A dozen years after Kat Edmonson was very briefly a contestant on American Idol, she still occasionally finds herself fielding questions about the experience from incredulous interviewers. If nothing else, the recurrence of the topic reflects how profoundly incompatible her style of pop expression is with Idol's bias toward blunt-force power balladry. You'll hear no belting from Edmonson; she deals in more intimate, exact gestures.
It's a rare thing to have three pianists at three pianos in one studio. But given the marriage of keyboard masters Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes, host Marian McPartland thought it was a perfect opportunity to expand the Piano Jazz format with two of today's most gifted players as her guests.
Composer and alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, 57, has been named one of 21 new recipients of the MacArthur Fellowship, commonly referred to as the "genius grant." The award is worth a unrestricted stipend of $625,000 over five years, as dispensed by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
Saxophonist Chris Potter is an expressive, inventive, quick-thinking improviser. In this 2001 session, he talks with host Marian McPartland about his experience working in trumpeter Red Rodney's band and performs "I Should Care" with bassist Scott Colley. With his tune "Hieroglyph," Potter showcases his skills as a composer. McPartland joins in for a trio performance of "Take The Coltrane," during which the versatile Potter switches from saxophone to piano.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 7:55 am
For his latest act, Jason Moran, one of the biggest public figures in jazz today, has recorded a tribute to fellow pianist and composer Thomas "Fats" Waller — who died more than three decades before Moran was born.
The pioneering pianist Thelonious Monk left behind a treasure trove of compositions. Onstage at the KC Jazz Club at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., a current jazz treasure is here to play some of the best. Benny Green is on piano with Peter Washington on bass and Kenny Washington on drums.
Originally published on Sat August 30, 2014 9:33 am
On a hot, humid afternoon, Bob Stewart has called a rehearsal at his Harlem apartment. Six musicians are in a circle in the living room — on one side, trumpet and trombone; on the other, cello, viola and violin; and in the middle, the elephant in the room — Stewart's tuba.
Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 7:28 pm
In the late 1950s, detective shows were all the rage. Today, the series Peter Gunn, starring Craig Stevens as the titular gumshoe, has faded a bit from popular memory. Its theme music, however, remains unforgettable.
For decades, John Blake Jr. created a rare role for the violin within the jazz of his eras. A versatile player, he worked memorably with Archie Shepp, Grover Washington Jr., and McCoy Tyner. He released several solo recordings. He taught in conservatories and mentored many outside the classroom.
Blake died Friday, Aug. 15 from complications due to multiple myeloma, according to his family. He was 67.