Say the name "Les Paul" to anybody born after 1960, and they'll probably think you're talking about an electric guitar. But the musician and inventor, who was born 100 years ago Tuesday, was also an accomplished jazz guitarist. Paul was never happier than when playing for a live audience.
Pamela Hines is a pianist and composer whose forte is a complex and engaging take on the structural components of jazz. She brings nuance and impressive technical ability to all the tunes she plays and, as a composer, draws out a theme from every musician she works with. In this Piano Jazz session from 2000, Hines performs her original tunes "Porridge" and "A Stone." Host Marian McPartland joins her for a few duets, closing the program with "Autumn Leaves."
Beloved by both Garrison Keillor and Jack White, Pokey LaFarge describes his own music — a mix of old-time jazz, blues, ragtime and string-band music from the past century — as timeless rather than retro.
"Gingerbread Boy" is a fetching blues head by Jimmy Heath that became a jazz standard pretty much immediately after it was first recorded. Usually, its melody is played in call-and-response: the horns play a line, the piano or guitar replies with a specific riff, repeat.
Baritone saxophonist and clarinetist Joe Temperley has led an illustrious career spanning several decades, performing in some of the best big bands that ever were. Temperley, now 85, has performed with the orchestras of Humphrey Lyttelton, Woody Herman, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, Joe Henderson, and of course, Duke Ellington. For the past 25 years, Temperley has also been the heart and soul of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908–2002) was one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz. He made the vibes a vital voice in the arsenal of jazz instruments, and gained international fame while playing in Benny Goodman's small groups and leading his own orchestra.