Kevin Whitehead | KUOW News and Information

Kevin Whitehead

Kevin Whitehead is the jazz critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Whitehead's articles on jazz and improvised music have appeared in such publications as Point of Departure, the Chicago Sun-Times, Village Voice, Down Beat, and the Dutch daily de Volkskrant.

He is the author of Why Jazz: A Concise Guide (2010), New Dutch Swing (1998), and (with photographer Ton Mijs) Instant Composers Pool Orchestra: You Have to See It (2011).

His essays have appeared in numerous anthologies including Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006, Discover Jazz and Traveling the Spaceways: Sun Ra, the Astro-Black and Other Solar Myths.

Whitehead has taught at Towson University, the University of Kansas and Goucher College. He lives near Baltimore.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Three years ago, the prolific guitarist Mary Halvorson put out a CD by a seven-piece band. Their follow up is for the same lineup plus one new member. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says much as he liked that previous album, this new arrival really shakes things up. (SOUNDBITE OF MARY HALVORSON OCTET SONG, "AWAY WITH YOU - NO 55") KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Guitarist Mary Halvorson's octet sounding like...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says five decades after Wadada Leo Smith began recording, the trumpeter and composer is having his moment with a Pulitzer nomination three years ago and a bounty of institutional support. Smith's Golden Quintet is both a jazz band and a chamber ensemble. Their new album is called "America's National Parks." Here's Kevin's review. (SOUNDBITE OF WADADA LEO SMITH...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Andrew Cyrille is a particularly versatile jazz drummer who came up swinging behind Coleman Hawkins and Mary Lou Williams and then played free jazz with Cecil Taylor. Cyrille has led his own bands and percussion ensembles and has explored the rhythms of Haiti and played in duos that blur the sound of drums and electronics. Andrew Cyrille has two new albums out. Our jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has a...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. In the 1990s, Jim Black was one of the busiest drummers in New York's downtown jazz scene playing behind saxophonist Tim Byrne and Ellery Eskelin and trumpeter Dave Douglas, among many others, and in the co-operative band Human Feel. Later, he began leading his own groups. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Jim Black's current trio packs a punch. (SOUNDBITE OF JIM BLACK TRIO SONG, "BLACK: CHINCHILLA")...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. A 1980 concert recording by the late cornet player Don Cherry has just been released. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says by 1980, Cherry had led a couple of jazz lives as the brass-playing alter ego for saxophonist Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler and as an international pied piper, mixing it up with players everywhere from Scandinavia to Turkey. That 1980 concert surrounded him with colleagues from...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. The late tenor saxophonist Teddy Edwards, who was based in Los Angeles, was the rare musician to record with both trumpet giant Clifford Brown and singer Tom Waits. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Edwards could be equally hair-raising playing uptempo or lingering over a ballad. Kevin reviews two Edwards reissues from the 1970s. (SOUNDBITE OF TEDDY EDWARDS COMPOSITION) KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Teddy...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . DAVE DAVIES, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. Alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, nicknamed Bird, was one of the single most influential jazz musicians. Critic Kevin Whitehead says it wasn't just other horn players who started phrasing like him, pianists, drummers and everyone else did too. Now a batch of previously unknown Parker performances from 1949 to '52 is out. Here's Kevin's review. (SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AN OSCAR FOR TREADWELL: INCOMPLETE...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air . TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. This Friday marks the centennial of the birth of electric guitarist Charlie Christian, who was one of the most influential musicians of the last century. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead has this appreciation. (SOUNDBITE OF CHARLIE CHRISTIAN SONG) KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Charlie Christian was the single-greatest influence on the signature 20th century instrument, the electric guitar, even though he died...

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air .

Pages