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 â€” the exact festival location even more so â€” 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.
Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 4:21 pm
We took recordings from all the bandleaders at the Newport Jazz Festival this year and put them all in a 24/7 streaming channel. Mostly the actual bands at Newport 2012, with some classics mixed in for spice. Have a listen?
Charles Mingus, as remembered by Nat Hentoff. "Every once in a while, when I was at home, the phone would ring and I'd be jolted by music until he came on. 'What do you think of that?' he would ask. 'I just wrote it.'"
Originally published on Wed August 21, 2013 10:03 am
Though he's remembered for his intense interest in the lives of everyday folks, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and Chicago radio legend Studs Terkel was also a great lover of music, and especially jazz. His first book, Giants of Jazz, featured literary portraits of the likes of Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Joe Jackson is well known as the writer of the 1979 hit "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" and for his biggest single, "Steppin' Out." Jackson â€” who grew up in Portsmouth, England and attended the Royal Academy of Music â€” has also had five Grammy nominations over his illustrious four-decade career.
For his uncompromising and serious music, the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival was eager to present Charles Lloyd. He could bring any group he wanted, they told him. Lloyd said yes, and that he would bring Sangam, an East-West trio with one CD and few performances on the schedule. It was a coup!
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:14 pm
Fans of the trumpeter and bandleader Christian Scott may know that he's done a little acting, appearing briefly in feature films like Rachel Getting Married and Leatherheads. Fans of the HBO program Treme know that he not only appears on camera: His life story partially inspired the character Delmond Lambreaux, a jazz trumpeter who has left New Orleans to pursue a career in New York. In fact, in episode one of season two, the character Delmond and the real Scott appeared on screen together, "performing" in New York City.