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Gene Harris On Piano Jazz

Aug 30, 2018

Pianist Gene Harris (1933 – 2000) was an integral part of the well-known group The Three Sounds trio, with bassist Andy Simpkins and drummer Bill Dowdy. After a brief hiatus in the 1970s, Harris teamed up with bassist Ray Brown to form a new group and also made his way as a solo act. An accomplished leader and sideman, Harris played with such greats as Aretha Franklin, Lou Rawls and B.B. King.

On this 1988 Piano Jazz episode, Harris opens with a slow and easy "Black and Blue," then Marian McPartland joins him on "Bag's Groove."

It's not enough to make list after list. The Turning the Tables project seeks to suggest alternatives to the traditional popular music canon, and to do more than that, too: to stimulate conversation about how hierarchies emerge and endure. This year, Turning the Tables considers how women and non-binary artists are shaping music in our moment, from the pop mainstream to the sinecures of jazz and contemporary classical music. Our list of the 200 Greatest Songs By Women+ offers a soundtrack to a new century. This series of essays takes on another task.

In the world of jazz, most musicians choose one single thing and get as good as humanly possible at it, but not Camille Thurman. She's known as a double threat: The rare jazz musician who has mastered both a highly technical instrument — in her case, the saxophone — and sings. Thurman's vocals have been compared to Ella Fitzgerald. Her latest album, Waiting for the Sunrise, is out now.

"It used to be: 'Nashville — that's where you come to play country music.'"

Dewey Nicks

If you know the songs “A Taste Of Honey,” “Spanish Flea” or “This Guy’s In Love With You,” then you know Herb Alpert. 50-some odd years later and the jazz musician is still going strong, with new albums and a tour. 

Stefon Harris On Piano Jazz

Aug 17, 2018

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris is one of the most innovative and impressive artists in jazz, blazing new trails on vibraphone and marimba. While much of his music is on the cutting edge, he has a strong sense of tradition and his technical facility knows no bounds.

On this 2002 Piano Jazz, Harris shows off his fresh, clear sound on a number of duets with McPartland, including "Whisper Not," "Blue Monk," and "Bemsha Swing." McPartland solos on her own "Twilight World."

When the 10 members of Tower of Power were in place behind Bob Boilen's desk, strategically positioned around the band's famous five-piece horn section, their first collective blast three beats into the sound check literally made the video crew jump. It was more a force of nature than a sound, and an impressive display of the "five fingers operating as one hand" concept of band cohesiveness.

Jess Stacy On Piano Jazz

Aug 10, 2018

This week's Piano Jazz presents an episode from the early years of the program with guest Jess Stacy (1904 – 1995), who came out of retirement to appear on the show in 1982. As one of the leading pianists of the swing era, Stacy was best known for his work with the Benny Goodman Orchestra and had a prolific career before stepping back from the music world in the 1950s. In this classic session from the archives, Stacy needs no introduction as he starts the show with a solo performance of "Dancing Fool." McPartland joins to end the hour with "St. Louis Blues."

It's easy to throw the word legend around when you talk to musicians who regularly appear on World Cafe. So when a real legend shows up, you've run out of superlatives.

Tony Bennett On Piano Jazz

Jul 27, 2018

Ever-popular song stylist Tony Bennett was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz for the first time in 1990. Bennett vocalizes American popular songs like nobody else can. When he was starting out, a voice teacher, Miriam Speier, famous told him: "Don't imitate singers, imitate musicians." So, Bennett decided to emulate Art Tatum. He also credits his relaxed delivery to the inspiration of Mildred Bailey.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad of A Tribe Called Quest and Adrian Younge formed The Midnight Hour as an ode to the Harlem Renaissance and with a determination to push that legacy forward. They assembled a cast of talented musicians to bring songs from their debut to life in our studio. Let the music transport you to another time and another place. Enjoy.

SET LIST:

  • "Black Beacon"
  • "Gate"
  • "Redneph in B Minor"

Don Byron On Piano Jazz

Jul 13, 2018

Pulitzer Prize finalist and 2007 Guggenheim Fellow Don Byron is a prodigious multi-instrumentalist and composer. One of the most inventive and compelling musicians of his generation, he is credited for reviving interest in the jazz clarinet, his primary instrument. He has presented projects at major music festivals around the world and is known for playing in a wide variety of genres.

The first "destination" jazz festival took place in Newport, R.I., in 1954 — multiple days, one stage and gorgeous scenery. These days, Newport is going strong, as is Monterey in California, and the festival model has expanded to multiple stages and far beyond big-brimmed hats and lawn chairs.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

It's an exciting week for new music. All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton talks to NPR's Rodney Carmichael, Ann Powers, Stephen Thompson and Tom Huizenga, along with WBGO's Nate Chinen about the best releases for June 29. This includes Drake's highly-anticipated double album, Scorpion, Florence and the Machine's tentative turn toward optimism with High as Hope, previously unheard and unreleased music from jazz legend John Coltrane and much more.

Featured Albums

After five years of vital funding, it looked like the end for the Doris Duke Artist Awards, one of the most prestigious — and sizable — grants in the United States available to artists working in jazz, contemporary dance and theater. A satellite initiative of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, it reached that firm, five-year expiration date set in its inaugural year on June 30, 2017.

Anna Rader

Jazz pianist Ben Markley joined by University of Wyoming students Larry Shaw and Donicio Trujillo for the Wyoming Public Radio & Media Holiday Open House. Recorded on Wyoming Sounds on 12/8/17.

Contemporary Flute Player And Composer Robert Dick

Apr 24, 2017
Malcolm Pollock

American flute player and composer Robert Dick live on 4/24/17 during Wyoming Public Radio's Wyoming Sounds.

benmarkleymusic.com

Jazz and classical students and faculty musicians from the University of Wyoming’s Music Department are performing together Monday, October 5 at the Buchanan Center for the Performing Arts. The concert features new compositions and new arrangements by pianist and faculty member Ben Markley—who will be joined on stage by 15 violinists, violists, and cellists. Markley previewed the concert with Wyoming Public Radio's Micah Schweizer.

Micah Schweizer

Fresh off the 2014 release of ‘Dave and the Gin Mill Gypsies’, Laramie guitarist, singer, and songwriter David Wiatrolik assembles a stripped down trio (Dana Robertson, drums and Luke Woodbury, bass) to perform live at the WPM studios.

thejazznetworkworldwide.com

A new album by Jackson Hole jazz singer Nicole Madison jazzes up a '60s pop song and gives it a place among classic jazz standards. The album’s name—‘In My Life’—comes from a song written by the Beatles. Wyoming Public Radio’s Micah Schweizer reached Nicole Madison at home.

The University of Wyoming is hosting its first annual jazz festival Thursday, March 27 and Friday, March 28. Both days are filled with concerts by high school and middle school jazz groups from around Wyoming. Guest artists from around the country will provide feedback to the performers and conduct clinics with the groups. UW professor and festival organizer Scott Turpen says first and foremost, the festival is about education.

Anna Rader

Ben Markley is a composer and jazz pianist. He is also a visiting Assistant Professor of Music for the University of Wyoming Music Department. Scott Turpen is a saxophonist and Professor at the University of Wyoming Music Department, teaching Jazz Studies. "And The Wind Came" was written and composed by Ben Markley.

Nicole Madison's musical roots came from her father, who played a major part in the development of the Mississippi River Festival at Southern Illinois University in her home town of Edwardsville, Illinois.  You can download her songs on iTunes.

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