Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 2:34 pm
By Becca Pulliam
Credit Erik Jacobs for NPR
Gil Evans was born in Canada in 1912. He latched onto jazz and, in time, taught himself to write it. First, for dancers, Evans arranged tunes off the radio for the Claude Thornhill Orchestra as well as the sweet, warm sounds of flutes and French horns. Then Evans downsized the Thornhill sound to a nonet for The Birth of the Cool.
Originally published on Wed January 23, 2013 1:47 pm
Credit Henrik Kam / Courtesy of SFJAZZ
In 1983, buoyed by a $10,000 grant from a city arts fund, a new concert presenter in San Francisco put together a festival called Jazz In The City. Fast-forward 30 years, and that organization — now called SFJAZZ and presenting more than 100 concerts a year — has raised $64 million, largely in private donations, for a new state-of-the-art performance space and permanent home. The SFJAZZ Center held a grand-opening ceremony Monday, and will celebrate Wednesday night with an all-star opening-night concert.
Keyboard player and composer Chick Corea was born Armando Anthony Corea in Chelsea, Mass., on June 12, 1941. His father, a Dixieland trumpet player, introduced Corea to jazz at an early age. By the time he was 4, Corea had begun studying the piano and played regular jazz gigs in high school. After graduation, he moved to New York to study music at Columbia and then Juilliard.
Originally published on Wed January 16, 2013 11:04 am
By Patrick Jarenwattananon
Credit John Rogers for NPR / johnrogersnyc.com
The Winter Jazzfest turned nine this year, and it's matured into a known quantity, a New York cultural landmark. Its variety of routines have worn in enough to develop some comforting predictability. For such a scrappy, low-to-the-ground happening designed around emerging artists and new repertoires, that's an achievement.
Vocalist and poet Kurt Elling brings his rich baritone to Piano Jazz for a set of tunes and spoken improvisations with host Marian McPartland. As a child, Elling sang regularly in church and discovered jazz while studying at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He began sitting in at the city's jazz clubs, where his unique ability to improvise vocally led him in a new career direction.
Unpredictability is the active ingredient of New York's annual Winter Jazzfest. This year, fans will meander around six nearby clubs and take their pick of simultaneous shows. Choosing from among so many acts will be difficult.
Many of the bands are new, paced in rapid succession and often cryptically named. If you only have 45 minutes to spare, do you check out Breeding Ground? Hazmat Modine? Merger? 40Twenty? 10^32K?
Originally published on Thu January 10, 2013 11:42 pm
Credit Robert Ascroft / Courtesy of the artist
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of joining Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton on All Songs Considered as they previewed some of the big upcoming releases of 2013. My pick was No Beginning, No End by the chameleonic vocalist Jose James.