Latest Jazz from NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
12:34 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Wade In The Water: 5 Jazz Takes On Spirituals

The gospel/folk singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe was accompanied by a jazz orchestra on her debut recording.
Chris Ware Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 4:21 pm

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The Checkout: Live
3:10 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Patrick Cornelius: Live At Berklee

Patrick Cornelius.
Michael Borgida Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Thu December 12, 2013 12:39 pm

Many jazz musicians write music here and there, but it's still a leap for someone to go from "writing tunes" to taking pride in the art of composition. The alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius, based in New York for a decade now, is headed that way. After releasing his fourth album, Infinite Blue, earlier this year, he's now set to premiere a new set of compositions for jazz octet. While We're Still Young is a suite based on the illustrated book of children's poems When We Were Very Young, by Winnie-The-Pooh creator A.A.

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Live At The Village Vanguard
3:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Brian Blade Fellowship: Live At The Village Vanguard

John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 1:23 pm

A Brian Blade Fellowship concert feels a bit like a family reunion. Its core — drummer Blade, pianist Jon Cowherd and bassist Chris Thomas — has played together for more than 20 years, and its horn players have stayed loyal to the operation, too. Its repertoire feels rooted in a deep emotional well where sacred abuts secular and jazz meets its Southern folk cousins. Sparks always seem to fly when it gathers for an infrequent recording or string of tour dates.

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Music Interviews
5:45 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Ben Allison: Leading A Stellar Band Far Beyond The World

The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Music Interviews
8:17 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Bringing Jazz On Walkabout: Jon Batiste And Stay Human

Jon Batiste (second from left) and the Stay Human band.
Peter Lueders Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:25 pm

Pianist Jonathan Batiste was born and raised in New Orleans as part of the Batiste jazz family dynasty there. He was playing with the family band by age 8. Eventually he took his talents to Julliard, and that's where he met the rest of Stay Human: Joe Saylor on the drums, Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba and Eddie Barbash on alto sax.

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Music Interviews
1:01 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Esperanza Spalding: Guantanamo Doesn't Represent 'Our America'

Grammy Award-winner Esperanza Spalding in her video 'We Are America."
ESPLLC

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 3:24 pm

Grammy Award-winning musician Esperanza Spalding has a problem with using the phrase "protest song" to describe her new recording, "We Are America." The song, along with its accompanying music video, demands congressional action to close the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

" 'Protest' doesn't seem accurate to me," she tells NPR's Celeste Headlee. "We weren't thinking of a 'protest' song, we're thinking of a 'let's get together and do something pro-active, creative and productive' song."

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Music Interviews
12:03 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

'Something That Is Very Real For Me': Ted Nash Completes His 'Chakra'

Ted Nash's new album, Chakra, is out now.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 5:29 pm

Working as a jazz musician in the 21st century is difficult enough, but hardly anybody tries to make a go of it with a big band anymore. Yet that's exactly what Ted Nash does on his latest album, Chakra.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
5:22 am
Sat November 9, 2013

Gary Burton: Tiny Desk Concert

American jazz vibraphonist Gary Burton plays a Tiny Desk Concert on Sept. 13, 2013.
Abbey Oldham NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:49 pm

In 1963, the jazz pianist George Shearing, an enormously popular act in his day, made an album that was unusual for him. He asked his new, 20-year-old vibraphone player to write an album of contrapuntal, classical-music-inspired compositions, and recorded them with a woodwind quintet atop a jazz rhythm section. It's out of print now, but Out of the Woods received good reviews, and it remains an early career highlight for its young architect, Gary Burton.

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The Fresh Air Interview
4:12 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Vince Giordano: The Fresh Air Interview

Boardwalk Empire features music by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.
Abbot Genser HBO

Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 5:42 pm

If you love jazz and pop from the 1920s and '30s, you might already love the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, set in Atlantic City during Prohibition. The music played throughout the show is performed by Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, and a second album of music from the series was recently released.

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Live At The Village Vanguard
3:58 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

Peter Bernstein, Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart: Live At The Village Vanguard

Left to right: Larry Goldings, Bill Stewart and Peter Bernstein.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 2:42 pm

When their busy schedules align, guitarist Peter Bernstein, keyboard player Larry Goldings and drummer Bill Stewart play together as a trio. Their format isn't earth-shatteringly new — largely standards, a few original pieces, classic sonorities in which Hammond B3 organ meets electric guitar — but after nearly 25 years as a band, their rapport is. Theirs isn't an organ trio of greasy funk, but their cleaner language is plenty tasteful, overlaying smart choices atop plenty of swing.

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