Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Masters Podcast 208



This was an amazing experience. We got to hang in the studio with two legends of Afro-Cuban Jazz: Bobby Carcassés and Arturo O’Farrill! After the two recorded an improvised set we got to sit down and talk music. We also get to hear some music from Bobby’s record celebrating his 50 years of creating music in Havana and NYC: 50 TH Aniversario, De La Habana A Nueva York. 
 ARTURO O’FARRILL, pianist, composer, educator, and founder and Artistic Director of the nonprofit Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, was born in Mexico and grew up in New York City.  His debut album with the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, Una Noche Inolvidable, earned a first GRAMMY Award nomination in 2006. His next album Song for Chico, earned a GRAMMY Award for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2009.  The 2015 release of The Offense of the Drum was yet another Grammy Award winner.  Arturo was, in addition, the winner of the Latin Jazz USA Outstanding Achievement Award, and a Cubadisco Award for The Offense of the Drum in 2015. His newest album release (August 21, 2015) is Cuba:The Conversation Continues on the Motéma label. This album’s Afro Latin Jazz Suite  was warded the 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Instrumental Composition.

Arturo received his formal musical education at the Manhattan School of Music, Brooklyn College Conservatory, and the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College. As his professional career began to expand, Arturo was the pianist with the Carla Bley Big Band from 1979 through 1983.  He then went on to develop as a solo performer with a wide spectrum of artists including Dizzy Gillespie, The Fort Apache Band, Lester Bowie, Wynton Marsalis, and Harry Belafonte.



BOBBY CARCASSES – Born into a Cuban family (his maternal grandfather worked as a diplomat in Jamaica at the time of his birth), Carcasses moved with his family back to Cuba aged four, where he was surrounded by the various forms of local music. However, he started out as an opera singer before switching to Cuban music and working as a vocalist at the famous Tropicana nightclub. It was here that he first began to experiment with incorporating scat and bebop influences into his vocal style. By 1960 he was also known as a dancer and athlete (he was Cuba’s Long Jump Champion for that year) and as a multi-instrumentalist (playing trumpet, bass, congas and drums). Later in the decade he travelled, including a year in Paris playing with resident jazz greats Bud Powell and Kenny ‘Klook’ Clarke.

On his return to Cuba Carcasses formed his own jazz group, as well as acting in films and television. In 1980 he organized the first Jazz Plaza Festival, bringing to Cuba a host of international artists including Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Haden and Airto Moreira. The festival became an annual event, with Carcasses and his band performing each year. He also toured extensively throughout Europe and the USA, performing alongside Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri and many other big names of Latin jazz. Jazz Timbero was recorded in Havana in 1997 with an all-star Cuban big band (including members of Irakere and Los Van Van), playing a funky mix of Latin and jazz. His son is Roberto Carcasses the jazz pianist.


The Raga Jazz Messengers Podcast 177


itunes-button1Recorded a few days ago at Brooklyn Raga Massive’s weekly concert and and jam session at  ShapeShifter Lab, this set of music suggests new directions in the  between raga and jazz.

It will be broadcast in New York City, on Sunday Dec. 6 on WKCR 89.9 FM-NY 7-9PM and stream at

In the 1960’s, led by the Art Blakey, The Jazz Messengers led the movement of hard bop which returned the music to its blues and gospel roots.     The Raga Jazz Messengers too are exploring soulful territories, blues, swing and different emotional spaces which are not often associated with Indian-Jazz collaborations.

The Jazz Messengers are, Sameer Gupta, drums; Jay Gandhi, Bansuri, Pawan Benjamin – Saxophone, Sharik Hasan, Piano and Michael Gam, Bass.


Amir ElSaffar – Podcast 170


itunes-button1AMIR ElSaffar

 Amir ElSaffar brings his deep knowledge of Iraqui maqam to the context of jazz, creating a fresh, new, vibrant style of music.  The multi-instrumentalist (vocalist, trumpet player and dulcimer) joined me for an intimate, at home, interview.  He shares tracks from his stunning new album Crisis.

At home with Jean-Michel Pilc – Podcast 117


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This was  pure joy: hanging out with the master jazz pianist, Jean-Michel Pilc, in his Brooklyn home.  Speaking about music,  he illustrated his ideas by playing compositions, improvisations and even a Chopin waltz.

We recorded this session for WKCR’s musician show to be broadcast in New York City, Wednesday Oct 22nd at 6pm on 89.9 FM-NY and stream at   Later in that broadcast, guitarist Coyote Anderson will perform live with his quartet.

Jean Michel Pilc has been described as a “musical genius” by the Washington Post and “dazzlingly inventive” by the New York Times, he’s worked with the greatest musicians in the world from Roy Haynes to Harry Belafonte with whom he served as musical director.

Coyote Anderson has quickly become regarded as one of the most promising up-and-coming artists in New York, both as a guitarist and a composer. As a member of the BMI Jazz Composer’s Workshop he has honed his compositional & arranging voice, which has culminated into a recording project and the formation of The Coyote Anderson Quartet.

Coyote Anderson: Guitar & Compositions

Corina Hernandez: Vocals & Harmonizer

Carl Limbacher: Bass

Diego Maldonado: Drum

Rajas perform live for Ragas Live Festival 2014 – Podcast 106


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Rajas : Rajna Swaminathan (mridangam), Amir ElSaffar (trumpet), Miles Okazaki (guitar) and Arun Ramamurthy (violin) performed from 10-11 pm for the 24 hour, Ragas Live Festival 2014.


Yusef Lateef – An interview with a Legend


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images-3The world of music has just lost the Gentle Giant, Yusef Lateef.  WKCR will celebrate his life by playing his music for 33 hours from the stroke of midnight as January 1, 2014.  His bravery and expansive musical vision is unmatched.  I was lucky enough to interview Dr. Lateef in March of 2013, his longtime collaborator Adam Rudolph joined the conversation.