Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 11:24 am
The saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill, 70, has long been an standard-bearer for boundary-crossing music. In his wildly creative work, inspirations as disparate as rags, calypso and funk transmogrify into unique frameworks for improvisation. Pianist Jason Moran is one of his loyal fans — Threadgill is his favorite composer, he says — and programmed this tribute, gathering both Threadgill sidemen and up-and-comers to perform works from throughout Threadgill's career.
Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 7:02 pm
Miguel Zenón possesses rare talent, both for the level of his alto saxophone virtuosity and the ability to make complex compositions immediate and accessible. But he's but one of many who moved to New York City to pursue jazz. And he's one of over one million New-York-area residents of Puerto Rican origin.
Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 12:25 am
In the late 1960s, saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote a number of large ensemble works for his employer at the time, trumpeter Miles Davis. They were never recorded, and eventually forgotten. Decades later, Shorter, now considered one of jazz's greatest composers, dug up the music and handed it over to trumpeter Wallace Roney (a protege of Miles Davis) to breathe new life into the charts. Roney presents that suite of music — or what he could before rain showers interceded — on this webcast of Jazz Night In America, live at the 2014 Detroit Jazz Festival.
Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:18 am
The iconic jazz record label Blue Note Records reached its 75th anniversary this year, and celebrated with an all-star concert featuring artists from its rich history and bright present. Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner, Lou Donaldson, and Bobby Hutcherson, whose Blue Note LPs defined a generation of jazz, were on hand; Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, Joe Lovano and Norah Jones also took up the torch, among many other musicians.
Along with NPR Music's partners at WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center, we're proud to announce a new public media initiative: Jazz Night In America. You can check it out on your local public radio station, as well as online at npr.org/jazznight.
Originally published on Fri October 24, 2014 7:23 pm
Building on the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra's recent trip to Cuba, managing and artistic director Wynton Marsalis presents his newest large-scale work: Ochas, a suite for big band and Afro-Cuban percussion. He calls upon young superstar Pedrito Martinez, who brought along a trio of fellow hand percussionists, to execute the chants and rhythms of the batá drums specific to Santería religious practice. And he called upon virtuoso Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés to ignite the proceedings.
Even if you've never been to a jazz concert in your life, it's likely that you've heard Ryan Keberle play trombone. He's toured with Sufjan Stevens, backed up pop stars like Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake, recorded for a Woody Allen film, played in Broadway pits and directed music for a church in Manhattan. Left to his own devices, though, Keberle likes to put himself into improvising situations.
Herb Alpert is a world-renowned musician, composer, producer and co-founder of A&M Records. He rose to fame with the Tijuana Brass, and remains the only artist to have a No. 1 record as a singer and an instrumentalist.
This episode of Piano Jazz is in memory of trumpeter Joe Wilder (Feb. 22, 1922 – May 9, 2014). Wilder had his first professional gig at age 19 and went on to play with some of the most popular big band orchestras of the day.