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David Amram On Piano Jazz

Apr 22, 2017

Ralph Towner first came to the attention of a wide audience nearly 50 years ago as a member of the Paul Winter Consort, for whom he composed the group's most famous tune, "Icarus." The piece was so beloved, the Apollo 15 astronauts took the record to the moon — and named a crater after it.

Record Store Day, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, is a consumer ploy in the guise of a cultural event. Or, depending on your vantage, maybe it's the other way around. Whatever the case, record stores across the country and around the world are happily (or gamely) bracing for impact: Record Store Day 2017 falls this Saturday, April 22, with a wave of exclusive releases, in-store appearances and other retail enticements.

This Saturday is Record Store Day, and one of its many offerings is an unreleased film soundtrack by Thelonious Monk. We celebrate that release and Monk's centennial with one of his ballads.

This year's class of NEA Jazz Masters is as accomplished as they come, with Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals, Dr.

Why do hip-hop producers gravitate toward jazz samples? For a mood, for sonic timbre, for a unique rhythmic component. Swing is a precursor to the boom-bap. "If you're a hip-hop producer that wants a lot of melodic stuff happening," pianist Robert Glasper says, "you're probably going to go to jazz first."

Nnenna Freelon On Piano Jazz

Apr 14, 2017

Internationally hailed as one of the greatest vocalists to come along in decades, Nnenna Freelon exudes both class and sophistication. Her soulful style consists of fresh interpretations of classic standards. A six-time Grammy nominee, she also starred in the critically acclaimed 2014 show Georgia On My Mind: Celebrating The Music Of Ray Charles in Las Vegas.

Dorothy Donegan On Piano Jazz

Apr 7, 2017

This week's episode of Piano Jazz remembers NEA Jazz Master Dorothy Donegan (1922—1998) with a session from 1983. Donegan's technical command of the piano was nothing short of breathtaking, and she was known for her onstage antics and flamboyance. In the house with Marian McPartland, she attacks the piano, hammering away with her elbows and knuckles on "Darn That Dream" and "Stormy Weather." McPartland and Donegan play two pianos on "Lullaby of Birdland" and "Rosetta."

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The NEA Jazz Masters Award is often described as the nation's highest honor for a living jazz musician. From the first its program has celebrated a broad aesthetic range — its inaugural class of honorees, in 1982, consisted of bebop icon Dizzy Gillespie, his trumpet precursor Roy Eldridge and the interstellar visionary Sun Ra. As those initial inductees show, the roll call of NEA Jazz Masters have represented striking diversity within the uppermost echelon of achievement in this music.

There's no shortage of poignant moments in I Called Him Morgan, Kasper Collin's mesmerizing new documentary about the life and death of jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan. One moment, about half an hour into the film, has stuck with me since I first saw it, lingering like an afterimage or the hook from a song.

Muldrow Meets Mingus

Mar 23, 2017

At a glance, Georgia Anne Muldrow isn't the obvious pick to create an interpretive tribute to the bassist and composer Charles Mingus. She was born in 1983, four years after Mingus died at 56. Her music stands well outside the jazz perimeter, aligning more with the Afrocentric current that flows through underground hip-hop, avant-R&B and psychedelic soul.

Judy Roberts On Piano Jazz

Mar 21, 2017

Pianist and vocalist Judy Roberts is one of Chicago's best-loved musicians. She's an imaginative and insightful pianist with an articulate touch, and her voice readily conveys many different moods. Since beginning her professional music career at age 15, Roberts has traveled the world, gaining fans and garnering critical acclaim. She always keeps her audience enthralled, as she did on this 2003 episode of Piano Jazz, recorded in front of a live audience at NPR Member station WAMC in Albany, N.Y.

For a musician, Israel's compulsory military service has its challenges and opportunities. Yotam Silberstein used every moment of his military downtime to practice the jazz guitar. When he got out of the army, he became one of Israel's most renowned young players — but he still had a big move ahead of him.

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