Jazz News

Gil Goldstein On Piano Jazz

Mar 30, 2018

Composer and arranger Gil Goldstein came to the piano by way of the accordion, which he has rediscovered and added to the jazz lexicon. Collaborations with Jaco Pastorius and Bill Evans fostered his career and led to work with David Sanborn, Michael Franks and Al Jarreau.

Maybe you became aware of Jazzmeia Horn five years ago, when she took first prize at the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Maybe you got hip when her debut album, A Social Call, was released last year. Maybe you caught her turn on the most recent Grammy Premiere Ceremony, when she knocked a scat chorus into the stratosphere.

When Johann Sebastian Bach compiled the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier in 1722, he wrote that the 24 preludes and fugues were "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study."

Milford Graves and Jason Moran were listening hard at the Big Ears Festival on Friday evening, and in this they were far from alone. Their spontaneous musical dialogue, onstage at the elegant Bijou Theater in Knoxville, Tenn., suggested a merging of the ancient and the ultramodern, aglow with an ephemeral sort of grace. At one point, Moran's deep, mournful sonorities at the piano led Graves toward a murmuring hush at the drums, as if anything else would break the spell.

Earma Thompson On Piano Jazz

Mar 23, 2018

For more than 50 years, Earma Thompson (1923 – 2009) was a constant on the Chicago jazz scene. She was recognized as the reigning queen of Windy City jazz but spent most of her career as a dependable and accomplished side person. At 81, Thompson released her first album as a leader, 2004's Just in Time. The album debuted shortly before her 2005 appearance on Piano Jazz. In this session, Thompson showcases her elegant, bluesy style on "Back at the Chicken Shack" before joining McPartland for "Lullaby of the Leaves."

Since Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo birthed "Manteca" in the '40s just as Cuban musicians like Machito were shaking up New York's jazz scene, Afro-Cuban jazz has continued to entice and fascinate North American musicians into new collaborations and explorations.

Terence Blanchard has always been drawn to a form of lyricism that runs burnished and bittersweet. You can track this mood throughout his career as a post-bop trumpeter, and no less in his dozens of film scores, in and beyond a long affiliation with Spike Lee.

Soul singer Jordan Rakei moved to London a few years ago and the creative community there has played a big role in his flourishing music career. His sophomore album, Wallflowers, is a collection of emotive, accomplished songs committed to a bolder exploration of his sonic craft. The jazz elements come through even stronger in his live performances. Wacth Rakei perform his track "Eye To Eye."

Photos By Brian Feinzimer

I am not ashamed to admit it: I was overcome with emotion a few moments after entering Areito Estudio Ciento Uno (Areito Studio 101) inside the EGREM recording complex in the center of Havana, Cuba.

Poet Philip Levine discovered jazz on the radio when he was a teenager.

Jimmy McPartland On Piano Jazz

Mar 16, 2018

This year marks the centennial of Marian McPartland (1918 – 2013). In honor of the occasion, Piano Jazz revisits a session with Marian and her husband, Jimmy McPartland.

No jazz musician has ever been heard more on public radio than the late Marian McPartland, the host of NPR's Piano Jazz for more than 40 years. But for all her ubiquity, how well did we really know her?

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.


"As we go into the well of the black pool of genius," Common intones during the opening bars of August Greene. It's a fitting incantation for a time in which black culture increasingly defines America's pop consciousness, even as black people are defiled by the sociopolitical will of a restless nation.

Carol Sloane On Piano Jazz

Mar 2, 2018

Carol Sloane is a sublime singer of great songs. She is natural and unaffected with a voice that embraces the melody and the listener with equal parts maturity and conviction. Combining spirit with character and elegance with style, Sloane has enchanted audiences all over the world. Her command of The Great American Songbook is unmatched.

Hometown: London, England

Genre: Jazz

Why We're Excited: Ezra Collective keeps one foot planted in traditional jazz but lets the other wander far and wide, bringing back rhythmic traces of hip-hop and Afrobeat. On the new Juan Pablo: The Philosopher EP, Ezra Collective sounds alternately taut and spacey in tunes that don't stay in one place long, let alone recede into the background.

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