Kevin Whitehead http://kuow.org en After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return http://kuow.org/post/after-painful-year-bud-powells-triumpant-1953-return The great bebop pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404849/bud-powell">Bud Powell</a> played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: <em>Birdland 1953</em> on three CDs from <a href="http://www.espdisk.com/official/catalog/4073.html" target="_blank">ESP-Disk'</a>. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific. Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:14:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 31164 at http://kuow.org After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return Box Set Illustrates Clifford Jordan's Impeccable Taste In Musicians http://kuow.org/post/box-set-illustrates-clifford-jordans-impeccable-taste-musicians Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Starting in the late 1960s, jazz saxophonist Clifford Jordan produced a series of recordings mostly by other leaders that came out on the musician's own Strata-East label. Those seven albums are now collected in a box set. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Jordan the producer had impeccable taste in musicians.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Clifford Jordan on tenor from a 1968 quartet date led by bassist Wilbur Ware with Edward Blackwell on drums. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:45:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 30372 at http://kuow.org Still 'Out To Lunch' 50 Years Later http://kuow.org/post/still-out-lunch-50-years-later 1964 was a great year for cutting-edge jazz records like <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404711/albert-ayler">Albert Ayler</a>'s <em>Spiritual Unity</em>, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15394783/john-coltrane">John Coltrane</a>'s <em>A Love Supreme </em>and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15121790/andrew-hill">Andrew Hill</a>'s <em>Point of Departure</em>. But none sounds as far ahead of its time as <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404201/eric-dolphy">Eric Dolphy</a>'s masterpiece <em>Out to Lunch</em>, recorded for Blue Note on Feb. 25, 1964. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:21:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 29414 at http://kuow.org Still 'Out To Lunch' 50 Years Later In Session: Frank Wess' 'Magic 201' Offers One Last Lesson http://kuow.org/post/session-frank-wess-magic-201-offers-one-last-lesson <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/18155899/frank-wess">Frank Wess</a>' new album, <em>Magic 201</em>, is a sequel to last year's similar helping of ballads and midtempo strollers, <em>Magic 101</em>. The new album is very nearly every bit as good, and made a little more poignant by Wess' death just before Halloween. On his last session as a leader in 2011, he was still sounding strong at 89.<p>When Wess was coming up, his hero was the dry and slippery saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15389052/lester-young">Lester Young</a>, who gave him a few pointers. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:28:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 28601 at http://kuow.org In Session: Frank Wess' 'Magic 201' Offers One Last Lesson Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads http://kuow.org/post/too-much-good-thing-jane-ira-blooms-beautiful-ballads When soprano saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/87942215/jane-ira-bloom">Jane Ira Bloom</a> plays <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15235424/kurt-weill">Kurt Weill</a>'s "My Ship" on her new album <em>Sixteen Sunsets</em>, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 21:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 28016 at http://kuow.org Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World http://kuow.org/post/lafayette-gilchrist-old-soul-ease-modern-world For someone who came to piano rather late, at 17, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15675864/lafayette-gilchrist">Lafayette Gilchrist</a> has dug deep into its history. He loves the old piano professors who'd pack the punch of a dance band into two hands at the keyboard. Players like Eubie Blake, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404392/james-p-johnson">James P. Johnson</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/91365105/willie-the-lion-smith">Willie "The Lion" Smith</a> could keep going for hours without exhausting their folkloric materials. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:02:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 27339 at http://kuow.org Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World Kenny Clarke, Inventor Of Modern Jazz Drumming, At 100 http://kuow.org/post/kenny-clarke-inventor-modern-jazz-drumming-100 Jan. 9 marks the 100th birthday of drummer Kenny Clarke. One of the founders of bebop, Clarke is less well-known than allies like <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15368367/dizzy-gillespie">Dizzy Gillespie</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15130415/thelonious-monk">Thelonious Monk</a>, but his influence is just as deep.<p>That thing that jazz drummers do — that ching-chinga-ching beat on the ride cymbal, like sleigh bells? It gives the music a light, airy, driving pulse. Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:00:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 26784 at http://kuow.org Kenny Clarke, Inventor Of Modern Jazz Drumming, At 100 Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future http://kuow.org/post/michele-rosewoman-goes-back-afro-cuban-jazzs-future When Michele Rosewoman was growing up in the Bay Area, she played piano from childhood and congas from her teens. After moving to New York in the late 1970s, she began making music in two areas: modern jazz and traditional Cuban music. Before long, she started combining the two in her New Yor-Uba band.<br /> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:20:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 25719 at http://kuow.org Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future Holiday Music To Bring Folks Together http://kuow.org/post/holiday-music-bring-folks-together Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. With so much contention in air around holiday get-togethers, jazz critic Ken Whitehead wonders if music might help bring together folks with opposing views. He has some listening and viewing recommendations for seasonal dinners.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TEEN TOWN")<p>KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Chris Biesterfeldt on mandolin, Playing Weather Report's "Teen Town," by Jaco Pastorius. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:40:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 25561 at http://kuow.org Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set http://kuow.org/post/ella-fitzgeralds-early-years-collected-chick-webb-box-set Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 18:14:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 25300 at http://kuow.org Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set http://kuow.org/post/william-parkers-abstract-grooves-collected-box-set <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/95438057/steve-lacy">Steve Lacy</a> used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16657984/william-parker">William Parker</a> founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes. Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:59:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 24961 at http://kuow.org William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set No Need To Cook The Books: Booker Ervin's Debut LP Reissued http://kuow.org/post/no-need-cook-books-booker-ervins-debut-lp-reissued Tenor saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15625333/booker-ervin">Booker Ervin</a> came to New York in 1958. Pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15736825/horace-parlan">Horace Parlan</a> heard him and invited Ervin to sit in one night with a band he worked in. That's how Ervin got hired by bassist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15373151/charles-mingus">Charles Mingus</a>, who featured him on albums like <em>Blues and Roots</em> and <em>Mingus Ah Um</em>. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 23607 at http://kuow.org No Need To Cook The Books: Booker Ervin's Debut LP Reissued Amir ElSaffar Navigates Uncharted Blue Notes On 'Alchemy' http://kuow.org/post/amir-elsaffar-navigates-uncharted-blue-notes-alchemy Trumpeter <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/17897504/amir-elsaffar">Amir ElSaffar</a> grew up near Chicago, playing jazz trumpet. In the early 2000s, while in his mid-20s, he began investigating the music of his Iraqi heritage, studying in Baghdad and with expatriate musicians in Europe. Then he began combining the two.<p>ElSaffar's new album <em>Alchemy </em>is a step forward in defining and refining his concept. A couple of his earlier albums featured what struck me as an uneasy mix of jazz and traditional Iraqi instruments. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 17:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 23217 at http://kuow.org Amir ElSaffar Navigates Uncharted Blue Notes On 'Alchemy' Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning' http://kuow.org/post/ahmad-jamal-weaves-old-and-new-saturday-morning Jazz pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404388/ahmad-jamal" target="_blank">Ahmad Jamal</a> started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, <em>Saturday Morning</em>, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.<p>Jamal's old trios were quieter — it's no surprise when a pianist plays with lots of energy in youth, and then with more reserve when he or she is older. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 18:26:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 21779 at http://kuow.org Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning' Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly http://kuow.org/post/dave-hollands-prism-goes-11-elegantly The quartet on jazz bassist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404006/dave-holland">Dave Holland</a>'s new album <em>Prism</em> 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 <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15368370/miles-davis">Miles Davis</a>, 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. Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:54:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 21294 at http://kuow.org Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly