Latest Jazz from NPR Music

Song Travels
2:05 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Bette Midler On 'Song Travels'

"In a way, I use music like we use the Internet," Bette Midler says. "One link brings you to another link, and from that link you move onto another.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 10:09 am

The Divine Miss M — singer, actress and comedian Bette Midler — is Song Travels host Michael Feinstein's guest for an hour of pure radio fun. Midler opens a crate of favorite tunes from her record collection, from Louis Jordan to vintage Hawaiian music to Destiny's Child, along with stories from her multifaceted career.

Here, Feinstein presents her with a solo arrangement of "And I'll Be There," a song written for her by the legendary songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

Read more
NPR Story
2:03 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Esperanza Spalding On Piano Jazz

Esperanza Spalding.
Johann Sauty Courtesy of the artist

On this Piano Jazz from 2008, bassist and singer Esperanza Spalding brings her neo-soul style to a set of standards with the aid of pianist Leo Genovese. Spalding is one of the most talked about artists in jazz today.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
4:59 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Jazz Salutes Its Disc Jockeys

Symphony Sid Torin (left) hosts a program at WHOM featuring the saxophonist Arnett Cobb.
William Gottlieb The Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 4:42 pm

The advent of bebop added a fresh sound to American music. It also added new voices to some metropolitan radio stations: the late-night jazz DJs who specialized in presenting this new music to their fellow hipster nightflies.

To recognize the work of the groundbreaking DJs who lent them critical exposure, jazz musicians of the period would occasionally write songs in their honor. Here are five of those songs.

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
12:34 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Terri Lyne Carrington On JazzSet

Phil Farnsworth Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 4:25 pm

Money Jungle has a story. One day in 1962, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus and Max Roach recorded an album and gave it that provocative title. The repertoire was new blues by Ellington, who was in his 60s, while Roach and Mingus were each about 40.

Read more
Wisdom Watch
2:23 pm
Wed April 17, 2013

Jazz Great Hugh Masekela, Fresh Because He's Fascinated

Mark Shoul Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 7:58 pm

"I was a good boy," South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela assures NPR's Michel Martin. But still, he says, "as a kid, I was whipped on a slow day at least three times."

Eventually, Masekela told his chaplain, "If I can get a trumpet, Father, I won't bother anybody."

His wish came true.

Read more
Piano Jazz With Jon Weber
2:03 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Laurence Hobgood On Piano Jazz

Laurence Hobgood.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:51 pm

Pianist and 2010 Grammy winner Laurence Hobgood was born in Salisbury, N.C., and grew up in Texas and Illinois. He took up piano at age 6 and showed a knack for improvisation early on, playing his own versions of pieces by Bach and Chopin. In 1988, Hobgood relocated to Chicago, where he met an up-and-coming vocalist named Kurt Elling.

Read more
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
1:58 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

Eddie Palmieri On Piano Jazz

Eddie Palmieri.
Jason Goodman Courtesy of the NEA

On this episode of Piano Jazz, pianist and 2013 NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri brings along bassist Hugo Duran and percussionists Jose Claussell, Richie Flores, and Mark Quinones for a raucous set of original tunes with an Afro-Caribbean flavor.

Read more
WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:03 am
Fri April 12, 2013

South By South Africa: 5 Jazz Acts From The Rainbow Nation

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 1:08 am

Brilliant art often hides in plain sight. Such is the case in South Africa, where, for centuries, the country turned its back on black and "coloured" musicians.

Read more
JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
1:55 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Highlights From The Umbria Jazz Festival On JazzSet

Mauro Ottolini at the Umbria Jazz Festival.
Courtesy of the Umbria Jazz Festival

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 5:10 pm

The Umbria Festival in Italy turns 40 this summer. Umbria presents jazz indoors and out in two historic cities — Perugia in summer, Orvieto in winter. Marching bands parade; gospel choirs sing. Concerts start at noon, midnight and all the hours in between. (The New Year's Eve show in Orvieto begins at 1 a.m. on New Year's Day.) And the musicians can be delightfully unfamiliar, at least to American ears.

Read more
CD Selections
1:32 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Earl Hines: Big Bands And Beyond On A New Box Set

Earl "Fatha" Hines' band featured the likes of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie.
Express Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 3:28 pm

By 1928, Earl Hines was jazz's most revolutionary pianist, for two good reasons. His right hand played lines in bright, clear octaves that could cut through a band. His left hand had a mind of its own. Hines could play fast stride and boogie bass patterns, but then his southpaw would go rogue — it'd seem to step out of the picture altogether, only to slide back just in time.

Read more

Pages