Veteran jazz masters “Killer” Ray Appleton and Barry Altschul have issued fine new albums this year. Both in their early 70s, it’s clear they draw from extensive experience. So how might that translate to making music that’s fun to listen to?
Homegrown Christie Dashiell and expat Alfredo Rodriguez each bring something new to Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center. Dashiell’s vocal delivery is so easy, you can barely hear her breathe. Rodriguez’s control and dynamics make the piano sing, sweat and shake as he plays the music of Cuba.
The tenor saxophonist plays in some of the most talked-about jazz groups of today; bands led by Ambrose Akinmusire, Eric Harland and Terence Blanchard. Freshly signed to a new record deal, Smith draws the leadership role in presenting his own quintet at his alma mater.
A guitarist with a decidedly non-standard approach to jazz’s standard practices, Halvorson balances golden-era hard-bop order and free improvising entropy. At the NPR Music offices, her band strikes comforting tones, but also morphs, rephrases and implodes those ideas.
One of the most celebrated voices in jazz returns to her old stomping grounds in Portland, Ore., to honor her longtime mentor, Thara Memory. Watch Esperanza Spalding and the Pacific Crest Jazz Orchestra perform “City of Roses” in the place that inspired the song.
Since the Harlem Renaissance, African-American musicians have portrayed black history as extended musical works. Jazz is full of such long-form compositions. Hear five examples from composers such as Oliver Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Duke Ellington.
The emotive alto saxophonist has been summoned all around the United States, and now calls his native Baltimore home. He returns to New York for this performance celebrating the release of his debut album, Songs From This Season.