On Tuesday night, pianist Jason Moran hosted an Election Night Jam at the Kennedy Center, where he mixed American classic tunes and campaign songs new and old. It represents the latest chapter in jazz’s engagement with politics, including a few “presidential” nominations.
Here’s a perfect example of a song that changed with the times, and was at the cutting edge of those changes. Drummer and singer Rabon Tarrant recorded “Blues With a Feeling” in 1947, a time when big band swing music was in transition to rock and roll. This version straddles both genres with the beat […]
It’s no wonder that pianist, Bill Charlap, loves the music that has come to be called The Great American Songbook—the songs of great Tin Pan Alley composers such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. He grew up with it. Born and raised in New York, Bill’s father, Moose Charlap, was a Broadway composer and his mother, Sandy […]
A new book for children on John Coltrane was released last week (click here to buy). Here is the press release: Sometimes, when you lose almost everything as a child, a lifeline appears that restores your faith and re-ignites your spirit. For John Coltrane, that lifeline was the saxophone, and the musical dreams it inspired. […]
Sonny Boy Williamson was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s. His ability […]
Robert Johnson has become a mythical figure of the blues, who acquired his prodigious skills in a deal with the devil at the crossroads. The truth is he was a man who worked very hard to turn himself into a musician. His early attempts at music –sitting in with legends Charley Patton and Son House—were […]
Curtis Stigers is a singer, songwriter, saxophonist who loves the great Tin Pan Alley songs of George Gershwin and Cole Porter, but finds a greater creative challenge in doing jazz versions of songs by more contemporary songwriters. In this studio session with jazz host, Abe Beeson, Curtis puts a jazz twist to songs by David Poe and Richard […]
In this studio session, hosted by Kevin Kniestedt, we’re pleased to introduce you to a woman who we believe is one of the finest up-and-coming international jazz talents to come along in years, Halie Loren. Eugene, Oregon, has always had a rich and progressive music scene. Still, when one thinks of notable “jazz cities,” Eugene […]
One of contemporary jazz’s most renowned pianists dazzles during his recent visit to KPLU’s studios in Seattle. Watch Chestnut work magic throughout this three-song solo set.
The Mississippi Sheiks were a popular string band of the 1920’s and 30’s, with a sound that was a crossover between country music and blues. Though Mississippi-based, their music differed from delta blues in some important ways. For one, country blues chord changes have more in common with folk music than with blues, and secondly, […]
On a tour to promote their first collaboration, Crossing The Imaginary Divide, Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio stopped by the KPLU Seattle studios for a live performance and interview, hosted by Mary McCann. If you’re looking for music that will lift your heart, this is the session for you! Bela Fleck is a genre-defying banjo […]
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut came onto the jazz scene slowly. From the mid-1980’s to mid-1990’s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Better Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. Since then he has toured the world numerous times and recorded 15 albums as a leader. In this performance/interview Cyrus talks about his gospel roots, his discovery […]
This iconic hard-luck song was a hit when Bessie Smith recorded it in 1929, and with its timeless message and memorable melody, “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” has been a favorite for singers in almost every genre including jazz, blues, folk and rock. Bessie Smith was the most popular female jazz and […]
Latin jazz bandleader and conguero player Poncho Sanchez was among the list of individuals who will receive The Latin Recording Academy®’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The list of winners, which also includes Luz Casal, Leo Dan, Rita Moreno, Milton Nascimento, Daniela Romo, and Toquinho, was announced last Thursday. “This year’s exceptional group of honorees not only […]
In an archival show from 1990, Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of Stephane Grappelli, one of the jazz world’s greatest violinists. Grappelli first found fame in France with Django Reinhart’s Quintette du Hot Club. He went on to an illustrious career playing with everyone from Oscar Peterson to Paul Simon to Yo-Yo Ma.
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was a disaster that reshaped the South. With flooding in 10 states, the river below Memphis reached 60 miles across in some places. Not only was farmland swallowed up, but many poor blacks were forced to work rebuilding levees. With no crop that year, many headed north in what […]
Bellingham jazz singer, Cheryl Jewell, was raised in Oak Harbor, Washington. When she went to college in Bellingham, she fell in love with that city. She left only to pursue her singing career in Chicago, Detroit and Los Angeles. After working for several years as a rock and country singer, Cheryl decided to move […]