Jazz

A Jazz Piano Christmas 2015

Dec 11, 2015

Every year, NPR Music invites some of the world's top piano players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to play solo versions of their favorite holiday music for a live audience, and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.

The Guy Who Makes The Best Cowbells

Dec 10, 2015

In The Bronx, there's a man who builds instruments for the world's great Latin percussionists: Tito Puente, Eddie Montalvo, Giovanni Hidalgo, Bobby Sanabria. He has no signs, no storefront, no advertising of any kind, but people from around the world call him for work. After all, nothing sounds quite like one of his handmade cowbells.

Wayne Horvitz is one of those musicians who does almost everything — from leading a small group of improvisers to conducting a big band, and from composing for symphony orchestra to running a nightclub. The Seattle-based keyboard player turned 60 this year, and he's celebrating by adding even more to his schedule: playing birthday concerts on both coasts.

Ingrid Jensen On Piano Jazz

Dec 4, 2015

Trumpeter Ingrid Jensen has built a strong reputation among critics and peers — including Marian McPartland, who praised the warmth and virtuosity of her playing. Jensen's performances as a leader and featured soloist have taken her around the world, and she can be heard with the Christine Jensen Orchestra, her own quartet and quintet formations, and a number of New York bands.

Wayne Horvitz: The Pianist And The Poet

Dec 3, 2015

The last time we went to Seattle, we met a piano player and bandleader named Wayne Horvitz. Among other things, he books a club called the Royal Room, teaches at Cornish College of the Arts, directs a high-school ensemble, and writes and performs many different sorts of music. Jazz and improvised music frames a lot of what he does, but as an artist, it's certainly not the only language he speaks.

Hi Code Switch readers! I'm here from NPR Music, where I mostly cover jazz. I thought you might be interested two big performances we recently featured in which the artists took a moment to talk about police intimidation and violence against African-Americans.

In 1964, near the end of his career, Billy Strayhorn accompanied himself on a live recording of one of his best-known songs. It starts:

I used to visit all the very gay places

Those come-what-may places

Billy Strayhorn In Five Songs

Nov 29, 2015

Patricia Barber On Piano Jazz

Nov 20, 2015

Patricia Barber is a pianist and singer who's solidly grounded in the jazz idiom while eclectic in her style. She's recorded a series of albums that have each established a wider audience for her music, and in 2002, she released the successful Verse.

In Chicago, one band holds down a midnight-to-5 a.m. gig on Saturday nights — or, technically, on Sunday mornings. It's a time slot which seems challenging enough to do once or twice. These guys have been doing it for 23 years.

Sabertooth is a quirky band, currently an organ quartet led by saxophonists Pat Mallinger and Cameron Pfiffner. It swings hard (and a little off-kilter), mixing favorite standards and a repertoire of cleverly arranged tunes. Every week, Mallinger and Pfiffner play for curious newcomers, rowdy drunks, hardcore fans and musicians coming off their own gigs.

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