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6:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:41 am

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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NPR's 'Jazz Profiles'
6:26 pm
Fri December 26, 2014

Buddy DeFranco: The Clarinetist Who Swung To Bebop

Buddy DeFranco in 1947.
William Gottlieb Library Of Congress

Clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, a brilliant jazz improviser who devised many paths for his instrument following its peak popularity in the swing era, died Dec. 24, his website announced. He was 91.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
1:52 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Michel Petrucciani On Piano Jazz

Michel Petrucciani.
Frederic Reglain Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Born with the genetic disease osteogenesis imperfecta, he only stood at three feet. But with hands unaffected by his disease and an extraordinary talent, Michel Petrucciani is one of the greatest French jazz pianists of all time.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
11:39 am
Fri December 19, 2014

George Shearing's Holiday Set On Piano Jazz

George Shearing.
New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

British jazz pianist George Shearing was a friend and frequent guest on Piano Jazz. On this special edition of the program from 2001, Shearing joins host Marian McPartland to celebrate the holidays in a jazzy way.

The two reminisce about seasons gone by and perform traditional and contemporary holiday tunes, including "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas" and "Away In A Manger."

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A Blog Supreme
9:58 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The 2014 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Steve Lehman edged out Wadada Leo Smith for the top spot in the 2014 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.
Willie Davis Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 6:15 pm

NPR Music is pleased to present a poll in which 140 jazz critics picked their favorite recordings of 2014.

For nine consecutive years, this poll has been a labor of love by eminent critic Francis Davis. It's grown tremendously since he initially submitted the consensus of 30 writers to The Village Voice in 2006. Over the last month, print journalists, bloggers and broadcasters nominated more than 700 different albums. We're thrilled to welcome his exhaustive project back to our site.

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A Blog Supreme
9:57 am
Fri December 19, 2014

An Upset Either Way: Steve Lehman And Wadada Leo Smith Triumph

Wadada Leo Smith finished second in the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, separated by only 12 points from surprise winner Steve Lehman.
Scott Groller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 21, 2014 6:17 pm

Could anyone have predicted that Steve Lehman and Wadada Leo Smith would place first and second in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll, among a field including previous winners Sonny Rollins, Vijay Iyer and Jason Moran, plus 2011 runner-up (and favorite going in) Ambrose Akinmusire? Not me, and I even had Lehman and Smith on my ballot, along with Rollins and Akinmusire.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
12:57 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Highlights From Winter Jazzfest 2014

Donald Harrison performs at Winter Jazzfest 2014.
John Rogers for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 3:07 am

In the dead of January in the Northeast, New York City's Winter Jazzfest manages a minor miracle. Over the course of two marathon nights, it brings crowds in the thousands out to jam-packed theaters and clubs to see dozens of varied and sundry bands.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
12:15 am
Thu December 18, 2014

In Memory Of 2014: Jazz Night Looks Back

Gerald Wilson, 2010.
Charley Gallay Getty Images for NAACP

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 9:48 am

This year saw the passing of numerous jazz legends. In Jazz Night In America's year in review, we pay tribute to bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Horace Silver and composer/bandleader Gerald Wilson, among others. We'll listen back to great live performances recorded over the past 30 years from these musicians — all from the WBGO vault — and highlight remembrances from friends and loved ones.

Playlist

  • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, "Teri" (Gerald Wilson)
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, "Carlos" (Gerald Wilson)
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Song Travels
12:11 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Anthony Strong On 'Song Travels'

Anthony Strong.
Courtesy of the artist

British jazz vocalist and pianist Anthony Strong built his reputation as a session pianist, supporting stars like B.B. King. His EP release Delovely reached No. 1 on the U.K. jazz charts, and he's continued his rise with his last album of classic jazz songs and originals, Stepping Out.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
11:25 am
Fri December 12, 2014

Mel Torme On Piano Jazz

Mel Torme.
David Redfern Redferns

Described by film critic Rex Reed as "America's greatest male singer," Mel Tormé (1925-99) was one of the most versatile performers of his day.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1992, Tormé shares how his classic "The Christmas Song" inspired him to put out his own holiday album. He also sings and plays "Too Late Now" and "Walking My Baby Home," with host Marian McPartland joining in.

Originally recorded Jan. 21, 1992. Originally broadcast May 9, 1992.

Set List

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