NPR Music

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
8:01 am
Fri April 17, 2015

Celebrating Billie Holiday's Centennial With Cassandra Wilson

Cassandra Wilson.
Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Among the celebrations of Billie Holiday's centennial birthday anniversary is a new album from Cassandra Wilson. In Coming Forth By Day, one of today's top jazz vocalists salutes one of her idols, drastically rearranging the Holiday songbook.

Jazz Night In America features Cassandra Wilson's blues, country and folk-tinged delivery as she performs her Billie Holiday tribute, and catches up with some key collaborators of both Wilson and Holiday herself.

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Music
10:03 am
Sat April 11, 2015

In 'Snowy Egret,' A Fierce New Band Takes Flight

Myra Melford's new album is titled Snowy Egret.
Bryan Murray Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 7:04 pm

Jazz pianist and composer Myra Melford's latest album is a suite of music inspired by the Memory Of Fire trilogy — a three-volume history of the Americas by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano.

More simply, it's the recorded debut of what she calls a "killer band."

In an interview with NPR's Arun Rath, she explains the genesis of Snowy Egret — the name of both her new album and the group behind it.

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Music
9:10 am
Fri April 10, 2015

Carmen McRae On Piano Jazz

Carmen McRae on the cover of Rhino Hi-Five: Carmen McRae.
Courtesy of the artist

Vocalist Carmen McRae (1920-1994) was an expert on rhythm, deft phrasing and personal, bittersweet ballads. Her enigmatic, dark contralto voice helped place her among the pantheon of great female jazz singers.

In 1994, McRae received the Jazz Master Award from the National Endowment for the Arts. On this 1985 episode of Piano Jazz, McRae accompanies herself for "As Long As I Live" and joins host Marian McPartland to perform "Carmen's Blues."

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A Blog Supreme
2:25 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Remembering Ralph Sharon, Tony Bennett's Pianist

Originally published on Thu April 9, 2015 7:05 am

Pianist Ralph Sharon, the longtime accompanist for Tony Bennett, died March 31 at age 91. In the audio link above, Tom Cole has a brief report for NPR's Morning Edition, and below, Walter Ray Watson filed this remembrance for NPR Music.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
1:23 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz In Concert

Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz performs at Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 10:34 pm

The public youth music education program known as El Sistema has reached hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans, largely through participation in classical music ensembles. In 2007, drummer Andrés Briceño and head of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music Valdemar Rodríguez introduced a jazz program to El Sistema, with the goal of promoting the music throughout Venezuela. The flagship ensemble, Simón Bolívar Big Band Jazz, presents the work of both American jazz masters and Venezuelan composers, and like its orchestral counterparts, has now toured the U.S.

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