Should you ever meet Donny McCaslin, you’ll encounter an imposingly tall fellow who’s one of the nicest guys you’ll shake hands with — and who wields a sax like few others. They played a side stage in the morning. The audience didn’t know what hit ‘em.
“Summertime” is considered one of George Gershwin’s finest songs. Collaborating with his brother Ira and lyricist DuBose Heyward, Gershwin composed the piece for his 1935 “folk-opera” Porgy and Bess. This clip is from the 1959 Samuel Goldwyn film Porgy and Bess, with vocals dubbed by Adele Addison for Dorothy Dandridge’s Bess: The song quickly […]
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.
In the span of Howlin’ Wolf’s life and career he saw virtually the entire progression of blues from a rural, acoustic music through the birth of modern rock music. As a young man, he learned guitar from Delta master Charley Patton, and as an elder statesman performed with Eric Clapton and The Rolling Stones. In […]Blues Time Machine
It’s one of the most widely played songs in the blues, but not much is known about Robert Petway, the man who recorded the definitive early version of “Catfish Blues”. The scant information that exists tells a familiar story of a Delta musician who headed to Chicago to make records. But after recording a mere […]
Bunch learned to arrange for big bands while held captive in a German POW camp during WWII. After returning stateside, he worked with the likes of Woody Herman, Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman, and was Tony Bennett’s pianist for a number of years. Bunch died earlier this year, so Piano Jazz remembers him with this 1991 session.
Skip James was one of the first influential blues players. Although he came from the same Mississippi culture that produced Delta blues, James had a unique sound, built around unusual guitar tunings and his eerie falsetto. Robert Johnson based his song “32-20 Blues” around James’ lesser known “22-20 Blues”, and Cream famously covered his song […]
During the 1960s there was a golden age of soul music in America. Some of the greatest songs from that era came from the Stax Recording Studio in Memphis, Tennessee. A short list of artists who recorded there could include Otis Redding, Rufus Thomas, Sam & Dave and the instrumental band led by Hammond organist, […]
Ron Carter has set the standard for modern jazz bass players. He rose to fame with Miles Davis, but went on to play with Stan Getz and Thelonious Monk. His recording work spans 2,000 albums, and he’s had equally successful careers as a bandleader, composer and educator. Hear the bassist in a session on Piano Jazz.
Blind Lemon Jefferson was one of the defining guitarists of Texas Blues of the 1920’s. Influenced by the country and gospel music of Texas, he also heard Mexican music played by farm workers. His unique guitar style and high, eerie voice were memorable; he recorded over 100 songs and was one of the best known […]
Chances are you know the song “My Babe”, made popular by Little Walter in 1955. Except for the lyrics, “My Babe” is nearly identical to the gospel song “This Train is Bound For Glory”, a song that reaches back to the 1920’s. The earliest known recording of “This Train is Bound For Glory” dates from […]
On his first trip to Seattle, Grammy-nominated vocalist Gregory Porter stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live studio session that you do not want to miss. This also happened to be the day that Blue Note Records announced the release of Porter’s new album, Liquid Spirit. You will hear from the man himself in this interview, […]
Tampa Red was a slide guitar pioneer who helped create the template for modern blues. His distinctive use of single-string slide melodies in the 1920’s would go on to influence virtually every slide player who followed him, including Big Bill Broonzy and Muddy Waters. In the days before amplification, he played a steel-bodied resonator guitar, […]
Siegel, a singer, is one quarter of the jazz supergroup The Manhattan Transfer. Throughout the 30 years she’s spent with that musical institution, she’s also released her own recordings featuring hip, seductive arrangements of standards, as well as newer works. Here, she visits Piano Jazz along with pianist and accordion player Gil Goldstein.
Frank Vignola is well-known as one of the most amazing guitarists on today’s jazz scene. Five years ago he hooked up with a young, extremely accomplished guitarist named VinnyRaniolo. Since then they’ve worked together in a number of different group configurations but they’re at their best when it’s just the two of them, each armed […]
By John Kessler Otis Rush brought such passion and emotion to his singing and guitar playing that his music has been called “frighteningly intense”. Rush never achieved the commercial success that he might have, but along with Buddy Guy and Magic Sam, he is acknowledged to be one of the architects of the Chicago blues […]
By Robin Lloyd and Justin Steyer Every Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. on our sister station, KPLU KPLU, Robin Lloyd presents a feature called Jazz Caleinte—a set of three Latin jazz songs that are embellished by Robin’s comments and insights into all forms of Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz. Recently Robin hosted her first live Jazz Caliente […]
By Abe Beeson and Justin Steyer During this performance interview with The Greyboy Allstars, Jazz24/KPLU jazz host, Abe Beeson, called their latest CD (Inland Emperor) ‘the party album of 2013.’ The Greyboy Allstars’ reputation as a party/dance band is well-earned. They’ve been playing terrific jazz/funk all over the world for almost 20 years, staying […]
Based on actual conversations: WHY WE NEED THIS MOVIE #1 Me: I’m going to watch this movie, “The Girls In The Band.” And hopefully write a review. Hip Old Jazz Radio Dude: Oh, yeah? What’s it about, chick singers? Me: Um, no. It’s about the great female instrumentalists who couldn’t get hired by the big bands, […]