Jazz

This song is called "Rhapsody In Berlin," and it was recorded in the German city recently. But Berlin isn't exactly the geography that comes to mind. It's more like a Central African nightclub, with layered instrumental funk interjected by yelps and whistles similar to Hindewhu Pygmy music. Or downtown Manhattan or Chicago's South Side in the late '60s and early '70s, where free-improvising saxophones met electronics and rock music and Sly Stone amid the urgency of the civil rights struggle.

Rose Murphy On Piano Jazz

Apr 29, 2016

Rose Murphy (1913–1989) was a legendary singer and pianist who starred at the nightclub Café Society in the heyday of New York's jazz scene. She made history with her version of "I Can't Give You Anything But Love." Critics and audiences were delighted by her breathless voice, her spirited playing and her signature "chee-chee."

In this Piano Jazz session from 1988, Murphy showcases her trademark vocal style in "Cecilia," then teams up with host Marian McPartland for "St. Louis Blues."

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid

Apr 28, 2016

Carlos Henriquez spends a lot of time these days in midtown Manhattan as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's bassist — a post he's held since he was a teen. But his roots are uptown in the Bronx. In The Bronx Pyramid, his debut album released last year by JALC's Blue Engine Records, Henriquez acknowledges the neighborhood where he was born and raised. In songs like "Joshua's Dream" and "Brook Ave," the young Nuyorican composer brings together Afro-Latin traditions and his jazz pedigree to pay tribute to the family and community that raised him.

This Saturday, April 30, marks the fifth anniversary of International Jazz Day, a celebration organized by UNESCO to celebrate jazz across the globe. To do our part, we're highlighting some of our favorite jazz musicians to play behind Bob Boilen's desk. Rising stars, young virtuosos, NEA Jazz Masters and veteran ensembles alike have played in NPR's D.C. offices. Here are five standout jazz performances at the Tiny Desk.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band

There are masterpieces of the studio, and certainly Sarah Vaughan left plenty of those behind. But the really crushing exhibitions from jazz musicians of her caliber come nightly, in clubs and concert halls, tossed off so repeatedly and seemingly casually that any given tune in any given set reeks of talent. Throw a dart at any one moment and there's probably something there.

Recently, two new jazz recordings came my way. One, titled Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest, is an album of never-before-released studio recordings from Germany in 1968.

The Legacy Of The Benny Goodman Quartet

Apr 21, 2016

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands. In a special stage show written by Geoffrey Ward and narrated by Wendell Pierce, a young band (Christian Sands, piano; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Sammy Miller, drums) with a rotating cast of clarinetists (Will Anderson, Peter Anderson, Patrick Bartley and Janelle Reichman) tells the whole story at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

For more than 10 years, Diana Panton has been quietly building her jazz career. She's also a high-school French teacher by day, which means she mostly records and tours while her students are on vacation. But on her latest album, she's aiming for a new audience.

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