Matt Fleeger of KMHD in Portland, Ore., highlights the British trombone player’s new album.
Gary G. Vercelli of California’s Capital Public Radio finds the jazz guitarist covering a Coltrane classic.
Salamishah Tillet explains why Simone’s pursuit of a life without fear still gives us all — musicians and fans alike — something to learn from.
Willard Robison wrote strange pastoral tunes in the mid-1920s. Jazz guitarist Matt Munisteri has been collecting and recording these songs for nearly a decade, and he’s finally gotten around to releasing his own versions.
The French guitarist, whose playing can be heard throughout Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, discusses his new album and the enduring influence of Django Reinhardt.
As part of its summer series on the sounds of music al fresco, Weekend Edition Saturday speaks with John Thornton, a trumpet player who holds court outside the National Archives.
Sung is a dazzling and passionate player with a flawless technique and an exquisite touch. The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance graduate has played with such luminaries as Clark Terry and Wynton Marsalis. She shows off her compositional skills when she plays her own tune (“Hope Springs Eternally”), and she joins host Marian McPartland on “Someday My Prince Will Come.”
Preview some of the artists playing the Montreal International Jazz Festival, a musical grand prix.
Players pair off and rejoin, chase each other and catch up at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
A visual tour of the Village Vanguard, New York City’s world-famous jazz club, capacity 123.
The Swedish jazz trio sculpts epic soundscapes on its first posthumous album, released four years after pianist Esbjörn Svensson’s death.
Bassist Matt Ulery, whose new album displays an affinity for strings, picks some of his favorite mergers of classical and folk music with the blues. Hear songs from Brad Mehldau, Chico Hamilton, Dave Douglas, Anne Mette Iversen and Wayne Shorter.
Once described by Time as “America’s best singer,” Wilson explores a lifelong relationship with the guitar on her new album, Another Country.
The jazz drummer tells NPR’s Guy Raz that great percussionists like Buddy Rich and Max Roach make their cymbals “sing.”
The JJA Jazz Awards, Ravi Coltrane, performers’ rights and sad news from WGBH.
In tribute to Dave McKenna, Marian McPartland asked pianist and singer Daryl Sherman to guest host this remembrance that includes clips from the two programs McKenna did with McPartland in 1979 and 1994. Sherman also puts a delightful twist on “Rhode Island is Famous for You” and “Teddy Ballgame.”
The guitarist has played in just about every conceivable setting in New York City — and carried a love of jazz throughout. For this live concert, his trio takes on Albert Ayler and John Coltrane, dirty blues, punk energy and fully liberated improvisation.
For the annual celebration of Juneteenth, today’s jazz luminaries — musicians such as Jason Moran, Christian McBride, Orrin Evans, Jeremy Pelt and Bobby Watson — reflect on recordings about the ongoing process of African-American emancipation.
It’s tricky making a little band sound this big, but trombonist Ray Anderson knows his tricks.
The top 20 records of the last 20 years, more money from music and the Latin Jazz Grammy returns.
A zooid is an organism that functions independently within a larger organism — a sensible metaphor for an improvising band which has operated under an original system of mutable, multi-directional grooves for a dozen years now. Hear the group’s new album.
To prepare for her new album, Girl Talk, McGarry researched what her singing idols — including Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan and Anita O’Day — sounded like in conversation.
A veteran jazzman and his musical family put their horns together on their first collaborative release, Kelan Philip Cohran and The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
It’s easy to see why the drummer is so in demand among jazz’s international stars — just watching him manipulate polyrhythms will suffice. But he also writes music: His open, soaring quartet performs songs from an upcoming record live in concert.
The late pianist led a trio for many years in Southern California clubs and accompanied many great singers on movie sets and stages. Piano Jazz remembers Gerry Wiggins with this archived performance and conversation from 1992.
In the first generation of bebop musicians, Ray Brown was king of the jazz bass. He mentored a young player named Christian McBride, and today, McBride is jazz’s “go-to” bassist. While visiting Seattle’s KPLU, he performs with pianist Peter Martin.
Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dianne Reeves and Cassandra Wilson sing from the Abbey Lincoln songbook.
He’s a restless creative spirit who can’t keep still on stage, but now the jazz harmonica player has the recorded document to back up his reputation. Maret brings his quartet to WBGO to perform tunes from his self-titled debut album.
