Music

A Blog Supreme
3:03 am
Sat March 28, 2015

Three Jazz Pianists, A Generation After Apartheid

Nduduzo Makhathini, from rural Eastern South Africa, connected to jazz as a way to heal others through music.
Ignatius Mokone Courtesy of the artist

In South Africa, the major art of resistance during apartheid was jazz: a melting pot where folk songs and hymns defiantly mixed with influences from South Asia, America and West Africa. South African jazz's central formula — its equivalent to the 12-bar blues — is a buoyant, four-chord progression that even seems to evoke a blending motion.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
2:10 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Dardanelle Hadley On Piano Jazz

Dardanelle Hadley, pictured here on vibes circa 1938-1948.
William Gottlieb Library of Congress

Jazz vocalist and pianist Dardanelle Hadley was born Marcia Marie Mullen, the daughter of vocalist and pianist Marcius Mosely "Buck" Mullen. In the 1940s, she formed a trio that played regularly at the Copacabana Club in New York, and she went on to work with jazz greats such as Bucky Pizzarelli and Grady Tate.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
10:37 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Anat Cohen's Roots Of Rio

Anat Cohen.
Jimmy Katz Anzic Records

The genre choro — a word which means "cry" in Portuguese — is often described as "the New Orleans jazz of Brazil." Like its U.S. counterpart, both are Afro-Western hybrids which emerged in the early 20th century; both call for jam sessions showcasing improvisation and virtuosity. Both jazz and choro are also the domains of clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen. Her newest band, the quartet Choro Aventuroso, culminates an affinity and intense study of Brazilian music — one which began as part of an international community of jazz students at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
4:46 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Ingrid Jensen And Steve Treseler Play Kenny Wheeler

Steve Treseler and Ingrid Jensen.
Steve Korn Courtesy of the artists

The late, distinctively melodic jazz composer Kenny Wheeler was also a great trumpet player, though, being famously self-effacing, often declined to toot his own horn about his talents. Many musicians sang his praises, though, and when he died in 2014, saxophonist Steve Treseler and trumpeter Ingrid Jensen were inspired to revisit his music. As they traded notes and arrangements, they realized they had to record these tunes which had been so influential to their growth as musicians.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
8:46 am
Fri March 20, 2015

'Remembering Marian McPartland: A Celebration' On Piano Jazz

Marian McPartland.
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist, composer and bandleader Marian McPartland was a renowned jazz artist who performed for seven decades. She was also one of the music's great champions, as host of NPR's Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz for 33 years.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
11:21 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

The Best Of Jazz Night In America, Season One (So Far)

A scene from the performance of Ochas, a suite by Wynton Marsalis for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra featuring Pedrito Martinez and Chucho Valdés.
Lawrence Sumulong Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 7:26 pm

In our first 19 Jazz Night In America webcasts, we've presented over 150 musicians from 13 venues in six cities — with many more musicians and locations on the way. Whether in huge concert auditoriums like Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall to tiny basement salons like Mezzrow in New York, we've heard from living legends, rising stars and very, very talented artists somewhere in between.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
10:56 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Behind The SFJAZZ Collective's Original Approach To Joe Henderson

The SFJAZZ Collective: (L-R) Avishai Cohen, Matt Penman, Obed Calvaire, Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez, Robin Eubanks, Warren Wolf, Edward Simon.
Jay Blakesberg Courtesy of SFJAZZ

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 10:37 pm

The SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution in San Francisco, has an intriguing approach to repertoire. Each year, each member writes a new piece for the Collective, and also rearranges a composition by a modern jazz master. For the 2014-15 season, that master was tenor saxophone titan Joe Henderson, a longtime San Francisco resident.

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Music
2:15 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Drummer Extraordinaire, Turns The Tables

Albert Heath
Michael Perez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 3:36 pm

Albert "Tootie" Heath is one of the most accomplished jazz drummers of the past 60 years. The 79-year-old has played with everyone from John Coltrane to Ethan Iverson, the piano player for The Bad Plus. Iverson and bassist Ben Street join Tootie Heath for his new album, Philadelphia Beat, named for the fertile jazz city of Heath's upbringing — where, as a young man starting out, he once piloted a group consisting only of the drums and two horns.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
2:19 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Mercer Ellington On Piano Jazz

Mercer Ellington.
David Redfern Redferns

Copyist, arranger and musician Mercer Ellington worked for his father, Duke Ellington, as a horn player before becoming manager of the group. He took on additional duties, including composition, resulting in his original tune "Things Ain't What They Used To Be."

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Song Travels
12:58 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

Somi On Song Travels

Somi.
Devin Doyle Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 1:01 pm

American vocalist and songwriter Somi combines the music of her African heritage with American-style jazz, pop and soul. After her parents left Rwanda and Uganda, Somi spent 18 months living in Lagos, Nigeria; that time provided the inspiration for her 2014 album The Lagos Music Salon.

On this episode of Song Travels, Somi and host Michael Feinstein discuss the cultural roots of her music. She performs her original "Last Song" and joins Feinstein for "Embraceable You."

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Jazz Night In America
1:34 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Two Greats From Seattle, 'One Of The Most Important Jazz Cities'

Ernestine Anderson performs at the Windsor Jazz Festival in 1966.
David Redfern Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 10:02 am

Jazz bassist and composer Christian McBride recently finished a week-long West Coast tour in Seattle. It reminded him of how great a town it was for jazz, both historically and presently.

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Music
2:01 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

A Jazz Pianist Taps Armenian Folk, Metal Riffs And A Sense Of History

"Sometimes the music that I write doesn't need to have lyrics, it just needs vowels," says jazz artist Tigran Hamaysan.
Maeve Stam Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 5:25 pm

Musicians arrive at their signature sounds through all sorts of influences. For jazz pianist Tigran Hamaysan, that collection of sounds comes from far afield — he's a fan of progressive metal bands like Tool and Meshuggah — as well as from his backyard.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:56 pm
Fri March 6, 2015

Arturo Sandoval On Piano Jazz

Arturo Sandoval.
Courtesy of the artist

Trumpeter, pianist and composer Arturo Sandoval is one of Cuba's best-known musical exports. He's won multiple Grammys, including one for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2013, and his life inspired the film For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story, starring Andy García. On this installment of Piano Jazz, Sandoval proves to McPartland that his talent on the trumpet crosses over to the piano.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
1:44 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Revive Big Band: Where Jazz Meets Hip-Hop

Igmar Thomas and the Revive Big Band.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 4:16 pm

For trumpeter and composer Igmar Thomas, much in contemporary music is clearly evolved from improvised American music of eras past — jazz, in short. That insight led him to create the Revive Big Band, a large ensemble with a view to connecting the through-lines between hip-hop and its predecessors. With the Big Band, he might reconstruct how a jazz tune lent the sample for a modern classic, or unveil original works, or orchestrate special collaborations with soloists like tap dancer Savion Glover, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, or rapper Talib Kweli.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
7:24 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

SFJAZZ Collective Plays Joe Henderson And More

The SFJAZZ Collective.
Chuck Gee Courtesy of SFJAZZ

Originally published on Wed March 18, 2015 11:24 pm

Every year, each of the eight members of the SFJAZZ Collective is tasked with two writing assignments. The first: Compose a new piece specifically for the band, which gathers some of the most outstanding performers on the modern jazz scene. The second: Rearrange a composition by the elder artist that the Collective has chosen to feature that year. For the 2014-15 season, SFJAZZ is paying tribute to a tenor saxophone titan, a composer of classic tunes and a long-time San Francisco resident: the late Joe Henderson.

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