Jazz with Bob Perkins

Monday through Thursday, 6 to 9 pm; Sunday 9 am to 1 pm

Lovingly known as “BP with the GM” (Bob Perkins with the Good Music), BP brings you that good music just in time for dinner during your work week, and keeps your Sunday brunch swinging. His selections are like a familiar hug from Jazz Land featuring your favorite standards and vocalists such as Sarah, Ella, and Nat, some Big Band legends including the Duke and the Count, and the giants of the instrumentals like Lee Morgan, Hank Crawford, Miles, and Coltrane. Take a listen to "Ol' BP" as he calls himself...you'll be back again and again.

Take a look at this photo album of Mr. Perkins through the years.

Scroll down to see recent playlists.

Composer ID: 
53c7dcaae1c8c27e811ab2b9|53c7dca6e1c8c27e811ab2ae

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WRTI Arts Desk
6:00 am
Mon April 13, 2015

Tuesday Night Jazz Jam Sessions at 23rd Street Cafe: Still Going Strong After 25 Years

Word of mouth is the way most people hear about the weekly jazz jam sessions at the 23rd St. Café in Center City.

Herman DeJong is an architect who came to Philadelphia from Holland in the mid 1960s. He played the bass and started connecting with local jazz enthusiasts. He wanted to find a place to invite them to jam. 

Eventually, in April 1990, the Tuesday night sessions began at the 23rd Street Café, thanks to the owners. Over the years, locals and people from around the country and the world have stopped in.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
1:48 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding

Billie Holiday has become a mythic presence in absentia.
William Gottlieb Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:54 pm

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Jazz Appreciation Month 2015
11:25 am
Tue April 7, 2015

It's Vintage Jazz Week on WRTI

Jazz Appreciation Month continues on WRTI! During the week of April 6th, 2015, we're sharing our favorite vintage jazz recordings.  Tune in to hear top favorites from Bob Perkins, Jeff Duperon, Zivit, J. Michael Harrison, Bob Craig, and Maureen Malloy throughout the week at 7 pm, 9:30 pm, 12:30 am and 5:30 am.

Listen to our hosts discuss their vintage jazz favorites below.

1. Bob Perkins: Modern Jazz Quartet - "Django" - Django 

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Latest From ICON Magazine
5:25 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Oliver Nelson, One More Who Died Too Young

Oliver Nelson

Many talented souls in various walks of life have departed the planet well before their loved ones thought they should have. The abbreviated stays of the gifted makes us ponder what other wonders they might have contributed, had they lived.

Oliver Nelson comes to mind. He was less famous than Clifford Brown or Charlie Parker or John Coltrane, all of whom were innovators and pioneers and who died well before their time. But Nelson was not only a gifted multi-instrumentalist but also a top-flight arranger and composer. He advanced the careers of many performers, and not just those in jazz.

I first heard of Nelson in the early 1960s via his composition “Stolen Moments,” which became a jazz classic. A few years later I broke into radio and began hosting a jazz program. He then became an even more familiar name to me, because I played his music on the air.

Oliver Nelson’s “Stolen Moments” with Nelson on tenor saxophone, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, et al.:

Oliver Nelson was born into a musical family on June 4, 1932 in St. Louis. He played piano at age six, and several years later, the saxophone. He got his first major job with Louis Jordan while still in his teens, playing alto saxophone and arranging. Military service called, and he joined a band in the Marine Corps. While traveling in Tokyo, he heard the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, which he credited with whetting his appetite to become more advanced as an arranger.

After the military, Nelson studied harmony and theory at Washington and Lincoln Universities and privately. He moved to New York City and made music with Erskine Hawkins, organist Wild Bill Davis and a host of other established musicians. He also landed a job as house arranger for the Apollo Theater.

Prestige Records signed Nelson to a contract, and he recorded six albums for them. He later moved to the Impulse label and recorded The Blues and the Abstract Truth, a landmark LP that included “Stolen Moments.” It’s a work of art. With the likes of pianist Bill Evans, bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Roy Haynes, Eric Dolphy doubling on also sax and flute, Freddie Hubbard on trumpet, and Nelson on tenor sax—how could it not be the monster that it was? It still is.

