Jazz

It's hard to believe, but September 23rd marks 91 years since the birth of John Coltrane, who left us way too soon in 1967 at age 40; that makes 50 years since his passing. So it's a good time, we think, to gather together and remember one of Philadelphia’s favorite former residents.

WRTI 90.1 will feature the five-hour radio documentary Tell Me How Long Trane’s Been Gone, produced by Temple University and WRTI alumnus Steve Rowland, from September 20th through the 24th, every night from 8 until 9 pm.

When it's time to celebrate, no music expresses the joy of life like klezmer. WRTI's Debra Lew Harder takes us into klezmer's rich world and heritage. A Happy and Healthy New Year to all of our listeners celebrating the Jewish High Holidays!

A New Mural Rising to Honor John Coltrane

Sep 12, 2017

A 12-year-old mural of John Coltrane near his North Philadelphia house was destroyed in 2014 to make way for real estate development. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports on a new mural now rising just blocks away, restoring the jazz giant to his old neighborhood.

Kendrick Scott opened his first set on Tuesday night, at the Jazz Standard in New York City, with a pensive new composition titled "Home." It had a bittersweet melody, a waft of dark harmony, and a beat defined both by chop and flow. "I'm just going to send this out as a meditation for everybody in Houston, Texas right now," said Scott, a drummer, as he introduced the tune.

WRTI's 2017 Labor Day Weekend Jazz Countdown!

Aug 29, 2017

It's a must-listen event! The top 100 jazz songs that you voted for, broadcast throughout the holiday weekend. Listen starting on Friday, September 1st from 6 to 10 pm, then Saturday from 6 to 9 pm, Sunday from 9 pm to midnight, and Monday starting at 6 pm, and ending when the #1 song is played.

The List:

Jazz giant John Coltrane was born and raised in North Carolina, died in New York, and in between he spent 15 years in Philadelphia. WRTI’s Susan Lewis looks at the role the city played in the career of this master sax player and composer, who would have turned 91 on September 23rd.

Vijay Iyer is an acclaimed jazz pianist, MacArthur winner and Harvard professor of music. His new album, recorded with a six-person band, is called Far From Over. With the band, he says, he wanted to write with "different dance rhythms and dance impulses" in mind; the record also reflects Iyer's belief that jazz is "a category that keeps shifting."

At 46, Ben Jaffe is almost exactly the same age as Jazz Fest. Like a lot of New Orleans natives, he has memories of the annual event stretching back to childhood, though his experience is a little more rarefied than most. "That's where I got to sit on Fats Domino's lap and then hear him play," he says. It's where I heard Allen Toussaint play for the first time as a child.

What are some exciting events that have happened in the month of August? In 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Southampton, England with 102 Pilgrims. In 1866, President Andrew Johnson declared the U.S. Civil War over, and in 1896, gold was first discovered in the Klondike. And in jazz history? Three of the most renowned pianists were born.

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