Latest Jazz from NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
5:18 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Wayne Henderson, Jazz Crusaders Co-Founder, Dies

The late Wayne Henderson toured with an incarnation of The Crusaders in 1995.
Simon Ritter Redferns/Getty Images

Wayne Henderson, trombonist and co-founding member of the popular jazz-funk band The Jazz Crusaders (later known as The Crusaders), died Friday, April 4, in Culver City, Calif. The cause of death was heart failure, according to The Crusaders' manager. Henderson was 74.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
12:44 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Mulgrew Miller On Piano Jazz

Mulgrew Miller onstage in 2011 in Potenza, Italy.
Giovanni Marino Getty Images

On this episode of Piano Jazz, Mulgrew Miller's unique harmonic and rhythmic style comes through in his composition, "Carousel." He also joins host Marian McPartland in performing Duke Ellington's "What Am I Here For?"

Mulgrew Miller died on May 29, 2013, following complications from a stroke.

Originally recorded Sept. 9, 2002.

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A Blog Supreme
1:53 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

A Guitarist Starts Anew, Except For This Old Song

Matthew Stevens will record his debut album this year.
Maximilian Motel Courtesy of the artist

Matt Stevens' recorded debut as a leader was supposed to have come out back in 2011.

"I had a record that was completely done," the guitarist says. "But circumstances change, and by the time it came to release it, I wanted to do something totally fresh."

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
2:28 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Dianne Reeves On Piano Jazz

Dianne Reeves.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 13, 2011 12:33 pm

This Piano Jazz episode from 1999 features one of today's preeminent jazz singers. Dianne Reeves brings her rhythmic virtuosity to a sparkling set of standards, including duets with host Marian McPartland on "Close Enough for Love" and "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise."

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
11:34 am
Fri March 28, 2014

'A Love Supreme' Comes Alive In Unearthed Photos

John Coltrane during the recording of A Love Supreme in December 1964.
Chuck Stewart Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Whenever photographer Chuck Stewart was hired by a record company to document a recording session, he would shoot during the rehearsal takes, playback and downtime. The company would take what it needed, the remainder likely never to be developed, much less published. After decades in the photography business, and thousands of album covers to his name, he's amassed a lot of negatives.

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The Checkout: Live
10:44 pm
Wed March 26, 2014

Matthew Stevens Group: Live At Berklee

Matthew Stevens performs at Berklee College of Music, with bassist Vicente Archer.
Michael Borgida Courtesy of Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 3:23 pm

Of the young guitarists on New York's jazz scene, few are as highly tipped as Matthew Stevens. Best known for his role in Christian Scott's quintet, he's often drafted to execute the new visions of his peers, but also gets calls from veteran musicians like Terri Lyne Carrington and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Stevens also has a knack for writing and arranging, and will soon unveil his own debut recording as a bandleader.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
4:06 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Nadine Jansen On Piano Jazz

Nadine Jansen
Courtesy of the artist

Pianist and horn player Nadine Jansen got her start as a part of Horace Heidt's amateur show. Performing alongside The Clooney Sisters, Skitch Henderson and Tony Pastor, Jansen learned show business from the best entertainers around. She quickly made a name for herself on the nightclub circuit, particularly in clubs like New York's Capital Theatre and the Blue Note in Chicago.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
1:02 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Andrew Hill On Piano Jazz

Andrew Hill photographed in his home, 2005.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Fifty years ago today, Andrew Hill recorded what would become his signature album: Point of Departure. Fifty years later, it still sounds like it could have been recorded yesterday. Assembling a murderer's row of horn players (Eric Dolphy, Kenny Dorham, Joe Henderson) with a rhythm section for the ages (Hill, Richard Davis, Tony Williams), Hill juxtaposed complex, layered harmonies with charged grooves. The result occupies that rare territory between the comfort of the familiar and the allure of the perceptibly unique.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
3:32 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

'Two Skirts And A Shirt' On JazzSet

Left to right: Rene Marie, Allan Harris and Carla Cook.
Courtesy of Pat Harris

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:13 pm

After a sweetly harmonized "Tryin' Times" from 1970 by Donny Hathaway and a rocking version of "Compared to What" by Gene McDaniels ("The president, he got his war / Folks don't know just what it's for"), Rene Marie pauses to ask two questions: "Do you remember when it was not unusual for jazz composers to write about social issues? What happened?" There's a pause, and then Carla Cook says off-mic, "The '80s." The audience hears her and laughs.

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

First Listen: The Bad Plus, 'The Rite Of Spring'

The Bad Plus' new album, The Rite of Spring, comes out March 25.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 10:40 am

This is a recording of a jazz trio playing the score to a 101-year-old ballet. It is not a "jazzing the classics" record or a "fantasia on the themes of" sort of project. It is a band translating one of the landmark works in music history to piano, bass and drum set, and doing it as literally as possible.

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