The pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill knows better than almost anyone that more than 50 years of a trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba hasn't fully prevented the exchange of jazz between the two countries. He's known it since he first visited Cuba in 2002.

"The first thing that I encountered was great 'goo-gobs' of young jazz musicians who worked really hard to master this craft that we thought was our own," O'Farrill says.

Margaret Whiting On Piano Jazz

Oct 16, 2015

Vocalist Margaret Whiting (1924–2011) established herself as a singer of jazz and popular standards in the 1940s while touring with the U.S.O. during WWII. In the decades that followed, her career encompassed everything from television to nightclubs, musical theater and country music.

On this 1992 episode of Piano Jazz, Whiting performs "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and "Moonlight In Vermont" with host Marian McPartland accompanying. McPartland solos in "Twilight World."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1992.

Set List

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

Finding an acceptable line between influence and appropriation has dogged musicians for generations, and Dexter Story addresses the issue in surprising and joyous ways on Wondem, his second album as a bandleader.

Sammy Price On Piano Jazz

Oct 9, 2015

Pianist Sammy Price (1908–1992) began his career in the 1920s. He became a session pianist for Decca Records in 1938, and he led his own band, the Texas Bluesicians, which included greats such as Lester Young. Price also played with trumpeter Henry "Red" Allen for nearly a decade.

Artists don't usually tell long, rambling stories at the Tiny Desk, and if they do, those stories don't usually make the final cut. But this one felt different. It was about the time Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, a young black man, says he was stopped by New Orleans police late at night for no reason other than to harass and intimidate him. And how his pride almost made him do something ill-advised about it.

"Thelonious Monk is the most important musician, period," Jason Moran says. He laughs out loud. "In all the world. Period!"

Moran is in a dressing room deep within the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., where he's the artistic director for jazz. He's not really wearing that hat at the moment, though. He's talking as a musician himself — and very personally, at that.

Joe Lovano And Dave Holland On Piano Jazz

Oct 2, 2015

Saxophonist Joe Lovano and bassist Dave Holland first recorded together in 1992 on the album From The Soul. Lovano toured with the Woody Herman Thundering Herd in the 1970s and went on to join the John Scofield Quartet.

Even in the world of outré electronics, the experimental-music swings of Chicagoan Jamal Moss are radical. If you have the hips, stomach and brain for a steady stream of sonic surprises, he's your man in lo-fi techno. Among the many technologically astute and historically Afrocentric monikers Moss hides behind, Hieroglyphic Being has come to be his best known­ — if only because the labels through which Moss releases HB records (beside his self-run Mathematics Recordings) have the widest distribution.