There have been a few groundbreaking harpists in jazz and improvised music, from Dorothy Ashby to Zeena Parkins. Now, Fresh Air‘s jazz critic says the Colombian phenomenon joins that list with Double Portion, his new album of solos and duets.
The U.S. Postal Service is partnering with La Poste of France to celebrate the musical talents of Edith Piaf and Miles Davis with the Miles Davis/Edith Piaf (Forever®) stamps. Music speaks an international language and these stamps celebrate a lively conversation between the U.S. and France. Edith Piaf (1915-1963) is one of the few French […]
Ravi Coltrane and Neneh Cherry will release new albums 52 years after their dads recorded together.
A global pop star of the late ’80s and ’90s returns by collaborating with the Scandinavian free-jazz trio, which took its name from her stepfather. As you might expect, the results are wild, homemade and raw — and somehow, they make a lot of sense.
He took a snapshot of his long-running quartet mid-experiment. Then he thought he’d record a completely different band on a different set of tunes. The result is Ravi Coltrane’s sixth studio album, the latest progress report from the saxophonist.
Three concert presenters and three record labels explain how they’re trying to attract new fans.
Opinions abound regarding alternate employment, how to put butts in seats, and anime jazz.
When you’re a world-class jazz drummer like these two, your calendar fills up pretty quickly with world-class gigs. So NPR Music and WBGO are giving the drummers some — that is, some time to showcase their own tunes and own bands.
In Shearing’s second appearance on the program from 1987, host Marian McPartland reminisces with her fellow countryman about obscure British tunes, and the two have fun re-harmonizing “God Save the Queen.” Shearing also sings and plays Cole Porter’s “After You,” and the two end with a two-piano version of “Indiana.”
The trumpeter and the drummer each bring high-energy bands to the Detroit Jazz Festival.
The drummer is an awfully busy player — as likely to improvise with jazz musicians as she is to back Brandi Carlile — but in recent years, she’s carved out time to write music for her own group. A few tunes are dedicated to friends like her first teacher, a “sometimes great guy.”
Spalding treated the Morning Becomes Eclectic crew to a full-band in-studio performance during a recent visit to Santa Monica. Watch Spalding and company perform “Smile Like That” from Radio Music Society.
The talk-show host and former presidential candidate also plays bass in a rock group. But he says his tastes were more shaped by the big-band jazz his parents played.
Drummer Mike Reed’s quartet People, Places and Things was put together to spotlight music written in Chicago in a fertile period between 1954 and 1960. The group has since expanded its mission to include later works, which are included on a new album titled Clean on the Corner.
A 2,799 word article from 1983 details the “marginal” business of journalism with humor and despair.
Every Sunday at Seattle’s Cafe Racer, musicians gather for a session of experimental music. But after four people were killed last Wednesday at the coffeehouse and bar, this week’s jam session took place in a different venue — the alley out back — with a very different tone.
An annual jazz festival brings great musicians to the nation’s capital. But here are five great musicians who will keep the District swinging well after early June — folks like Brian Settles, Fred Foss and Reginald Cyntje.
Jerry Gonzalez, the late Pete Cosey, anecdotes of a trad-jazz band and your brain on the Internet.
Pianist and singer Barbara Carroll was host Marian McPartland’s second guest during the first season of Piano Jazz. Thirty years later, Carroll makes a return appearance to reminisce with her friend about their experiences at the Hickory House and the Oak Room. Carroll gives a charming performance of “Very Early” and McPartland improvises a musical portrait of her guest.
Veteran drummer Jack DeJohnette stops by the Jazz24 studios in Seattle, to perform a studio session with two longtime collaborators: pianist Chick Corea and bassist Stanley Clarke.
The guitarist’s uptempo tunes swing and his ballads melt at the Kennedy Center.
The guitarist called his last album Hearts Wide Open, a mission statement of his search for the emotional core in modern jazz. Along the way, he wrote a few nifty tunes for a band of top New York players, including saxophonist Mark Turner.
A Toronto-based jazz trio whose approach to the genre has angered aficionados and grabbed the attention of young fans, BADBADNOTGOOD carries on jazz’s rich tradition of reinvention and provocation in “UWM.”
Henry Cole’s debut album is an Afrobeat party — which isn’t that far removed from his jazz style.
