Music

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

Corky Hale On Piano Jazz

Jul 24, 2015

Multi-instrumentalist Corky Hale has been blazing trails since her career began. She started piano at age 3, harp at 8, flute at 10 and cello at 12. In the late 1950s, she became Mel Tormé's pianist and teamed up with Billie Holiday in Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

For 20 years, the New Orleans band Galactic has made people dance at clubs, festivals, house parties — you name it. "A first-rate funk band" is how The New York Times describes it.

Rio Clemente On Piano Jazz

Jul 17, 2015

Rio Clemente was born Rosario Clemente in Morristown, N.J. Known as the "Bishop of Jazz," he was educated at the Juilliard School of Music. His training in classical music paved the way for his vibrant career in jazz, playing with the likes of Bucky Pizzarelli, Clark Terry, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hackett, with whom he toured.

L.A. native Kamasi Washington has one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year with his three-volume set The Epic, released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label. At KCRW's studio, Washington recently brought in a stripped-down version of his band, many of whose members he grew up with here in town.

Willie Ruff On Piano Jazz

Jul 10, 2015

Willie Ruff is a master of both the bass and the French horn, which he reveals to be a singularly beautiful jazz instrument. Trained as a classical musician, Ruff studied with Paul Hindemith at the Yale School of Music and signed as first horn with the Tel Aviv Symphony. He went on to team up with pianist Dwike Mitchell, with whom he formed the Mitchell-Ruff Duo and toured worldwide.

You know how some older "legacy" artists program their concerts like a greatest-hits collection? Duke Ellington did some of that as he was getting older — people wanted to hear the Maestro lead "Satin Doll" and "Mood Indigo," after all — but he never stopped writing new music, either. And his late works didn't stop pushing his own boundaries.

In 1969, Nina Simone told Ebony Magazine, "I hope the day comes when I will be able to sing more love songs, when the need is not quite so urgent to sing protest songs. But for now, I don't mind."

Dwike Mitchell On Piano Jazz

Jul 3, 2015

Pianist Dwike Mitchell (1930-2013) joined bassist and French-horn soloist Willie Ruff in 1955 to form the Mitchell-Ruff Duo, which created a stir in New York nightclubs and around the globe as they gained recognition for their elegant sound.

On this 1989 episode of Piano Jazz, Mitchell demonstrates his formidable technique, touch and feeling in "Lush Life," and he and host Marian McPartland form their own duo to perform "Don't Worry 'Bout Me."

Each June 21, the one-day Make Music New York festival (MMNY) celebrates not just sound but community. It's a summer solstice gathering of the tribes for music makers and music lovers alike, with more than 1200 outdoor concerts across the five boroughs running from morning till night.

Jimmy Greene Remembers A 'Beautiful Life'

Jun 30, 2015

Saxophonist Jimmy Greene's newest album, Beautiful Life, is dedicated to the memory of his 6-year-old daughter. Ana Márquez-Greene was killed in the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Greene paid tribute to his daughter by composing and arranging a genre-spanning album to reflect the way she lived.

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.

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