What if there were lost big-band masterpieces by the great composer/arranger Gil Evans which never made it to record? In fact, there are plenty of them, according to composer/arranger Ryan Truesdell. He's culled, researched, transcribed and completed a handful of the best for Evans' 100th birthday anniversary. It helps that he's the lead copyist for composer Maria Schneider; he's borrowed much of her orchestra to record and now perform this rich, intensely-hued material.
Yuval (saxophone), Anat (reeds) and Avishai (trumpet) Cohen are siblings from Israel. They're also among the growing number of terrific jazz musicians from that country; Anat and Avishai have both had bookings for their own bands at Newport in recent years. Naturally, the three Cohens occasionally record and perform together as a band, whose original pieces and arrangements are supported by a rhythm section. It's a family reunion you won't secretly dread.
"Blues For Dandi's Orange Bull Chasing An Orange Sack"
Buoyed by a Guggenheim Fellowship, the alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa made an album in 2008 which integrated his love of South Asian music and funk and hip-hop and electronic music and kitchen sinks. He's finally getting to tour the music of the record Samdhi now, and with guitar (David Gilmore) and bass guitar (Rich Brown), it's electric, literally and figuratively.
Drummer Lewis Nash is certainly no stranger to prestigious festival stages; he's served in bands led by Betty Carter, Branford Marsalis and Tommy Flanagan. (And that was relatively early in his career, too.) So it's a great move to give the supporting cast member, who truly innovates within jazz traditions, a share of the spotlight. One of the bands he leads features the front line of Jeremy Pelt (trumpet) and Jimmy Greene (tenor sax); it's a classic quintet lineup, and it's the first on stage on day two at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.
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 â€” 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.