Latest Jazz from NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
11:09 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Frank Wess, Basie Woodwind Specialist, Dies

Frank Wess appears at a tribute concert in 2007.
Hiroyuki Ito Getty Images

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:23 am
Fri October 25, 2013

Dr. Billy Taylor On Piano Jazz

Dr. Billy Taylor.
William Gottlieb Library of Congress via Flickr

Born in 1921 in Greenville, N.C., Billy Taylor moved to Washington, D.C., at age 5. He grew up in a musical family and tried his hand at various musical instruments, including guitar, drums and saxophone, but was most successful at the piano.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
1:54 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Alan Blackman's 'Coastal Suite' On JazzSet

Performances of The Coastal Suite are accompanied by a slow slideshow of Ruth Brownlee's paintings, including this one, Midwinter Gale.
Courtesy of Ruth Brownlee.

Originally published on Fri October 25, 2013 10:26 am

We're in Brooklyn at Ibeam, named by the New York City Jazz Record as one of the top five music venues of 2012, for The Coastal Suite by pianist Alan Blackman. This is the radio premiere.

From outside, Ibeam is just a notch in a long warehouse near an industrial canal (and EPA Superfund cleanup site). Inside, it's a warm community space dedicated to presenting experimental music.

"We are as close together as we're ever going to be," Blackman says, "and that's a good thing."

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Matt Ulery's Loom: Tiny Desk Concert

Matt Ulery performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in August 2013.
Chloe Coleman Chloe Coleman/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:05 pm

The next time you go to see live jazz in a club, and the band is playing original compositions, look closely in front of the musicians. Sometimes there'll be stands holding sheet music. There's nothing wrong with this per se, especially if the music is a bit complicated. But sometimes there'll be no need for stands, as the musicians have memorized the material. It's impressive, but it also signals a certain commitment, one borne of having rehearsed and performed together often. You frequently see this in tight bands that know what they're doing.

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Ecstatic Voices
6:44 am
Sat October 19, 2013

Wynton Marsalis Goes Back To Church For 'Abyssinian Mass'

Trumpeter Wynton Marsalis performs his Abyssinian Mass in 2008.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Sat October 19, 2013 10:01 am

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A Blog Supreme
2:23 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Five Songs By The 'Rhodes Scholar' Keyboardist Of Hip-Hop

Keyboardist and producer Bob James' 1970s work helped to establish the sound of smooth jazz — and lives on in hip-hop samples galore.
Courtesy of the artist

Professing love for Bob James' music can yield a side-eye in some circles. Jazz purists routinely view the keyboardist's 1970s period as a progenitor to smooth jazz — an idiom they frequently react to as if it were a sign of the apocalypse.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
4:16 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Elvis Costello On Piano Jazz

Elvis Costello.
Mary McCartney Courtesy of the artist

This Piano Jazz is a special live session from the 2006 Tanglewood Jazz Festival, with host Marian McPartland joined by a very special guest: singer-songwriter Elvis Costello.

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Music News
2:03 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

A Young Torchbearer Lights The Way For New Orleans Music Students

Trombone Shorty, aka Troy Andrews, has started a foundation dedicated to music education in New Orleans.
Jonathan Mannion Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 pm

In New Orleans, it's cool to be in the high school band — especially when Trombone Shorty shows up in the band room.

The brass player and bandleader recently paid a visit to New Orleans' Warren Easton High School to work with band members. It's part of his work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, a music education initiative.

"[Trombone Shorty] is, without a doubt, the role model for the next generation right now," says Bill Taylor, the foundation's executive director.

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Music Reviews
1:24 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning'

Ahmad Jamal.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 9, 2013 2:26 pm

Jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, Saturday Morning, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.

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A Blog Supreme
8:03 am
Wed October 9, 2013

A Saxophonist From Santiago Cracks The Stateside Scene

Melissa Aldana, 24, took after her father in pursuing jazz saxophone.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

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