Jazz

4:17pm

Fri December 14, 2012
A Blog Supreme

5 Jazz Christmas Albums For 2012

The Knoxville Jazz Orchestra's new album is called Christmas Time Is Here.
Courtesy of the artist

There's a certain intensity of spirit in jazz and improvised music, to the point where it occasionally aligns with religious worship. You especially see it around Christmastime, when certain musicians who happen to be Christians purpose their craft in observance of the season.

Of course, sometimes jazz musicians just like playing familiar songs.

Here are five records, all from 2012, which run the gamut of Christmas jazz. From deep meditations on the holiday's narrative to more offbeat ways to get into the spirit, inventiveness isn't a scarce resource this winter.

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11:31am

Fri December 14, 2012
NPR Story

Steve Kuhn On Piano Jazz

Steve Kuhn.
Courtesy of the artist

Steve Kuhn's resume is a virtual who's-who of the jazz world.

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2:31pm

Thu December 13, 2012
JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Wynton Marsalis On JazzSet

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:32 am

The clock strikes midnight with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

The energy in the room is palpable, as Wynton Marsalis launches into "Dipper Mouth Blues," a tune named for King Oliver's trumpet player, Louis Armstrong. "New Orleans Bump" features the whimsical clarinet of Victor Goines.

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6:10pm

Wed December 12, 2012
The Checkout: Live

The Cookers + Geri Allen And Timeline: Live From 92Y Tribeca

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 12:41 pm

The front line of The Cookers. L-R: Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Take a group of heavyweight jazz masters — the kind who helped to make the classic records that defined the modern idiom — and put them together on stage: Of course there'll be fireworks. But the all-star collection known as The Cookers has cohered into a band which has toured for five years now, and released three albums of mostly original compositions. Their latest, 2012's Believe, proudly captures this band's meat-and-potatoes spirit, and brings some deserved attention to its members' storied and ongoing careers.

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12:47pm

Tue December 11, 2012
Music Reviews

Bass Note: Mingus And The Jazz Workshop Concerts

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 7:28 pm

Jazz great Charles Mingus performs at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September 1964.
Ray Avery CTS Images

On a new box set from mail-order house Mosaic Records, Charles Mingus, The Jazz Workshop Concerts 1964-65, the jazz legend's bands usually number between five and eight players. The bassist often made those bands sound bigger. He'd been using midsize ensembles since the '50s, but his new ones were more flexible than ever, light on their feet but able to fill in backgrounds like a large group.

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8:14am

Sat December 8, 2012
Best Music Of 2012

Top 10 Jazz Albums of 2012

Originally published on Sat December 29, 2012 9:31 am

The Vijay Iyer Trio is Marcus Gilmore (left, drums), Iyer (center, piano) and Stephan Crump (right, bass).
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

For the better part of this year, I haven't been able to shake a certain phrase from the back of my mind. It was written by the pianist and composer Vijay Iyer in the liner notes to his brilliant trio album Accelerando: "[T]his album is in the lineage of American creative music based on dance rhythms."

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3:40pm

Fri December 7, 2012
Piano Jazz

Dave Brubeck On Piano Jazz

Dave Brubeck at the 32nd Kennedy Center Honors.
Kris Connor Getty Images

David Warren Brubeck (Dec. 6, 1920 - Dec. 5, 2012) in Concord, Calif. His father was a cattle rancher and his mother taught piano. His two older brothers, Henry and Howard, studied to become musicians, but Dave had no intentions of following them, although he took lessons from his mother. He could not read sheet music, but played well enough that this deficiency went mostly unnoticed.

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10:42am

Fri December 7, 2012
The Fresh Air Interview

Celebrating The Life Of Jazz Pianist Dave Brubeck

Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 1:28 pm

In a 1999 interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross, Dave Brubeck talked about his decades in the music industry and his first love: rodeo roping.
Stephen Lovekin Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast in 1999. Brubeck died on Wednesday at age 91.

In 1954, polls in the leading jazz magazines Metronome and Downbeat selected Dave Brubeck's band as the year's best instrumental group. That same year, Brubeck was the second jazz musician ever featured on the cover of Time Magazine (the first being Louie Armstrong).

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4:50pm

Thu December 6, 2012
JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Miguel Zenón And Dafnis Prieto On JazzSet

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 3:56 pm

Saxophonist Miguel Zenón performs with pianist Laurent Coq at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
Erik Jacobs for NPR

In 2008 and 2011, respectively, Miguel Zenón and Dafnis Prieto received MacArthur Fellowships — known as "Genius Grants" — from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. They were cited for their achievements in expanding boundaries and combining vocabularies. And you can hear them in action from Newport on JazzSet.

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10:10am

Thu December 6, 2012
A Blog Supreme

Dave Brubeck: Beyond 'Take Five'

Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 10:13 am

Dave Brubeck rehearses with the San Diego Symphony in 1995.
Mitch Tobias Getty Images

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