Jazz

5:48am

Thu January 1, 2015
Toast Of The Nation

Toast Of The Nation: Winter Jazzfest 2014

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble performs at Winter Jazzfest 2014.
John Rogers for NPR

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.

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4:26pm

Wed December 31, 2014
Music News

Ahmad Jamal, 'A Musical Architect Of The Highest Order,' Keeps On Building

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 6:48 pm

At 84, acclaimed jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal is still recording and touring
Karen Michel

2:42pm

Wed December 31, 2014
Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Live From Detroit

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 1:43 am

Rodney Whitaker.
Courtesy of the artist

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.

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4:47pm

Mon December 29, 2014
Favorite Sessions

KEXP Presents: ADHD

ADHD performs live for KEXP's Iceland Airwaves broadcast.
Jim Bennett KEXP

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.

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6:01pm

Sat December 27, 2014
Music

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:41 am

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

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.

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6:26pm

Fri December 26, 2014
NPR's 'Jazz Profiles'

Buddy DeFranco: The Clarinetist Who Swung To Bebop

Buddy DeFranco in 1947.
William Gottlieb Library Of Congress

Clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, a brilliant jazz improviser who devised many paths for his instrument following its peak popularity in the swing era, died Dec. 24, his website announced. He was 91.

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1:52pm

Wed December 24, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Michel Petrucciani On Piano Jazz

Michel Petrucciani.
Frederic Reglain Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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.

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11:39am

Fri December 19, 2014
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

George Shearing's Holiday Set On Piano Jazz

George Shearing.
New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

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."

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9:57am

Fri December 19, 2014
A Blog Supreme

An Upset Either Way: Steve Lehman And Wadada Leo Smith Triumph

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 6:17 pm

Wadada Leo Smith finished second in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, separated by only 12 points from surprise winner Steve Lehman.
Scott Groller Courtesy of the artist

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.

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12:57am

Thu December 18, 2014
Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts

Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 3:07 am

Donald Harrison performs at Winter Jazzfest 2014.
John Rogers for NPR

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.

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