazznight, and a radio show – public radio's first program completely native to video and radio – begins airing on more than 100 stations nationwide.
Jazz Night in America showcases today's vital jazz scene while also underscoring the genre's storied history. The weekly one-hour radio show Jazz Night in America, with multiple Grammy Award-winning musician Christian McBride, serves as the initiative's centerpiece. The program features hand-picked performances from across the country, woven with the colorful stories of the artists behind them. Its online hub will also offer a season of 26 signature concert video-casts from clubs and festivals around the country, on-demand video and audio performances, and interviews from today's great jazz artists. As part of the new effort, NPR Member Station WXPN in Philadelphia, a founding member of this project, will curate several live events, and NPR's national news programs will present jazz stories to millions of public radio listeners.
"Public radio has a long history of presenting jazz music and storytelling on the radio; now we're making sure it's threaded through every platform, device and experience we're creating for our audiences," says Anya Grundmann, director and executive producer of NPR Music. "In this fragmented media landscape, it's important to have great partners, and we have them in our collaboration with our longtime producing partner WBGO, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and clubs, musicians and stations all across the country."
"Incorporating the strengths of three hugely significant jazz curators into one project is truly a gift. We're excited to be traveling across the country to showcase the best of today's thriving jazz scene," WBGO President and CEO Amy Niles says of the project.
"Jazz at Lincoln Center is committed to entertaining, enriching and expanding a global community for jazz through performance, education and advocacy," says Wynton Marsalis, Managing and Artistic Director for Jazz at Lincoln Center. "We are excited to join forces with our longtime friends and collaborators NPR and WBGO – institutions that have been dedicated to jazz and represent the highest standards of broadcasting excellence. We eagerly anticipate showing the world what we can accomplish together through this exciting program. Jazz Night in America will tell the stories of our music in new and innovative ways, engaging and inspiring our loyal public radio family with the current explosion of talent and creativity across the spectrum of jazz and related musics."
In its first week, Jazz Night in America will offer audiences a radio program and video webcast from Jazz at Lincoln Center's 2014-15 season opening night, featuring a new work of Afro-Cuban Jazz by Wynton Marsalis with Pedrito Martinez, Chucho Valdés and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. The show takes audiences behind the scenes to find out how the work was created. Each week, the radio and video broadcasts present some of the best live jazz performances happening around the country and the stories behind them. Visit station websites for local listings and broadcast schedules.
In his role as host of Jazz Night in America, Christian McBride draws on his distinguished career to introduce audiences to a roster of voices - resonant musicians, historians, artists – who will uncover the musical and personal stories at the heart of the genre. A bassist, bandleader and composer, McBride has been a leading presence in jazz for more than 20 years. He has recorded with many of the most illustrious figures in jazz – Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Rollins, J.J. Johnson, Ray Brown, Milt Jackson, McCoy Tyner, Roy Haynes, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny – and has crossed into nearly every genre through collaborations with The Roots, D'Angelo, Queen Latifah, Sting, James Brown and Chaka Khan, among others. He was a guest host for Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz and continues to host Sirius XM's Conversations with Christian.
Jazz Night in America has been funded in part through the generosity of long-standing supporters of public media and the arts - the Argus Fund and the Wyncote Foundation, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
About NPR Music
NPR Music collaborates with NPR's newsmagazines, public radio Member Stations, and the passionate NPR community to celebrate great music in every genre. Jazz Night in America continues public radio's more than 40-year tradition of showcasing the world of jazz and the signature events and people who have defined it, from Jazz Alive, to Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz, JazzSet and Jazz Profiles to A Blog Supreme. Visit at NPR.org/music and via NPR Music mobile apps to experience our extensive archives of concerts, interviews and reviews of artists from all genres.
Founded in 1979, WBGO Jazz 88.3FM / WBGO.org is a publicly-supported, cultural institution that champions jazz and presents news to a worldwide audience through radio, other technologies and events. WBGO is operated as a non-profit, 501(C)3 organization in the public trust. As such it has a Board of Trustees, a mission, and is funded, in the main, by listener donations or memberships, as well as a combination of corporate, business, foundation, and governmental grants. Within public radio, WBGO is regarded as a leader because of its ground-breaking work in community and volunteer involvement, special events, and the presentation of jazz (including collaboration with local artists). Newark Public Radio is one of the original 12 New Jersey cultural organizations that has been designated a "Major Impact" arts organization by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. The station has been awarded this distinction for each of the past twenty years.
About Jazz at Lincoln Center
The mission of Jazz at Lincoln Center is to entertain, enrich, and expand a global community for jazz through performance, education, and advocacy. We believe that jazz is a metaphor for democracy because jazz is improvisational. It celebrates personal freedom and encourages individual expression; jazz is swinging, it dedicates that freedom to finding and maintaining common ground with others; and jazz is rooted in the blues, it inspires us to face adversity with persistent optimism. With the world-renowned Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and guest artists spanning genres and generations, Jazz at Lincoln Center produces thousands of performance, educational, and broadcast events each season in its home in New York City (Frederick P. Rose Hall, "The House of Swing") and around the world, for people of all ages. Jazz at Lincoln Center is led by Chairman Robert J. Appel, Managing and Artistic Director Wynton Marsalis, and Executive Director Greg Scholl. Please visit us at jalc.org.
NPR Media Relations: Caitlin Sanders
Email: mediarelations (at) npr.org
Download a high-res photo of Christian McBride here
Credit: Anna Webber