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5:19 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

Albert 'Tootie' Heath, Drummer Extraordinaire, Turns The Tables

Albert Heath
Michael Perez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 6:36 pm

Albert "Tootie" Heath is one of the most accomplished jazz drummers of the past 60 years. The 79-year-old has played with everyone from John Coltrane to Ethan Iverson, the piano player for The Bad Plus. Iverson and bassist Ben Street join Tootie Heath for his new album, Philadelphia Beat, named for the fertile jazz city of Heath's upbringing — where, as a young man starting out, he once piloted a group consisting only of the drums and two horns.

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Music
5:01 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

A Jazz Pianist Taps Armenian Folk, Metal Riffs And A Sense Of History

"Sometimes the music that I write doesn't need to have lyrics, it just needs vowels," says jazz artist Tigran Hamaysan.
Maeve Stam Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 8:25 pm

Musicians arrive at their signature sounds through all sorts of influences. For jazz pianist Tigran Hamaysan, that collection of sounds comes from far afield — he's a fan of progressive metal bands like Tool and Meshuggah — as well as from his backyard.

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Music
5:07 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

The Doctor Is In: Eddie Henderson On Life As 'The Funk Surgeon'

Eddie Henderson's latest album is Collective Portrait.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 6:20 pm

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Music Interviews
5:35 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Bird Of A Feather: Rudresh Mahanthappa On Learning From Charlie Parker

Rudresh Mahanthappa's latest album is Bird Calls.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:53 am

In the early 1980s, when a young sixth-grader in Colorado first heard Charlie Parker, his life was transformed. Now a world-class saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa is paying homage to Parker with his new album, Bird Calls. Mahanthappa says it's a tribute to Charlie Parker — but there are no Charlie Parker songs here.

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Music Interviews
5:35 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Diana Krall: Liner Notes From A 'Wallflower'

Diana Krall's latest album, a collection of jazz takes on rock and pop classics, is called Wallflower.
Bryan Adams Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 1:20 pm

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Music
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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Music Interviews
6:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 6:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Music Interviews
5:52 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

When The Lights Go Down, Who Will Hear 'The Last Transmission'?

Filmmaker and musician Melvin Van Peebles' new album with the London band The Heliocentrics is titled The Last Transmission.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 9:35 pm

A lot of popular musicians in the 1960s and '70s showed a passionate interest in getting extremely high — higher than any human had ever been.

We're talking, of course, about space exploration. David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Sun Ra, Funkadelic; all contributed to our shared space mythology. That doesn't happen so much these days.

But a new record from London band The Heliocentrics is a welcome, and trippy, exception.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Sat July 19, 2014

Fred Hersch Floats On, With A Dynamic Trio In Tow

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch released his latest album, a trio recording called Floating, in July.
Vincent Soyez Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 8:57 am

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.

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Music Interviews
5:23 am
Sun July 13, 2014

The New Thing In Jazz, Revisited

New Orleans pianist Henry Butler (left) and arranger and trumpeter Steven Bernstein will release their collaborative record, Viper's Drag, in the U.S. on July 15.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun July 13, 2014 11:47 am

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.

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