Kevin Whitehead http://krwg.org en The Westerlies Come On Home With Horvitz http://krwg.org/post/westerlies-come-home-horvitz The Westerlies is a quartet of young New York brass players who know each other from school days in Seattle. Their debut album is a set of pieces by Seattle-based composer and improviser Wayne Horvitz. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Horvitz and the Westerlies are a perfect fit. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 17:20:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 69948 at http://krwg.org Remembering Horace Silver, Hard Bop Pioneer http://krwg.org/post/remembering-horace-silver-hard-bop-pioneer Jazz pianist, bandleader and composer <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404943/horace-silver">Horace Silver</a> died Wednesday at age 85. <em>Fresh Air</em> critic Kevin Whitehead says that Silver had been off the scene awhile, but his influence is as strong as ever. Hear an appreciation. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.<img src="http://www.google-analytics.com/__utm.gif?utmac=UA-5828686-4&utmdt=Remembering+Horace+Silver%2C+Hard+Bop+Pioneer&utme=8(APIKey)9(MDEwNzk4NjQwMDEzNTkxNDE0MTg3ZGYxMA004)"/></div><p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 19:00:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 68790 at http://krwg.org A Double Dose Of Ronald Shannon Jackson's Free-Funk http://krwg.org/post/double-dose-ronald-shannon-jacksons-free-funk Two fine albums by drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson and the Decoding Society, <em>Man Dance</em> and its sequel <em>Barbeque Dog</em>, are now available again as downloads, after being out of print for ages. Fresh Air critic Kevin Whitehead says they're prime examples of the 1980s' so-called "free-funk" movement. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 18 Jun 2014 19:06:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 68613 at http://krwg.org Jazz Pianist Ted Rosenthal Has A Feel For Gershwin http://krwg.org/post/jazz-pianist-ted-rosenthal-has-feel-gershwin Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. Ted Rosenthal an early winter of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition has played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" solo and with symphonic and jazz orchestras. Now he's recorded a version for jazz trio as part of the problem. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Rosenthal has a real feel for the material.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "RHAPSODY IN BLUE")<p>KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: As familiar as Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" is you can overlook how radical it sounded. Fri, 30 May 2014 15:47:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 67258 at http://krwg.org In 1970, Miles Davis Played Four Sets For A New Audience http://krwg.org/post/1970-miles-davis-played-four-sets-new-audience Transcript <p>DAVE DAVIES, HOST: <p>In June 1970, Miles Davis played four nights at New York's rock palace Fillmore East, following earlier appearances there and at San Francisco's Fillmore West. A complete recording of all four of those June sets are now available for the first time.<p>Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says the jazz trumpeter had gone to the Fillmore in search of a new audience.<p>UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Good evening. With great pleasure, Mr. Fri, 16 May 2014 16:05:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 66264 at http://krwg.org After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return http://krwg.org/post/after-painful-year-bud-powells-triumpant-1953-return The great bebop pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404849/bud-powell">Bud Powell</a> played several engagements at the New York jazz club Birdland in 1953. Parts of his shows were broadcast on the radio, and one listener recorded some onto acetate discs. A new collection of those recordings is out now: <em>Birdland 1953</em> on three CDs from <a href="http://www.espdisk.com/official/catalog/4073.html" target="_blank">ESP-Disk'</a>. The sound quality isn't much, but the music is terrific. Mon, 24 Mar 2014 18:14:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 62585 at http://krwg.org After A Painful Year, Bud Powell's Triumpant 1953 Return Box Set Illustrates Clifford Jordan's Impeccable Taste In Musicians http://krwg.org/post/box-set-illustrates-clifford-jordans-impeccable-taste-musicians Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. Starting in the late 1960s, jazz saxophonist Clifford Jordan produced a series of recordings mostly by other leaders that came out on the musician's own Strata-East label. Those seven albums are now collected in a box set. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Jordan the producer had impeccable taste in musicians.