NPR, WBGO, and Berklee: Year Two of The Checkout - Live at Berklee

October 5, 2012

Famed New York area radio station WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM/, NPR Music, and Berklee College of Music are teaming up to present a second year of the Checkout – Live at Berklee.  The series brings critically acclaimed, New York-based Berklee alumni back to their alma mater for concerts in the Red Room @ Cafe 939. The shows will be webcast live worldwide in high definition over and in New York over WBGO-FM as a special edition of The Checkout, the acclaimed multimedia show featuring what’s new on New York’s jazz scene. They will also be archived, and available for on-demand listening, at, and

Year two of The Checkout – Live at Berklee will debut with pianist and composer Chihiro Yamanaka’98 on October 18. The series continues with saxophonist and composer Dayna Stephens’01 on November 15, alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw’00 on February 7, 2013, and tenor saxophonist Walter Smith III ’02 on March 7, 2013. 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. Tickets are available at

“Boston is a major incubator for jazz, and this series aims to underline that fact,” said Josh Jackson, host and producer of The Checkout. “WBGO and The Checkout are delighted to return to Berklee. We look forward to showcasing these young talents as they pursue their artistry and inspire future generations.”  

About the artists:

Chihiro Yamanaka is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers of her generation, and is the leader of the Chihiro Yamanaka Trio. 2012 has been a milestone year: she performed in the Mary Lou Williams Women In Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center, in a concert featured on National Public Radio’s JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater, at the Iridium Jazz Club and Dizzy's at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, at the Regattabar in Boston, and in a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall. Yamanaka’s new CD, Reminiscence is her second U.S. release. Reminiscence reached the #1 spot on the Japanese jazz charts and won the Nissan Presents Jazz Japan Award for Album of the Year.


Internationally renowned saxophonist/composer/educator Dayna Stephens is a fluid, vigorous soloist with a warm, soulful sound. He has proven himself as a highly talented composer and arranger, an acclaimed bandleader, and an in-demand sideman. He’s appeared with Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Stevie Wonder, Dr. Lonnie Smith, and Roy Hargrove, and others. Stephens released two albums in 2012. Today Is Tomorrow was first and featured Aaron Parks, Mike Rodriguez, and Julian Lage.  This fall’s That Nepenthetic Place will feature Ambrose Akinmusire, Taylor Eigsti, and Gretchen Parlato.  His 2007 debut, The Timeless Now featuring John Scofield, Ben Street, Eric Harland, and Nick Vayenas, garnered four stars in DownBeat magazine, and reached #11 on the Billboard jazz charts.


Alto & soprano saxophonist Jaleel Shaw performs with the Roy Haynes Quartet and the Mingus Big Band, and has performed with Christian McBride, Jason Moran, Stefon Harris, Dave Holland, Jimmy Cobb, and more. His debut CD, Perspective, was released in 2005 and reviewed by The New York Times. It was named one of the top five debut CD’s of that year by All About Jazz and Jazzwise magazines. In 2008, Shaw started his own record label, Changu Records, on which he released his second CD, Optimism. A composition from that CD, “The Flipside,” won an ASCAP Young Composer Award. Shaw was included in JazzTimes magazine’s 2011 Readers Poll for alto saxophonist of the year along with Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Bunky Green, and Kenny Garrett.


Saxophonist Walter Smith III performs all over the world, from major festivals to Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. He’s performed and recorded with Roy Haynes, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Lovano, Bob Hurst, Christian Scott, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lyne Carrington, and others. In all, he’s appeared on more than 75 recordings. Smith released three CDs before signing with Concord Records, which will soon issue his latest recording. Smith leads his own quintet when he’s not working as a member of a variety of groups, including the Terence Blanchard Quintet, Eric Harland's Voyager Band, Ambrose Akinmusire's Quintet, the Sean Jones Sextet, Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon, and the Christian McBride Situation.


About WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM and

WBGO Jazz 88.3 FM serves the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area with mainstream jazz, blues, and award-winning news and public affairs programming. Non-commercial WBGO is supported by nearly 17,000 annual members and has over 400,000 weekly broadcast listeners. WBGO also streams its broadcast signal to audiences worldwide at WBGO was named the “Jazz Station of the Year” by the Gavin Report and is also the recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” for Achievement in Non-Commercial Radio. WBGO is a publicly supported, cultural institution that champions jazz, an American art form, and presents news to a worldwide audience through radio, other technologies, and events.


About NPR Music

NPR Music celebrates great music in every genre and is an industry leader in music discovery. The free, multimedia Web site ( offers 300 new features monthly and an extensive archive, in collaboration with NPR’s newsmagazines, 12 public radio member stations, and the passionate NPR community. NPR Music creates and distributes inventive music coverage across multiple platforms – from web, to radio, to podcast, to mobile, to social media, to live events – with first listens of new albums, live performances, concerts at the Tiny Desk, interviews, reviews, and blogs.