Music

Jazz Night In America Videos
7:36 am
Wed October 29, 2014

The Funky Tune That Was Too Big For Miles Davis

NPR

When Miles Davis returned to performing in the early 1980s, he asked his former bandmate and master composer, Wayne Shorter, to write something for him. What came out was a large ensemble work too unwieldy for Davis, and Shorter put it back on his shelf. "I asked him for a tune, and he gives me a [expletive deleted] symphony," Davis reportedly said at the time.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
9:42 am
Mon October 27, 2014

Roy Hargrove On Piano Jazz

Courtesy of the artist

Grammy-winning trumpeter Roy Hargrove has played with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Mulgrew Miller and Bobby Watson.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:49 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Ruth Brown On Piano Jazz

Paul Bergen Redferns

Originally published on Mon October 27, 2014 7:55 am

Ruth Brown was one of the pioneers of R&B. The vocalist and actress also hosted a blues program on NPR called Blues Stage that helped bring wider attention to the genre.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1993, Brown's roots in blues, R&B and jazz are on display as she sings to host Marian McPartland's accompaniment in "Skylark" and "Fine And Mellow."

Originally recorded Feb. 8, 1993. Originally broadcast June 19, 1993.

Set List

  • "Fine And Mellow" (Holiday)
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Music News
1:31 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Who Sang It First? Mockingbirds And Musicians Cover Each Other In New Orleans

A short phrase New Orleans musicians use to communicate is identical to a common mockingbird call.
Sven Halling Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 4:47 pm

In certain New Orleans music scenes, there is a special sound — a signal — that lets players know it's time to pick up their instruments and strike up the band.

"It's a bugle call, or a band call, to assemble," trumpeter Leroy Jones says.

"It's like: C'mon, rally," musician Matt Bell adds. "Come to the bandstand and be ready to do it. Let's go."

The four-note phrase, however, doesn't belong to musicians alone. Another common New Orleans species, the mockingbird, also produces the call.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
1:13 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Happy Birthday, Blue Note

The Wayne Shorter Quartet performs at Blue Note at 75, The Concert.
NPR

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 9:14 pm

Blue Note Records turns 75 this year, and to celebrate, Washington, D.C.'s John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts hosted a concert featuring some of the record label's living legends and rising stars. From the early years with co-founder Alfred Lion to the revitalization under Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note Records has become and remained one of the most iconic brands in jazz.

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Song Travels
10:45 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Charenee Wade On 'Song Travels'

Charenee Wade.
Frank Stewart Courtesy of the artist

Jazz vocalist Charenee Wade began singing at 12 and learned from jazz luminaries such as Carmen Lundy and Christian McBride. Her clear voice and impressive technique landed her first runner-up in the 2010 Thelonious Monk competition, and she followed this success with her debut album, Love Walked In.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:19 am
Fri October 17, 2014

Cassandra Wilson On Piano Jazz

Marco Glaviano Courtesy of the artist

In this 1999 episode of Piano Jazz, recorded live at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York City, host Marian McPartland welcomes in vocalist Cassandra Wilson for an hour of jazz standards.

Wilson is known for the enormous range of emotion in her performances. She delights with an array of tunes, joining McPartland and bassist Peter Washington for "Surrey With The Fringe On Top" and "Old Devil Moon."

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
8:36 am
Thu October 16, 2014

Reimagining Brubeck

Dave Brubeck performs in 1982.
Ralph Gatti AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:22 pm

The late pianist Dave Brubeck left jazz with incredible performances, recordings and advocacy — as well as a large body of compositions. His iconic music is reimagined by members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.

Jazz Night in America explores various Brubeck compositions, discussing the decisions the arrangers made when approaching the material. Also, we unearth a rare recording from Brubeck's personal archive of him singing with Carmen McRae.

Set List

All compositions by Dave Brubeck.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
8:23 am
Thu October 16, 2014

To Miles, From Wayne

Wallace Roney leads a performance of Wayne Shorter's "Universe" at the Detroit Jazz Festival.
NPR

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 3:59 pm

In the late 1960s, when trumpeter Miles Davis was leading his famous second quintet, saxophonist Wayne Shorter wrote a series of new works featuring Davis with orchestra. When the quintet broke up, Shorter put the scores away.

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Field Recordings
5:31 am
Thu October 16, 2014

The Fastest Fingers At The Festival, For Django Reinhardt

The Django Festival All-Stars.
NPR Music

Every year for the last decade and a half, select groups of hot swing musicians have come from Europe to tour the U.S. The exact lineups change, but they all feature masters of the "gypsy jazz" — or jazz manouche — style pioneered by guitarist Django Reinhardt. In fact, they're billed under the banner of New York's Django Reinhardt Festival.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
8:17 am
Fri October 10, 2014

Benny Green On Piano Jazz

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 12:02 pm

Hard bop pianist Benny Green was mentored by Walter Bishop Jr. and has appeared on more than 100 recordings, with artists such as Betty Carter, Milt Jackson and Diana Krall. In 1993, Oscar Peterson chose Green to receive the Glen Gould International Protégé Prize in Music.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
11:38 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Behind Wynton Marsalis' Afro-Cuban 'Ochas' Suite

Percussionists Clemente Medina, Román Diaz and Pedrito Martinez perform with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Thu October 30, 2014 4:49 pm

To open its 2014-15 season, Jazz At Lincoln Center welcomes the world premiere of a work by managing and artistic director Wynton Marsalis. Ochas, for big band and Afro-Cuban percussion, features special guests in the commanding pianist Chucho Valdés and percussionist, vocalist and Santería priest Pedrito Martinez. With the Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra, they blend jazz with the traditional folkloric and religious music of Cuba.

Jazz Night In America explores how the new suite of music came to be.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
8:04 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Johnny O'Neal: Live at Mezzrow

Johnny O'Neal.
Michelle Watt Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:32 pm

Pianist and singer Johnny O'Neal never learned to read music, but didn't really need to: He was one of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers and even convincingly imitated the fast-fingered Art Tatum in the biopic Ray. Now, after decades off the scene — and with his health under control — he's re-establishing himself in New York as an incredible old-school performer.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
8:04 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Very Very Threadgill

Henry Threadgill.
Nhumi Threadgill Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:30 pm

The saxophonist and composer Henry Threadgill, 70, has long been an standard-bearer for boundary-crossing music. In his wildly creative work, inspirations as disparate as rags, calypso and funk transmogrify into unique frameworks for improvisation. Pianist Jason Moran is one of his loyal fans — Threadgill is his favorite composer, he says — and programmed this two-night tribute, gathering both Threadgill sidemen and up-and-comers to perform works from throughout Threadgill's career.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
8:04 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Miguel Zenón's 'Identities Are Changeable'

Miguel Zenón.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:29 pm

Miguel Zenón possesses rare talent, both for the level of his alto saxophone virtuosity and the ability to make complex compositions immediate and accessible. But he's but one of many who moved to New York City to pursue jazz. And he's one of over one million New-York-area residents of Puerto Rican origin.

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