Jazz

Nels Cline is unabashed about his love for sound. "I get a kind of fundamental, if not moronic, pleasure from sound as soon as it starts," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Even in sound checks, once we start playing, I'm in the zone. I'm happy, because I like playing."

Walter Davis Jr. On Piano Jazz

Sep 2, 2016

Pianist Walter Davis Jr. (1932–1990) spent more than four decades contributing to the development of jazz history. He worked with a wide variety of talent, including Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Sometimes in jazz, a melody is an excuse. It gets played once at the start and again at the end, becoming a suggestive frame upon which to improvise; sometimes it might as well be dispensed with entirely. That can be liberating and dazzling and creatively rich. But sometimes a melody deserves much more. Sometimes it is more essential; even if its mass feels relatively light, its gravity remains immense. Sometimes it demands a whole song to express itself.

Three Miles Ahead

Aug 26, 2016

It's been said that Miles Davis is to jazz is like Hemingway is to the American novel, like Picasso is to art. He was more than just a trumpet player — he was an icon of style and artistry.

Jazz Night in America explores three interpretations of Miles Davis: on the silver screen, the page and the bandstand. We speak with actor Don Cheadle, who directed, produced, wrote and starred in Miles Ahead; writer Quincy Troupe, who helped Davis write his autobiography; and trumpeter Keyon Harrold, who led a special tribute concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

Aug 26, 2016

Ever since the earliest days of jazz music, the pairing of piano and voice has frequently attained a deeply personal level of communication. It's evident in the distinct chemistry between two rising stars of their instruments: pianist Sullivan Fortner and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Jazz Night In America gets to know the charming duo on stage at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and beside a piano in a Harlem brownstone.

Rudy Van Gelder, an audio recording engineer who captured the sounds of many of jazz's landmark albums, died Thursday morning in his sleep. He was at his home studio in New Jersey, according to Maureen Sickler, his assistant engineer. He was 91.

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

Aug 26, 2016

Vocalist Norah Jones has a sweet, smoky voice that makes standards sound not just revived, but new. Her style branches out into the realms of folk, country, soul, pop and jazz. In 2003, the year she was Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz, Jones won her first Grammy Awards for her debut album, Come Away With Me.

BADBADNOTGOOD On World Cafe

Aug 23, 2016

The Toronto improvisational band BADBADNOTGOOD recently released its fourth album, IV. The instrumental group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone and Alexander Sowinski on drums. The four, most of whom met at Humber College, have become known for their jazz-inflected covers of hip-hop songs and, notably, for their collaborations with Tyler, the Creator.

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Aug 19, 2016

Pianist Marty Napoleon (1921–2015) came from a musical family: He was the nephew of trumpeter and bandleader Phil Napoleon and brother of pianist Teddy Napoleon. In 1950, he joined his uncle's group, The Memphis Five; he later became a member of the Big Four, led by Charlie Ventura. He also played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, led his own trio and performed as a soloist.

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