Latest Jazz from NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
3:51 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Ravi Coltrane's Favorite 'Ice Cream' Flavor

Ravi Coltrane's favorite tune off his most recent album, Spirit Fiction, was written by longtime collaborator Ralph Alessi.
Deborah Feingold Courtesy of the artist

Like a piece of gym equipment that always yields a great workout, most musicians have favorite tunes. For saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, "Who Wants Ice Cream" by trumpeter Ralph Alessi has proven especially fertile, drawing him back again and again since he recorded it as part of the album Spirit Fiction.

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Music Reviews
10:54 am
Tue October 1, 2013

Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly

Left to right: Craig Taborn (piano), Dave Holland (bass), Kevin Eubanks (electric guitar), Eric Harland (drums).
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 1:26 pm

The quartet on jazz bassist Dave Holland's new album Prism is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified Miles Davis, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels.

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Music Interviews
5:02 pm
Sun September 29, 2013

Vijay Iyer On Learning From War

For three years, jazz musician Vijay Iyer has worked with poet and performer Mike Ladd to set the words of war veterans to music. The resulting album, released earlier this month, is called Holding It Down: The Veterans' Dreams Project.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 6:30 pm

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A Blog Supreme
5:37 am
Sun September 29, 2013

The Jazz Documentarian Who Won The Lottery

"Don't Blame Me" for the web series Capsulocity." href="/post/jazz-documentarian-who-won-lottery" class="noexit lightbox">
Vocalist Brianna Thomas and Michael Mwenso sang a duet of "Don't Blame Me" for the web series Capsulocity.
Courtesy of Capsulocity

Originally published on Sun September 29, 2013 8:51 pm

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Music News
5:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 11:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:33 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Eliane Elias On Piano Jazz

Eliane Elias.
Tom LeGoff Courtesy of the artist

On this Piano Jazz from 2008, Eliane Elias performs a set of tunes distinctly dedicated to the music of the late Bill Evans. She performs Evans' tunes "For Nanette," "I Love My Wife," and "B Minor Waltz," and duets with Marian McPartland on two early Bill Evans favorites: "Autumn Leaves" and "Alone Together."

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Live At The Village Vanguard
4:44 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

Ravi Coltrane Quartet: Live At The Village Vanguard

Ravi Coltrane.
John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 1:03 pm

After releasing his latest album, last year's Spirit Fiction, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane put his decade-old quartet on hiatus, and has now assembled a new group. Had John Coltrane lived to see his son grow up, he might have told Ravi about how his own "classic quartet" broke up; he'd begun to incorporate new voices (including Ravi's mother Alice Coltrane) by the time his new band recorded live at the Village Vanguard in 1966.

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A Blog Supreme
2:46 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

In New Afro-Cuban Music, Ancient Tradition Meets Future Shock

Michele Rosewoman (bottom right) is joined by batá percussionists in performance with her New Yor-Uba Ensemble in 2013.
Tom Ehrlich Courtesy of the artist

In Henry Dumas' short story "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" three "afro-horns" have been forged from a rare metal found only in Africa and South America. One rests in a European museum; a second one is believed to be somewhere on the west coast of Mexico among a tribe of Indians; and a third is owned by Probe, a jazz musician. When Probe finally plays the afro-horn in public, the sound is devastatingly powerful.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:03 am
Sat September 21, 2013

The Cristina Pato Trio: Tiny Desk Concert

Cristina Pato Trio performs a Tiny Desk Concert in June 2013.
Hayley Bartels NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:09 pm

After nearly a decade spent living in the city, Cristina Pato is a full-fledged New Yorker. But her first home is the place where Spain meets the Celtic world: Galicia.

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A Blog Supreme
3:25 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Melissa Aldana Wins Thelonious Monk Competition For Saxophonists

Melissa Aldana performs at the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition at The John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
Paul Morigi Getty Images for the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

At a ceremony and concert last night in Washington, D.C., the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz named Melissa Aldana, 24, the winner of its annual competition for young musicians. The highest-profile event of its kind, this year's competition was open to saxophonists.

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