“Just don’t give up on trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.” – Ella Fitzgerald Yesterday I mentioned that we’d talk about Thelonious Monk today, but I realized that it’s Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t [...]
Cape Cod’s “First Lady of Jazz” performs a medley of tunes by Fats Waller, her stride-piano mentor, in this session from 1983.
The singer performs two of Billie Holiday’s signature songs, “Loverman” and “God Bless the Child,” and discusses the haunting experience of portraying Holiday onstage.
Structured and free, sonic and rhythmic, poems and jazz music seem like natural partners. For National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some notable collisions between the two.
“Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple.” – Charles Mingus Bassist and composer Charles Mingus was a true original. Everything he did was from his heart and was remarkably fresh while still respecting the tradition of jazz. He led his own bands of various sizes from the ’50s until his [...]
Over the past several years, solo jazz guitarist, Martin Taylor, has basically become one of the gang here at KPLU. He’s such good company and such a brilliant guitarist that we invite him into our studios for a session almost every time he comes to town. He’s performed for us in a variety of musical [...]
“Jazz isn’t dead, it just smells funny” – Frank Zappa Since the 1980s, there has been much talk about the “death” of jazz. Some people claim that since that time jazz music has become a kind of museum piece, with current musicians just trying to recreate what has happened in the past. This view came [...]
Today we turn our attention to drummer and band leader Art Blakey. Blakey was one of the most powerful and gregarious drummers in jazz, and not many can match his sheer exuberance and communication. However, he is most known for his band, The Jazz Messengers, which he led from the early 50′s until his death [...]
Freddie Hubbard was one of the most powerful and expressive trumpet players in the history of jazz. He started playing professionally in his teens, moved to New York at 20, and immediately began playing with the top jazz musicians of the day, including Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Eric Dolphy and others. He is primarily associated [...]
The trombonist and three fellow musicians from Houston started one of jazz’s most popular groups in the 1960s. As the times changed, so did their music — and their success magnified further.