Inside Berklee PODCAST: Bill Banfield

By 
Lesley Mahoney
March 10, 2014
Professor Bill Banfield

In 2005, professor Bill Banfield launched a weekly series at Bob the Chef's (now Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen) in Boston's South End, featuring alumni, student, and faculty jazz musicians. Their collaboration created a new kind of cross-generational sound that fused jazz, soul, and funk while fostering an environment of mentorship.

That marked the birth of the group, the Jazz Urbane, and the seeds for an album. Banfield, the founder and director of Berklee's Africana Studies Program, combined his compositions with younger voices for what he calls a "contemporary urban feel." The result: the group's recently released debut album, Playing with Other People's Heads, produced by Banfield's own mentor, the late George Duke, and featuring professor and alumna Terri Lyne Carrington and such alumni as Christian Scott, Alex Han, Grace Kelly, and Greg Osby.

In this episode of Inside Berklee, Banfield talks about the group's beginnings and evolution, the importance of being real and sustainable as a musician, and mentorship.

The Jazz Urbane will hold a CD release party on Wednesday, March 12 at Scullers Jazz Club with special guest Tia Fuller. 

Producer: Lesley Mahoney

Engineer: Ryan Walsh

Recorded at the BIRN Studios