Jazz

5:00pm

Sat February 15, 2014
Music Interviews

A Man, A Plan, A Concept Album About Panama

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 9:18 pm

On the new album Panama 500, pianist Danilo Pérez considers five centuries of his home country's history.
Raj Naik and Luke Severn Courtesy of the artist

6:09pm

Fri February 14, 2014
A Blog Supreme

After 18 Years Of Marriage And Two Children, A Couple Releases Their Debut Albums

Shamie Royston (left) and Rudy Royston, married for nearly two decades, have recently issued their own debut albums as bandleaders.
Mike Molaire/John Rogers for NPR

The basic story behind drummer Rudy Royston's first album sounds like that of many sidemen in jazz. He moved to the New York area. His talent got him into bands led by higher-profile artists like Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Ben Allison and Dave Douglas. And when it came time to document his own composing and arranging, he could rely on the network he had tapped into. Douglas issued Royston's album 303 earlier this month on his own record label, Greenleaf Music.

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2:24pm

Fri February 14, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Grace Kelly On Piano Jazz

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:43 pm

Grace Kelly.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist
  • Listen: Grace Kelly On Piano Jazz

Alto saxophone phenom Grace Kelly has recorded with icons Lee Konitz and Phil Woods and is a seasoned road warrior with tour dates around the world. And she's till in her early 20s. She recently added vocalist to her resume.

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9:21am

Fri February 14, 2014
A Blog Supreme

Because It's Never Too Soon To Survey The Year In Jazz, 5 Songs For 2014

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:05 pm

James Brandon Lewis' second album, Divine Travels, came out in early February.
Ingrid Hertfelder Courtesy of the artist

From the outside looking in, it may seem as if jazz recordings have slowed to a flurry. But it's really more like a blizzard, with dozens already coming down in the new year — including new efforts from big names like Pat Metheny, Danilo Pérez and Brad Mehldau. Before we're snowed under, here are a few others worth hearing.

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3:43pm

Tue February 11, 2014
Music Reviews

In Session: Frank Wess' 'Magic 201' Offers One Last Lesson

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 12:35 pm

Frank Wess.
Hiroyuki Ito Getty Images

Frank Wess' new album, Magic 201, is a sequel to last year's similar helping of ballads and midtempo strollers, Magic 101. The new album is very nearly every bit as good, and made a little more poignant by Wess' death just before Halloween. On his last session as a leader in 2011, he was still sounding strong at 89.

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6:02am

Sun February 9, 2014
A Blog Supreme

'When The Bus For The Record Label Comes By': Behind Hot Tone Music

Camille Thurman (left), Mimi Jones (center) and Shirazette Tinnin all released new albums this week on Hot Tone Music, Jones' record imprint.
Courtesy of the artist

This past week, the bassist and vocalist Mimi Jones released three albums at once. They weren't all her music, but they were her work: As the founder and producer of the record label Hot Tone Music, she brought all three albums to fruition.

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5:45am

Sun February 9, 2014
Music

How A Stressful Night For Miles Davis Spawned Two Classic Albums

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 11:44 am

Detail from the cover of Miles Davis' Four & More. The album was one of two gleaned from a 1964 concert at Philharmonic Hall in New York.
Album cover

Fifty years ago, on Feb. 12, 1964, Miles Davis led a band through one of the most exciting gigs to ever take place at New York's Philharmonic Hall. The show was a cultural event: a benefit for voter registration in Louisiana and Mississippi at the high point of the the civil rights movement, and an unofficial homage to John F. Kennedy, who had been assassinated a few months before.

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3:46pm

Fri February 7, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Cedar Walton On Piano Jazz

Cedar Walton.
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist Cedar Walton rode high on the cresting wave of '60s hard bop. He performed with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and in Lee Morgan's band, and was house pianist at Prestige Records. Walton died in August 2013.

In this 1980 session, he performs his tune "N.P.S." and duets with host Marian McPartland in "Lover Man."

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6:42pm

Sun February 2, 2014
Music News

Duke Ellington's Lost Opera, Forever A Work In Progress

Karen Marie Richardson (right) plays the title role in the Long Beach Opera's staging of Queenie Pie, the jazz opera Duke Ellington left unfinished when he died in 1974.
Bryan Frank Long Beach Opera

Duke Ellington added more than 3,000 songs to the American music vault before his death in 1974. He also started composing what he hoped would be a great American street opera — which composers have spent 40 years adapting, trying to figure out what the Duke wanted for his unfinished opus.

But before you imagine soothing arias or boisterous trills and vibrato, let me stop you: Ellington's opera is very much a work of jazz.

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4:37pm

Fri January 31, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Herbie Hancock On Piano Jazz

Herbie Hancock.
Kwaku Alston

On this episode of Piano Jazz, composer and keyboardist Herbie Hancock stops by in a program recorded in 1987. The ever-inventive Hancock sticks with the acoustic piano for this set of solos and duets with host Marian McPartland. Hancock performs a mix of his originals — "Dolphin Dance" and "Still Time" — and standards including "Limehouse Blues," "It Never Entered My Mind" and "That Old Black Magic."

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