Beloved by both Garrison Keillor and Jack White, Pokey LaFarge describes his own music — a mix of old-time jazz, blues, ragtime and string-band music from the past century — as timeless rather than retro.
"Gingerbread Boy" is a fetching blues head by Jimmy Heath that became a jazz standard pretty much immediately after it was first recorded. Usually, its melody is played in call-and-response: the horns play a line, the piano or guitar replies with a specific riff, repeat.
Baritone saxophonist and clarinetist Joe Temperley has led an illustrious career spanning several decades, performing in some of the best big bands that ever were. Temperley, now 85, has performed with the orchestras of Humphrey Lyttelton, Woody Herman, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Clark Terry, Joe Henderson, and of course, Duke Ellington. For the past 25 years, Temperley has also been the heart and soul of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton (1908–2002) was one of the most influential figures in the history of jazz. He made the vibes a vital voice in the arsenal of jazz instruments, and gained international fame while playing in Benny Goodman's small groups and leading his own orchestra.
We've got something quite different as our Sense of Place: Philly series continues. Philadelphia has a brass band called The West Philadelphia Orchestra. They specialize in Balkan music, and as they were rehearsing a number of years ago, a singer was passing by who knew the music they were playing from growing up — and she joined the band. Petia Zamfirova will be the first to say this eclectic group is not just about backing her singing. We'll find out how this band grew here, hear about their selection in the All Songs Considered Tiny Desk Concert contest and more.
Even if you don't know anything about jazz, it's quite possible you've heard the music of saxophonist Kamasi Washington: That's him on the latest albums by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. But that's only the very tip of his iceberg.
Bruce Lundvall, the longtime President of Blue Note Records who supported many top jazz artists over the last four decades, died yesterday, May 19. The cause was complications of Parkinson's Disease, according to a Blue Note statement. He was 79.
The late Kenny Wheeler's stunning compositions and imaginative improvisations on trumpet and flugelhorn left deep impressions on generations of musicians. Two such devotees — trumpeter Ingrid Jensen and saxophonist Steve Treseler — revisited Wheeler's compositions after his death in 2014 at age 84. And in doing so, they realized they wanted to record their arrangements, paying tribute to the man who catalyzed their own careers.