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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.