Masabumi Kikuchi’s fully improvised album Sunrise features late, like-minded drummer Paul Motian.
Ralph Peterson, Neneh Cherry, the Library of Congress archives and a generous Metallica bassist.
In New York, an Israeli guitarist found the beating heart of modern jazz. In San Juan, a jazz drummer found the African heart of Afro-Caribbean party music. Musical traditions unite on the dance floor during this performance in downtown Manhattan.
Italian import Daniela Schaechter is a brilliant young pianist and singer, taking the jazz scene by storm. Judging by her list of awards and the number of jazz luminaries she’s played with, one might think she’d been gigging professionally for dozens of years. Schaechter performs her own tune “Dark Blue,” and McPartland joins in for “It Could Happen to You.”
The saxophonist performs a piece by his contemporary — a practice much rarer than you might think.
Cuadrado sets surrealist Spanish poems to music in a concert at 92Y Tribeca.
Chilean rapper Ana Tijoux stops by to discuss her most recent album, her secret desire to make a jazz record and her musical theories.
Pianist and composer Kurt Ellenberger urges musicians to “make money doing something else.”
Drummer Jack DeJohnette was 23 years old when he made his first recording with The Charles Lloyd Quartet in 1966. Since that time he’s been a driving (and we do mean ‘driving’) force in the world of jazz. This year he’ll be celebrating his birthday (August 9th) all year long with a number of special […]
Jason Crane of The Jazz Session interview podcast is touring the U.S. via Greyhound bus.
Whistling guitarist and harmonica master Toots Thielemans has played in everything from Charlie Parker’s band to commercials for Old Spice. In his childhood home of Brussels — really, throughout his homeland — the celebration of his 90th birthday is on.
Buffalo native Christopher Ziemba is a young pianist and composer, currently honing his craft at the Eastman School of Music. He took the stage at age 7, and he’s already performed at Carnegie Hall. Ziemba makes his Piano Jazz debut here, performing “Dream Dancing” and “The Nearness of You.”
Steve Lehman’s new album Dialect Fluorescent ends with a song called “Mr. E,” a composition written by jazz legend Jackie McLean. But the connections run deep between Lehman and the alto saxophonist he considers a personal hero.
He broke all the rules of jazz and improvised music — and that was in the 1950s. Now 83 and idolized by musicians, the great improviser is celebrated for developing a unique language at the keyboard.
Why Jazz Happened (due out in December of 2012) is the first comprehensive social history of jazz. It provides an intimate and compelling look at the many forces that shaped this most American of art forms and the many influences that gave rise to jazz’s post-war styles. Rich with the voices of musicians, producers, promoters, […]
The Vortex in London is a 100-person venue which recently hosted the Vijay Iyer Trio and the BBC. It’s been an engine of economic growth for its community and is embraced by musicians. It’s all the more remarkable considering no staff are paid.
Blues singer Janiva Magness just released a new CD, Stronger For It, and was recently in town performing at Jazz Alley. She and her 4-piece band visited KPLU’s Seattle Studio and performed 4 songs from the new CD. It’s her 9th release, but the first to feature songs written by her. Along the way, we […]
In one of his final performances, Armstrong used “Hello Dolly” to convey the joy of being alive.
Singer Tierney Sutton’s band were in deep discussion five minutes before their live in-studio performance on KPLU last Wednesday, trying to decide which three songs to play for our audience. It was just one example of how interconnected each member of this quartet really is. We learned more about each band member’s extra-musical skills were […]
A professor of music writes about how a proliferation of teaching jazz hasn’t made it more popular.
The 38th Annual Jazz Record Collectors Bash will kick off Friday, June 29th at the Hilton Woodbridge in Iselin, New Jersey, and run through Saturday June 30th. Those attending will be able to buy, sell, swap, and trade 78′s, LP’s, CD’s and memorabilia, as well as view some very rare jazz films. On Friday, jazz […]
Famous for his collaborations with Miles Davis, Evans brought orchestral colors and textures to jazz, and was a pioneer of the “cool” sound.
The Cuban trumpeter first met Dizzy Gillespie in 1977, when the American jazzman came to Havana to play a concert. It was the start of a friendship that would last until Gillespie’s death in 1993.
“Cookie cutter” students, young musicians in New York and the history of jazz in India.
