Saxophonist Jimmy Greene's newest album, Beautiful Life, is dedicated to the memory of his 6-year-old daughter. Ana Márquez-Greene was killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Greene paid tribute to his daughter by composing and arranging a genre-spanning album to reflect the way she lived.
Earlier this year, singer Tierney Sutton earned a Grammy nomination — her sixth — for Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2014's Paris Sessions. But when Sutton came on Piano Jazz in 2004, she had just released her album Dancing In The Dark, a tribute to Frank Sinatra.
Canada produces a lot of top-flight jazz, but if you're not in the country, you'll probably have to head north to hear it. U.S. travel restrictions keep many of the nation's best musicians at home, where they've developed their own sound and scene.
Fortunately, Canada has wonderful jazz festivals. The granddaddy of them all is the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal (FIJM), a 10-day extravaganza which kicked off Thursday. Now in its 36th year, FIJM attracts more than six million visitors from around the world.
There are certain figures in jazz history whose iconic status can be telegraphed by a single name: Miles. Billie. Bix. Coltrane. Though there is a deity-like ring to the stand-alone moniker, there's also a suggestion of the intense connection that these artists inspired in fans, and a notion that their messages remain relevant today.
Even those who didn't live through Nina Simone's heyday can recognize her songs, or at least her voice. Born Eunice Waymon, the passionate performer and activist died in 2003, and today her recordings still loom larger than the rest of her story.
Jazz is all about great collaborations, and in honor of Father's Day this weekend, composer and bassist Christian McBride, host of NPR's Jazz Night In Americaand a regular All Things Considered guest, stopped by for a conversation about fathers and sons.
Gerry Mulligan, best known as a baritone saxophonist, was pivotal in developing the West Coast jazz sound, and was featured in big bands for years. He also composed and performed symphonic music and played piano.