Jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, Saturday Morning, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Carline Ray is Marian McPartland's guest for a session recorded in 1997. The two veteran performers get together to perform a set including tunes by Duke Ellington, the Gershwins, Jimmy Van Heusen & Johnny Burke, and more.
Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 10:09 am
This episode of JazzSet was recorded at the 18th edition of the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Dee Dee Bridgewater is the emcee, while WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton serves as our co-host.
Like a piece of gym equipment that always yields a great workout, most musicians have favorite tunes. For saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, "Who Wants Ice Cream" by trumpeter Ralph Alessi has proven especially fertile, drawing him back again and again since he recorded it as part of the album Spirit Fiction.
The quartet on jazz bassist Dave Holland's new album Prism is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified Miles Davis, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels.
Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.
"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."
On this Piano Jazz from 2008, Eliane Elias performs a set of tunes distinctly dedicated to the music of the late Bill Evans. She performs Evans' tunes "For Nanette," "I Love My Wife," and "B Minor Waltz," and duets with Marian McPartland on two early Bill Evans favorites: "Autumn Leaves" and "Alone Together."