Jazz

Trudy Pitts On Piano Jazz

Feb 17, 2017

Organist, arranger, composer, teacher and singer Trudy Pitts (1932 – 2010) earned a reputation not only for her technical prowess, but also for her ability to convey a wide range of emotions through her playing. Her formal training was classical: She studied piano at Juilliard and Temple University, but came to jazz by way of the organ.

Updated at 3 p.m. ET

Al Jarreau, a versatile vocalist who defied categorization for decades, died Sunday morning at the age of 76. Earlier this week, Jarreau had been hospitalized in Los Angeles "due to exhaustion," according to his official Facebook page.

Keith Ingham On Piano Jazz

Feb 10, 2017

The British-born pianist Keith Ingham began his jazz career in London after studying Mandarin at Oxford University. In the late '70s, he moved to New York, which led him to connect with the likes of Peggy Lee, Benny Goodman and Susannah McCorkle, for whom he was pianist and musical director.

The music industry can thank Glenn Miller's record label for the idea of gold records. Seventy-five years ago today, his song about a train trip became the world's first solid-gold hit.

"Chattanooga Choo Choo" is about a man going home, and promising his sweetheart he'll never roam. By February 10, 1942, more than 1.2 million copies of the song had been sold — and that was no small thing, the biggest seller in years. The record label, RCA Victor, celebrated by presenting Glenn Miller with a trophy during a live radio broadcast.

The Fred Hersch Trio brings a seductive and crafty intelligence to its version of "We See," the Thelonious Monk tune. Articulating its melody at the piano, Hersch slips in a few leisurely pauses, which slow down and stretch out the form. Then, in the bridge, he ratchets up to twice the speed, evoking the frenetic whir of the factory machinery in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times.

Barry Harris On Piano Jazz

Feb 3, 2017

Barry Harris is a seminal figure in the jazz world. The "keeper of the bebop flame," as critics have called him, Harris is committed to preserving jazz through education and performance. His workshops play an important part in his life and in the lives of many young musicians.

Jazz vocalist John Boutté feels he can no longer afford to live in his hometown of New Orleans. He's not alone. Rising housing costs are pushing many musicians and service workers — the backbone of New Orleans' tourism economy — further and further outside the city limits.

It's become a January tradition for NPR to look ahead to some of the most anticipated jazz albums of the year. Bassist Christian McBride, who hosts NPR's Jazz Night In America, and jazz critic Nate Chinen of NPR Member station WBGO join NPR's Audie Cornish to preview three albums coming out in 2017.

Read some of McBride's and Chinen's thoughts below, and hear more of their discussion — including a reflection on the relationship between musicians and critics — at the audio link.

Kendra Shank On Piano Jazz

Jan 27, 2017

After studying visual arts and French literature at the University of Washington, Kendra Shank has been pursuing a successful singing career from Seattle to Paris to New York. Her sensuous phrasing and crystal-clear tone have earned praise from critics and fans alike.

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