Jazz

Ayako Shirasaki On Piano Jazz

Apr 15, 2016

Originally from Japan, pianist Ayako Shirasaki showed an early talent for jazz and classical styles. As an adult, she moved to New York and entered the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Kenny Barron and Ted Rosenthal. She's gone on to establish herself as one of New York's finest jazz pianists.

On this 2006 episode of Piano Jazz, Shirasaki performs her compositions "Far Away" and "Falling Leaves."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 2006.

Barbara Lea On Piano Jazz

Apr 8, 2016

Vocalist Barbara Lea (1929–2011) was a widely respected and admired interpreter of classic American popular song. She began her career in the 1950s, and the Downbeat Critics Poll of 1956 recognized her as "Best New Singer."

Jymie Merritt: The Beat Goes Deep

Apr 7, 2016

Philadelphia bassist Jymie Merritt's place on the historical register of jazz was cemented by his work with major players like Art Blakey, Max Roach and Lee Morgan. But there's a lot more music for which he hasn't received due credit: notably, his own. Starting in the 1960s, he began developing a personal system of polyrhythms and harmonies called Forerunner, and a working ensemble called The Forerunners to match.

Paul Bley On Piano Jazz

Apr 1, 2016

A legendary leader of the jazz avant-garde, pianist Paul Bley (1932–2016) cultivated his own musical vision and influenced a generation of performers.

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

Ibrahim Maalouf Plays Umm Kulthum

Mar 31, 2016

The trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf was born in Lebanon and grew up in France; like his father, he studied Western classical music, but also microtonal Arabic music using a custom-built instrument. His latest project in a career full of cross-pollinating ventures was inspired by the late Umm Kulthum, the Arab world's greatest vocalist.

Just before he died in 2009, Joe Castro sat down with his son James to listen to some tapes. The reel-to-reels were full of Castro's own decades-old recordings, in which the jazz pianist jammed with his contemporaries.

"It was kind of like a shock," James says, "because right when we put the first tape on, it sounded like it was recorded yesterday."

Father and son went through more than 40 hours of tape. James says he was used to hearing his dad back up other musicians.

In 1955, jazz pianist Erroll Garner played a concert in Carmel, Calif. When his manager spotted a tape recorder rolling backstage, she grabbed the reels and decided to release them.

Of all Marian McPartland's attributes, possibly the most underrated was her ability as a composer. Her piano pieces have entered the jazz repertoire, while some of her songs — with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn and Peggy Lee — have become part of The Great American Songbook.

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