NPR Music

BADBADNOTGOOD On World Cafe

Aug 23, 2016

The Toronto improvisational band BADBADNOTGOOD recently released its fourth album, IV. The instrumental group includes Matthew Tavares on keys, Chester Hansen on bass, Leland Whitty on saxophone and Alexander Sowinski on drums. The four, most of whom met at Humber College, have become known for their jazz-inflected covers of hip-hop songs and, notably, for their collaborations with Tyler, the Creator.

Jean-Baptiste "Toots" Thielemans, the Belgian-American musician who cut a singular path as a jazz harmonica player, died in his sleep Monday in his hometown of Brussels. He was 94.

Marty Napoleon On Piano Jazz

Aug 19, 2016

Pianist Marty Napoleon (1921–2015) came from a musical family: He was the nephew of trumpeter and bandleader Phil Napoleon and brother of pianist Teddy Napoleon. In 1950, he joined his uncle's group, The Memphis Five; he later became a member of the Big Four, led by Charlie Ventura. He also played with Louis Armstrong's All Stars, led his own trio and performed as a soloist.

Here's a tip for jazz musicians that works better than it should: If you wish to be noticed by people who use words, play some covers. Not standards, but songs from a more recent era of popular music, or something else left-field. Even today, it stands out from mainstream practice, which shifts gradually over longer durations. It moves the playing field away from the nuts and bolts of your playing, where our critical lexicon is generally impoverished, to your signaled influences and decision-making, which are much easier to talk about. At the very least, it tends to be amusing.

Bobby Hutcherson, a vibraphonist whose improvising and composition helped to define modernity for jazz as a whole, has died. He had long struggled with emphysema. He was 75.

As a mallet percussionist, he expanded the scope of what was possible on his instrument. And the sound he created was widely influential.

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