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McCoy Tyner Podcast 315

We just learned of the passing of the legend McCoy Tyner, who changed the course of jazz piano.  Of course he's most well known for his work in John Coltrane's classic quartet, but he has an amazing body of work beyond that, his album Sama Layuca for a start. 

Here's my 2011 interview that we conducted in the kitchen of the Blue Note.




William Parker #313

William Parker is a force in music and if you listen his words, he'll change your mind about what exactly the mystery of music might be.


This is a celebration of 25 years of the Vision Festival.

We had an amazing conversation until the batteries ran out on my recorder...enjoy!

Zhou Family Band

We have a live performance in studio with Zhou Benming of the Zhou Family Band. 

Zhou Jingzhi, founder of the Zhou Family Band, used to play in the royal court of the Qing Dynasty. After dynastic China came to an end, later generations of the family made their living by playing at local ceremonies. 

The band has become so popular that sometimes people have to book them two years in advance for a ceremony. Now more than 100 members of the Zhou family and over 1000 students are active in playing at rituals in their hometown and the adjacent areas.

The band plays traditional wind and percussion music that has accompanied the birth and death of people in central-eastern China for more than 600 years. Coming from Lingbi, Anhui Province, part of the Central Plain area which formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, the Zhou Family Band have been musicians for seven generations, and are bearers of a tradition that represents the cream of Chinese folk music – Bolin Laba, a national intangible cultural heritage of China.


Theramin 100 and the Ambient Church Episode 311

In this episode we chat with Dorit Chrysler director of of the  NY Theramin society, who have a major event coming up at the Ambient Church.   

Dorit Chrysler has been dubbed a superior wizard of the theremin. An Austrian-born, New York based composer and performer, Chrysler is the co-founder of the NY Theremin Society and has started the first international school for Theremin, KidCoolThereminSchool and L’Ecole Theremine with branches in NY and Paris. As much as the Theremin is a tool in Chrysler’s electronic instrument arsenal, she is also one of the most visible Thereminists spreading the gospel of this mysterious sounding instrument. Most recently she finished her analog soundtrack for a remake of “M” by Fritz Lang and was featured on the soundtrack of the HBO documentary "Going Clear". Chrysler received her master's degree of musicology in Vienna and has notably collaborated with Anders Trentemøller, Cluster, Adult., CERN, Carsten Nicolai, Elliot Sharp and Laurie Spiegel. She has performed with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, had her work commissioned by MoMA and the Venice Biennale, and is the founder of “Dame Electric,” a festival dedicated to female pioneers in Analog Music. As the director of the NY Theremin Society, Chrysler is promoting the application of theremin in different art disciplines and is produced the THEREMIN100 compilation release, commemorating the 100th birthday of the Theremin in 2020. 

For Ambient Church, Chrysler will perform original work along with the US premiere of "A Paraphrase." Composed by electronic music pioneer Laurie Spiegel, for Dorit Chrysler, "A Paraphrase" was inspired by a young Clara Rockmore and her professional relationship with Léon Theremin.  Lana Anikin Suran will accompany on piano. 



Jean-Michel Pilc at Home (rebroadcast #117)

A broadcast of the brilliant pianist made at his home in Brooklyn before he moved North.  

Knoel Scott of the Sun Ra Arkestra Podcast 255

A great discussion with Knoel Scott, a multi instrumentalist and band leader who has played with with the Sun Ra Arkestra since 1979.  Recorded backstage at the Opus 1 Festival in Maryland.  We also hear his original composition, "Harlem Nocturne," featuring Marshall Allen.  

Knoel will be back in town for this exciting show at the Town Hall on March 4th 2020




Eric Thompson # 310

Eric Thompson took up the guitar as a teenager in Palo Alto, California in the early 1960's, at a time when very few folk guitarists were playing more than basic rhythm guitar. Among his earliest bands were the Black Mountain Boys (with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson) and Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. He quickly became nationally known as an exceptional lead flatpicker, winning the World Championship Cup at Union Grove, North Carolina with the New York Ramblers (which also included David Grisman and Winnie Winston) and flying to Nashville, Tennessee to record "Beatle Country" with the Charles River Valley Boys (reissued on Rounder).

