Jazz

1:31pm

Mon March 24, 2014
Music Reviews

After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 2:14 pm

Bud Powell pioneered bebop-style improvisation on the piano.
Metronome Getty Images

The great bebop pianist Bud Powell played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: Birdland 1953 on three CDs from ESP-Disk'. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific.

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4:06pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Nadine Jansen On Piano Jazz

Nadine Jansen
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and horn player Nadine Jansen got her start as a part of Horace Heidt's amateur show. Performing alongside The Clooney Sisters, Skitch Henderson and Tony Pastor, Jansen learned show business from the best entertainers around. She quickly made a name for herself on the nightclub circuit, particularly in clubs like New York's Capital Theatre and the Blue Note in Chicago.

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1:02pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Andrew Hill On Piano Jazz

Andrew Hill photographed in his home, 2005.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Fifty years ago today, Andrew Hill recorded what would become his signature album: Point of Departure. Fifty years later, it still sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. Assembling a murderer's row of horn players (Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham, Joe Henderson) with a rhythm section for the ages (Hill, Richard Davis, Tony Williams), Hill juxtaposed complex, layered harmonies with charged grooves. The result occupies that rare territory between the comfort of the familiar and the allure of the perceptibly unique.

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11:03pm

Sun March 16, 2014
First Listen

First Listen: The Bad Plus, 'The Rite Of Spring'

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:40 am

The Bad Plus' new album, The Rite of Spring, comes out March 25.
Courtesy of the artist

This is a recording of a jazz trio playing the score to a 101-year-old ballet. It is not a "jazzing the classics" record or a "fantasia on the themes of" sort of project. It is a band translating one of the landmark works in music history to piano, bass and drum set, and doing it as literally as possible.

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6:40pm

Sun March 16, 2014
Music

Ambrose Akinmusire: 'Music Can Tell You What It Wants To Be'

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 11:02 am

Ambrose Akinmusire's latest album is the imagined savior is far easier to paint.
Autumn DeWilde Courtesy of the artist

For a jazz trumpet player, you couldn't be more on top of the world than Ambrose Akinmusire. The 32-year-old is looking good on the cover of this month's DownBeat, and he's managed to please the jazz critics and connect with audiences.

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4:07pm

Fri March 7, 2014
Song Travels

Tierney Sutton On 'Song Travels'

Tierney Sutton.
Courtesy of the artist

Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton has headlined national venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, and has earned five Grammy nominations. With her latest project, After Blue, Sutton takes on the genius of singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

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1:01pm

Fri March 7, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Mary Lou Williams On Piano Jazz

Mary Lou Williams at the CBS studios in 1947.
William P. Gottlieb Library of Congress

Mary Lou Williams was the guest on the the very first Piano Jazz session ever, recorded in 1978 with Williams and bassist Ronnie Boykins. Host Marian McPartland is initially nervous interviewing her longtime friend and idol, and the cagey Williams still stands as a tough nut to crack.

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4:35pm

Wed March 5, 2014
Music Interviews

Regina Carter's Jazz Genealogy

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:42 pm

"The beauty was in the rawness," Regina Carter says of the field recordings that inspired her new album, Southern Comfort.
David Katzenstein Courtesy of the artist

Jazz violinist Regina Carter grew up in Detroit, but as a child she spent summers in Alabama, where her paternal grandmother lived. Her grandfather died before she was born, and recently she began researching his side of the family. One revelation that sparked her interest: Her dad's dad had been a coal miner.

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2:01pm

Wed March 5, 2014
A Blog Supreme

Possessed By Joy: A North American Drummer In Cuba

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:06 pm

Eleggua shrines in Matanzas, Cuba.
Harris Eisenstadt for NPR

11:03pm

Sun March 2, 2014
First Listen

First Listen: Ambrose Akinmusire, 'the imagined savior is far easier to paint'

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 3:08 pm

Ambrose Akinmusire's new album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint, is out March 11.
Autumn de Wilde Courtesy of the artist

In early September, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire teased the new album he was recording:

@amBROSEire: Ohhh wait ... I think I was suppose to be making a killing melt your face off jazz album ---- opps !!!

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