Introducing The Checkout – Live at Berklee

Famed New York area jazz station WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM/wbgo.org, NPR, and Berklee College of Music are teaming up to present the first ever NPR concert series showcasing Berklee alumni. The Checkout – Live at Berklee will bring critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to Boston for a series of homecoming concerts at Berklee’s Cafe 939. The concerts will be broadcast live worldwide over NPR.org/thecheckout and in New York over WBGO as a special edition of The Checkout, the acclaimed multimedia show featuring what’s new on the New York jazz scene. The shows will also be edited into podcasts available at Checkoutjazz.org.

The Checkout – Live at Berklee will debut with trumpeter Christian Scott (’06) on November 17 followed by tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake (’92) on December 7. Concerts and broadcasts will begin at 8:00 p.m. ET. Tickets to the live performances at the Red Room @ Cafe 939 are $10 for the general public and $5 with a Berklee ID. Three winter/spring, 2012 performers and dates in the series of live broadcasts will be announced later this fall. Tickets are available at cafe939.com.

November 17 at 8:00 p.m.

Christian Scott (’06)

Edison Prize-winning and Grammy-nominated trumpeter, bandleader, and composer Christian Scott is widely considered to be one of the leading jazz artists of his generation. Raised in New Orleans, Scott toured from his early teens in his uncle, Donald Harrison Jr.’s, band. After graduation from Berklee in 2006, where he completed two degrees in just two years, Scott signed with Concord Records. His first effort for the label, Rewind That, was nominated for a Grammy Award. Three subsequent releases have each garnered critical acclaim, including 2010’s Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, recorded at the legendary Van Gelder Studio.

Interview

Part 1 of 3

Christian talks about his upbringing in music and New Orleans, offers advice for HSJF students and band directors, and gives one of his secret practice tips.

Part 2 of 3

Christian talks about the challenges of practicing while balancing a busy tour schedule, his thoughts on performance mistakes, and his album Yesterday You Said Tomorrow.

Part 3 of 3

Christian shares stories from his time at Berklee, answers a viewer’s question, and his favorite music.

December 7 at 8:00 p.m.

Seamus Blake (’92)

New York-based tenor saxophonist and composer Seamus Blake is widely recognized as one of the finest exponents of contemporary jazz. Born in England and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Blake is a Berklee graduate. In 2002, he took the first prize in the Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition. His recent album, Live in Italy, described as “one of the elute albums of the year,” earned a 4.5/5 stars rating in DownBeat. A longstanding member of the acclaimed Mingus Big Bands, he continues to work with this group and a host of others. John Scofield, in whose Quiet Band Blake appears, has called him, “extraordinary, a total saxophonist.”

 

Interview

Part 1 of 2

Seamus talks about the relationship between improvisation and mistakes, what he thinks about while improvising, and his childhood influences.

Part 2 of 2

Seamus discusses finding his own “voice” and sound, the musician’s lifestyle, and…dubstep?!

February 9

Leala Cyr and Ricardo Vogt w/ Leo Genovese, Rafael Barata and Andres Rotmistrovsky

A duet unlike any other, Leala Cyr and Ricardo Vogt blend picturesque vocals and a sensual guitar sound to create a unique collaboration of music. Together since 2002, this pair has found a way to combine American and Brazilian roots to form a new array of sound.

Born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, Leala Cyr has proven herself to be a true diamond in the rough. This small-town girl began her concentration on the trumpet at an early age, and soon discovered her gift for music. Already excelling in classical trumpet, Cyr then tried her hand in the jazz band. A newfound love, Leala realized her true passion for jazz singing. Soon after, Cyr became the band’s vocalist and eventually was featured as a trumpet and vocal soloist at the prestigious Essentially Ellington Competition at the Lincoln Center in New York. Deciding then to study music, Cyr then entered the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay where she met Ricardo Vogt.

Vogt, born in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, is a genuine prodigy in the art of music. His musical talents became visible at an early age, and at the age of 9 was awarded first prize at the Traga Sua Musica para o Magic World Festival for his original composition. A singer in his own right, Vogt also became the lead vocalist for the Cassino Orchestra Show Band in 2000. Soon after, Ricardo made his way to the United States where he later met his musical partner, Leala Cyr.

Quickly making their musical connection, Cyr and Vogt began arranging everything from Duke Ellington, to Antonio Carlos Jobim, to Guinga. There was no surprise that this combination was an amazing one. With the incredible scat technique of Leala Cyr and sensational accompaniment of Ricardo Vogt, there was no stopping this dynamic duo. Later, the two made their move to the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

Since making their union, Leala Cyr has been voted “Best Jazz Vocalist” in the college division of Downbeat magazine’s Student Music Awards (2005) and has become a member of the Grammy-winning “Best New Artist” Esperanza Spalding’s Chamber Music Society. Ricardo Vogt has become an endorser for Godin Guitars and a member of the Eliane Elias Quartet (2007) and Esperanza Spalding Quartet (2008). Together the two have given clinics at San Diego State University, Kansas University, and the New England Conservatory of Music. They have also performed at the Elmhurst Jazz Festival (Chicago, IL), Symphony Hall (Boston, MA), as well as Rock In Rio with renowned Brazilian artist Milton Nascimento and Esperanza Spalding.

This unique pair never ceases to amaze listeners with their harmony. Musicians such as Milton Nascimanto, Joe Lovano, Dave Leibman, Kenny Werner, and Eliane Elias find their talent to be impeccable. Now graduates of Berklee, Ricardo and Leala are beginning their professional career in New York City and around the world.

There’s no telling what the future may hold for these two amazing musicians. Their one of a kind sound, along with notable charm, have made an impression on the music world that will only take them far.

Interviews coming soon…

March 8

Kendrick Scott

Kendrick Scott is an artist of incredible depth, talent, and determination. He has been featured in Terence Blanchard’s band for the last six years and has appeared on the Grammy Award-winning and nominated recordings, A Tale of God’s Will, and Flow, on which he contributed original compositions and orchestrations. Since arriving in New York City in 2003, Scott has appeared on more than 30 records, and on the soundtracks to seven feature films. In 2007, Scott launched his own label, World Culture Music, with the release of Kendrick Scott Oracle and began his career as a solo artist.

Kendrick Scott Oracle plans to release “Conviction” in Spring of 2012. This album which blends Scott’s incredible intensity and sensitivity is a demonstration of Scott’s strength as a drummer, composer and a leader. Conviction carries the Oracle’s own unique and magnetic sound, offering the audience a complete record from beginning to end. Representing KSO on this album is Taylor Eigsti, Joe Sanders, John Ellis, Mike Moreno and Kendrick Scott. This album was co-produced by Derrick Hodge along with Scott and features two guest appearances by singer/songwriter Alan Hampton.

Kendrick Scott is one of the bright stars in an amazingly talented group of young musicians on the scene today. He remains a first call player for major artists and maintains a thriving solo career because his humanity and compassion extends into the notes and phrases he chooses to play, which makes his playing consistently ring true as it springs forth from an ego-less, honest place. These deep roots enable Scott to be present and in the moment, bringing to the table the wisdom of a veteran musician and the adventurousness of a perpetually curious young artist.

He is recognized as an endorser by Yamaha Corporation, Remo, Vater, Puresound, Zildjian, Protechtor, Craviotto Snare Drums and Danmar Percussion.

          January 31, 2015