A linchpin of “cool” jazz in the 1950s and ’60s, he assembled bands that came to be described as chamber jazz, full of unusual textures and future star talent. Hamilton, who continued performing into his ninth decade, was 92.
Grammy-winning musician Esperanza Spalding is pushing for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention center in a new protest music video called “We Are America.” She tells guest host Celeste Headlee why she feels it’s an important cause.
The pianist is a musician for whom creativity is a credo and improvisation a way of life. Transforming brilliant technique into unbridled creativity is not only Werner’s musical mission; it’s also the subject of his popular book, Effortless Mastery. Hear an interview and performance.
The pianist’s first visit to France and the 3,000-seat Salle Pleyel concert hall ended in disaster. Fifteen years later, after he became an international star, Monk returned to the same stage with his own band, planning a surprise.
Singer-songwriter and pianist Anthony Strong, 29, waited until he could create something “authentic” before launching his solo career. Now, he’s mining the classic jazz-pop tradition on his new album, Steppin’ Out.
The jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer embarked on a spiritual journey that spanned years before he was able to complete his new record. In a discussion with NPR’s Arun Rath, Nash talks about starting from square one in educating himself about Hindu philosophy.
Glasper jams with host Marian McPartland on Herbie Hancock’s “Dolphin Dance” in a 2006 session.
The trumpeter composes with jazz and Arabic materials, and mixes instruments from both sides of the world. Marvel at the musical flow — even in non-Western modes and odd, long meters at breakneck speeds — in this set, recorded live at the Newport Jazz Festival.
It’ll take at least three guys to move Larry Goldings’ instrument of choice into a basement jazz club. But it also lets the keyboardist explore all his control freak tendencies. He explains the appeal of the legendary electric organ, a staple of gospel and soul music.
Down-home and majestic, the tenor saxophonist’s sound was like a cane stalk shooting up out of rich earth. His 1960 album The Book Cooks features fellow sax-man Zoot Sims in a friendly square-off.
As a bandleader in the 1960s and ’70s, Smith wrote timeless music — and secured that label during the ’80s and ’90s, when hip-hop producers sampled his work left and right. NPR’s Arun Rath speaks with Smith on the occasion of a new album that revives the out-of-print gems of a six-decade career.
The jazz vibraphone pioneer played with Stan Getz and Chick Corea, was an early adopter of jazz fusion, and became the Dean of Berklee College of Music. He’s now past retirement age, but in a session with guitarist Julian Lage, his flying four-mallet technique hasn’t slowed a bit.
An in-demand singer and pianist, Walesch has earned fans across the Midwest, one jazz club and piano bar at a time. Hear him perform three songs live on stage in Grand Marais, Minn.
Anderson shares his “musical memoir” of growing up in 1960s Chicago with a live version of his Sweet Chicago Suite at the Newport Jazz Festival. His scaled-down Pocket Brass Band aims to sound like a full-sized jazz marching band.
Giordano has been obsessed with 1920s jazz since he first heard it on his grandparents’ Victrola. His band the Nighthawks performs the music heard on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire.
When their busy schedules align, the three jazz sidemen come together as a trio. Their format isn’t earth-shatteringly new — it’s built on classic sonorities in which Hammond B3 organ meets electric guitar — but after nearly 25 years as a band, their rapport is. Watch a live concert.
Alchemy is a step forward in defining and refining the trumpeter’s mix of jazz and Iraqi rhythms.
The pianist and club owner plays Cole Porter’s “So in Love” with host Marian McPartland in 2006.
He had gigs before and enjoyed prominent freelance work afterward. But the mellow saxophone and flute player’s career was kickstarted by spending more than a decade in the front row of Count Basie’s “New Testament” band.
In Nicole Mitchell’s words, “The flute and vibes coming together gives us the visual for Ice Crystal.” Hear the adventurous musician and composer play the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival with her quartet.
On this 2007 program, recorded before a live audience at the John F. Kennedy Center, Taylor performs his tunes “In Loving Memory” and “If You Really Are Concerned.”
The pianist loves water and music. Inspired by a trip along the Pacific Northwest, The Coastal Suite spins out as one uninterrupted arc. JazzSet captures the broadcast premiere at the Ibeam in New York.
The jazz legend practiced his saxophone 10 to 15 hours a day before he got his big break, and while he wasn’t the most reliable husband, when it came to music, he never wavered. Scholar Stanley Crouch’s Kansas City Lightning is the first of a two-volume biography of Parker.
The trumpeter and bandleader premiered his gospel-jazz Abyssinian Mass back in 2008. But now, accompanied by a 70-voice choir, he’s taking the sprawling work on the road and into African-American churches — whose services were the inspiration for the piece.
Chicago bassist Matt Ulery writes beautiful music in an unpretentious way. It’s intricate stuff, with interlocking parts and multiple sections, but it comes out sounding folky and simple. His small group, featuring bass clarinet and accordion, has it down pat.
The Broadway and screen actress known for her Tony-winning role in Cats, among many other major productions, has recorded 15 solo albums with another on the way. Along with musical director Kenny Werner, she joined Marian McPartland in 2007 for a session of standards.
Professing love for Bob James’ music can yield a side-eye in some circles, as his 1970s work is seen as a progenitor to smooth jazz. But he certainly knew his way around a catchy melody and an infectious riff — as legions of rap and house producers have discovered through sampling.
Costello joins host Marian McPartland and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi to perform “At Last” and more.
At 27, bandleader Trombone Shorty is already an icon in his hometown. So he’s giving back: Through his own foundation, the “supafunkrock” brass player is nurturing even younger talent in local schools.
The saxophonist, 24, came to the U.S. from Chile with little money and less command of English. But she did have some serious ability at the saxophone, which has now found footing in the New York scene. She visits her alma mater to perform with her international band.
The jazz pianist uses his new record to recall works of yesteryear and simultaneously illustrate his new sense of direction.
Growing up in Chile, Melissa Aldana insisted on playing in clubs and transcribed solos like mad — as her father did before her. Now, at 24, she’s won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition for young musicians, and her youthful dedication is beginning to pay off.
The multi-instrumentalist joins Marian McPartland for Duke Ellington and Gershwin tunes in 1997.
Talent, dedication, a skill at adapting classical dances to jazz formats — these are some of Sung’s musical and personal qualities that make her one to watch and listen to. Hear a set from the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival.
Widely recognized as one of the preeminent interpreters of Antonio Carlos Jobim, Eliane Elias has lately begun exploring the works of Bill Evans. She plays and sings a previously unreleased Evans tune, “Here Is Something for You,” for which she has written a lyric, and host Marian McPartland gives her own Evans tribute on “B Minor Waltz.”
One gets the sense that the pianist feels completely at ease with his Experiment quartet, running his right hand in circles, cracking jokes and switching directions on the fly. Hear a freewheeling set of vamps and vocoder from the hip-hop hybrid band, with a Herbie Hancock tune followed by a Daft Punk cover.