Music

Reports focusing on the latest music news and trends along California's Central Coast.

Cocktail jazz isn't a sound you hear very much in pop music these days. But a duo known as Twin Danger is causing a scene with their self-titled debut album and live shows.

It's a familiar mood for saxophonist Stuart Matthewman; he co-wrote many of the biggest hits for Sade, like "No Ordinary Love" and "Your Love Is King."

Tierney Sutton On Piano Jazz

Jun 26, 2015

Earlier this year, singer Tierney Sutton earned a Grammy nomination — her sixth — for Best Jazz Vocal Album for 2014's Paris Sessions. But when Sutton came on Piano Jazz in 2004, she had just released her album Dancing In The Dark, a tribute to Frank Sinatra.

Canada produces a lot of top-flight jazz, but if you're not in the country, you'll probably have to head north to hear it. U.S. travel restrictions keep many of the nation's best musicians at home, where they've developed their own sound and scene.

Fortunately, Canada has wonderful jazz festivals. The granddaddy of them all is the Festival International du Jazz de Montreal (FIJM), a 10-day extravaganza which kicked off Thursday. Now in its 36th year, FIJM attracts more than six million visitors from around the world.

The High Priestess Of Soul: Nina Simone In 5 Songs

Jun 24, 2015

There are certain figures in jazz history whose iconic status can be telegraphed by a single name: Miles. Billie. Bix. Coltrane. Though there is a deity-like ring to the stand-alone moniker, there's also a suggestion of the intense connection that these artists inspired in fans, and a notion that their messages remain relevant today.

Even those who didn't live through Nina Simone's heyday can recognize her songs, or at least her voice. Born Eunice Waymon, the passionate performer and activist died in 2003, and today her recordings still loom larger than the rest of her story.

Jazz is all about great collaborations, and in honor of Father's Day this weekend, composer and bassist Christian McBride, host of NPR's Jazz Night In America and a regular All Things Considered guest, stopped by for a conversation about fathers and sons.

Gerry Mulligan On Piano Jazz

Jun 19, 2015

Gerry Mulligan, best known as a baritone saxophonist, was pivotal in developing the West Coast jazz sound, and was featured in big bands for years. He also composed and performed symphonic music and played piano.

Every spring, a New York City community organization puts on a month's worth of jazz events centered around the neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival turns the spotlight on a historically African-American region, and often some lesser-heard talents. Though Akua Dixon has played in just about every situation open to a cellist, less frequently does she lead a band bearing her own name. Her music often features her compositions and arrangements for a string ensemble, and occasionally adds her own voice to the mix as well.

My Friend, Ornette Coleman

Jun 15, 2015

John Rogers is a photographer living in New York City who specializes in jazz. A few weeks ago, he approached NPR with the idea to document the unique connection he shared with his friend Ornette Coleman. He was working on it when Coleman died last week at 85. Rogers finished the story for us here. --Ed.

For this year's edition of Make Music New York, we come not to praise the dead, but to sing the blues and create a new "exquisite corpse."

This Sunday, June 21 at 4 p.m. ET, join NPR Music and regulars at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center for a round-robin group improvisation at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. Everyone who sings or plays an instrument — amateur, student or professional — is invited to perform with us.

The last time Charlie Hunter came to the NPR studios, he brought an eight-string guitar with fanned-out frets that included bass strings. He's now pared down to just seven strings, but his guitar still produces a big, fat sound. Let The Bells Ring On is Hunter's new album, and it features two jazz innovators: trombonist Curtis Fowlkes and drummer Bobby Previte. It's a record that goes every which way, but in places is rooted in gospel and the music on which he grew up.

Hazel Scott On Piano Jazz

Jun 12, 2015

Pianist and vocalist Hazel Scott was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. A former child prodigy, she had a lifelong career as a jazz artist on both stage and screen, performing late into her life through the U.S. and Europe.

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