Sun November 30, 2014
Music Interviews

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Thu November 27, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Harry Connick Jr. On Piano Jazz

Harry Connick Jr.
Courtesy of the artist

When Harry Connick Jr. sat down with host Marian McPartland in 1991, he was in his twenties, had already won two Grammy Awards and was coming off a worldwide big band tour. He has gone on to record multiple best-selling albums and develop a successful acting career.

On this Piano Jazz, Connick sings and plays "They Didn't Believe Me" and joins McPartland for "Stompin' at the Savoy."

Originally broadcast fall 1991.

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Tue November 25, 2014
A Blog Supreme

After Sandy Hook, A Saxophonist Remembers A 'Beautiful Life'

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 6:31 pm

"There was a lot of tears. There was a lot of anguish," Jimmy Greene says of writing Beautiful Life.
Jimmy & Dena Katz Courtesy of the artist

Jimmy Greene's Beautiful Life is dedicated to the memory of his 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, one of the 20 children killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The first song is an arrangement of "Come Thou Almighty King." The hymn was in a piano book that Greene's son, Isaiah, was learning.

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Fri November 21, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Ravi Coltrane On Piano Jazz

Ravi Coltrane.
Courtesy of the artist

As the son of jazz legends John and Alice Coltrane, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane is continuing his family's legacy by developing his own sound and feeling. In 2012, he released his sixth album, Spirit Fiction.

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Fri November 21, 2014
World Cafe

Bobby Charles On World Cafe

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 10:36 am

Bobby Charles.
Courtesy of the artist

As a teenager in Abbeville, La., Robert Charles Guidry — better known as Bobby Charles — wrote songs that would become classics for Bill Haley and Fats Domino: "See You Later, Alligator" and "Walking To New Orleans," respectively.

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Thu November 20, 2014
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

A Jazz Piano Christmas 2014

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 2:04 am

Harold Mabern, Kris Davis, Lynne Arriale and Cyrus Chestnut perform at A Jazz Piano Christmas 2014.

Every year, NPR Music invites a handful of the world's top keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to play some of their favorite holiday music for the audience — solo — and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.

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Thu November 20, 2014
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Ellis Marsalis' 80th Birthday Concert

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 2:12 am

Ellis Marsalis celebrates his 80th birthday in concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Lawrence Sumulong Jazz at Lincoln Center

Ellis Marsalis is a father figure of modern jazz — in quite a few ways. As a pianist, he was among the first generation of musicians to bring bebop to New Orleans, and even worked with Ornette Coleman before the saxophonist recorded his landmarks of free jazz. As an educator, many great musicians came through Marsalis' tutelage, whether in New Orleans' arts high school or at various university programs. And of course, he is also the actual father of several exceptional musicians named Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis.

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Wed November 19, 2014
World Cafe

Soul Creole On World Cafe

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:39 pm

Soul Creole.
John Vettese WXPN

For the next stop on World Cafe's Sense Of Place visit to Lafayette, La., the show visits a group of young musicians who combine the two French cultures of the state. Soul Creole — led by Grammy-nominated Cajun fiddler Louis Michot and zydeco accordionist Corey Ledet — fuses Cajun and Creole music into a wild, boundary-blurring mix.

Hear a live set by the band, performed at The Blue Moon Saloon in downtown Lafayette, at the audio link.

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Wed November 19, 2014
A Blog Supreme

A Jazz Institution Moves Back Home To Los Angeles

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 3:38 pm

Herbie Hancock and Pharrell Williams performed Williams' hit "Happy" at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Last weekend, at a sold-out, star-studded gala concert in Hollywood, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock remixed Williams' hit "Happy," Kevin Spacey served up a compelling Frank Sinatra imitation singing "Fly Me To The Moon" and former President Bill Clinton offered a heartfelt reminiscence about his early days as a John Coltrane wannabe. ("Sometimes frustrated jazz musicians end up in another line of work and it ends up pretty good," he joked.) The opener was a jazz concert: Three virtuosic young trumpet players — Adam O'Farrill, Billy Buss and Marquis Hill — deftly negotiated standards.

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Tue November 18, 2014
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Revive Big Band At Berklee

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 6:56 pm

Igmar Thomas leads the Revive Big Band in concert.
Denika Peniston Courtesy of Revive Music Group