Jazz

11:22am

Fri April 17, 2015
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Henry Mancini On Piano Jazz

Henry Mancini.
Evening Standard Getty Images

Composer, arranger and pianist Henry Mancini (1924–1994) wrote some of the most memorable tunes of the modern era. Throughout his career, he recorded more than 90 albums and won 20 Grammys and four Oscars.

To mark what would have been Mancini's 91st birthday, Piano Jazz brings you this episode from 1985. He discusses his muse — the movie screen — and performs several favorites, including "Days Of Wine And Roses."

Originally broadcast in the spring of 1985.

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10:01am

Fri April 17, 2015
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Celebrating Billie Holiday's Centennial With Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Among the celebrations of Billie Holiday's centennial birthday anniversary is a new album from Cassandra Wilson. In Coming Forth By Day, one of today's top jazz vocalists salutes one of her idols, drastically rearranging the Holiday songbook.

Jazz Night In America features Cassandra Wilson's blues, country and folk-tinged delivery as she performs her Billie Holiday tribute, and catches up with some key collaborators of both Wilson and Holiday herself.

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12:03pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Music

In 'Snowy Egret,' A Fierce New Band Takes Flight

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

Myra Melford's new album is titled Snowy Egret.
Bryan Murray Courtesy of the artist

Jazz pianist and composer Myra Melford's latest album is a suite of music inspired by the Memory Of Fire trilogy — a three-volume history of the Americas by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.

More simply, it's the recorded debut of what she calls a "killer band."

In an interview with NPR's Arun Rath, she explains the genesis of Snowy Egret — the name of both her new album and the group behind it.

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11:10am

Fri April 10, 2015
Music

Carmen McRae On Piano Jazz

Carmen McRae on the cover of Rhino Hi-Five: Carmen McRae.
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Carmen McRae (1920-1994) was an expert on rhythm, deft phrasing and personal, bittersweet ballads. Her enigmatic, dark contralto voice helped place her among the pantheon of great female jazz singers.

In 1994, McRae received the Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. On this 1985 episode of Piano Jazz, McRae accompanies herself for "As Long As I Live" and joins host Marian McPartland to perform "Carmen's Blues."

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3:33am

Thu April 9, 2015
A Blog Supreme

Remembering Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's Pianist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:05 am

Pianist Ralph Sharon, the longtime accompanist for Tony Bennett, died March 31 at age 91. In the audio link above, Tom Cole has a brief report for NPR's Morning Edition, and below, Walter Ray Watson filed this remembrance for NPR Music.

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3:23am

Thu April 9, 2015
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz In Concert

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 6:45 pm

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

The public youth music education program known as El Sistema has reached hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, largely through participation in classical music ensembles. In 2007, drummer Andrés Briceño and head of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music Valdemar Rodríguez introduced a jazz program to El Sistema, with the goal of promoting the music throughout Venezuela. The flagship ensemble, Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, presents the work of both American jazz masters and Venezuelan composers, and like its orchestral counterparts, has now toured the U.S.

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11:39am

Tue April 7, 2015
Music Articles

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:54 pm

Billie Holiday has become a mythic presence in absentia.
William Gottlieb Getty Images

5:08pm

Sun April 5, 2015
Music Interviews

Cassandra Wilson 'Couldn't Wait' To Reinvent The Billie Holiday Songbook

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 8:54 am

Cassandra Wilson's Billie Holiday tribute album is titled Coming Forth By Day.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago this week. Today, her place in music history is clear.

"I think we witness in Billie Holiday's music the beginning of the jazz vocal age, really," fellow vocalist Cassandra Wilson says. "Her phrasing is very conversational, and it swings — it moves with the musicians. She's very much in charge of her place in the music. She's in control of the story, and in control of her cadence."

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5:51pm

Fri April 3, 2015
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

John Pizzarelli On Piano Jazz

John Pizzarelli.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest jazz acts around. With his swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and modern. He's the son of jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli, who helped him get his start.

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11:57am

Wed April 1, 2015
Mountain Stage

Hot Club Of Cowtown On Mountain Stage

Hot Club of Cowtown.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Hot Club Of Cowtown makes its sixth visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. The band formed in 1996, when guitarist and singer Whit Smith answered an advertisement placed by singer and fiddler Elana James. After moving to Austin, the pair added upright bass player Jake Erwin, and the trio quickly made a name for itself by fusing hot jazz and Western swing. The band has since become a favorite at fairs and festivals across Europe, and has opened stadium shows for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

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