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Pianist Robert Glasper is rightly known for setting a groove, but he's just as adept at set

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For more than 25 years, Tony Malaby has been one of the most riveting saxophonists in jazz — a dauntless explorer who's also at home with direct emotional expression. His ability to toggle between traditional and experimental modes has been a trademark since he released an auspicious debut album, Sabino, at the turn of the century.

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"Tell Him," the latest single from L.A.-based alternative R&B trio Moonchild, is a bittersweet re-tel

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

A preview of 2 albums debuting in 2022

Jan 4, 2022

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A MARTINEZ, HOST:

There's plenty of great new music coming in 2022, so we asked one of the people behind the show Jazz Night In America what he's heard so far. And he played us something quite stunning.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "GHOST SONG")

'Tis the season for spending time with the ones we love. It's a time for creating special memories, expressing gratitude and fondly remembering those we have lost or who are unable to gather with us. It is a time of celebration — but what's a celebration without music? While the very mention of holiday music is often met with smirks and eye rolls, the members of Team Jazz Night (admittedly, some much more than others) are suckers for the magical feelings conjured by the season's festive musical offerings.

Jamael Dean, Immanuel Wilkins invoked jazz's ancestors

Dec 20, 2021

Catastrophic eras often inspire descents into an unkempt decadence that the music of those eras can't help but insinuate – however, sometimes even Dionysus refuses to emerge from the ruins, and our only option in the aftermath of disorienting upheaval is spiritual awakening and optimism, sans hedonism. That's our best bet now. I'm witnessing this, a refusal to be jaded or maudlin, in some of my favorite jazz albums and performances of 2021.

More than most, 2021 was a year of mixed results — an endless scroll of gains and losses, halting progress and hard retrenchment. For jazz musicians and the community of listeners around them, it brought confirmation that improvisation is a life strategy. Peering in the rearview, my mind flickers to a moment from midyear: At a community arts space on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, bassist, composer and singer esperanza spalding has taken up a residency with the musicians and scholars who constitute her Songwrights Apothecary Lab.

In 2021, Terence Blanchard and Wayne Shorter realized long-held dreams: the celebrated musicians both premiered operas. These are great stories that represent overdue opportunity and a fresh aesthetic context for Black composers steeped in and known for jazz, whose work blends composition and improvisation. But more than that, these projects further crumbled walls that have long separated musical genres and communities.

Every few years, a new jazz artist (or at least new to us) comes along to shake our perception of what the music can entail.

The set broke around 9:15 on a Friday night in October. Narrow aisles bottlenecked with listeners. While Delta loomed outside, The Jazz Gallery hummed with pressurized excitement. Few wore masks. Many focused on cream puffs plated in the green room to celebrate the late Roy Hargrove's 52nd birthday. Among elbow taps and clinking plastic cups, the mood reflected something untraceable yet palpable: Through a year of isolation and tense returns, the Gallery community never lost touch.

Jazz musicians have always been my biggest superheroes. Growing up in Bed-Stuy, these mythical gods and goddesses have often supplanted the absent familial figures in my own life and become the mothers and fathers I never had and always yearned for. Everyone from Betty Carter, who lived a half-mile away on St. Felix Street (directly across from BAM), to the great Randy Weston, whose house on Lafayette Avenue was right across the street from our local CTown Supermarket.

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When we spoke to bassist Endea Owens earlier this year, jus

As the world gingerly steps toward a new reality, traditions can be so important. A Jazz Piano Christmas is one that I cherish every year. This year the full audience was back for holiday music in the Terrace Theater at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C., with vaccination cards in hand.

Barry Harris, a pianist who carefully preserved the language of bebop throughout a seven-decade career as a brilliant performer and influential teacher, died Wednesday at Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, N.J. He was 91 and lived in Weehawken, N.J.

Harris had been hospitalized for the last two weeks and died of complications due to Covid, said Kira von Ostenfeld-Suske, who was part of a small support team of friends and students that helped Harris in recent years. Harris would have turned 92 next week and taught his last class, via Zoom, on Nov. 20.

