The last time Fred Hersch was featured on Weekend Edition Saturday, the headline read, "Back On Stage By No Small Miracle." It was 2009, and scarcely a year earlier, the jazz pianist had suffered AIDS-related dementia and fallen into a coma for several months. Since recovering, Hersch has come roaring back to music, releasing a string of live albums to critical success.
Carmen Lundy's contralto voice perfectly conveys the soul and depth of her compositions. She joined Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland in 1999 to perform Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.
Melissa Aldana, who became the first female instrumentalist and first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition last fall, is not the average talent-contest winner.
Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the "new thing" in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.
Known for the emotional range of his solo work, vibraphonist Joe Locke has established himself as a composer, bandleader and educator. He has recorded with artists such as Eddie Henderson and Grover Washington Jr., and he continues to tour worldwide.
In this episode of Piano Jazz, Locke performs his original composition "Seven Beauties" on piano, as well as a medley of songs by Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon on vibes. Host Marian McPartland joins in for a duet of the standard "I Should Care."
A phenomenal guitarist and pioneering audio engineer, Les Paul has been a major influence in 20th Century music, both as a performer and technical innovator. The guitar legend made a rare appearance on Piano Jazz, bringing with him his trio — Lou Paulo on guitar and Paul Nowinski on bass.
Anat Cohen leads the Anzic Orchestra (Anat + music = Anzic), and Anzic opens this JazzSet by letting "Samba de Orfeu" morph into "Struttin' With Some Barbecue." Cohen loves both Brazilian and New Orleans music, and connects them with ease. "Struttin'" features the trumpet section one man at a time, concluding with Avishai Cohen. Later in the show, Anat will be back.