Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 10:58 am
Sam Friend and his band the New Orleans Swamp Donkeys play jazz, blues and originals, drawing on the sound of grassroots jazz combos from a century ago.
In this edition of Song Travels, Friend joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his transition from New York trio musician to New Orleans bandleader. He shares his love of traditional "jass" with a rendition of "Sweet Lorraine" on six-string banjo.
Pianist and composer Jessica Williams has gained critical acclaim and multiple Grammy nominations for her writing and remarkable skill at the keyboard. Dave Brubeck called her "one of the greatest jazz pianists I have ever heard."
On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1992, Williams solos on "Why Do I Love You" and joins host McPartland for "Straight, No Chaser" — one of two Thelonious Monk tunes during the session.
The last time Fred Hersch was featured on Weekend Edition Saturday, the headline read, "Back On Stage By No Small Miracle." It was 2009, and scarcely a year earlier, the jazz pianist had suffered AIDS-related dementia and fallen into a coma for several months. Since recovering, Hersch has come roaring back to music, releasing a string of live albums to critical success.
Carmen Lundy's contralto voice perfectly conveys the soul and depth of her compositions. She joined Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland in 1999 to perform Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Aldana, who became the first female instrumentalist and first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition last fall, is not the average talent-contest winner.
Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the "new thing" in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.