Music

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

Robert Glasper is always making music. Solo or with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, he's released 9 albums and collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Kendrick Lamar, investigating the sounds and rhythms of jazz and hip-hop in equal measure,

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

Sep 9, 2016

Oliver Jones is one of Canada's premier pianists and a winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child, he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson's sister. With a long career as a performer, composer and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene.

Nels Cline is unabashed about his love for sound. "I get a kind of fundamental, if not moronic, pleasure from sound as soon as it starts," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Even in sound checks, once we start playing, I'm in the zone. I'm happy, because I like playing."

    

NPR podcast host, Tom Wilmer met up with Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Perla Batalla in Ojai, California. Come along and join Perla as she shares her musical journey through life. 

Walter Davis Jr. On Piano Jazz

Sep 2, 2016

Pianist Walter Davis Jr. (1932–1990) spent more than four decades contributing to the development of jazz history. He worked with a wide variety of talent, including Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd and Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Sometimes in jazz, a melody is an excuse. It gets played once at the start and again at the end, becoming a suggestive frame upon which to improvise; sometimes it might as well be dispensed with entirely. That can be liberating and dazzling and creatively rich. But sometimes a melody deserves much more. Sometimes it is more essential; even if its mass feels relatively light, its gravity remains immense. Sometimes it demands a whole song to express itself.

Gabe Dixon at Bluebird Cafe
Thomas Wilmer

 Join NPR podcast host Tom Wilmer at the legendary Bluebird Cafe for a conversation with Nashville based musician, Gabe Dixon.

Just mention the name Bluebird Café to anyone in the world familiar with the Nashville Music Scene and you are bound to receive a fond smile of reverence in response. 

Front facade Ryman Auditorium
Thomas Wilmer

Join Lisaann Dupont, PR and Digital Media Manager at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. Revered as the “Mother Church” of country music, the Ryman has been an anchor of the Nashville music scene for more than a century.

The Grand Ole Opry moved in to the Ryman in 1943 where it broadcast shows weekly across the airwaves every Saturday on WSM 650 AM radio.

Three Miles Ahead

Aug 26, 2016

It's been said Miles Davis is to jazz is like Hemingway is to the American novel, like Picasso is to art. But he was more than just a trumpeter — he was an icon of style and artistry.

Jazz Night in America explores three interpretations of Miles Davis — on the silver screen, the page and on the bandstand. We speak with actor Don Cheadle, who directed, produced, wrote and starred in Miles Ahead; writer Quincy Troupe, who helped Davis write his autobiography; and trumpeter Keyon Harrold, who led a special tribute concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

Aug 26, 2016

Ever since the earliest days of jazz music, the pairing of piano and voice has frequently attained a deeply personal level of communication. It's evident in the distinct chemistry between two rising stars of their instruments: pianist Sullivan Fortner and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant.

Jazz Night In America gets to know the charming duo on stage at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and beside a piano in a Harlem brownstone.

Rudy Van Gelder, an audio recording engineer who captured the sounds of many of jazz's landmark albums, died Thursday morning in his sleep. He was at his home studio in New Jersey, according to Maureen Sickler, his assistant engineer. He was 91.

Norah Jones On Piano Jazz

Aug 26, 2016

Vocalist Norah Jones has a sweet, smoky voice that makes standards sound not just revived, but new. Her style branches out into the realms of folk, country, soul, pop and jazz. In 2003, the year she was Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz, Jones won her first Grammy Awards for her debut album, Come Away With Me.

Country Music Hall of Fame entry
Thomas Wilmer

The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee is the Mother Ship where the entire history of country music, from the 1800s to present, is showcased and revered in the 360,000 square-foot, multi-story facility.

BADBADNOTGOOD On World Cafe

Aug 23, 2016

The Toronto improvisational band BADBADNOTGOOD recently released its fourth album, IV. The instrumental group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone and Alexander Sowinski on drums. The four, most of whom met at Humber College, have become known for their jazz-inflected covers of hip-hop songs and, notably, for their collaborations with Tyler, the Creator.

