Jazz

Jon Batiste has two big gigs –- he's the band director for The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, and he's an artistic director at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. And now, he also has his very own holiday album: Christmas With Jon Batiste.

Some college students graduate this month and start the New Year on their own. WRTI’s Meridee Duddleston looked in on a local music major about to do just that.

The play Black Nativity by Langston Hughes opened in New York in 1961, and was adapted for film in 2013. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, New Freedom Theatre in Philadelphia is staging another version of this Christmas story, set in Darfur. Black Nativity: An African Holiday Musical is at the New Freedom Theatre at 1346 North Broad Street in Philadelphia through December 18th.

Credit: Andrew Joos

The music of that legendary Rat Pack trio Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Sammy Davis Jr. is being revived in Manayunk by a show biz collective known as The Summer Club. The Philadelphia Inquirer’s David Patrick Stearns finds out what’s shaking.

 


Credit: Steph Mackinnon

What kind of music would speak to Bach today? Cellist Matt Haimovitz—who has been performing works by Bach in concert halls and clubs for the last three decades—asked composers to respond to the preludes from Bach’s cello suites. WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports.

Opera Philadelphia and the Apollo Theater present Charlie Parker’s YARDBIRD, composed by Daniel Schnyder with a libretto by Bridgette A. Wimberly, in a New York premiere marking the first time opera is performed on the Apollo Theater stage, and the first time Opera Philadelphia produces in New York City. Listen on WRTI, Saturday, November 19th at 1 pm.

Influential singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen has died at the age of 82, according to a publicist for his U.S. record label.

Cohen died Monday, but news of his death came out late Thursday. His Facebook page had this announcement:

"It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away.
We have lost one of music's most revered and prolific visionaries.

Credit: William Gottlieb / Adam Cuerden

The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as "Take The 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Isfahan." But behind the music, Strayhorn's life and identity were complex.

Patrick Jarenwattananon has been the backbone of our jazz coverage almost since NPR Music started in 2007. Patrick came to us as a 22-year-old intern and shortly after began covering legendary and rising jazz luminaries like a veteran journalist. His writing for A Blog Supreme captured the spirit of the jazz community and was a rich resource for thoughtful coverage on this living American musical culture.

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