Jazz

10:36am

Wed October 29, 2014
Jazz Night In America Videos

The Funky Tune That Was Too Big For Miles Davis

NPR

When Miles Davis returned to performing in the early 1980s, he asked his former bandmate and master composer, Wayne Shorter, to write something for him. What came out was a large ensemble work too unwieldy for Davis, and Shorter put it back on his shelf. "I asked him for a tune, and he gives me a [expletive deleted] symphony," Davis reportedly said at the time.

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12:42pm

Mon October 27, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Roy Hargrove On Piano Jazz

Courtesy of the artist

Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller and Bobby Watson.

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3:49pm

Fri October 24, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Ruth Brown On Piano Jazz

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 12:51 pm

Paul Bergen Redferns

Ruth Brown was one of the pioneers of R&B. The vocalist and actress also hosted a blues program on NPR called Blues Stage that helped bring wider attention to the genre.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, Brown's roots in blues, R&B and jazz are on display as she sings to host Marian McPartland's accompaniment in "Skylark" and "Fine And Mellow."

Originally recorded Feb. 8, 1993. Originally broadcast June 19, 1993.

Set List

  • "Fine And Mellow" (Holiday)
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4:31pm

Thu October 23, 2014
Music News

Who Sang It First? Mockingbirds And Musicians Cover Each Other In New Orleans

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 7:47 pm

A short phrase New Orleans musicians use to communicate is identical to a common mockingbird call.
Sven Halling Getty Images

In certain New Orleans music scenes, there is a special sound — a signal — that lets players know it's time to pick up their instruments and strike up the band.

"It's a bugle call, or a band call, to assemble," trumpeter Leroy Jones says.

"It's like: C'mon, rally," musician Matt Bell adds. "Come to the bandstand and be ready to do it. Let's go."

The four-note phrase, however, doesn't belong to musicians alone. Another common New Orleans species, the mockingbird, also produces the call.

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4:13pm

Thu October 23, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Happy Birthday, Blue Note

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 8:26 pm

Lou Donaldson and Dr. Lonnie Smith perform at Blue Note At 75, The Concert.
NPR

Blue Note Records turns 75 this year, and to celebrate, Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosted a concert featuring some of the record label's living legends and rising stars. From the early years with co-founder Alfred Lion to the revitalization under Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note Records has become and remained one of the most iconic brands in jazz.

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1:45pm

Fri October 17, 2014
Song Travels

Charenee Wade On 'Song Travels'

Charenee Wade.
Frank Stewart Courtesy of the artist

Jazz vocalist Charenee Wade began singing at 12 and learned from jazz luminaries such as Carmen Lundy and Christian McBride. Her clear voice and impressive technique landed her first runner-up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk competition, and she followed this success with her debut album, Love Walked In.

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1:19pm

Fri October 17, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Cassandra Wilson On Piano Jazz

Marco Glaviano Courtesy of the artist

In this 1999 episode of Piano Jazz, recorded live at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, host Marian McPartland welcomes in vocalist Cassandra Wilson for an hour of jazz standards.

Wilson is known for the enormous range of emotion in her performances. She delights with an array of tunes, joining McPartland and bassist Peter Washington for "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" and "Old Devil Moon."

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11:36am

Thu October 16, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Reimagining Brubeck

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 3:22 pm

Dave Brubeck performs in 1982.
Ralph Gatti AFP/Getty Images

The late pianist Dave Brubeck left jazz with incredible performances, recordings and advocacy — as well as a large body of compositions. His iconic music is reimagined by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Jazz Night in America explores various Brubeck compositions, discussing the decisions the arrangers made when approaching the material. Also, we unearth a rare recording from Brubeck's personal archive of him singing with Carmen McRae.

Set List

All compositions by Dave Brubeck.

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11:23am

Thu October 16, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

To Miles, From Wayne

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 6:59 pm

Wallace Roney leads a performance of Wayne Shorter's "Universe" at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
NPR

In the late 1960s, when trumpeter Miles Davis was leading his famous second quintet, saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote a series of new works featuring Davis with orchestra. When the quintet broke up, Shorter put the scores away.

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8:19am

Thu October 16, 2014
Field Recordings

The Fastest Fingers At The Festival, For Django Reinhardt

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 8:31 am

The Django Festival All-Stars.
NPR Music

Every year for the last decade and a half, select groups of hot swing musicians have come from Europe to tour the U.S. The exact lineups change, but they all feature masters of the "gypsy jazz" — or jazz manouche — style pioneered by guitarist Django Reinhardt. In fact, they're billed under the banner of New York's Django Reinhardt Festival.

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