Violinist Mark O'Connor is one of the most versatile fiddlers in music today: He seems equally at home playing bluegrass, country, jazz and classical. With its roots in Texas fiddling, O'Connor's music has shaped an entirely American school of string playing. His approach to teaching violin is considered a rival to the Suzuki method.
Anat Cohen leads the Anzic Orchestra (Anat + music = Anzic), and Anzic opens this JazzSet by letting "Samba de Orfeu" morph into "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Cohen loves both Brazilian and New Orleans music, and connects them with ease. "Struttin'" features the trumpet section one man at a time, concluding with Avishai Cohen. Later in the show, Anat will be back.
Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.
Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.
If you sample the first few notes of guitarist John Scofield's new album, Uberjam Deux, you might mistake it for something out of West Africa. But a spin through the tracks takes you to another hemisphere with a sound right out of Jamaica, then to American shores with a soulful homage to Al Green.
As the keyboardist for the trio Medeski, Martin & Wood, John Medeski has been bringing jazz and fusion to rock audiences for more than two decades. He recently began playing solo piano concerts in venues around the world. On this episode of Piano Jazz, Medeski joins host Jon Weber to perform pieces from his new solo piano album, A Different Time, as well as a surprising duet or two.
Singer and pianist Tony DeSare grew up in Glen Falls, N.Y. He began his musical career on violin, but from an early age, he expressed a fascination with the piano and organ. His parents bought him a small Casio keyboard to test his interest, and by age 12, DeSare had been given a full-size keyboard and was taking piano lessons.
Award-winning vocalist Karen Oberlin is one of the premier interpreters of the Great American Songbook. She's also a theater veteran whose credits include the first stage production of Rent, as well as more than 100 Off Broadway performances of the hit show Our Sinatra. On this episode of Piano Jazz, Oberlin presents an intimate set of timeless music with host Jon Weber.