Jazz

Jon Batiste on TV, in the Community, and in Philadelphia

Apr 25, 2017

A supercharged jazz musician has entered the public eye in a huge way. Jon Batiste leads the house band on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. He traveled to Philadelphia for the kickoff of Jazz Appreciation Month and spoke with WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston.

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.

Lennie Tristano: Influential, Yet Invisible

Apr 16, 2017

He played with Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. He taught Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. He was the true father of “free jazz.” So WRTI’s Maureen Malloy had to wonder, “Why don’t people know about Lennie Tristano?”

It’s the 20th Anniversary of The Bridge with J. Michael Harrison, which airs every Friday night at 10 pm. It's “the Bridge between BeBop and Hip Hop, and everything in between." WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports that J. Michael has always set his sights on music that makes the listener wonder...“Is that jazz?”

Jerry Stoll / Monterey Jazz Festival

You won’t find a blue-ribbon pie at this northern California fairground this weekend. But the place will be filled with multiple stages and wall-to-wall music. Here's Meridee Duddleston's take on the Monterey Jazz Festival.

Decades ago, jazz on television may have been restricted to the occasional theme song or even an appearance by Ella Fitzgerald on a talk show. But, as WRTI’s Maureen Malloy reports, someone else now joins the big names of the past.

Though she was blessed with impeccable intonation, a distinctive sound, and a superb sense of timing, Ella Fitzgerald was hindered in her early years by the limitations of the repertoire she sang. It took some time, determination, and visionary collaboration for Ella to find her voice.

There's no shortage of poignant moments in I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin's mesmerizing new documentary about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. One moment, about half an hour into the film, has stuck with me since I first saw it, lingering like an afterimage or the hook from a song.

In an era when everything musical is available all the time, I'm still puzzling why I ordered an overwhelmingly large box set of recordings by the French chanteuse Edith Piaf.

Since it opened its doors in 1913, the Apollo Theater has survived a series of iterations, closures, renovations, and shifts in direction. Its allure as a venue for jazz began in the 1930s with the debut of Jazz a la Carte, a show with an all-black cast.

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