Music

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

Sergio Salvatore On Piano Jazz

Jan 29, 2016

Sergio Salvatore was only 14 when he appeared as Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz 20 years ago, but he was already making the jazz world sit up and take notice. The young composer and pianist is a natural. He's since gone on to partner with virtuoso vibraphonist Christos Rafalides, with whom he released the album Dark Sand.

In this 1996 edition of Piano Jazz, Salvatore solos in his own tune "Revolving Door" and teams with McPartland for "Autumn Leaves."

Originally broadcast in the spring of 1996.

Set List

Jazz has its capital cities: major hubs like New York, Chicago and New Orleans. But the music manages plenty well in many other places, too. What goes into those smaller ecosystems to enable jazz to thrive? How do talented musicians make it happen? In search of some answers, we sought out the DIY concert producers of CapitalBop in Washington, D.C., as they presented artists from the Baltimore-Washington area. And we met with the musicians themselves — in one case, touring the place he calls home.

Bobby Enriquez On Piano Jazz

Jan 22, 2016

A florid, flamboyant pianist, Bobby Enriquez (1943-96) was called "the wild man of jazz," a reference to his karate-like attack with fists, elbows and palms hitting the keyboard. Although he never received formal lessons, Enriquez clearly made his mark among jazz heavyweights.

In this 1990 episode of Piano Jazz, Enriquez plays a fiery rendition of "Just One Of Those Things," then teams up with host Marian McPartland for his own "Bumble Rumble Blues."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1990.

Set List

Pedrito Martinez is a world-class Afro-Cuban percussionist — a rumbero called upon by many jazz and pop stars when they need hand drumming, as well as a Grammy-nominated singing bandleader in his own right. He's also a Santería priest.

Like any music, jazz has its revolutions; its sudden incidents in infrastructure; its disruptive presences of unprecedented sound. Mostly it's slower than that, though, with years and generations of accretions before it seems to call for new vocabulary. That's one way to look at Winter Jazzfest, whose latest incarnation occupied a dozen or so venues in downtown New York City last weekend. In a decade and a half of steady growth, a one-night showcase oriented toward industry insiders has become nearly a weeklong landmark of the city's cultural calendar.

You know his voice, playing the title roles on the animated TV series Bob's Burgers and Archer, not to mention a can of vegetables in the movie Wet Hot American Summer.

But none of that is why the 20-year comedy veteran Jon Benjamin spoke with All Things Considered. Instead, it was for the most "public radio" of reasons: He has recorded an experimental jazz album.

Jane Ira Bloom On Piano Jazz

Jan 15, 2016

A supreme soprano sax player, Jane Ira Bloom is known for her innovative use of movement and her high-energy compositions. Bloom's debut album, Modern Drama, caught the attention of NASA, which commissioned her to write three pieces in 1989. She went on to release several studio albums, including her highly praised Sixteen Sunsets.

On this 1993 episode of Piano Jazz, Bloom and host Marian McPartland combine forces to freely improvise — and to play "My Romance."

Guitarists Nels Cline and Julian Lage appear together on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. A bona fide super-duo, Cline and Lage span multiple generations and genres with fluidity, precision and grace.

5 Must-See Acts At The 2016 Winter Jazzfest

Jan 13, 2016

New York City's Winter Jazzfest kicks off its 12th edition tonight, launching five days of nearly nonstop music. This year's installment is the biggest yet, featuring more than 120 groups and 600-plus musicians in and around Greenwich Village. What started as a one-night festival to give greater exposure to the city's highly talented yet underrated artists has turned into one of the finest jazz happenings in North America.

How A Korean Jazz Festival Found A Huge Young Audience

Jan 12, 2016

It was like discovering a parallel reality.

After completing a sponsored trip to South Korea for music professionals in October, I stayed in the country, striking out on my own. I grabbed a train to the Jarasum International Jazz Festival, a couple hours from Seoul, and arrived in the middle of a set by the international power pairing of Paolo Fresu, Omar Sosa and Trilok Gurtu.

Vermont musician Jamie Masefield has been improvising on the jazz mandolin for decades. He's recorded six albums, including one with Blue Note Records, and brings everything from folk and funk to the literature of Leo Tolstoy to the stage. But some years back, his eclectic creativity brought him to an unexpected second career.

When I meet Masefield at work, he's chipping away at some pinkish stone with a small hammer. "In the industry we call it 'rainbow stone,'" he offers. "It's very nice to work with."

James P. Johnson: The Father Of Stride

Jan 8, 2016

Many decades after James P. Johnson's death, his influence remains embedded in the playing of most jazz pianists. The early-20th-century musician's seminal work represents the cornerstone of jazz piano conception.

Here, Jazz Night In America visits Jazz at Lincoln Center to hear pianists like Aaron Diehl, Ethan Iverson, Marc Cary and ELEW pay tribute to one of the founding fathers of the art, and then digs into the James P. Johnson collection at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University.

