In the ’50s, Jamaican musicians combined Caribbean calypso and American jazz and R&B to create ska — the foundation of future developments like reggae. Now, jazz musicians are closing the circle of influence. For late summer, here are five songs inspired by the island’s characteristic riddims.
The late South African vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin is remembered as her country’s greatest jazz singer, who brought deliberation and questions of identity to her music. But she only launched her own career, from the shadow of her famous husband Abdullah Ibrahim, after several false starts.
The late author and cultural theorist’s career was dedicated to proving that American culture wasn’t black and white, but both at once. In doing so, he called upon jazz as his chief example, devising many of the ways the music is now commonly perceived.
The pianist and composer valued sophisticated harmonies, aching melodies and a tremendous emotional range. Here, we feature her original compositions and musical collaborations with Sarah Vaughan, Karrin Allison, Thad Jones, Elvis Costello and more.
As the host of a weekly public radio program pairing conversation and duet performances, McPartland brought many jazz greats to an audience of millions. For more than 40 years, she offered an intimate perspective on the elusive topic of improvisation.