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)<p>KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Clifford Jordan on tenor from a 1968 quartet date led by bassist Wilbur Ware with Edward Blackwell on drums. Wed, 12 Mar 2014 17:45:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 61764 at http://krwg.org Still 'Out To Lunch' 50 Years Later http://krwg.org/post/still-out-lunch-50-years-later 1964 was a great year for cutting-edge jazz records like <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404711/albert-ayler">Albert Ayler</a>'s <em>Spiritual Unity</em>, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15394783/john-coltrane">John Coltrane</a>'s <em>A Love Supreme </em>and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15121790/andrew-hill">Andrew Hill</a>'s <em>Point of Departure</em>. But none sounds as far ahead of its time as <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404201/eric-dolphy">Eric Dolphy</a>'s masterpiece <em>Out to Lunch</em>, recorded for Blue Note on Feb. 25, 1964. Tue, 25 Feb 2014 19:21:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 60730 at http://krwg.org Still 'Out To Lunch' 50 Years Later In Session: Frank Wess' 'Magic 201' Offers One Last Lesson http://krwg.org/post/session-frank-wess-magic-201-offers-one-last-lesson <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/18155899/frank-wess">Frank Wess</a>' new album, <em>Magic 201</em>, is a sequel to last year's similar helping of ballads and midtempo strollers, <em>Magic 101</em>. The new album is very nearly every bit as good, and made a little more poignant by Wess' death just before Halloween. On his last session as a leader in 2011, he was still sounding strong at 89.<p>When Wess was coming up, his hero was the dry and slippery saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15389052/lester-young">Lester Young</a>, who gave him a few pointers. Tue, 11 Feb 2014 20:28:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 59724 at http://krwg.org In Session: Frank Wess' 'Magic 201' Offers One Last Lesson Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads http://krwg.org/post/too-much-good-thing-jane-ira-blooms-beautiful-ballads When soprano saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/87942215/jane-ira-bloom">Jane Ira Bloom</a> plays <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15235424/kurt-weill">Kurt Weill</a>'s "My Ship" on her new album <em>Sixteen Sunsets</em>, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano. Fri, 31 Jan 2014 21:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 59004 at http://krwg.org Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World http://krwg.org/post/lafayette-gilchrist-old-soul-ease-modern-world For someone who came to piano rather late, at 17, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15675864/lafayette-gilchrist">Lafayette Gilchrist</a> has dug deep into its history. He loves the old piano professors who'd pack the punch of a dance band into two hands at the keyboard. Players like Eubie Blake, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404392/james-p-johnson">James P. Johnson</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/91365105/willie-the-lion-smith">Willie "The Lion" Smith</a> could keep going for hours without exhausting their folkloric materials. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 17:02:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 58173 at http://krwg.org Lafayette Gilchrist: An Old Soul, At Ease In A Modern World Kenny Clarke, Inventor Of Modern Jazz Drumming, At 100 http://krwg.org/post/kenny-clarke-inventor-modern-jazz-drumming-100 Jan. 9 marks the 100th birthday of drummer Kenny Clarke. One of the founders of bebop, Clarke is less well-known than allies like <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15368367/dizzy-gillespie">Dizzy Gillespie</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15130415/thelonious-monk">Thelonious Monk</a>, but his influence is just as deep.<p>That thing that jazz drummers do — that ching-chinga-ching beat on the ride cymbal, like sleigh bells? It gives the music a light, airy, driving pulse. Thu, 09 Jan 2014 16:00:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 57472 at http://krwg.org Kenny Clarke, Inventor Of Modern Jazz Drumming, At 100 Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future http://krwg.org/post/michele-rosewoman-goes-back-afro-cuban-jazzs-future When Michele Rosewoman was growing up in the Bay Area, she played piano from childhood and congas from her teens. After moving to New York in the late 1970s, she began making music in two areas: modern jazz and traditional Cuban music. Before long, she started combining the two in her New Yor-Uba band.