Doors began to open. Not only was he producing and arranging for Nancy Wilson, James Brown, the Temptations, Diana Ross, organist Jimmy Smith, and other well-known artists, he was also composing for TV shows, including Ironside, Longstreet, and The Six Million Dollar Man (for which he wrote the theme). He also arranged the music for the motion picture Last Tango in Paris.

Those close to him knew he was spreading his gargantuan talents too thin by racing from the East Coast to perform with his jazz group, then to the West Coast for music-arranging jobs. Their concern for his well-being turned out not to be an abstract truth: Nelson suffered a massive heart attack in Los Angeles in 1975, and died at the age of 43. The word was that he had literally worked himself to death. So, Oliver Nelson, like some of his ever-youthful jazz predecessors, left while still having much more to say. But he, like they, kicked up a lot of creative dust prior to departing.

One of his best CDs (besides The Blues and the Abstract Truth) is one he shares with vibraphonist Lem Winchester, Nocturne. Oliver Nelson’s solos on “Azur’te” and “Man with a Horn” please the ear and massage the heart.

Oliver Nelson, Lem Winchester, “Man With a Horn”:

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Billie Holiday Tribute
12:37 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

WRTI Celebrates 100 Years of Lady Day on April 7th

Billie Holiday (1915—1959)

Join us on Tuesday, April 7th during jazz hours for our centennial tribute to Billie Holiday, who was born in West Philadelphia, on April 7, 1915, and went on to become a musical and social phenomenon who changed the face of music forever.  

As part of Vintage Week on WRTI, we'll present anecdotes about Lady Day and continue to play vintage jazz favorites from our jazz staff in celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month.

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WRTI Arts Desk
6:07 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Remembering The Sensational Billie Holiday

Billie Holiday (1915-1959) - Nicknamed "Lady Day" by saxophonist Lester Young

Jazz great Billie Holiday, who died at age 44 in 1959, would have turned 100 on April 7, 2015. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, in her short career, this Philadelphia-born singer made a huge impact on jazz and American song.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:08 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Cassandra Wilson 'Couldn't Wait' To Reinvent The Billie Holiday Songbook

Cassandra Wilson's Billie Holiday tribute album is titled Coming Forth By Day.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 8:54 am

Vocalist Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago this week. Today, her place in music history is clear.

"I think we witness in Billie Holiday's music the beginning of the jazz vocal age, really," fellow vocalist Cassandra Wilson says. "Her phrasing is very conversational, and it swings — it moves with the musicians. She's very much in charge of her place in the music. She's in control of the story, and in control of her cadence."

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Happy 100th Birthday Lady Day!
7:33 am
Sun April 5, 2015

Bob Craig Celebrates Billie Holiday's Centennial: Voices in Jazz on HD-2, April 5, 3 to 6 PM

Billie Holiday

Join WRTI's Bob Craig for a special 100th birthday tribute to the great jazz singer Billie Holiday, who was born on April 7, 1915 in Philadelphia, and died on July 17, 1959 in New York City at age 44.

You'll hear two hours of Holiday's rare, live performances from the 1930s through the 1950s, plus an hour of other singers performing songs closely associated with "Lady Day."

That's Sunday, April 5th from 3 to 6 pm on WRTI HD-2 and the all-jazz stream at WRTI.org.

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Latest from ICON Magazine
2:54 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

The Demons of Bud Powell

In that bygone era when radio was king, the drama known as The Shadow was one of the best. The dulcet voice of the announcer preceded each program with the question, “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?” He then finished off the quiz with a sardonic laugh, and the clincher, “The Shadow knows.”

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Latest From ICON Magazine
8:12 pm
Sat March 7, 2015

David “Fathead” Newman: From Ray Charles Protégé to Band Leader

David "Fathead" Newman

David Newman is a fairly average name. But insert the nickname “Fathead,” and there you have a memorable handle—especially when the person is an entertainer. An odd name is one way to get attention. Musician David Newman must have caught on to this early in his career as a professional musician, and advanced by keeping the derogatory but attention-catching name of David “Fathead” Newman.

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