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In 1971, pianist, composer and bandleader Eddie Palmieri put out a formative album called Harlem River Drive . Written in the heat of racial turbulence, its lyrics addressed the inequality Puerto Ricans faced in New York City. The album served as a form of protest, as well as commentary on social-justice issues for the people of El Barrio, East Harlem. Though the Latin funk classic didn't take off in the early '70s, it later became an underground classic. Its enduring songs remain relevant...

2016 has been a time of great loss for music: Prince , David Bowie , Leonard Cohen and Sharon Jones all passed away this year, just to name a few. The jazz world was no exception. Christian McBride, host of Jazz Night In America , joined NPR's Audie Cornish to discuss the lives and legacies of three jazz giants who we lost in 2016 — Toots Thielemans , Victor Bailey and Bobby Hutcherson . All three musicians were known for unusual decisions that paid off. Thielemans was a jazz harmonica player...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HRiL66misc When you see Mary Halvorson on stage, she doesn't look like much of a trailblazer. She plays sitting down. She's small, and mostly hidden behind her hollow-body guitar and glasses. But then she starts to play. And the sounds coming out of her amp are anything but conventional. "I do like things that are unexpected," Halvorson says. "I often don't like music that's predictable, so you know what's coming next. I like to throw in things that maybe are a...

Musical Cannibalism With Cyro Baptista

Nov 10, 2016

Anthropofagia — cultural cannibalism — is a concept based on an essay published by the poet and father of Brazilian modernism, Oswald de Andrade. A passage from that "Manifesto Antropofagico" reads: "Only cannibalism unites us. Socially. Economically. Philosophically. The unique law of the world. The masked expression of all individualism and collective movement. " Brazilian "percussionista" Cyro Baptista has applied this philosophy to create ingenious music for more than five decades. ...

The Lush Life Of Billy Strayhorn

Nov 3, 2016

The fruitful collaboration between Billy Strayhorn and Duke Ellington is widely known to have brought us such classics as "Take The 'A' Train," "Chelsea Bridge" and "Isfahan." But behind the music, Strayhorn's life and identity were complex. While composing some of the most harmonically rich jazz of its time — often in Ellington's shadow — Strayhorn was an outlier in that he led an openly gay life as a black man in the 1940s, an era rife with homophobia and racism. In this episode of Jazz...

Herbie Hancock's Latest Voyage

Oct 20, 2016

Herbie Hancock always seems to be on some kind of voyage. Whether he's improvising in a spaceship surrounded by 11 keyboards or forming new iterations of bands, you can always count on him to push the possibilities and the boundaries of jazz. This concert presentation includes the most recent member of the group: Flying Lotus and Terrace Martin on keyboards and alto saxophone. It also features Lionel Loueke on guitar and vocals, James Genus on bass, and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums. On this...

Oliver Jones: A Canadian Jazz Legend Heads Home

Oct 13, 2016

Oliver Jones may be the most famous living jazz pianist you've never heard of. But in Canada, Jones is a hero — adored in his native Quebec and across the country for helping to build a vibrant jazz scene that can sustain the country's top musicians. A serious talent and a tireless advocate for Canadian jazz, Jones is a champion for local musicians — a folk hero of sorts. You can find his images on the sides of buildings and on his very own postage stamp. He's also a serious talent with...

Dance Like Animals In Wynton Marsalis' 'Spaces'

Oct 6, 2016

In Spaces , Wynton Marsalis' new dance suite for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, e ach movement corresponds to a different animal — a chicken, a lion, a frog and more. He enlisted tap dancer Jared Grimes and "jooker" (street dancer) Lil Buck to embody the animals in their performances. In this piece, Marsalis also describes his fascination with the animal kingdom, his process of writing, and the way he attempts to draw on the spaces that all creatures inhabit. Copyright 2016 WBGO and...

A Blog Supreme was a jazz thing published by NPR Music from May 2009 through September 2016. It presented news, features, aggregated content, historical primers, opinion and analysis, recommendations and other types of music journalism. It was twice named the Jazz Journalists Association Blog of the Year. It was founded and edited by Patrick Jarenwattananon, who was also its chief writer and a producer for NPR Music's Jazz Night In America . He had the insight that an entity such as NPR...

Three Miles Ahead

Aug 26, 2016

It's been said that Miles Davis is to jazz is like Hemingway is to the American novel, like Picasso is to art. He was more than just a trumpet player — he was an icon of style and artistry. Jazz Night in America explores three interpretations of Miles Davis: on the silver screen, the page and the bandstand. We speak with actor Don Cheadle, who directed, produced, wrote and starred in Miles Ahead ; writer Quincy Troupe, who helped Davis write his autobiography; and trumpeter Keyon Harrold, who...

Cecile McLorin Salvant And Sullivan Fortner

Aug 26, 2016

Ever since the earliest days of jazz music, the pairing of piano and voice has frequently attained a deeply personal level of communication. It's evident in the distinct chemistry between two rising stars of their instruments: pianist Sullivan Fortner and singer Cécile McLorin Salvant. Jazz Night In America gets to know the charming duo on stage at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and beside a piano in a Harlem brownstone. Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz...

When you talk to jazz aficionados, you often hear about a ground zero, a Eureka moment of musical awakening that opens up the bounty of the music. For some of us (myself included), that moment was hearing Herbie Hancock for the first time. Perhaps that's because Hancock, more than most artists, is never afraid to explore the musical zeitgeist — from hard bop to jazz-rock, funk, hip-hop and beyond. He's recorded music over many decades (since 1962, to be exact) and has a deep repertoire to...

The trombone virtuoso J.J. Johnson was among the first to adapt the challenge laid down by bebop saxophonists and trumpeters to his more ungainly instrument. Among the recordings he left as evidence was a series of albums partnering with fellow trombonist Kai Winding. In a concert at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra trombonist Vincent Gardner recently took on that "Jay and Kai" repertoire, joined by sectionmate Elliot Mason, other members of the JLCO and special guests...

The pianist, composer and music ambassador Herbie Hancock is working on new music with a new band, and he's about to present the first taste of it in live performance. Next Thursday, Aug. 11 , Hancock brings a new lineup to Prospect Park in Brooklyn, N.Y., for an outdoor concert. (He's to be joined by Terrace Martin on saxophone and keyboards, Lionel Loueke on guitar, James Genus on bass and Trevor Lawrence Jr. on drums.) Hancock says he expects to play some ideas that he's been working on...

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