Latest Jazz from NPR Music

Tiny Desk Concerts
10:23 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Renaud Garcia-Fons: Tiny Desk Concert

Renaud Garcia Fons performs a Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR Music offices.
Michael Katzif NPR

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 10:06 am

Double bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons was destined to create music that spans genres and borders: He was born in France to a family with roots in the Catalonia region of Spain, and he's fluent in French, Spanish and English. Classical, jazz and flamenco represent equal parts of his musical DNA, and his technique reflects the delicate arco stylings of concert halls, the deep groove of jazz and the raw vitality of flamenco.

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Piano Jazz
4:56 pm
Fri August 24, 2012

Paul Winter On Piano Jazz

Paul Winter.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:05 pm

This episode of Piano Jazz features the unique music of soprano saxophonist Paul Winter. He joins host Marian McPartland, along with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Glenn Davis, for a set of ballads and originals. The set also features an additional special soloist — a humpback whale.

"It was very impressive," remembers McPartland. "And we don't often do a show so full of ballads. It was a different sort of show."

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JazzSet
11:50 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Kevin Eubanks On JazzSet

Note the message on Kevin Eubanks' cap: "Meet You at the Blue Room." It's a nice club in Kansas City, in the historic district where Count Basie, Lester Young and Mary Lou Williams used to play.
Len Katz Photography

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 10:25 am

Kevin Eubanks (briefly) and saxophonist Bill Pierce (in the mid 1980s) both played in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, the two-generation-spanning band that is so very important in jazz from 1950s through the '80s. Now Pierce chairs the Woodwinds Department at Berklee College.

Eubanks and Marvin Smith were in The Tonight Show band together for 15 years, with guitar riffs and rim shots for Jay Leno Monday through Friday. "Smitty" brought Los Angeles bassist Rene Camacho into this group.

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Live At The Village Vanguard
3:10 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, Tootie Heath: Live At The Village Vanguard

L-R: Ethan Iverson, Ben Street, Albert "Tootie" Heath.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:54 pm

Drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, 77, has certainly played thousands of gigs like this one, where he's hired to bring his casual brilliance to the extended songbook of jazz standards. After all, he played on John Coltrane's first album as a leader, and with every other name in hard bop from the late 1950s onward. In contrast, pianist Ethan Iverson's schedule currently revolves around touring with The Bad Plus, a band whose repertoire almost entirely omits common-practice jazz.

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Music Interviews
3:23 pm
Sat August 18, 2012

Rhiannon: An Improviser Resists The Urge To Reuse

"There was this sensation of going on a journey together, without seat belts," says Rhiannon of her band's first totally improvised performance. Her newest album is called Spontaneous.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat August 18, 2012 7:14 pm

If you ever listened to jazz vocalists and wondered if you could ever in your life scat like them, there's someone who's willing to teach you. The vocalist Rhiannon has long held the importance of improvisation as a personal credo, and in her career has blended that art form with jazz, world music and storytelling.

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A Blog Supreme
5:59 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Jazz Goes Honky-Tonkin': The Songs Of Hank Williams

Hank Williams has written plenty of tunes covered by jazz artists over the years.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 12:12 pm

Hank Williams was a great singer-songwriter who forged his own brand of honky-tonk music from a variety of influences: country, folk, blues, gospel and jazz. Yes, jazz.

If you haven't listened to his music in a while you might not recall — Williams had swing. And even if some jazz listeners have forgotten that fact, many jazz players haven't. Here then are five jazz artists out of many who have taken Williams' music and put their own spins on it.

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Piano Jazz
5:17 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Melissa Walker On Piano Jazz

Melissa Walker.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 12:05 pm

Marian McPartland recalls meeting singer Melissa Walker for the first time in the "powder room" at Birdland. McPartland was immediately taken with the young singer's glowing personality — and she probably heard hints of Walker's warm and rich vocals in the few words they exchanged that night.

"She's got such a wonderful voice," recalls McPartland. "The tunes she did aren't heard too often, they were very well done though. I enjoyed that session."

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JazzSet
11:08 am
Thu August 16, 2012

Juan-Carlos Formell On JazzSet

Juan-Carlos Formell and Johnny's Dream Club at the 2011 Monterey Jazz Festival.
Cole Thompson Monterey Jazz Festival

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 2:12 pm

Juan-Carlos Formell participated in a multi-artist showcase at SOB's — home to Brazilian and Latin music in New York — a few years ago. Between a couple of amped-up bands, he took the stage alone (as I recall) and sang in Spanish, accompanying himself on guitar. His voice had urgency to it, and there was an irresistible engine inside that guitar. Ever since, I've wanted to hear and know more.

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Jazz Review
3:51 pm
Wed August 15, 2012

How Jan Garbarek Came To Epitomize Nordic Jazz

A new box set of early albums captures Jan Garbarek's forming saxophone sound — austere and astringent.
Roberto Massoti ECM Records

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 3:22 pm

Saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a teenage protege of American composer George Russell in Norway in the 1960s and later played in Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. More recently, he has collaborated with the vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble, improvising as they sing medieval music.

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A Blog Supreme
12:44 pm
Sat August 11, 2012

Branford Marsalis On Sensitive Musicians And The First Family Of Jazz

Branford Marsalis spoke with NPR about modern jazz, his family, and his new album, Four MFs Playin' Tunes.
Courtesy of Marsalis Music.

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:13 pm

Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, oldest son of New Orleans pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis, released an album with his quartet this week. He spoke to weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz about the failings of modern jazz, his hopes for the next generation and leaving New York City to move back to the South.

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