Every year, an all-star assemblage of today's jazz musicians called the SFJAZZ Collective picks a different all-time-great jazz composer to feature. The band then applies its own arrangements to that composer's tunes.
The narrative of jazz history often credits the music as a powerful, progressive force for racial integration in American culture. But what about gender equality? On that score, jazz in its first few decades would have to be given a less than stellar grade.
In this Piano Jazz episode recorded in 1992, we remember the remarkable talents of Shirley Scott, the "Queen of the Organ," as she solos on "Skylark" and joins host Marian McPartland for a piano duet of "In a Mellow Tone."
What is a mistake? By going through examples with his improvisational jazz quartet, Stefon Harris gets to a profound truth: many actions are perceived as mistakes only because we don't react to them appropriately.
At 66, the jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell is as busy as ever: His current band has released five excellent albums since 2007 alone. (It performed for this concert series in 2009.) He's so prolific that he's been writing and arranging music for other ensembles all the while. Last year, Harrell presented a nine-piece chamber jazz ensemble, and he's been at work on a new, piano-less project.
Matt Munisteri is a guitarist, vocalist and composer with an ear for a bygone era. A masterful and mainly self-trained musician in high demand, he has arranged for and performed with artists including Mark O'Connor, Julian Lage, Catherine Russell and Diana Krall.
Canadian pianist, singer and songwriter Diana Krall grew up in a town called Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Both her father (who collected jazz records and played a bit of stride piano) and her mother (also a pianist) encouraged her interest in jazz and exposed her to all of the great players. She began studying the piano at age 4 and had several small jazz groups while in high school.