During the 1970's, Eric continued to play old-time music. He also took up the tenor banjo, organized the Graineog Celidh Band around two master musicians from County Clare, Joe Cooley and Kevin Keegan, and spent six months in the west of Ireland, visiting and learning from older traditional musicians there.


Eric will be playing a private concert with Andy Statman on Sunday December 15th at 2pm in Brooklyn (Near Prospect Park)  Email for info and reservations.

Michael Leonhardt #309

Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO) is a genre-crossing 15-piece ensemble that has been putting on electrifying shows for the last 2 years. The Orchestra performs both Leonhart’s original compositions as well as his arrangements of Wutang, Fela, Ellington, Zappa and Bernard Herrmann. MLO features players from bands such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-kings, the Mingus Big Band, Maria Schneider’s Orchestra, the Tonight Show Band (Roots) and other soloists from the NY/Brooklyn jazz/soul/studio scene.

The MLO residence at at the Jazz Standard has a very special show coming up this Tuesday, December 10th... a live recording which will be broadcast on New Years Eve on NPR/WBGO.   Tickets and Info are here 

Grammy winning Michael Leonhart is sought throughout the music and entertainment world as a trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. He has collaborated with artists as diverse as James Brown & Wutang Clan to Meryl Streep & Isaac Mizrahi.

As a trumpeter, Michael performed on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’  record breaking smash hit “Uptown Funk,” which won the 2016 Record of the year Grammy. He has performed with rock legends Steely Dan since 1996, recording two albums with them, including 2000's 4x Grammy winning Album of the Year "Two Against Nature.”

Michael has composed music for stage and screen, including writing a song for and directing Meryl Streep on the Decca soundtrack album “Songs of Lahore.” Leonhart recently composed music for the score to Rockstar Games upcoming “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

Michael’s eighth solo album, the genre-crossing “Painted Lady Suite,” by the Michael Leonhart Orchestra (MLO), will be released June 15th on Sunnyside Records. The orchestra performs both Leonhart’s original compositions as well as his arrangements of Wu Tang, Ellington and more, featuring players from bands such as Sharon Jones & the Dap-kings, the Mingus Big Band and The Roots.


Alexandre Tannous On Trance # 308

On the heels of their highly successful event featuring Brooklyn Raga Massive, Alexandre Tannous and NYC Radio Live return to The Assemblage to continue their exploration of the power of sound, meditation and trance and with the Grammy nominated group Innov Gnawa this Thursday.

Details for the event are here

Alexandre Tannous, a composer, musician, ethnomusicologist and researcher came to WKCR to speak about Gnawa music and trance to get us ready for the event.    

Alexandre Tannous has performed a variety of musical styles including classical, jazz, rock, and non-Western music on various instruments. His ethnomusicological research investigates issues of acculturation, community, musical identity in an urban setting, and the concepts of talent, charisma, and leadership in music.

For the past 13 years he has been researching the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives – Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs – to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness.

This search has led him to where art, science, philosophy, and spirituality intersect. Inspired by his findings, he designed a protocol of an integrated experience he calls “Sound Meditation” in which he shares the findings from his research, raising an awareness to how a specifically designed sound can have the ability to help us to disconnect from habitual patterns while judiciously listening to the specific traditional instruments he plays. 

Roopa In 6 Yards

The great young carnatic Roopa Mahadevan, comes to WKCR to share a sneak preview of her upcoming album, Roopa in 6 Yards. As spontaneous and joyful as the singer herself, the album is refreshing and uncompromising exploration of a wide range of compositions from the Carnatic cannon.  With this recording Roopa is bound to expand the audience for this traditional music.