Music

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
8:39 am
Fri December 19, 2014

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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A Blog Supreme
6:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

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

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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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
9:57 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014

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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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
9:15 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

In Memory Of 2014: Jazz Night Looks Back

Gerald Wilson, 2010.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for NAACP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:00 pm

This year saw the passing of numerous jazz legends. In Jazz Night In America's year in review, we pay tribute to bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Horace Silver and composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson, among others. We'll listen back to great live performances recorded over the past 30 years from these musicians — all from the WBGO vault — and highlight remembrances from friends and loved ones.

Song Travels
9:11 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Anthony Strong On 'Song Travels'

Anthony Strong.
Courtesy of the artist

British jazz vocalist and pianist Anthony Strong built his reputation as a session pianist, supporting stars like B.B. King. His EP release Delovely reached No. 1 on the U.K. jazz charts, and he's continued his rise with his last album of classic jazz songs and originals, Stepping Out.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
8:25 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Mel Torme On Piano Jazz

Mel Torme.
David Redfern Redferns

Described by film critic Rex Reed as "America's greatest male singer," Mel Tormé (1925-99) was one of the most versatile performers of his day.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1992, Tormé shares how his classic "The Christmas Song" inspired him to put out his own holiday album. He also sings and plays "Too Late Now" and "Walking My Baby Home," with host Marian McPartland joining in.

Originally recorded Jan. 21, 1992. Originally broadcast May 9, 1992.

Set List

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
10:52 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Ellis Marsalis At 80

Ellis Marsalis celebrated his 80th birthday in performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Lawrence Sumulong Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 3:59 pm

Ellis Marsalis has four famous musical sons — Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis — but considering his career, he's a father figure for many more musicians. In high school and college classrooms, he's been the major figure in New Orleans jazz education since the time that formal jazz education didn't exist. And as a pianist, he carved out a space for contemporary jazz in his hometown, and has grown into an elder statesman of the scene.

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A Blog Supreme
11:45 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Eighty Years Of Master Educator Ellis Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis performs at the NBA All-Star Game in 2008 in New Orleans.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

If anyone has earned the nickname Pops, it's Ellis Marsalis.

As jazz's best-known father figure, the senior Marsalis has four noted musical offspring: Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. But if you consider all the musicians he's taught or mentored, his clan is even more extensive, diverse and influential.

I talked to six musicians who gave us the long view of the Marsalis family tree, and how they were schooled by its patriarch.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:10 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Liz Story On Piano Jazz

Liz Story.
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and composer Liz Story is a fascinating, ever-changing musician. She was inspired to pursue music after hearing Bill Evans perform, and her music has been compared to that of Aaron Copland, Frederic Chopin, Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
11:34 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Johnny O'Neal: Listen, Closely

Johnny O'Neal performs at Mezzrow.
NPR

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 10:53 pm

Mezzrow is New York City's newest listening room: an intimate club for solo and duo performers where silence and attention are more than encouraged. It's a bit of a throwback, as is its Monday night host Johnny O'Neal. A virtuoso who shot onto the scene in the 1980s, the pianist is now re-establishing his presence in New York after decades off the radar. And on Mondays, he holds court at Mezzrow, singing the blues and welcoming guest after guest onto the tiny stage.

Jazz Night in America stops into the Greenwich Village club to listen closely.

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Music Interviews
3:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

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

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 3:43 pm

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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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
6:38 am
Thu November 27, 2014

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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A Blog Supreme
1:32 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

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

"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

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 3:31 pm

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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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
9:37 am
Fri November 21, 2014

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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World Cafe
7:21 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Bobby Charles On World Cafe

Bobby Charles.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:36 am

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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