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

In 1964, near the end of his career, Billy Strayhorn accompanied himself on a live recording of one of his best-known songs. It starts:

I used to visit all the very gay places

Those come-what-may places

Billy Strayhorn In Five Songs

Nov 29, 2015

Patricia Barber On Piano Jazz

Nov 20, 2015

Patricia Barber is a pianist and singer who's solidly grounded in the jazz idiom while eclectic in her style. She's recorded a series of albums that have each established a wider audience for her music, and in 2002, she released the successful Verse.

In Chicago, one band holds down a midnight-to-5 a.m. gig on Saturday nights — or, technically, on Sunday mornings. It's a time slot which seems challenging enough to do once or twice. These guys have been doing it for 23 years.

Sabertooth is a quirky band, currently an organ quartet led by saxophonists Pat Mallinger and Cameron Pfiffner. It swings hard (and a little off-kilter), mixing favorite standards and a repertoire of cleverly arranged tunes. Every week, Mallinger and Pfiffner play for curious newcomers, rowdy drunks, hardcore fans and musicians coming off their own gigs.

Every month on All Things Considered, Christian McBride sits down with host Audie Cornish to discuss, dissect and deconstruct just about everything in jazz.

The brass-band sound is a proud tradition of New Orleans. But over the years, those horns have evolved to embrace a broader repertoire, full of funk and jazz and even a little hip-hop — and the sounds have migrated well beyond Louisiana. Take NO BS! Brass Band, whose core members met at Virgina Commonwealth University and proudly claim Richmond, Va. as their home base.

Over the course of a career that lasted some sixty years, pianist, producer and songwriter Allen Toussaint's music and sound became a hugely influential force for artists working in many different genres. Toussaint died on Monday night in Madrid, at the age of 77.

As the news has spread, artists and other luminaries have been pouring out their grief on social media. Here's a selection of their tributes.

Jaki Byard On Piano Jazz

Nov 6, 2015

Arranger and composer Jaki Byard (1922–1999) played jazz piano, as well as alto and tenor saxophone. A partner of Maynard Ferguson and a member of bands led by Charles Mingus, Byard went on to become an educator, teaching at the New England Conservatory and other institutions.

About a year ago, trumpeter Marquis Hill, now 28, traveled to Los Angeles, played five tunes for a panel of judges, and won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. You can think of it as a sort of Heisman Trophy for young jazz artists, meaning that a lot more people discovered his talent in a hurry.

George Wallington On Piano Jazz

Oct 30, 2015

Bop pianist George Wallington (1924–1993) was born in Sicily and moved to the U.S. with his family in the 1920s. He became part of the New York music scene in the 1940s and played with greats such as Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Gerry Mulligan and Lionel Hampton.

Jamie Cullum, musician and BBC Radio 2 host, is constantly searching for the freshest sounds in jazz music. A frequent guest on Weekend Edition, he recently visited the program to share new music from Matthew Halsall & the Gondwana Orchestra, Daymé Arocena and Sons of Kemet. The sounds range from Coltrane-influenced spiritual jazz to acoustic club music informed by the traditional sounds of Ethiopia and West Africa.

Kyle Eastwood On Piano Jazz

Oct 23, 2015

When bassist Kyle Eastwood was Marian McPartland's guest in 1999, he had released his first solo album, From There To Here, one year earlier. Having led a quartet and worked as a session musician in the 1990s, Eastwood has gone on to a prolific career as a performer, recording artist and composer for film and television.

On this episode of Piano Jazz, Eastwood and McPartland play a set that includes "In A Sentimental Mood" and "Stella By Starlight."

The pianist and composer Arturo O'Farrill knows better than almost anyone that more than 50 years of a trade embargo between the U.S. and Cuba hasn't fully prevented the exchange of jazz between the two countries. He's known it since he first visited Cuba in 2002.

"The first thing that I encountered was great 'goo-gobs' of young jazz musicians who worked really hard to master this craft that we thought was our own," O'Farrill says.

Margaret Whiting On Piano Jazz

Oct 16, 2015

Vocalist Margaret Whiting (1924–2011) established herself as a singer of jazz and popular standards in the 1940s while touring with the U.S.O. during WWII. In the decades that followed, her career encompassed everything from television to nightclubs, musical theater and country music.

On this 1992 episode of Piano Jazz, Whiting performs "Come Rain Or Come Shine" and "Moonlight In Vermont" with host Marian McPartland accompanying. McPartland solos in "Twilight World."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1992.

Set List