Sun August 24, 2014
Music Interviews

The Private Eye Who Made Cool Jazz His Calling Card

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 10:28 pm

Actor Craig Stevens as TV detective Peter Gunn in 1959.
Ralph Crane The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

In the late 1950s, detective shows were all the rage. Today, the series Peter Gunn, starring Craig Stevens as the titular gumshoe, has faded a bit from popular memory. Its theme music, however, remains unforgettable.

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Fri August 22, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Christian McBride On Piano Jazz

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 1:24 pm

Courtesy of the artist

Bassist, bandleader and composer Christian McBride has been a presence in jazz for more than 20 years. A veteran Piano Jazz sideman, McBride has accompanied the likes of J.J. Johnson and Cassandra Wilson on the show.

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Thu August 21, 2014
A Blog Supreme

Remembering Jazz Violinist John Blake Jr.

John Blake Jr.
Courtesy of the artist

For decades, John Blake Jr. created a rare role for the violin within the jazz of his eras. A versatile player, he worked memorably with Archie Shepp, Grover Washington Jr., and McCoy Tyner. He released several solo recordings. He taught in conservatories and mentored many outside the classroom.

Blake died Friday, Aug. 15 from complications due to multiple myeloma, according to his family. He was 67.

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Fri August 15, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Makoto Ozoné On Piano Jazz

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 8:03 am

Kiyotaka Saito Courtesy of the artist

A world-class jazz composer and pianist, Makoto Ozoné began playing organ at age 2 and picked up piano at 12 after falling in love with the music of Oscar Peterson.

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Fri August 15, 2014
Song Travels

Curtis Stigers On 'Song Travels'

Curtis Stigers.
Mali Lazell Courtesy of the artist

Saxophonist, vocalist and songwriter Curtis Stigers wrote the Emmy-nominated theme song for the TV show Sons of Anarchy. Throughout his career, he's been straddling genres and reinventing jazz and modern standards.

On this episode of Song Travels, Stigers joins host Michael Feinstein to discuss his journey to become a songwriter. Stigers performs his original "You've Got the Fever," and host Feinstein joins him for a duet of the standard "You Are Too Beautiful."

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Fri August 15, 2014
All Songs Considered

Drum Fill Friday, With Guest Host Matt Wilson

Matt Wilson.
Michael Jackson Courtesy of the artist

Drummer and bandleader Matt Wilson is one of jazz's most sought-after players; he's recorded on over 250 albums, not including those of his own three current bands. He's one of the music's great optimists as well, whose energy and good humor (on or off the drum stool) serves him well as a teacher, public radio host or general ambassador. His latest recording, Gathering Call, came out early this year.

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Thu August 14, 2014
Field Recordings

Chorale For Horns And iPad App, In The Pouring Rain

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 2:35 pm

Brian Blade and the Fellowship Band. L-R: Blade, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd.
NPR Music

We had hoped to get the great drummer Brian Blade to give us a little private exhibition after his set at the Newport Jazz Festival this year. The weather, however, was proving much less generous than he and his band were. Early that morning, a steady all-day rain settled in over coastal Rhode Island, making it difficult to transport dry instruments anywhere. On top of that, a last-minute change to travel plans meant that Blade needed to get out of town quickly — to an airport over four hours away.

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Fri August 8, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Burt Bacharach On Piano Jazz

Olaf Heine Courtesy of the artist

Burt Bacharach has written more than 600 songs and more than 70 Top 40 hits. In 1957, Bacharach met fellow songwriter Hal David, and the two began a collaboration that would result in some of the most memorable songs of their day.

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Thu August 7, 2014
Newport Jazz Festival

Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors With David Sanchez: Newport Jazz 2014

David Sanchez and the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors perform at the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Boston's Berklee College of Music was already one of the premier conservatories for jazz when it launched a new program designed to push a select group of students beyond the classroom. The Berklee Global Jazz Institute assembles a small international ensemble to create works on the bandstand and explore connections to culture, nature and other art forms.

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Wed August 6, 2014
Newport Jazz Festival

Gregory Porter: Newport Jazz 2014

Adam Kissick for NPR

The commanding singer Gregory Porter likes a good aqueous metaphor. He named his first album Water and led off with the title track. Then he called his latest album Liquid Spirit, which he released following last year's ecstatic Newport show. (He sang that title track, too, with its bouncy hand-clap exhortations.)

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