Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.
Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.
Composer, arranger, conductor and pianist Lalo Schifrin has written some of the most famous music in ﬁlm and TV history. His works include the original Mission: Impossible theme and the scores to Cool Hand Luke and the DirtyHarry ﬁlms. On this page, Schifrin performs his tune "Down Here on the Ground" and joins host Marian McPartland for a duet of "Woody'n You."
Pianist John Bunch was born in Tipton, Ind., a small farming community north of Indianapolis. As a boy, he studied piano, and at 14, he was already playing with bands in central Indiana. During WWII, he served on a B17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Germany. Bunch and his crew were taken captive, and while in a prison camp, he learned to arrange for big bands.
Brass bands often bring New Orleans to mind. But some 1,000 miles away from southeast Louisiana, there's a different kind of brass band at work: the No BS! Brass Band of Richmond, Va.
Since the late 1970s, the brass-band repertoire has morphed into a new sound with the addition of funk, hip-hop and post-bop jazz. With as many as 13 members, No BS! Brass Band picks up on — and expands — that new tradition.
You could say George Benson's latest album, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, was conceived decades ago. Benson was just a kid when he first mimicked Cole off the radio, singing his own version of "Mona Lisa" while accompanying himself on the ukulele. He even made a recording.
Violinist Mark O'Connor is one of the most versatile fiddlers in music today: He seems equally at home playing bluegrass, country, jazz and classical. With its roots in Texas fiddling, O'Connor's music has shaped an entirely American school of string playing. His approach to teaching violin is considered a rival to the Suzuki method.
Anat Cohen leads the Anzic Orchestra (Anat + music = Anzic), and Anzic opens this JazzSet by letting "Samba de Orfeu" morph into "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Cohen loves both Brazilian and New Orleans music, and connects them with ease. "Struttin'" features the trumpet section one man at a time, concluding with Avishai Cohen. Later in the show, Anat will be back.
Dayna Stephens is a patient musician. The 34-year-old tenor saxophonist and composer fashions supple, searching improvisations that brim with melodic cogency. His compositions often exude a widescreen sensibility with languid, narrative-like passages, suspenseful interludes and sumptuous harmonies.