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The WICN Blog

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by Doug Hall, Contributing Writer During the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the late ‘50s and ‘60s, many Black musicians participated in the marches, demonstrations, and political activities of the times, lending their voices and stature to this seminal era in America. In particular, Black female vocalists Billie Holiday and Nina Simone were […]

By Doug Hall, WICN Contributing Writer In the music world, particularly in the R&B and Soul genres, the foundation of church gospel in the early lives of African-American vocalists is widespread. Aretha Franklin, Toni Braxton, Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, and Sam Cooke all had their musical beginnings in local neighborhood churches that served their communities, […]

Attention students! Interested in over-the-air broadcasting? Apply now for the Massachusetts Broadcasters Association Student Broadcaster Scholarship and you could be awarded $2,500 toward the 2024-2025 academic year. To apply, you must be a Massachusetts resident and currently enrolled or planning to enroll in a broadcast-related program at an accredited two or four-year college. You don’t […]

By Doug Hall   Often in jazz, when identifying the soaring range or virtuosity or power of a vocalist, these gifts are accepted as a skill set that is necessary to impart the depth and complication of song material. Through 1930s to her death in 1959, Billie Holiday, singing within a vocal range of barely […]

Common in the jazz world–and the wider music industry, to be sure–there are personal story arcs that are dramatically tragic, until the musician manages to rebound and reestablish their career. But if any one musician could carry a legacy that contradicted his early youthful Hollywood-handsome visage that hid a host of darker emotions, Chet Baker […]

“Swing” in jazz, for the audience on a dance floor, is often described as an emotional response, with foot-tapping, dancing to a rhythm and a propulsive “feel” to the beat. There is no greater contributor or bandleader for this big-band sound than the legendary Count Basie – jazz pianist, arranger and major influencer of this […]

The evolution of spiritual jazz began with elements of free jazz, avant-garde jazz, and modal jazz, cited by jazz critics to have been heavily influenced by John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (1965). The range of musicians reimagining their interpretations of jazz music following this seminal release stretches across generations of players. There are a number […]

By Doug Hall, WICN Contributing Writer     Julian Lage – Love Hurts (Official Video) – YouTube     When a younger, established guitar phenomenon has a wide band of inclusion with other varied guitarists, including Jim Hall, Nels Cline, and Leo Kottke, it is a recognition that their ear has an expansive and deep […]

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There are many Black female jazz vocalists held in special regard for their commitment to civil rights and activism, including the support expressed through their songs and lyrics that directly address racism. Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit, Lena Horne’s Stormy Weather, and numerous songs by Nina Simone, most notably Mississippi Goddam, Backlash Blues, Four Women and […]