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Aug 19, 2016

Pianist Marty Napoleon (1921–2015) came from a musical family: He was the nephew of trumpeter and bandleader Phil Napoleon and brother of pianist Teddy Napoleon. In 1950, he joined his uncle's group, The Memphis Five; he later became a member of the Big Four, led by Charlie Ventura. He also played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, led his own trio and performed as a soloist.

Here's a tip for jazz musicians that works better than it should: If you wish to be noticed by people who use words, play some covers. Not standards, but songs from a more recent era of popular music, or something else left-field. Even today, it stands out from mainstream practice, which shifts gradually over longer durations. It moves the playing field away from the nuts and bolts of your playing, where our critical lexicon is generally impoverished, to your signaled influences and decision-making, which are much easier to talk about. At the very least, it tends to be amusing.

Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist whose improvising and composition helped to define modernity for jazz as a whole, has died. He had long struggled with emphysema. He was 75.

As a mallet percussionist, he expanded the scope of what was possible on his instrument. And the sound he created was widely influential.

It's summer. We're still in the thick of the Rio Olympics. So it's a perfect time for Peter Eldridge's hypnotic "Mind To Fly." Shaded with the sounds of Brazil, it's also deeply colored by rich harmonic textures, intricate rhythmic ideas and wistful lyrics about the end of a romance.

David Sánchez On Piano Jazz

Aug 12, 2016

Multiple Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sánchez weaves threads of Latin American and North American jazz into a colorful tapestry.

The central equation behind Slavic Soul Party! is self-explanatory: an American black-music spin on the Balkan brass band. The net product is akin to a New-Orleans-style brass band, but with different percussion timbres, horn trills and glissandi. (Also, accordion, because Europe.) It's the sort of multiculti collision you see forged in major population centers; you may be interested to know the band has a standing Tuesday night gig at a Brooklyn bar which specializes in international music.

American Jazz Museum

  Situated in the heart of the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District in downtown Kansas City, Missouri the American Jazz Museum shines a light on the epicenter of the roots of American Jazz. 

The trombone virtuoso J.J. Johnson was among the first to adapt the challenge laid down by bebop saxophonists and trumpeters to his more ungainly instrument. Among the recordings he left as evidence was a series of albums partnering with fellow trombonist Kai Winding. In a concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Vincent Gardner recently took on that "Jay and Kai" repertoire, joined by sectionmate Elliot Mason, other members of the JLCO and special guests.

Marilyn Crispell On Piano Jazz

Aug 5, 2016

Critics hail pianist Marilyn Crispell as a "luminous presence at the forefront of creative music." Known for her challenging compositions and improvisations, Crispell plays free jazz with an evocative and disciplined style. She has performed on stages the world over and, in 2005, received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

The pianist, composer and music ambassador Herbie Hancock is working on new music with a new band, and he's about to present the first taste of it in live performance.

Eric Reed On Piano Jazz

Jul 29, 2016

Pianist and composer Eric Reed began playing piano as a small child. He was only 18 when he played his first string of gigs with Wynton Marsalis — work that catapulted him to the forefront of jazz.

Thomas Wilmer

 Dunlap, Tennessee is just a half hour drive from Chattanooga, but it’s a world apart.

For close to a century, coal mining was the driver here in the rural community of Dunlap, Tennessee, but by the early 1990's the coal industry was history. The old coke ovens, built in 1902 remain as decaying relics of a time when more than 400 locals were employed in the mines.

Jacky Terrasson On Piano Jazz

Jul 22, 2016

Pianist Jacky Terrasson was born in Berlin and raised in Paris. After moving to the U.S., he studied at Berklee College of Music and won the 1993 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He has toured internationally and collaborated with greats such as Ray Brown, Cassandra Wilson and Ry Cooder.

When he was first emerging to wider attention, Terrasson demonstrated his extraordinary talents in this 1995 Piano Jazz session, playing standards like "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" and "Oleo."

Originally broadcast Winter 1995.

Set List

First Watch: Hannah Gill & The Hours, 'Austin'

Jul 20, 2016

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