Jazz

3:33am

Thu April 9, 2015
A Blog Supreme

Remembering Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's Pianist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 9:05 am

Pianist Ralph Sharon, the longtime accompanist for Tony Bennett, died March 31 at age 91. In the audio link above, Tom Cole has a brief report for NPR's Morning Edition, and below, Walter Ray Watson filed this remembrance for NPR Music.

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3:23am

Thu April 9, 2015
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz In Concert

Originally published on Thu April 23, 2015 12:34 am

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

The public youth music education program known as El Sistema has reached hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, largely through participation in classical music ensembles. In 2007, drummer Andrés Briceño and head of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music Valdemar Rodríguez introduced a jazz program to El Sistema, with the goal of promoting the music throughout Venezuela. The flagship ensemble, Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, presents the work of both American jazz masters and Venezuelan composers, and like its orchestral counterparts, has now toured the U.S.

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11:39am

Tue April 7, 2015
Music Articles

Billie Holiday: A Singer Beyond Our Understanding

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 7:54 pm

Billie Holiday has become a mythic presence in absentia.
William Gottlieb Getty Images

5:08pm

Sun April 5, 2015
Music Interviews

Cassandra Wilson 'Couldn't Wait' To Reinvent The Billie Holiday Songbook

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 8:54 am

Cassandra Wilson's Billie Holiday tribute album is titled Coming Forth By Day.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Billie Holiday was born 100 years ago this week. Today, her place in music history is clear.

"I think we witness in Billie Holiday's music the beginning of the jazz vocal age, really," fellow vocalist Cassandra Wilson says. "Her phrasing is very conversational, and it swings — it moves with the musicians. She's very much in charge of her place in the music. She's in control of the story, and in control of her cadence."

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5:51pm

Fri April 3, 2015
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

John Pizzarelli On Piano Jazz

John Pizzarelli.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli is one of the hottest jazz acts around. With his swinging and sophisticated style, he makes music that sounds both classic and modern. He's the son of jazz guitarist John "Bucky" Pizzarelli, who helped him get his start.

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11:57am

Wed April 1, 2015
Mountain Stage

Hot Club Of Cowtown On Mountain Stage

Hot Club of Cowtown.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Hot Club Of Cowtown makes its sixth visit to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. The band formed in 1996, when guitarist and singer Whit Smith answered an advertisement placed by singer and fiddler Elana James. After moving to Austin, the pair added upright bass player Jake Erwin, and the trio quickly made a name for itself by fusing hot jazz and Western swing. The band has since become a favorite at fairs and festivals across Europe, and has opened stadium shows for Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.

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9:20pm

Tue March 31, 2015
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Home Cooking: The Philadelphia Jazz Organ Tradition In Concert

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 1:03 am

Sonny Keaton performs during the Home Cooking concert.
WXPN

The Hammond electronic organ was developed with churches in mind, as a lower-cost alternative to pipe organs. But in Philadelphia, a keyboard player named Jimmy Smith was inspired by early jazz experiments on the instrument, and found a devastating way to adapt the new bebop style to the Hammond B-3. It seeded a new tradition of organ players in Philadelphia — major figures like "Groove" Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, Papa John and Joey DeFrancesco, and Trudy Pitts — and kickstarted a new sound in jazz at large.

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8:50pm

Tue March 31, 2015
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Cassandra Wilson Sings Billie Holiday

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 4:19 pm

Cassanda Wilson sings Billie Holiday at the Kennedy Center.
NPR

One hundred years after she was born, Billie Holiday remains iconic in American music, not to mention jazz singing. Cassandra Wilson has made her career in jazz singing by embracing a wide range of American music, and it holds true on her latest project: a new album rearranging the Billie Holiday songbook. The new Coming Forth By Day, created with rocker Nick Cave's producer and rhythm section, reshapes songs like "Good Morning Heartache" and "Strange Fruit" with fresh textures and resonances.

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6:03am

Sat March 28, 2015
A Blog Supreme

Three Jazz Pianists, A Generation After Apartheid

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 7:11 pm

Nduduzo Makhathini, from rural Eastern South Africa, connected to jazz as a way to heal others through music.
Ignatius Mokone Courtesy of the artist

In South Africa, the major art of resistance during apartheid was jazz: a melting pot where folk songs and hymns defiantly mixed with influences from South Asia, America and West Africa. South African jazz's central formula — its equivalent to the 12-bar blues — is a buoyant, four-chord progression that even seems to evoke a blending motion.

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5:10pm

Fri March 27, 2015
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dardanelle Hadley On Piano Jazz

Dardanelle Hadley, pictured here on vibes circa 1938-1948.
William Gottlieb Library of Congress

Jazz vocalist and pianist Dardanelle Hadley was born Marcia Marie Mullen, the daughter of vocalist and pianist Marcius Mosely "Buck" Mullen. In the 1940s, she formed a trio that played regularly at the Copacabana Club in New York, and she went on to work with jazz greats such as Bucky Pizzarelli and Grady Tate.

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