Music

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

For more than 10 years, Diana Panton has been quietly building her jazz career. She's also a high-school French teacher by day, which means she mostly records and tours while her students are on vacation. But on her latest album, she's aiming for a new audience.

A swing-revival band formed in 1993, Squirrel Nut Zippers got together in Chapel Hill, N.C. Best known for its breakthrough single, "Hell," the group visited the World Cafe studio in 1996 to perform four songs, discuss how Squirrel Nut Zippers formed, and explain how they took a different approach to recording Hot, their latest record at the time.

Ayako Shirasaki On Piano Jazz

Apr 15, 2016

Originally from Japan, pianist Ayako Shirasaki showed an early talent for jazz and classical styles. As an adult, she moved to New York and entered the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Kenny Barron and Ted Rosenthal. She's gone on to establish herself as one of New York's finest jazz pianists.

On this 2006 episode of Piano Jazz, Shirasaki performs her compositions "Far Away" and "Falling Leaves."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 2006.

Barbara Lea On Piano Jazz

Apr 8, 2016

Vocalist Barbara Lea (1929–2011) was a widely respected and admired interpreter of classic American popular song. She began her career in the 1950s, and the Downbeat Critics Poll of 1956 recognized her as "Best New Singer."

Jymie Merritt: The Beat Goes Deep

Apr 7, 2016

Philadelphia bassist Jymie Merritt's place on the historical register of jazz was cemented by his work with major players like Art Blakey, Max Roach and Lee Morgan. But there's a lot more music for which he hasn't received due credit: notably, his own. Starting in the 1960s, he began developing a personal system of polyrhythms and harmonies called Forerunner, and a working ensemble called The Forerunners to match.

Show Notes (4-4-2016)

Apr 4, 2016

Watch to an episode of Democracy Now covering the life of E. Y. "Yip" Harburg.

A Tribute to Blacklisted Lyricist Yip Harburg: The Man Who Put the Rainbow in The Wizard of Oz

Don Cheadle has been playing Miles Davis for his entire career. To look back now on some of the actor's most exciting performances — as flashy porn star Buck Swope in Boogie Nights, velvet-slick con man Basher Tarr in the Ocean's trilogy, and rabble-rousing deejay Petey Greene in Talk to Me — is to recognize those same larger-than-life elements from the persona of the jazz legend and Cheadle's personal hero.

Paul Bley On Piano Jazz

Apr 1, 2016

A legendary leader of the jazz avant-garde, pianist Paul Bley (1932–2016) cultivated his own musical vision and influenced a generation of performers.

Ibrahim Maalouf Plays Umm Kulthum

Mar 31, 2016

The trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf was born in Lebanon and grew up in France; like his father, he studied Western classical music, but also microtonal Arabic music using a custom-built instrument. His latest project in a career full of cross-pollinating ventures was inspired by the late Umm Kulthum, the Arab world's greatest vocalist.

Just before he died in 2009, Joe Castro sat down with his son James to listen to some tapes. The reel-to-reels were full of Castro's own decades-old recordings, in which the jazz pianist jammed with his contemporaries.

"It was kind of like a shock," James says, "because right when we put the first tape on, it sounded like it was recorded yesterday."

Father and son went through more than 40 hours of tape. James says he was used to hearing his dad back up other musicians.

In 1955, jazz pianist Erroll Garner played a concert in Carmel, Calif. When his manager spotted a tape recorder rolling backstage, she grabbed the reels and decided to release them.

Brittany App

The Central Coast quintet, Café Musique, is about to release its fourth album, Ebb and Flow. Marisa Waddell talks with the band's violinist, Brynn Albanese and accordion player, Duane Inglish, about signing to a label, picking repertoire, the process of recording, and embracing changes in the band.

Guests:

  • Duane Inglish - accordion, banjo
  • Brynn Albanese - violin, vocals

Of all Marian McPartland's attributes, possibly the most underrated was her ability as a composer. Her piano pieces have entered the jazz repertoire, while some of her songs — with lyrics by such stars as Johnny Mercer, Sammy Cahn and Peggy Lee — have become part of The Great American Songbook.

