Jazz

Paul Bley On Piano Jazz

Apr 1, 2016

A legendary leader of the jazz avant-garde, pianist Paul Bley (1932–2016) cultivated his own musical vision and influenced a generation of performers.

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

Ibrahim Maalouf Plays Umm Kulthum

Mar 31, 2016

The trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf was born in Lebanon and grew up in France; like his father, he studied Western classical music, but also microtonal Arabic music using a custom-built instrument. His latest project in a career full of cross-pollinating ventures was inspired by the late Umm Kulthum, the Arab world's greatest vocalist.

Just before he died in 2009, Joe Castro sat down with his son James to listen to some tapes. The reel-to-reels were full of Castro's own decades-old recordings, in which the jazz pianist jammed with his contemporaries.

"It was kind of like a shock," James says, "because right when we put the first tape on, it sounded like it was recorded yesterday."

Father and son went through more than 40 hours of tape. James says he was used to hearing his dad back up other musicians.

In 1955, jazz pianist Erroll Garner played a concert in Carmel, Calif. When his manager spotted a tape recorder rolling backstage, she grabbed the reels and decided to release them.

Of all Marian McPartland's attributes, possibly the most underrated was her ability as a composer. Her piano pieces have entered the jazz repertoire, while some of her songs — with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn and Peggy Lee — have become part of The Great American Songbook.

Born To Be Blue: Chet Baker In 5 Songs

Mar 25, 2016

Though he's best known as a live collaborator of techno wunderkind Nicolas Jaar and one-half of the electronic-rock group Darkside, guitarist Dave Harrington has a deep history with jazz and improvisation. Become Alive, the debut album of the group that bears his name, digs deep into these musical roots. Yet there's a twist: electronic studio processes are also on-hand to coax new results in the music.

Harold Mabern On Piano Jazz

Mar 18, 2016

Harold Mabern (born March 20, 1936) is both one of New York's most requested pianists and a staple of Japan's jazz scene. A mainly self-taught musician, his style is influenced by Art Tatum, Chris Anderson, Billy Wallace and Bud Powell.

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