Paul Bley, a jazz pianist whose thoughtful but intuitive commitment to advanced improvisation became widely influential, died of natural causes Sunday. He was 83.

Bley was surrounded by family at his winter residence in Stuart, Fla., according to his daughter Vanessa Bley.

Eric Mintel On Piano Jazz

Jan 1, 2016

Pianist Eric Mintel is on a mission to bring jazz to the masses. His playing is straight-ahead but energetic, lyrical and always swinging. With his quartet, he's engaged audiences at the White House, the Kennedy Center and venues across the country.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2005, Mintel discusses improvisation and the art of getting gigs before sitting down with host Marian McPartland to play "These Foolish Things."

A tradition that dates back to the 1970s, NPR Music presents an all-night broadcast of live jazz performances every New Year's Eve.

In a sequence of high-energy concerts, performers counted down to midnight and rang in the new year across four time zones, with performances in Boston; Newport, R.I.; New York City; Chicago; and Northern California. The broadcast featured previously recorded concerts from Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, Snarky Puppy, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint.

Hear the performances in the playlist below.

Jazz guitarist John Scofield has had a pretty remarkable career. Without even finishing music school, he found himself on the Carnegie Hall stage playing with jazz legends Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan. Then it was on to Miles Davis, his own successful jazz-funk fusion groups, and even greater exposure playing with jam bands.

Art Hodes On Piano Jazz

Dec 24, 2015

Jazz pianist Art Hodes (1904–1993) was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. with his family as a baby. While he got his start as a musician in Chicago, his big break came when he moved to New York in 1938 and played with Joe Marsala and Mezz Mezzrow. He later returned to Chicago, where he remained active as a performer, educator and writer. On this 1984 episode of Piano Jazz, Hodes performs "St. Louis Blues" and "Someone To Watch Over Me."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 1984.

Set List

God Is In The House: Five Sacred-Jazz Recordings

Dec 23, 2015
Billions Corporation

We asked our KCBX music hosts what their favorite music was for 2015, and several of them came up with lists, many of them “in no particular order,” of songs, albums, live performances, and even theatre and art! The big favorites – across different lists – were Los Lobos, Sharon Jones, The Live Oak Music Festival, Steve Earle, Dave & Phil Alvin, Whitey Morgan, and KCBX music shows.

Neal Losey – Music Director and “The Morning Cup” weekdays 9am-noon

1.       Kurt Vile  "Pretty Pimpin'" song

Only it wasn't a tie, exactly. I abhor ties more than nature does a vacuum. Ties are unlikely, if not impossible, in the poll's upper echelons. The rules are cleverly designed to circumvent them. See those parenthetical figures next to the point totals?

1 (tie). Rudresh Mahanthappa, Bird Calls (ACT). 350 (53)

1. (tie). Maria Schneider, The Thompson Fields (ArtistShare). 350 (49)

The 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Dec 21, 2015

NPR Music is pleased to present the results of a poll where 147 jazz critics selected their favorite recordings of 2015.

For 10 consecutive years, this poll has been a labor of love by eminent critic Francis Davis. It's grown tremendously since he initially submitted the consensus of 30 writers to The Village Voice in 2006. Over the last month, print journalists, bloggers and broadcasters nominated more than 700 different albums. We're thrilled to host his exhaustive project on our site.

To ring in the holiday season, Jazz Night in America spends the hour with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra as it performs highlights from its extensive holiday songbook.

Ruby Braff On Piano Jazz

Dec 18, 2015

Trumpeter and cornetist Ruby Braff (1927–2003) drew his style from the influences of Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. Throughout the 1950s Braff was in demand in New York as a Dixieland and swing player, and went on to form a quartet with guitarist George Barnes and other small groups.

When Jon Anderson, the singer from British progressive rock band Yes, and electric-jazz-violin innovator Jean-Luc Ponty play together, their collaboration makes immediate sense. Anderson calls it spiritual. The Anderson Ponty Band combines music from both of them — Anderson has written words to Ponty's instrumentals — and it soars.

On this page, hear performances from an October concert, as well as a conversation with the two longtime players.

When the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns to the newly renovated Rose Theater, it'll bring one of its most popular traditions: its annual concerts of holiday music. The Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, will present new arrangements of favorite seasonal songs with guest vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Audrey Shakir.

Tonight's performance will also feature an appearance from Aretha Franklin.

NPR Music will stream a live performance of the JLCO's Big Band Holidays concert on Thursday, Dec. 17. This concert has now concluded.

The Ladybugs Do Disney

Dec 11, 2015

The Ladybugs are a young band who draw on elements of hot swing, American folk music and blues. But their most salient features, the voices of dual frontwomen Martina DaSilva and Kate Davis, immediately recall an era when intricate vocal harmonies were more common in jazz. Appropriately enough, the quintet recently took on a program drawn from classic Walt Disney films at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola within Jazz at Lincoln Center.

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