Credit Margot Schulman / Courtesy of the Kennedy Center
This episode of JazzSet was recorded at the 18th edition of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Dee Dee Bridgewater is the emcee, while WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton serves as our co-host.
Since playing on John Coltrane's first release in 1957, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath has participated in a number of landmark jazz records. Now 78, the musician is featured in a new trio session with players nearly half his age — pianist Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and bassist Ben Street.
Like a piece of gym equipment that always yields a great workout, most musicians have favorite tunes. For saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, "Who Wants Ice Cream" by trumpeter Ralph Alessi has proven especially fertile, drawing him back again and again since he recorded it as part of the album Spirit Fiction.
The quartet on jazz bassist Dave Holland's new album Prism is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified Miles Davis, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels.
Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.
"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."
Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 4:57 am
Credit Jeff Dunas / Courtesy of the artist
Singer Johnny Mathis started out with a string of hits in the 1950s and quickly became a household name. A two-time inductee into the Grammy Hall of Fame, Mathis has one of the most popular albums of all time with Johnny's Greatest Hits, which spent almost 10 years on the Billboard Top Albums chart.
On this Piano Jazz from 2008, Eliane Elias performs a set of tunes distinctly dedicated to the music of the late Bill Evans. She performs Evans' tunes "For Nanette," "I Love My Wife," and "B Minor Waltz," and duets with Marian McPartland on two early Bill Evans favorites: "Autumn Leaves" and "Alone Together."
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:03 pm
Credit John Rogers for NPR / johnrogersnyc.com
After releasing his latest album, last year's Spirit Fiction, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane put his decade-old quartet on hiatus, and has now assembled a new group. Had John Coltrane lived to see his son grow up, he might have told Ravi about how his own "classic quartet" broke up; he'd begun to incorporate new voices (including Ravi's mother Alice Coltrane) by the time his new band recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1966.