NPR Music's 100 Best Songs Of 2021 (20-1)

Dec 2, 2021

"Only here to sin." That admission from NPR Music's song of the year lies at the heart of many of the stories told across these 100 tracks. Perhaps the crowning of Cardi and Megan's "WAP" last year signaled a transgressive sea change. Maybe, after 20 months behind masks, we felt like revealing ourselves again. Perhaps we kept some truths concealed during dire straits, so as not to appear frivolous (or feral) in the face of unforgiving circumstance. But in the songs ... booties were called.

NPR Music's 100 Best Songs Of 2021 (40-21)

Dec 2, 2021

"Only here to sin." That admission from NPR Music's song of the year lies at the heart of many of the stories told across these 100 tracks. Perhaps the crowning of Cardi and Megan's "WAP" last year signaled a transgressive sea change. Maybe, after 20 months behind masks, we felt like revealing ourselves again. Perhaps we kept some truths concealed during dire straits, so as not to appear frivolous (or feral) in the face of unforgiving circumstance. But in the songs ... booties were called.

NPR Music's 50 Best Albums Of 2021

Dec 1, 2021

If the year presently coming to a close was a dance, it'd be a hesitant shuffle, tentative steps toward — or heyyyy, maybe away from? — an uncertain future. So maybe that's why, when we sat down together to discuss which albums we loved the most over the course of 2021, NPR Music's staff and contributors found ourselves drawn to albums by artists making breakthroughs, moving forward with clarity, without balking at the obstacles falling in their way.

NPR Music's 50 Best Albums of 2021 (40-31)

Dec 1, 2021

If the year presently coming to a close was a dance, it'd be a hesitant shuffle, tentative steps toward — or heyyyy, maybe away from? — an uncertain future. So maybe that's why, when we sat down together to discuss which albums we loved the most over the course of 2021, NPR Music's staff and contributors found ourselves drawn to albums by artists making breakthroughs, moving forward with clarity, without balking at the obstacles falling in their way.

The pedal steel is full of possibility. That's especially the case in the atmospheric music made by Chuck Johnson and Daniel Lanois, or the improvised explorations of Susan Alcorn.

Fuubutsushi has already released three albums in 2021, each part of the ambient-jazz quartet's tetralogy based on the seasons. Matthew Sage, Chris Jusell, Chaz Prymek and Patrick Shiroishi formed the group remotely (across different U.S. states) during the pandemic, editing improvisations into abstract yet accessible pieces of synesthetic nostalgia.

Updated October 22, 2021 at 4:54 PM ET

The Listening Party is over. A Love Supreme: Live in Seattle is out now.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

There are innumerable photographs of George Wein at the Newport Jazz Festival, the groundbreaking event he co-founded in 1954 and kept producing, in hands-on or emeritus fashion, until his death last month at 95. One of my favorites, by David Redfern, shows only a sliver of his face.

A decade ago, jazz icon Tony Bennett and pop superstar Lady Gaga struck up one of the great Odd Couple partnerships in recent music history. Singing together first on his album Duets II, and then on their co- album, Cheek to Cheek, Bennett and Gaga made history on the charts while proving some things never go out of style.

Now, with Love For Sale, Bennett and Gaga are serving up another round but with a poignant twist: It may be Bennet's final album. He's 95, and has been living Alzheimers disease.

Dr. Lonnie Smith, an NEA Jazz Master known for his dynamism and wizardry on the Hammond B3 organ, died Tuesday. He was 79 years old.

His death was confirmed on Twitter by Blue Note Records. A spokesperson for the label said the cause of death was pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung disease.

Again and again in Fire Shut Up in My Bones, the magnetically powerful new opera by Terence Blanchard, the focus returns to the torturous weight of a burden carried alone. That weight, shouldered by the opera's central character, stems from his sexual and emotional abuse as a child, and the resulting pain and alienation of his young adulthood.

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Eivind Aarset does everything in his power to make his guitar not sound like an instrument with six strings and a body tethered to earth.

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When he's not collaborating remotely with the ambient-jazz quartet Fuubutsushi

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