The Bridge

Friday, 10 pm to 2 am (Saturday morning)

J. Michael Harrison presents his award-winning blend of jazz that takes you from the mainstream to the edge of the art. Rarely heard artists are played with regularity, as is a dash of jazz poetry.

If you love LIVE Latin Jazz, then David Ortiz has a LOT for you to be thankful for! Tune in to WRTI's El Viaje (Saturdays from 9 pm until midnight) on November 28, December 5, and December 12, and listen for your chance to win tickets to some of the hottest Latin Jazz shows coming to our region. 

Jazz trumpeter, composer, poet, and community activist Hannibal Lokumbe noticed early in life that music had the power to change people's lives. He took up trumpet, and after college, moved to New York City, where he played with jazz greats Gil Evans, Roy Haynes, and Cecil Taylor, among others.

In Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Orchestra premiere of his "spiritatorio" - One Land, One River, One People, Hannibal is also taking music and conversation into different parts of the community.

Stephen Sondheim is widely viewed as the greatest living composer in American musical theater. "Send in the Clowns," from the show A Little Night Music, may be his most famous work — and yet you might not recognize the song as reimagined for solo piano by Ethan Iverson of the band The Bad Plus.

The Philadelphia Jazz Project and WRTI are partnering to present a very special concert featuring the Philadelphia premiere of Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz, with guests Arturo O'Farrill & Steve Bernstein, and Another Holiday For Skins w/Pablo Batista, Mike Boone, Luke Carlos O'Reilly, and others. Don't miss this unique experience of hearing Afro-Brazilian percussion in Big Band Jazz style!

Friday, July 31st, at 7:30 pm at TPAC/Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Tickets $10 in advance / $15 at the door. Order tickets here.

Howard Pitkow Photography

A former WRTI host stays close to jazz with an organization designed to extend its reach. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston speaks with the founder of the Philadelphia Jazz Project.

Have popular “performance spectacles” replaced the straightforward dance between a jazz artist and an instrument? Director of the Philadelphia Jazz Project, Homer Jackson, is considering that question and innovative approaches to the performance of music that has often depended upon an intimate feel - and feeling.

My Friend, Ornette Coleman

Jun 24, 2015

John Rogers is a photographer living in New York City who specializes in jazz. A few weeks ago, he approached NPR with the idea to document the unique connection he shared with his friend Ornette Coleman. He was working on it when Coleman died last week at 85. Rogers finished the story for us here. --Ed.

Ben Williams: More Than Just Jazz Appeal

May 22, 2015

It was easy to see why bassist Ben Williams’s debut CD State of Art made such a splash. It had a deserved buzz around a rising talent, and remains a primer for how to make a modern jazz record.

Since then, besides heavy side-gigging and touring with his band as Ben Williams and Sound Effect (Christian Sands, Marcus Strickland, Matthew Stevens, and John Davis), the 30-year-old had a key role in the Pat Metheny Unity Group. The band played over 150 shows internationally in 2013, which is a lot of experience in a compressed time frame.

So it’s not surprising that his follow-up CD, Coming of Age, is a rush of pleasure from beginning to end.

A taste of the new Ben Williams CD, Coming of Age:

The highly-disciplined Williams, a Juilliard graduate and winner of the 2009 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Bass Competition, weds fresh jazz to pop and R&B on seriously engaging tunes that hum and heave from his nimble bass whether he’s on acoustic or electric. The record is backboned by tracks that electrify (“Strength and Beauty”) and groove (“Half Steppin’”), yet his vocal collaborations with soul singer Goapele (“Voice of Freedom”) and a reprise of a track called “Toy Soldiers” with rap/spoken-word artist W. Ellington Felton satisfy the de rigueur groove revivalism and album’s crossover appeal.

Instrumentals like “Black Villain Music” and the sweet gloss of strings and muted trumpet by guest Christian Scott on “Lost And Found” will satisfy on multiple spins, but it’s the keyed-up guitar solos, funky electric piano, sonorous sax, and wicked beats that give Coming of Age its more-than-just-jazz appeal.

It’s a contagious hang, fueled by virtuosity and vision along with Williams’s canny sense of music-making.

Even if you don't know anything about jazz, it's quite possible you've heard the music of saxophonist Kamasi Washington: That's him on the latest albums by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. But that's only the very tip of his iceberg.

Join us from Friday, May 22 to Monday, May 25 during jazz hours as we remember those who fought for our country by presenting jazz performed by United States military bands. Jeff Duperon kicks off the festivities on Friday, May 22nd at 6 pm with music from The West Point Jazz Knights, the U.S. Army Blues, and many other military bands, old and new. This music continues all weekend long, until the Hot 11 Countdown kicks off at 10:30 pm on Monday.  

It seemed as if he'd go on forever — and B.B. King was working right up until the end. It's what he loved to do: playing music, and fishing. Even late in life, living with diabetes, he spent about half the year on the road. King died Thursday night at home in Las Vegas. He was 89 years old.