NPR Music

From African drums in Congo Square to raucous brass bands second-lining in the streets, jazz is the soundtrack of New Orleans. The history and spirit of the Crescent City can be summoned through thousands of now-classic songs.

Here's a duo that's at the foundation of music itself, but which isn't always noticed: the musical interplay between the bass and the drum.

Hiromi On Piano Jazz

Aug 28, 2015

Pianist Hiromi Uehara was born in Shizuoka, Japan, in 1979 and took her first piano lesson at age 6. By 17, she'd performed with the Czech Philharmonic and with Chick Corea. She is an in-demand performer, capable of playing stride piano with blinding speed and accuracy.

It's 2015, and jazz singing is weird. Right? Its conventions seem almost antiquated: the smarmy stage presence thing, the scat improvisation thing, the singing 50-year-old songs from forgotten musicals thing. In an age when singing the blues has been so thoroughly subsumed and reconfigured within other American pop-music traditions, when a main stem has become an offshoot branch, how is a self-aware jazz vocalist supposed to sell out emotionally — and expect to sell it to a wide audience?

Arturo O'Farrill On Piano Jazz

Aug 21, 2015

Pianist, composer and bandleader Arturo O'Farrill is the son of the late Chico O'Farrill (1921–2001). A multiple Grammy winner, the younger O'Farrill has contributed to contemporary Latin jazz as leader of the Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and as founder of the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance.

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