Bassist Jay Leonhart is a highly sought-after session musician, a trio leader and a one-man act. He got his start as a kid playing banjo and guitar with his brother in the '40s and '50s, and was inspired to take up the bass after hearing Ray Brown and the Oscar Peterson Trio.
Bass player Ray Brown (1926–2002) moved to New York in 1945 and immediately became part of the jazz scene. He worked extensively with the Oscar Peterson Trio, Jimmy Rowles and Ella Fitzgerald (to whom he was married). Brown was one of the leading bassists in the bop style and was known for his precise playing and the beauty of his tone.
Master bass player Thundercat is a core part of the LA music scene — from his collaborations with Flying Lotus, Kamasi Washington and Kendrick Lamar to his own solo work. His new EP features his best track yet, "Them Changes," performed here with keyboardist Dennis Hamm and drummer Justin Brown.
Guitarist and composer John Scofield's 2015 album is called Past Present. And that's what it is: four jazz musicians very much in the moment, looking back at events that informed the music they're playing—and listening back to a sound three of them created some 20 years ago.
New episodes of Jazz Night In America are released on Thursdays. Every week, a one-hour program is sent to public radio stations throughout the U.S. (and archived online). Every other week, a concert documentary video, a companion to that week's radio program, is released online. Check your local listings to hear the radio program, and visit npr.org/jazznight to watch the video episodes.
Wayne Shorter is a living legend — a saxophonist, composer and lifelong original thinker. He's never been afraid to be different, which is perhaps why he's accomplished so much. Among his accomplishments:
Kamasi Washington, a 34-year-old saxophonist from Los Angeles, is changing the way people think about jazz. His sprawling three-disc debut album, The Epic,is selling well alongside softer, more commercial jazz fare, and his recent East Coast tour drew impressive crowds.