Jazz

James P. Johnson: The Father Of Stride

Jan 8, 2016

Many decades after James P. Johnson's death, his influence remains embedded in the playing of most jazz pianists. The early-20th-century musician's seminal work represents the cornerstone of jazz piano conception.

Here, Jazz Night In America visits Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear pianists like Aaron Diehl, Ethan Iverson, Marc Cary and ELEW pay tribute to one of the founding fathers of the art, and then digs into the James P. Johnson collection at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

Paul Bley, a jazz pianist whose thoughtful but intuitive commitment to advanced improvisation became widely influential, died of natural causes Sunday. He was 83.

Bley was surrounded by family at his winter residence in Stuart, Fla., according to his daughter Vanessa Bley.

Eric Mintel On Piano Jazz

Jan 1, 2016

Pianist Eric Mintel is on a mission to bring jazz to the masses. His playing is straight-ahead but energetic, lyrical and always swinging. With his quartet, he's engaged audiences at the White House, the Kennedy Center and venues across the country.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2005, Mintel discusses improvisation and the art of getting gigs before sitting down with host Marian McPartland to play "These Foolish Things."

A tradition that dates back to the 1970s, NPR Music presents an all-night broadcast of live jazz performances every New Year's Eve.

In a sequence of high-energy concerts, performers counted down to midnight and rang in the new year across four time zones, with performances in Boston; Newport, R.I.; New York City; Chicago; and Northern California. The broadcast featured previously recorded concerts from Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, Snarky Puppy, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint.

Hear the performances in the playlist below.

Jazz guitarist John Scofield has had a pretty remarkable career. Without even finishing music school, he found himself on the Carnegie Hall stage playing with jazz legends Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. Then it was on to Miles Davis, his own successful jazz-funk fusion groups, and even greater exposure playing with jam bands.

Art Hodes On Piano Jazz

Dec 24, 2015

Jazz pianist Art Hodes (1904–1993) was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with his family as a baby. While he got his start as a musician in Chicago, his big break came when he moved to New York in 1938 and played with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. He later returned to Chicago, where he remained active as a performer, educator and writer. On this 1984 episode of Piano Jazz, Hodes performs "St. Louis Blues" and "Someone To Watch Over Me."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1984.

Set List

God Is In The House: Five Sacred-Jazz Recordings

Dec 23, 2015

The 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Dec 21, 2015

NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll where 147 jazz critics selected their favorite recordings of 2015.

For 10 consecutive years, this poll has been a labor of love by eminent critic Francis Davis. It's grown tremendously since he initially submitted the consensus of 30 writers to The Village Voice in 2006. Over the last month, print journalists, bloggers and broadcasters nominated more than 700 different albums. We're thrilled to host his exhaustive project on our site.

Only it wasn't a tie, exactly. I abhor ties more than nature does a vacuum. Ties are unlikely, if not impossible, in the poll's upper echelons. The rules are cleverly designed to circumvent them. See those parenthetical figures next to the point totals?

1 (tie). Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT). 350 (53)

1. (tie). Maria Schneider, The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare). 350 (49)

To ring in the holiday season, Jazz Night in America spends the hour with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as it performs highlights from its extensive holiday songbook.

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