In Boston, three professors and musical virtuosos meet weekly to give concerts of free improvisation — and have for four decades. One fan tells us about how she saw The Fringe so many times, the manager of the club finally offered her a job tending bar.
Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of songwriter and lyricist Johnny Mercer. Pianist-singer and Mercer enthusiast Daryl Sherman brings her sophisticated swing and witty charm to the show for performances of “Too Marvelous for Words” and “Jeepers Creepers.” McPartland joins in on one of her favorite Mercer tunes, “Skylark.”
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, […]
The Undead Music Festival hosts a nationwide “Night of the Living DIY” this Friday, organizing house concerts from Oakland to Brooklyn. As one grassroots concert presenter explains, living rooms might just be where improvisation thrives best.
For arranger Gil Evans’ centennial, we present a concert from the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival. Terence Blanchard plays Davis’ role with commitment and emotion.
Pianist Christian Sands has an old-school jazz education — yet loves to riff over Kanye West beats and arrange OutKast songs. Of course, if you follow improvised music today, this is far from unusual.
Plenty of instrumental bands conversant with today’s pop music come from a similar perspective with more creativity — if not attention. Here are five such groups that preserve the same keyboards-bass-drums lineup of the young Toronto trio.
His life reads like a blues song … 1920’s, a young preacher playing the blues, despite his church’s opposition. Kills a man in self-defense, 2 years in prison, and comes out to team up with the best-known blues man of the day, Charley Patton. After limited commercial success of his own, he fades from view, […]
Rarely-Heard Recording Includes Original Cookbook of Louis’ Most-Loved Recipes This release comes from Smithsonian Folkway Recordings. Jazz icon Louis Armstrong, always the consummate entertainer, turned a 1971 award ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington DC into an impromptu performance despite recent poor health. It was one of his last concerts before he passed […]
Known as the “First Lady of Jazz” singer Ella Fitzgerald was born April 25, 1917, in Newport News, Virginia. From rather humble beginnings Fitzgerald and her smooth, silky voice climbed to the top of the jazz world, reports Biography.com. During her long career she worked with greats from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to Dizzy […]
In the first generation of be-bop musicians, Ray Brown was King of the Jazz Bass. Today, the ‘go-to’ jazz bassist is Christian McBride, so we felt quite lucky when he said he had the time to stop into to KPLU studios for a performance with pianist, Peter Martin. Christian talked about his formative years, the […]
Originally, a limited vinyl release by the National Press Club in 1972, one of the last recordings of Louis Armstrong will be available widely for the first time via Smithsonian Folkways Recordings on April 24th as part of the Smithsonian’s celebration of the 11th annual Jazz Appreciation Month. Armstrong often signed letters “Red Beans and […]
Every so often, a barrage of articles and blog posts come out claiming that jazz has found the musician or musicians that are going to “save” jazz. More often than not, these musicians are achieving some current commercial success and popularity among a broad audience outside of the typical “jazz head” community. Recently, bassist/vocalist Esperanza […]
When pianist Lynne Arriale released her first CD in 1994, KPLU began playing music from it right away. It was clear to us that Lynne had that “something extra” that separates good musicians from great musicians. Over the course of her career she’s continued to build on that quality, so we were especially pleased to […]
Written by Nick Morrison from Jazz24 In this edition of Take Five, we wish a belated but happy 85th birthday to jazz pianist Dick Hyman. Born March 8, 1927, in New York City, the classically trained Hyman was drawn to jazz at an early age. Today, he’s a living, breathing, swinging encyclopedia of jazz piano history, […]
By Justin Steyer & Abe Beeson Tenor saxophonist/composer, Benny Golson is now in his second half-century as a touring and recording jazz artist. He began performing almost 60 years ago and recorded his first LP as a bandleader 55 years ago … and if his stop by the Jazz24 studios last week with pianist, Sharp […]
Blues singer and harmonica player, Kim Wilson, thinks it’s very healthy for people to drop their emotional guard every now and then and let themselves get smacked around by a great blues performance. And he should know. He’s been doing a fair amount of the smacking for almost 40 years with his bands, […]
“If you’ve got music in your heart, you’re gonna be a happy person, no matter what.” That’s what trumpeter Arturo Sandoval told KPLU’s Jazz on the Grooveyard host Kevin Kniestedt, as he recalls growing up in rural Cuba and having a trumpet teacher tell him (at age 10) that he had no talent and should […]