Sixty years ago, a jazz pianist found himself in much the same bittersweet position as a rapper did on Sunday night. Surely proud of their hard work, they also sensed that their privilege as white musicians had something to do with their new success.
Many Shanghai jazz standards of the 1930s and ’40s were banned in China after the Chinese Communist Party took over. But they reemerged decades later through cover versions. Now, the songs are back again in a new cover album by a Chinese-American electronic artist and a jazz singer from Shanghai.
The innovative guitarist plays “Blue Monk” with host Marian McPartland in a session from 2003.
The 1930s-style “viper jazz” band swings with rock ‘n’ roll fury in a live studio session.
When he was studying jazz in the ’50s and becoming a revered guitarist, Kenny Burrell vowed to teach the subject one day. Now, decades after his first class, he’s never committed more to music education.
Inspired by A.A. Milne’s 1924 book of poetry, When We Were Very Young, Cornelius presents a composition commissioned by Chamber Music America. It features Bill Evans-like voicings and Ellingtonian ideas.
The composer and bandleader mixes Argentine folk forms, New York’s jazz talent pool and a postmodern mash-up imagination. He returns to his alma mater, a core group of bandmates in tow, to coach a performance of his own uniquely beguiling music.
The pianist builds R&B with old-school values: singers who don’t need software, live improvising, hand-built beats. They’re jazz aesthetics, essentially — readily evident when members of his Grammy-winning Experiment band jam with singer Marsha Ambrosius.
On Gilchrist’s The View From Here, go-go dance beats inform his piano the same way freight-train boogie-woogie does.
The singer-songwriter remains influential in jazz, but improvisers have yet to fully mine his repertoire. Here are a few of the attempts so far, from musicians such as Kenny Garrett, Carmen Lundy and George Benson.