As a fledgling classical soprano in New York, Norman went to hear singers like Mabel Mercer perform. She tells WBGO’s Rhonda Hamilton that her study of jazz vocalists influenced the way she interprets songs — including operatic arias.
The 24-year-old tenor sax player is the first female instrumentalist to take home the annual prize for young musicians. Raised in Chile and based in New York, Aldana beat out friends Tivon Pennicott and Godwin Louis for first-place honors, worth a $25,000 scholarship and a recording contract.
The annual jazz competition for young musicians, which featured saxophonists in 2013, was a bit predictable — at least in the semifinal round. But given the particular displays of talent on stage, is that necessarily a bad thing?
Latin jazz works best when the musicians involved are as fluent in Afro-Cuban rhythms as they are in the deep grooves and advanced harmonics of bebop. A man with a powerful interest in both the past and the future, Arturo O’Farrill has that pedigree in his DNA.
On this archival program from 1992, Clooney reminisces about her singing career with her sister Betty in Tony Pastor’s band. Her rich, smooth voice and skillful phrasing add to the deep feeling in “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and the challenging “Lush Life.”
The singer and songwriter grew up with Celtic and pop music in her home, and after discovering Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans, she became known as a folksy jazz vocalist. She visits the program along with keyboardist Gary Versace.
The jazz artist, who turned to singing when an injury ended his football career, claims three people as his main influences: his minister mother, his absentee father, and Nat King Cole. He discusses his musical life and the new album Liquid Spirit with NPR’s Audie Cornish.