Jazz News

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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Chicago-based drummer and producer Makaya McCraven just announce

Musician Tim Ries has been a touring member of The Rolling Stones since 1999, playing woodwinds and keys. But he also enjoyed a special relationship with drummer Charlie Watts, as their shared love of jazz bloomed into a series of collaborations. Watts died Aug. 24 at age 80; below is Ries' remembrance of a few exceptional moments from their two-decade friendship.

Nina Simone introduced me to Ledisi. I've been working on a project devoted to Ms. Simone's music, and from the very beginning my producer has been telling me about Ledisi's tribute album to Simone. It sounded interesting — a powerhouse R&B and jazz singer paying homage to an artist whose music provided her a lifeline in a time of crisis. And then, last month, Ledisi Sings Nina came out.

Lady Blackbird, 'It's Not That Easy'

Aug 26, 2021

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"It's Not That Easy" is the first official single from Lady Blackbird's long-awaited debut, Black Acid Soul.

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Esperanza Spalding — the vocalist, bassist and composer hailed by NPR Music, with just a touch of

John Coltrane's A Love Supreme, recorded near the close of 1964 and released early the following year, inhabits an exalted plane beyond the realm of most other albums, in any musical genre.

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Within an Irreversible Entanglements groove, the tri-city free-ja

säje, 'Wisteria'

Aug 18, 2021

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Already a Grammy-nominated band despite not yet releasing an album, säje (rhymes with "beige") explores the edges of jazz and pop with a combination of in

Joshua Redman, 'Facts'

Aug 12, 2021

Mack Avenue Records II, LLC. / YouTube

Facts, it can often seem nowadays, aren't what they used to be.

At the heart of any successful jazz enterprise is a spirit of resourcefulness. It's what leads an improviser to navigate a tricky passage, or a bandleader toward fresh ideas. And on the eastside of Portland, Ore. back in 2014, it's what led a few enterprising souls to create the Montavilla Jazz Festival — an event whose DIY mindset extends to the musicians on the bill.

This #NowPlaying discovery comes to us from this year's Tiny Desk Contest. You can see Freakquencee on the latest installment of the Tiny Desk Contest Top Shelf livestreaming series with guest host Tobe Nwigwe.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, it was virtually impossible to imagine attending a live concert in person, let alone a festival. One of the first American jazz festivals to make a comeback and bring a little rejoice to the world, is Exit Zero in Cape May.

Emma-Jean Thackray, 'Say Something'

Jul 28, 2021

Movementt/Warp Records / YouTube

Multi-instrumentalist and producer Emma-Jean Thackray has been an active member of the London nu-jazz scene for some time now, but her first f

Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson is coming out of the pandemic a changed man. The co-founder of The Roots and the music director for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon did something he never thought he'd do — he bought a farm in upstate New York.

"The last year has really been a big lesson for me in terms of self-love," Questlove says. "I was world famous for being a machine. ... I thought chaos was the only way that I could exist. But now I embrace quiet, and I can hear myself think."

There's a moment on "Oceans of Time," from a 2016 album by The Cookers, when alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. takes a solo full of swerving self-assurance. Swinging mightily behind him is the composer of the tune, master drummer Billy Hart.

Re-Revising 'The History Of Jazz'

Jul 15, 2021

For most contemporary music consumers, listening to jazz is a historical exercise. Miles Davis' Kind Of Blue is, at the time of writing, still No. 3 on Billboard's Jazz Albums chart 61 years after it was released, much to the chagrin of the artists making music in the same tradition today.

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What does "Reclamation'' mean to Brandee Younger?

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Groove is foundational for Nate Smith, a brilliant drummer known for holding it down with everyone from Brittany Howard to Dave Holland to Van Hunt.

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Vibration is always critical for Melvin Gibbs, whose electric bass has motored everyone from Ronald Shannon Jackson to Rollins Band.

Wynton Marsalis is a colossal presence. This is not an exaggeration. The man is truly a living legend as a trumpeter, composer, educator, producer, artistic director, and arts advocate. For decades, his presence has defined the world of jazz, of American art and culture. But he's more than a presence. In every aspect of his work, he is actively, fully and deeply present. He doesn't just show up.

Don And Moki Cherry's Organic Dreams Made Real

Jun 18, 2021

During their lives, the trumpeter Don Cherry (1936-1995) and his wife, visual artist and designer Moki Cherry (1943-2009), were best known to music fans for their collaborations.

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