The drummer has had a busy year already, having accepted the NEA Jazz Masters award and having released a new album, Sound Travels. He continues his year-long 70th birthday celebration by assembling this ad hoc band of leading lights like guitarist Lionel Loueke and bassist Christian McBride, who are both leading their own gigs this year.
Since he came over from Cuba around the turn of the century, the phenomenally talented percussionist Pedrito Martinez has become the conguero of choice for scores of bands. And most weeks in New York City, you can see him with his own, gigging several nights a week at a Cuban restaurant south of Central Park. The Pedrito Martinez Group places him at the congas and behind a microphone, where he exhibits a certain natural charisma. And though we haven't yet heard a studio album from the band, we already know that it goes way beyond what you'd think of Afro-Cuban music and/or jazz.
After a sunny, warm afternoon on the Rhode Island shore, the first full day of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival has come and gone. If you've got a free moment, you can already replay many of the sets we recorded online. But starting at 11:00 a.m. ET on Sunday, we'll be presenting eight more hours of live video from the festival at npr.org/newportjazz. Here's what's on tap:
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.
This weekend, NPR Music and our partners WBGO and WGBH are presenting 16 hours of live video webcasting from the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival. For your convenience, here's a breakdown of what you'll see online and hear on WBGO. Everything is subject to change, as with all broadcasting; for the latest, check out npr.org/newportjazz, where you'll find the streaming video.
Originally published on Thu March 27, 2014 11:36 am
Chihiro Yamanaka and Jane Bunnett come to the Kennedy Center from Japan and Canada, respectively, and each has a compelling story.
Jane Bunnett is from Toronto, yet for more than 30 years, she's championed Cuban music and musicians. She's made dozens of trips to the island, studying and working, bringing instruments to schoolchildren, and inviting players to return to Canada with her and her husband, trumpeter Larry Cramer.
Gil Evans, born a century ago this year, was a leading jazz arranger and composer starting in the 1940s, when he wrote for big bands. He helped organize Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool sessions, then arranged Davis' celebrated orchestra albums like Sketches of Spain. Evans, who had his own big bands that went electric in the 1970s and '80s, died in 1991, but some of his rare music has been newly recorded.
Originally published on Tue August 7, 2012 10:52 am
The experience of going to the Newport Jazz Festival actually starts before you get there. The community of Newport sits at the tip of Rhode Island's Aquidneck Island — the exact festival location even more so — which means you're going to need to cross a big bridge or hop a boat. You'll probably pass through the old resort community of Newport, and by its massive oceanside mansions. It'll be about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, with a stabilizing ocean breeze. And then there's the music.