Latest Jazz from NPR Music

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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Song Travels
4:07 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Tierney Sutton On 'Song Travels'

Tierney Sutton.
Courtesy of the artist

Jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton has headlined national venues, from Carnegie Hall to the Hollywood Bowl, and has earned five Grammy nominations. With her latest project, After Blue, Sutton takes on the genius of singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
1:01 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

Mary Lou Williams On Piano Jazz

Mary Lou Williams at the CBS studios in 1947.
William P. Gottlieb Library of Congress

Mary Lou Williams was the guest on the the very first Piano Jazz session ever, recorded in 1978 with Williams and bassist Ronnie Boykins. Host Marian McPartland is initially nervous interviewing her longtime friend and idol, and the cagey Williams still stands as a tough nut to crack.

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Music Interviews
4:35 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Regina Carter's Jazz Genealogy

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"The beauty was in the rawness," Regina Carter says of the field recordings that inspired her new album, Southern Comfort.
David Katzenstein Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 8:42 pm

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A Blog Supreme
1:55 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Possessed By Joy: A North American Drummer In Cuba

Eleggua shrines in Matanzas, Cuba.
Harris Eisenstadt for NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 7:06 pm

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First Listen
11:03 pm
Sun March 2, 2014

First Listen: Ambrose Akinmusire, 'the imagined savior is far easier to paint'

Ambrose Akinmusire's new album, The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint, is out March 11.
Autumn de Wilde Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 3:28 pm

In early September, trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire teased the new album he was recording:

@amBROSEire: Ohhh wait ... I think I was suppose to be making a killing melt your face off jazz album ---- opps !!!

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The Checkout: Live
7:30 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Warren Wolf And Wolfpack: Live At Berklee

Warren Wolf.
Michael Borgida Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 3:09 pm

From a young age, Warren Wolf studied piano and drums, and you can still see him gig on those instruments. But the Baltimore native and resident has made his biggest mark as a vibraphone and marimba player — whether with Christian McBride's Inside Straight group, or with the SFJAZZ Collective, or, increasingly, as a bandleader himself. His 2013 album Wolfgang, his second LP, turns up the spotlight on his composing, and his Wolfpack band showcases his mallets up front.

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Song Travels
4:40 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Bobby McFerrin On Song Travels

Bobby McFerrin.
Carol Friedman Courtesy of the artist

The Grammy Award-winning Bobby McFerrin joins host Michael Feinstein to talk about his musical evolution. In addition to demonstrations of his a cappella style, McFerrin performs a number of songs from Porgy and Bess and shares a bluegrass track from his 2013 album Spirityouall.

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