Jazz News

For a long stretch of his early performing career, vibraphonist Gary Burton was always the youngest man on the bandstand. A child prodigy from Indiana, and then an onrushing force on the scene, he apprenticed with the great Nashville guitarist Hank Garland before going on tour with pianist George Shearing, followed by tenor saxophonist Stan Getz.

Joyce DiCamillo On Piano Jazz

Jun 2, 2017

For more than 30 years, pianist and composer Joyce DiCamillo has led her own trio, which critics hail as "a compact unit that breathes almost as one." A dedicated educator, DiCamillo appears in high schools and universities around the country and is a model for women in jazz.

Sonny Rollins wasn't really thinking about the formation of an archive as he went about his life and career over the last 60 years — as a tenor saxophonist of unsurpassed stature, an artist of active spiritual and social engagement, and an embodiment of jazz's improvisational ideal.

Known for his work with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius was one of the most inventive bass players in music history. He is the only electric bassist in DownBeat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

May 26, 2017

Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard carries the torch of New Orleans jazz in the tradition of the great Louis Armstrong, who shares his hometown. In 2004, Blanchard was Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz.

The music of the late Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, the wife of the jazz giant John Coltrane, has always rested somewhat in the shadows. It didn't help that she gave her career up — to become a spiritual leader.

Dee Dee Bridgewater On Piano Jazz

May 19, 2017

Grammy Award-winning vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater began her career as the lead vocalist of a jazz band. She honed her talent and headed in 1975 to Broadway, where her performance in The Wiz was honored with a Tony Award.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 2003, Bridgewater exhibits her knowledge and enthusiasm in her performances of "September Song" and "Beginning To See The Light."

Originally broadcast in the fall of 2003.

Set List

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been at it for over 50 years, and, outside of New Orleans, its name has come to be pretty much synonymous with the spirit of the city. The band's new album, So It Is, is a collection of original material heavily inspired by a trip to Cuba, including "La Malanga."

SET LIST

  • "La Malanga"

Photo: Brian Feinzimer/KCRW.

The low end has always been terra firma for Buster Williams, one of the all-time great bassists in modern jazz.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

T.S. Monk On Piano Jazz

May 12, 2017

Percussionist T.S. Monk was born into the world of jazz.

Moses Boyd Exodus ended its performance at the 2017 South by Southwest music festival with a rampaging take on its trademark tune, "Rye Lane Shuffle." Drummer Moses Boyd, the band's young founder and namesake, rumbled freely on his toms, joined by a fervent-sounding Binker Golding on tenor saxophone. The groove that emerged was Nigerian Afrobeat by way of a modern jazz metropolis — one with every resource at hand.

Carmen Cavallaro On Piano Jazz

May 5, 2017

The tender style of Carmen Cavallaro (1913 – 1989), known as the "Poet of the Piano," created an ideal atmosphere for romantics worldwide. An outstanding pianist and a versatile performer, Cavallaro played everything from beguiling ballads to swinging jazz numbers and vibrant interpretations of Latin American melodies. He was Marian McPartland's guest shortly before he passed away in 1989.

Regina Carter On Piano Jazz

Apr 28, 2017

Jazz violinist Regina Carter is one of today's most original and daring musicians. Classically trained, Carter grew up in Detroit, where she absorbed all the music that Motown had to offer. While in high school, Carter became inspired when she discovered jazz violinists such as Noel Pointer, Ray Nance and Eddie South.

When Dee Dee Bridgewater learned that she would become a 2017 NEA Jazz Master, a succession of thoughts and feelings flooded her mind. The news came as a total shock, as she tells it: "It was so far out of my orbit and just my whole sphere of thinking," she said in a conversation at NPR this spring, hours before she formally received her award.

Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, the firebrand trumpeter from New Orleans, doesn't go in for small gestures. His current project is The Centennial Trilogy, a three-album series intended to confront a range of societal issues, especially as they relate to the African-American population. The style of this new work carries a no less ambitious agenda, blending aspects of post-bop, trap and electronics, according to the non-idiomatic designation that Adjuah likes to call "Stretch Music."

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.


Multi-instrumentalist, composer, spiritual leader and the wife of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda (1937-2007) long stood in her husband's shadow. Some certain number of more casual jazz fans, if they have known her name at all, only know it from sidewoman credits on some of his albums, and not for her own performances and recordings.

Hugh Masekela was an up-and-coming trumpeter, all of 20, when he took an overnight train from Johannesburg to Cape Town to meet a pianist everyone was talking about in South Africa: Abdullah Ibrahim, then known as Dollar Brand.

Her voice is instantly recognizable. Her youthful exuberance, pure sound and positive energy just make you feel good. Her incredible technical abilities were self-evident, but when she sang, she radiated a joy consistent with her own character both on and off the bandstand.

Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 Tuesday, was one of the most beloved and versatile singers of the 20th century. In a career that spanned six decades, Fitzgerald recorded hundreds of songs, including definitive versions of many standards. Along the way, she influenced generations of singers.

But the first thing that strikes you about Fitzgerald is that voice.

One hundred years ago Tuesday, in a working-poor neighborhood of Newport News, Va., a laundress and a shipyard worker had a baby girl. The father soon disappeared, and the mother and child moved north to New York. The mother died. The girl ran away and became one of the most important singers of the 20th century.

Ella Fitzgerald could sing anything: a silly novelty song, like her breakthrough hit, "A-Tisket, A-Tasket." A samba that scatted. A ballad, spooling out like satin.

Record Store Day, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a consumer ploy in the guise of a cultural event. Or, depending on your vantage, maybe it's the other way around. Whatever the case, record stores across the country and around the world are happily (or gamely) bracing for impact: Record Store Day 2017 falls this Saturday, April 22, with a wave of exclusive releases, in-store appearances and other retail enticements.

This year's class of NEA Jazz Masters is as accomplished as they come, with Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals, Dr.

Allan Holdsworth, a spellbinding guitarist who influenced generations of jazz and rock musicians with his innovative sound, has died unexpectedly at age 70.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

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