Born To Be Blue: Chet Baker In 5 Songs

Mar 25, 2016

Show Notes (3-22-16)

Mar 21, 2016
  • Listen to a 2004 story from NPR about Dinah Washington here.
  • Get tickets to see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Fremont in SLO here.

Though he's best known as a live collaborator of techno wunderkind Nicolas Jaar and one-half of the electronic-rock group Darkside, guitarist Dave Harrington has a deep history with jazz and improvisation. Become Alive, the debut album of the group that bears his name, digs deep into these musical roots. Yet there's a twist: electronic studio processes are also on-hand to coax new results in the music.

Harold Mabern On Piano Jazz

Mar 18, 2016

Harold Mabern (born March 20, 1936) is both one of New York's most requested pianists and a staple of Japan's jazz scene. A mainly self-taught musician, his style is influenced by Art Tatum, Chris Anderson, Billy Wallace and Bud Powell.

Ernestine Anderson: A Natural At The Blues

Mar 17, 2016

From tender and soulful to hard-edged and gritty, Ernestine Anderson was one of the most versatile jazz vocalists to emerge from the big band era.

Anderson was born Nov. 11, 1928. At age 3, she could sing along with recordings of Bessie Smith; she soon moved on to the more refined environs of her local church's gospel choir. After winning a regional talent competition at age 12, the precocious Anderson landed a gig with trumpeter Russell Jacquet's big band.

Show Notes (3-14-2016)

Mar 14, 2016
  • Learn more about Mandy Harvey who is has profound hearing loss and yet continues to sing to much aclaim. Check out her website.
  • Here's a video of Pass That Peace Pipe from the movie musical Goods News on YouTube.

Mark Murphy On Piano Jazz

Mar 14, 2016

Regarded as one of the world's hippest jazz vocalists, Mark Murphy (1932–2015) epitomized the jazz singer. He was discovered by Sammy Davis Jr. in 1953 and remained true to his art throughout his life.

Alfredo Rodriguez left Cuba for the United States seven years ago. The classically-trained pianist and composer has been mentored and produced by music legend Quincy Jones.

Show Notes (3-7-2016)

Mar 7, 2016
  • Devil May Care was written in 1956 by Bob Dorough who also wrote many of the Schoolhouse Rock songs.

Jay Leonhart On Piano Jazz

Mar 4, 2016

The turning point that propelled musician Jay Leonhart to take up the bass was hearing Ray Brown with the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1955. Leonhart has since become a superior bassist, a witty lyricist and a charming singer.

Show Notes (2-29-2016)

Feb 29, 2016

Here are the Pacific Standard Time show notes for February 29th 2016. Feel free to leave a comment below. You can write to the show at pst@kcbx.org.

Listen the the NPR story about Joe Williams and Count Basie's album, Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings. Go here to listen.

Peggy Lee is referred to as one of the first successful female singer-songwriters. Read more here.

There's a fun behind the scenes video of Bucky Pizzarelli and Alexis Cole during the recording of their album, A Beautiful Friendship. (See below)

Read more....

Sumi Tonooka On Piano Jazz

Feb 26, 2016

Pianist Sumi Tonooka is an incisive musician of great originality and imagination. She's toured with Art Blakey and teamed with tenor saxophonist Odean Pope and drummer Philly Joe Jones. In 2015, she was selected for a Music Alive: New Partnerships residency through New Music USA.

The large instrumental band Snarky Puppy, which just won its second Grammy Award, is hard to pin down to one place. Its core is now in New York, but its members have toured and recorded all over the world, and their spiritual home is still Dallas, Texas. It's where they'd take in gospel performances in area churches; it's near where they initially met at music school at the University of North Texas in Denton. As bassist and bandleader Michael League explains, you can hear all those collisions in the pocket of their complex and beyond-category grooves.

The 2016 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert

Feb 24, 2016

Show Notes (2-22-2016)

Feb 22, 2016

The Clark Center in Arroyo Grande will present In the Mood, a retro look at the life and time of America’s greatest decade – the 1940’s. February 26, 2016 at 7:00 PM. (This show is past.)

The revue features 6 singer/swing dancers and the sensational 13-piece String of Pearls Orchestra with arrangements, choreography and costumes as authentic as it gets.

Tickets at: http://clarkcenter.org/events/

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