Toast Of The Nation 2021
In 1977, the first Jazz Alive New Year's Eve special was broadcast live from The Cookery and The Village Gate. The tradition continues with Toast of the Nation, NPR's annual holiday special that rings in the New Year with jazz.
This year features some of the best jazz collectives performing today. Hear four solid hours of festive music from the Catherine Russell Trio (recorded live at Dizzy's Club at Jazz At Lincoln Center), The Jazz Gallery All-Stars (recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), KOKOROKO (recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall in London) and Pink Martini (recorded live from bandleader Thomas Lauderdale's home).
Hosted by Jazz Night In America's Christian McBride, here's the perfect complement to your holiday festivities.
Set 1 of 4
Grammy award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell is one of the most widely recognized jazz vocalists performing today. She and her trio kick off the series with a mix of swing, R&B and early blues, live streamed from Dizzy's Club back in October.
Musicians: Catherine Russell, vocals; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Tal Ronen, bass.
Set 2 of 4
2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Jazz Gallery, an important New York City institution dedicated to jazz and creative music. The Jazz Gallery All-Stars were assembled to celebrate this milestone. Unfortunately, most of its gigs got canceled, but we are grateful the group was still able to play this Kennedy Center show.
Musicians: Miguel Zenón, alto; Melissa Aldana, tenor; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Charles Altura, guitar; Aaron Parks, piano; Ben Williams, bass; Kendrick Scott, drums; Jessica Boykin-Settles, vocals.
Set 3 of 4
With roots in Africa and the Caribbean, this eight-piece band blends the sounds of Afrobeat and jazz with a West African approach to improvisation. KOKOROKO plays music that grabs your attention and makes you want to move in the funkiest way possible. The band performed this concert — its very first concert since the pandemic began — at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with no audience. But that didn't stop KOKOROKO from getting it done like they always do.
Musicians: Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet; Cassie Kinoshi, saxophone; Richie Seivewright, trombone; Oscar Jerome, guitar; Yohan Kebede, keys; Mutale Chashi; bass; Ayo Salawu, drums; Onome Edgeworth, percussion.
Set 4 of 4
For more than a decade, this self-described "little orchestra" has always been on tour this time of year, celebrating the holidays in front of adoring audiences. Until 2020. But, right before Thanksgiving, the band got together anyway —under strict safety measures — to record some festive holiday songs. This concert took place in bandleader Thomas Lauderdale's home, in front of his 35-foot Christmas tree. He anchors the concert from his piano, with singers China Forbes, Storm Large, NPR's very own Ari Shapiro and more special guests.
Musicians: Thomas M. Lauderdale, bandleader & piano; China Forbes, lead vocals; Storm Large, guest vocals; Ari Shapiro, guest vocals; Edna Vazquez, guest vocals; Jimmie Herrod, guest vocals; Gavin Bondy, trumpet; Robert Taylor, trombone; Philip Emilio Baker, upright bass; Dan Faehnle, guitar; Nicholas Crosa, violin; Timothy Nishimoto, percussion and vocals; Brian Lavern Davis, percussion; Miguel Bernal, percussion; Reinhardt Melz, percussion; Andrew Borger, drums and percussion; Sofia von Trapp, vocals; Cantor Ida Rae Cahana, vocals.
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