For one weekend each January, the epicenter of the New York jazz community is the Winter Jazzfest, a marathon where dozens of bands play a cluster of adjacent downtown venues over two frigid nights. At its peak, lines flow out the doors of clubs to see the famous and obscure alike, often presenting their newest projects for thousands of ticketholders.
Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 1:43 am
For decades, Detroit has launched countless jazz careers: Thad Jones and Donald Byrd, Paul Chambers and Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell and Tommy Flanagan, Yusef Lateef and Alice Coltrane, Betty Carter and Geri Allen. To the present day, the city's musical legacy remains strong, as witnessed every Labor Day at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
Violinist Regina Carter and bassist Rodney Whitaker take special delight performing in their hometown. Jazz Night in America features their sets at the Detroit Jazz Festival, and explores the Motor City's jazz scene through their eyes and ears.
The members of ADHD keep busy with a multitude of projects, but that's not to say they distract easily. Since forming on a whim in 2008, this award-winning Icelandic supergroup of sorts has produced five albums of expressive avant jazz. Yet bringing brothers Óskar and Ómar Guðjónsson (saxophone and guitar, respectively), Davíð Þór Jónsson (organ and piano) and Magnús Trygvason Eliassen (percussion) together into one room to record with us has taken a few years.
John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.
Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.
Born with the genetic disease osteogenesis imperfecta, he only stood at three feet. But with hands unaffected by his disease and an extraordinary talent, Michel Petrucciani is one of the greatest French jazz pianists of all time.
British jazz pianist George Shearing was a friend and frequent guest on Piano Jazz. On this special edition of the program from 2001, Shearing joins host Marian McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way.
The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Away In A Manger."
Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 6:17 pm
Could anyone have predicted that Steve Lehman and Wadada Leo Smith would place first and second in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, among a field including previous winners Sonny Rollins, Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran, plus 2011 runner-up (and favorite going in) Ambrose Akinmusire? Not me, and I even had Lehman and Smith on my ballot, along with Rollins and Akinmusire.
In the dead of January in the Northeast, New York City's Winter Jazzfest manages a minor miracle. Over the course of two marathon nights, it brings crowds in the thousands out to jam-packed theaters and clubs to see dozens of varied and sundry bands.