Charlie Parker was nicknamed Yardbird, or “Bird” for short. Many theories are made about how he got the nickname, but it was a fluke. The most well known story is, while on a tour bus going from town to town, gig to gig, the driver accidentally ran over a chicken and killed it. Parker made the driver stop the bus so he could go out and collect the dead bird. That night, he cooked it and ate it for dinner, tire tracks and all. Parker put so much effort in making sure he had a good piece of chicken for dinner, and twice as much effort in his music. That’s how Charlie “Bird” Parker earned his nickname. Listen to “Bird”, and all the great jazz players on KJEM.
It’s Black Music Month! June is a month for all Americans to focus on and celebrate the creativity and influence of black artists in music and culture.
From the anthems chanted at protests, to classic rock and modern Jazz, black musicians and artists have influenced every facet of music and culture in America.
Formerly known as African American Music Appreciation Month, Black Music Month was created by President Jimmy Carter in 1979 to honor the impact black music has in our society and culture in America.
Though our specialty at KJEM 89.9 FM is Jazz, which was created by African American artists over 100 years ago, we also want to point out other genres created by black musicians: Gospel, Folk, Blues, R&B, Hip hop/Rap, and Rock and Roll (among others).
At KJEM, we focus on the music. Black Music Month is a way to highlight and celebrate black music. And, especially with the Black Lives Matter movement, it is also a timely month to learn more about the racial history of the music and radio industry, from Jim-Crow era segregation of “white radio” from “black radio” to the role radio played in the Civil Rights movement.
American music (and radio) would not be what it is today without the enormous contribution of black artists, musicians, performers, DJ’s, emcees, radio station owners, producers and distributors.
KJEM is proud to be a member of the African American Public Radio Consortium and offers their programs Cafe Jazz (Fridays at 7:00PM) and Cool Jazz Countdown (Sundays from 7:00PM to 10:00PM).
Listen to KJEM on 89.9 FM on the Palouse, online at KJEMJazz.org or on the Northwest Public Broadcasting app. You can also tell your Smart Speaker to “Play K-J-E-M”.
Do you know a young person who loves music and wants to learn more about it? The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz is offering FREE educational online courses for grades 4-12 throughout the summer. The courses will cover jazz, it’s history, and interesting tidbits that make jazz the very special art form it is today. This is a fun way to celebrate Black Music Month this June. Students will learn from a diverse group of world-class musicians about one of the genres African American artists created. For more information, visit the website link below: https://hancockinstitute.org/jazz-in-america-summer-sessions/
April 30th is Jazz Day! If you’re looking to celebrate, there’s a special virtual concert. Read more about Jazz Day and a little about it’s history below!
BY TREVOR SMITH (NPR)
While the world has gone relatively quiet amid the coronavirus pandemic, International Jazz Day plans on bringing some joyful sounds from across the globe together in celebration of the music. Jazz Day, which falls on April 30 of each year, was initially established in 2011 by musician and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock to bring together communities worldwide to celebrate the humanity of the universal art form through workshops, discussions and an all-star global concert.
Cape Town, South Africa, was supposed to host this year’s celebrations, but the events were canceled in late March due to the pandemic. Instead, the day’s activities will remain truly international by taking place online and hosted by Hancock.
International Jazz Day Panel with Nate Chinen Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
International Jazz Day Global Concert Time: 3 p.m. ET
The marquee Global Concert, which begins at 3:00 p.m. ET on jazzday.com, will feature streamed performances from bassist Marcus Miller (U.S.), pianist Lang Lang (China), saxophonist Igor Butman (Russia), vocalist Youn Sun Nah (South Korea), and bassist Alune Wade (Senegal), among other worldwide leaders in the genre.
In the spirit of Jazz Day’s mission of inclusion, a free series of educational master classes and children’s activities in six languages conducted by renowned musicians will be streamed in the hours leading up to the concert. The pre-concert program will also include a panel discussion on the importance of art and the international community during the public health crisis, hosted by NPR Music and WBGO’s Nate Chinen and featuring performer Marcus Miller and South African vocalist Sibongile Khumalo.
Despite the need to celebrate Jazz Day in isolation this year, Herbie Hancock remains optimistic in the message and impact of the festivities.
“Now more than ever before,” he says, “let’s band together and spread the ethics of Jazz Day’s global movement around the planet and use this as a golden opportunity for humankind to reconnect.”
More information can be found on jazzday.com.Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit npr.org.
On December 8th, 1957 The Sound of Jazz aired live on CBS. It was an episode in the program The Seven Lively Arts. Producer Robert Herridge convinced Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, Thelonius Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Billie Holiday, Henry Allen, Jimmy Giuffre, Roy Eldridge, Dicky Wells, Vic Dickenson, Pee Wee Russell, Lester Young, Ben Webster, Danny Barker, Milt Hinton, and Jo Jones to appear together for an hour long live jazz performance. The Sound of Jazz was one of the first programs featuring jazz made for television and is still considered one of the best.
Jaco Pastorius was an influential bass guitarist who was born December 1st, 1951 in Norristown, Pennsylvania. He is best known for his work with Weather Report, Pat Metheny, and Joni Mitchell. Pastorius died in 1987.
Bessie Smith made her last recording session on November 24th, 1933. She recorded “Gimme A Pigfoot”, “Do Your Duty”, and “Down In the Dumps”. Among the musicians backing her for these numbers are Jack Teagarden, Chu Berry, Frankie Newton, and Benny Goodman.
Scott Joplin was born November 24th, 1868. He was a composer and pianist who popularized the ragtime genre through his music. Two of his best known compositions are “The Maple Leaf Rag” and “The Entertainer”. Joplin was raised in Texarkana, Texas. He played his music at the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, setting off a national ragtime craze. While Joplin’s ragtime compositions made him famous he also wanted to be recognized as a classical composer. He wrote a ballet and two operas which combined his knowledge of classical music and his innovative usage of syncopated rhythm. Joplin spent the last years of his life attempting to get his second opera Treemonisha performed publicly. He suffered a nervous breakdown in 1916 and had to be institutionalized. He died in 1917. Scott’s work regained widespread popularity in the 1970’s after the release of the film “The Sting” which used his ragtime compositions as the basis for the film’s score.