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The Legacy Of The Benny Goodman Quartet

Apr 21, 2016

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands. In a special stage show written by Geoffrey Ward and narrated by Wendell Pierce, a young band (Christian Sands, piano; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Sammy Miller, drums) with a rotating cast of clarinetists (Will Anderson, Peter Anderson, Patrick Bartley and Janelle Reichman) tells the whole story at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound.

Chicago's Jazz Record Mart attracts visitors from all over the world. At least, it used to: Last month, owner Bob Koester sold the store, saying he was just too old to run it any more.

Koester began selling used records when he was a teenager in Wichita, Kansas. After moving to Chicago, he opened his own store, as well as his own jazz and blues label, Delmark. But after more than 60 years in business, he decided this spring that it was time to pack it in.

KUOW photo/Gil Aegerter

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SEATTLE — KUOW will launch a preview of a new music service dedicated to jazz and blues on Monday, April 18, at noon. Currently called KUOW Jazz, the service will showcase leading jazz and blues artists from yesterday, today and tomorrow, and it will be available for streaming 24 hours a day, seven days a week at kuow.org, via the KUOW app and on KUOW HD Channel 2.

It's 9:30 on a Thursday night and Chinese and foreign jazz fans descend on the JZ Club in Shanghai's former French Concession. Glasses clink and the splashing sound of cymbals ripple through a cabaret setting bathed in soft red light.

Andrew Field, an American historian, says clubs like JZ represent a return to Shanghai's cosmopolitan past.

Remembering Argentine jazz great Gato Barbieri

Apr 4, 2016

Gato Barbieri was a cool cat. And it wasn't just his sunglasses and trademark fedora that made you think he had nine lives.

It was actually his slinking from club to club in Buenos Aires, scooping up late night jazz gigs, that earned him the nickname that stuck with him for the rest of his life.

That life ended on Saturday at the age of 83.

Considering Barbieri was Argentine, it's a bit surprising that his most overt take on Argentina's most iconic music was in a movie: "Last Tango in Paris."

Most Sunday nights at New York's Birdland nightclub, you can find Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra on stage. That's where I found them this past Sunday. 

Before the show, Arturo took a few moments to talk with me about Cuba.  

Cuba is an emotional topic for him. His dad was Chico O'Farrill, a famous Cuban jazz composer and conductor, who was born in Havana. 

The Fillmore District of San Francisco was once known as the "Harlem of the West" for its rich African-American culture and jazz roots. This week, the neighborhood's beloved Saint John Coltrane African Orthodox Church may be forced to find a new home.

Clockwise from top, left: Colby Lamson-Gordon (junior, Lakeside), Susana Davidson (soph., Garfield), Bell Thompson (soph., Garfield), Lauren Martinez (Garfield), Kelly Barr-Clingan (director), Maia Nelson (sophomore, Garfield)
KUOW Photo/Daniel Berman

Kelly Barr Clingan is a woman on a mission.

That mission is music, specifically jazz.

Barr Clingan directs the bands program at Seattle’s Washington Middle School. She also plays trombone in a Mexican band. And she teaches classes for a nonprofit organization called Seattle JazzED.

Vermont musician Jamie Masefield has been improvising on the jazz mandolin for decades. He's recorded six albums, including one with Blue Note Records, and brings everything from folk and funk to the literature of Leo Tolstoy to the stage. But some years back, his eclectic creativity brought him to an unexpected second career.

When I meet Masefield at work, he's chipping away at some pinkish stone with a small hammer. "In the industry we call it 'rainbow stone,'" he offers. "It's very nice to work with."

When Stephen Colbert takes over the Late Show tonight on CBS, he'll have a new partner in crime on stage: pianist Jon Batiste.

Peanut butter and jelly. Abbott and Costello. New Orleans and marching bands.

Some things are inseparable.

The city best known for hot jazz is a wellspring of talented musicians. Where do they all come from? Oftentimes it's great teachers — like Sam Venable, the band director at Langston Hughes Academy, a middle school on Trafalgar Street.

Hear the story of great teaching at the top of the page. You can also hear this clip of Venable playing at his grandmother's 90th birthday:

Jazz saxophonist and composer Ornette Coleman died early this morning at the age of 85 in a hospital in Manhattan. The cause was cardiac arrest. He’s being remembered as one of the most powerful and influential innovators in the history of jazz.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

If you haven’t yet heard Joey Alexander play the piano, well, it’s time you do.

Joey's scheduled to headline the Newport Jazz Festival this summer.

He lives in New York, but he was born far removed from New York's swinging jazz scene on the Indonesian island of Bali. He likes to swim and watch movies. He wears sneakers and blue framed glasses.

Here’s the thing. “I’m 11 years old,” says Joey. “I started playing piano when I was 6, but I already heard music before that, when I was a baby.”

A Conversation With Saxophonist Kenny G

Jun 5, 2014
Kenny G
AP Photo/ Jim Cooper

Sax man and bestselling instrumentalist of all time, Kenny G, needs no introduction. Following stints with Barry White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra (at the age of 17) and The Jeff Lorber Fusion, the Seattle native and UW grad embarked on a solo career in the early 1980s.

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