Jazz

2:28am

Thu November 6, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Identities Are Changeable

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 11:46 pm

Miguel Zenón performs from Identities Are Changeable at the Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Miguel Zenón, the prolific alto saxophonist and composer, has just released a new album called Identities Are Changeable. Based on his interviews with fellow Puerto Ricans living in New York, he's arranged a new book of music to reflect their varying experiences.

Jazz Night in America recorded this unique work live from the 2014 Newport Jazz Festival, and accompanies Zenón to his old stomping grounds in the Bronx.

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2:11am

Thu November 6, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

A Night At The Museum

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:10 am

Emmet Cohen performs at the Rubin Museum of Art.
NPR

Jazz musicians find inspiration in many things. Himalayan art is not typically one of them.

Jazz Night in America visits the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City to hear interviews and live performances from each of the five finalists for the American Pianists Association's Cole Porter Fellow In Jazz: Kris Bowers, Emmet Cohen, Sullivan Fortner, Zach Lapidus and Christian Sands. Hear what visually inspires some of the most promising young jazz talent, from mandalas to fish.

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3:59pm

Wed November 5, 2014

5:27pm

Sun November 2, 2014
Music Interviews

Reconnecting The Circuit Of Puerto Rican Identity Through Music

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 3:50 pm

Miguel Zenón's new album is titled Identities Are Changeable.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent are a diverse group. Some were born in Puerto Rico, some have never set foot on the island, and everyone else falls somewhere between.

But they do share a special identity, calling themselves "Nuyoricans." And when you look over the long list of notable Nuyoricans — everyone from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor to Jennifer Lopez — it's kind of amazing how much they've contributed to American culture.

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1:34pm

Fri October 31, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Kenny Drew Jr. On Piano Jazz

Kenny Drew Jr.
Jack Vartoogian Getty Images

The son of pianist Kenny Drew, who rose to fame in the 1950s and '60s, Kenny Drew Jr. made his own way with a virtuosic career in both jazz and classical music. He favored direct, single-note lines, but could also play in a full orchestral style.

In this 1992 session, Drew interprets Monk's "In Walked Bud" — and he and host Marian McPartland collaborate in a performance of "Falling In Love With You."

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10:38am

Fri October 31, 2014
Tiny Desk Concerts

Sun Ra Arkestra: Tiny Desk Concert

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 11:48 am

Marshall Allen and the Sun Ra Arkestra perform at the Tiny Desk.
Claire Eggers NPR

Sun Ra was a big-band innovator, a pioneer of recording and playing with electronics, a poet, a cosmic philosopher, a bandleader and a keyboard innovator who claimed to be from Saturn. Herman Poole Blount would have turned 100 in 2014 had he not left us more than 20 years ago. But his spirit lives on, and so does his long-running band.

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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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