The last time Fred Hersch was featured on Weekend Edition Saturday, the headline read, "Back On Stage By No Small Miracle." It was 2009, and scarcely a year earlier, the jazz pianist had suffered AIDS-related dementia and fallen into a coma for several months. Since recovering, Hersch has come roaring back to music, releasing a string of live albums to critical success.
Carmen Lundy's contralto voice perfectly conveys the soul and depth of her compositions. She joined Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland in 1999 to perform Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the "new thing" in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.
Known for the emotional range of his solo work, vibraphonist Joe Locke has established himself as a composer, bandleader and educator. He has recorded with artists such as Eddie Henderson and Grover Washington Jr., and he continues to tour worldwide.
In this episode of Piano Jazz, Locke performs his original composition "Seven Beauties" on piano, as well as a medley of songs by Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon on vibes. Host Marian McPartland joins in for a duet of the standard "I Should Care."
A phenomenal guitarist and pioneering audio engineer, Les Paul has been a major influence in 20th Century music, both as a performer and technical innovator. The guitar legend made a rare appearance on Piano Jazz, bringing with him his trio — Lou Paulo on guitar and Paul Nowinski on bass.
What is it with trumpeter Avishai Cohen and triples lately? He recently recorded a pair of albums with his band Triveni, a free-swinging trio which showcases his fervent imagination. He's also one of three Cohen siblings in jazz's top echelon; Avishai invited his big sister Anat, the celebrated clarinet specialist, to join him here.
Pianist and singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby spent quite a few years playing in bars and writing songs — many of them with his brother, John Hornsby. The two moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and spent three years writing for 20th Century Fox. In 1985, Bruce Hornsby and his band The Range signed a recording contract with RCA. The resulting album, The Way It Is, produced three Top 20 hits and helped win the group a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1986.
"We had to do things ourselves until something else kicked in," bassist William Parker said at a panel earlier this month. He was explaining how he came to co-found the Vision Festival. "And nothing's ever really kicked in."