Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 8:31 am
By Patrick Jarenwattananon
Sathima Bea Benjamin in 1974.
Credit Ian Bruce Huntley / Courtesy of Matsuli Music
About a month before she died last week at age 76, Sathima Bea Benjamin finally properly celebrated her debut album. That's a bit of a complicated claim, of course, because depending on how you count, the South African vocalist either made her debut album in 1959, 1963, 1976 or 1979.
In 1959, as Beatty Benjamin, she recorded the LP My Songs for You. It was produced by the pianist Dollar Brand, who was later known as Abdullah Ibrahim; he was also her boyfriend and later became her husband. However, it was never released.
Credit Craig Herndon / The Washington Post/Getty Images
An essayist, cultural theorist, novelist, educator and biographer who died on August 18 at 97, Albert Murray spent more than five decades developing his thesis that America is a culturally miscegenated nation. His contention was that blacks are part white, and vice versa: that both races, in spite of slavery and racism, have borrowed from and created each other. In all of his writing, jazz music — derived from the blues idiom of African-Americans — was the soundtrack at the center of his aesthetic conception.
For more than 30 years, jazz pianist Marian McPartland hosted one of public radio's most beloved shows, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. As NPR's Felix Contreras writes, she "gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation." McPartland died of natural causes on Tuesday at the age of 95.
Originally published on Sat August 24, 2013 5:51 pm
Of Marian McPartland's "Twilight World," the great singer Tony Bennett once said, "Well, that song will last forever. It's a beautiful song."
Credit David Redfern / Redferns
Jazz musicians strive for an individual voice. If a listener can tell right away who's playing, that's an achievement. The same is true of composers — and after only a few measures of music, you know it's Marian McPartland. The pianist and host of Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz died Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
On Philadelphia pianist Orrin Evans' trio version of Ornette Coleman's "Blues Connotation," drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Eric Revis set a New Orleans second-line groove tinged with vintage hip-hop. A beat like that is catnip to Evans, who gets right down and rolls in it.
Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.
Writer, historian and critic Albert Murray in New York City in 2000.
Credit Chris Felver / Getty Images
Albert Murray, the influential writer and critic who helped found Jazz at Lincoln Center, died Sunday at home in Harlem. He was 97 years old. Duke Ellington once described him as the "unsquarest person I know."
For Murray, jazz and blues were more than just musical forms. They were a survival technique — an improvisatory response to hardship and uncertainty, as he told NPR in 1997: "You don't know how many bars you have, but however many of them you can make swing, the better off you are. That's about it."