<br /> Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:20:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 56165 at http://krwg.org Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future Holiday Music To Bring Folks Together http://krwg.org/post/holiday-music-bring-folks-together Transcript <p>TERRY GROSS, HOST: <p>This is FRESH AIR. With so much contention in air around holiday get-togethers, jazz critic Ken Whitehead wonders if music might help bring together folks with opposing views. He has some listening and viewing recommendations for seasonal dinners.<p>(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "TEEN TOWN")<p>KEVIN WHITEHEAD, BYLINE: Chris Biesterfeldt on mandolin, Playing Weather Report's "Teen Town," by Jaco Pastorius. Mon, 16 Dec 2013 18:40:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 55988 at http://krwg.org Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set http://krwg.org/post/ella-fitzgeralds-early-years-collected-chick-webb-box-set Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Wed, 11 Dec 2013 19:25:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 55671 at http://krwg.org Ella Fitzgerald's Early Years Collected In A Chick Webb Box Set William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set http://krwg.org/post/william-parkers-abstract-grooves-collected-box-set <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/95438057/steve-lacy">Steve Lacy</a> used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/16657984/william-parker">William Parker</a> founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes. Thu, 05 Dec 2013 17:59:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 55256 at http://krwg.org William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set No Need To Cook The Books: Booker Ervin's Debut LP Reissued http://krwg.org/post/no-need-cook-books-booker-ervins-debut-lp-reissued Tenor saxophonist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15625333/booker-ervin">Booker Ervin</a> came to New York in 1958. Pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15736825/horace-parlan">Horace Parlan</a> heard him and invited Ervin to sit in one night with a band he worked in. That's how Ervin got hired by bassist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15373151/charles-mingus">Charles Mingus</a>, who featured him on albums like <em>Blues and Roots</em> and <em>Mingus Ah Um</em>. Mon, 11 Nov 2013 16:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 53635 at http://krwg.org No Need To Cook The Books: Booker Ervin's Debut LP Reissued Amir ElSaffar Navigates Uncharted Blue Notes On 'Alchemy' http://krwg.org/post/amir-elsaffar-navigates-uncharted-blue-notes-alchemy Trumpeter <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/17897504/amir-elsaffar">Amir ElSaffar</a> grew up near Chicago, playing jazz trumpet. In the early 2000s, while in his mid-20s, he began investigating the music of his Iraqi heritage, studying in Baghdad and with expatriate musicians in Europe. Then he began combining the two.<p>ElSaffar's new album <em>Alchemy </em>is a step forward in defining and refining his concept. A couple of his earlier albums featured what struck me as an uneasy mix of jazz and traditional Iraqi instruments. Mon, 04 Nov 2013 17:08:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 53180 at http://krwg.org Amir ElSaffar Navigates Uncharted Blue Notes On 'Alchemy' Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning' http://krwg.org/post/ahmad-jamal-weaves-old-and-new-saturday-morning Jazz pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404388/ahmad-jamal" target="_blank">Ahmad Jamal</a> started playing when he was 3 years old in Pittsburgh, which means he's now been playing for 80 years. His new album, <em>Saturday Morning</em>, often recalls his elegant trios of yesteryear, with its tightly synchronized arrangements, plenty of open space and deceptively simple charm.<p>Jamal's old trios were quieter — it's no surprise when a pianist plays with lots of energy in youth, and then with more reserve when he or she is older. Wed, 09 Oct 2013 18:26:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 51488 at http://krwg.org Ahmad Jamal Weaves Old And New On 'Saturday Morning' Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly http://krwg.org/post/dave-hollands-prism-goes-11-elegantly The quartet on jazz bassist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404006/dave-holland">Dave Holland</a>'s new album <em>Prism</em> is more electrified, and usually louder, than bands he's led before. Some reviewers see its music coming out of his early work with the electrified <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15368370/miles-davis">Miles Davis</a>, but the parallel doesn't go far. Holland played bass guitar with Davis, not his usual bass violin. Plus, early electric Davis was gloriously unruly, while Holland loves the elegance of interlocking rhythm cycles, wheels within wheels. Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:54:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 50910 at http://krwg.org Dave Holland's 'Prism' Goes To 11, Elegantly The Masters At His Fingertips, Art Hodes Pays Tribute To Bessie Smith http://krwg.org/post/masters-his-fingertips-art-hodes-pays-tribute-bessie-smith Jazz pianist Art Hodes, born in Russia in 1904, grew up near Chicago. His recording career really took off in the 1940s in New York, where he also hosted a radio show and wrote for the magazine <em>The Jazz Record</em>. Later, he moved back to Chicago and the atmosphere that nurtured him.<p>Hodes' generation of jazz musicians, the ones born around 1900, held tight to the music that first inspired them. Mon, 16 Sep 2013 15:41:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 49789 at http://krwg.org The Masters At His Fingertips, Art Hodes Pays Tribute To Bessie Smith When Duke Flirted With The Queen http://krwg.org/post/when-duke-flirted-queen In 1958, at an arts festival in Yorkshire, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15396582/duke-ellington">Duke Ellington</a> was presented to Queen Elizabeth II. They tied up the reception line for a few minutes, exchanging royal pleasantries; our Duke politely flirted with Her Majesty. Soon afterward, maybe that very night, Ellington outlined the movements of <em>The Queen's Suite</em>. He recorded it with his orchestra the following year, sent it to Her Majesty, and declined to release it to the public in his lifetime. Mon, 09 Sep 2013 16:20:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 49237 at http://krwg.org When Duke Flirted With The Queen 'Beauty' On Orrin Evans' Block http://krwg.org/post/beauty-orrin-evans-block On Philadelphia pianist <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/134733993/orrin-evans">Orrin Evans</a>' trio version of <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15393592/ornette-coleman">Ornette Coleman</a>'s "Blues Connotation," drummer Donald Edwards and bassist Eric Revis set a New Orleans second-line groove tinged with vintage hip-hop. A beat like that is catnip to Evans, who gets right down and rolls in it. Wed, 21 Aug 2013 15:19:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 47969 at http://krwg.org 'Beauty' On Orrin Evans' Block 'Looking For The Next One' Reveals An Underappreciated Sax Trio http://krwg.org/post/looking-next-one-reveals-underappreciated-sax-trio <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mhrP9OT7FU4</p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 17:56:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 47901 at http://krwg.org 'Looking For The Next One' Reveals An Underappreciated Sax Trio 'The Edenfred Files': Darryl Harper's Blues-Infused Jazz http://krwg.org/post/edenfred-files-darryl-harpers-blues-infused-jazz In jazz, the clarinet went into eclipse for awhile, drowned out by louder trumpets and saxes. The instrument has long since made a comeback, and the modern clarinet thrives in settings where it doesn't have to shout to be heard.<p>Take "Spindleshanks," a little out-of-sync boogie-woogie for Darryl Harper's clarinet and Kevin Harris' piano. It's from Harper's <em>The Edenfred Files</em>. Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:19:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 46520 at http://krwg.org 'The Edenfred Files': Darryl Harper's Blues-Infused Jazz Two New Jazz Albums Recall The Wide Open Spaces of The West http://krwg.org/post/two-new-jazz-albums-recall-wide-open-spaces-west Portland, Ore. tenor saxophonist Rich Halley's quartet album <em>Crossing the Passes</em> on his Pine Eagle label commemorates a week-long trek over the <a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/talkingplants/2008/08/chasing_a_story_in_the_wallowa.html" target="_blank">Wallowa mountain</a> range in Northeast Oregon, where Halley's been climbing since he was a boy. We could talk about his dual obsessions with music and nature as cultivating a love of wide-open improvisational spaces; he's got one band that only plays outdoors. But all that climbing also has practical benefits: It builds lung-power. Tue, 09 Jul 2013 18:11:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 45003 at http://krwg.org Two New Jazz Albums Recall The Wide Open Spaces of The West 'My Ellington': A Pianist Gives Duke Her Personal Touch http://krwg.org/post/my-ellington-pianist-gives-duke-her-personal-touch At the keys, <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15396582/duke-ellington">Duke Ellington</a> abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15130415/thelonious-monk">Thelonious Monk</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15696501/cecil-taylor">Cecil Taylor</a>, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Wed, 26 Jun 2013 17:12:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 44146 at http://krwg.org 'My Ellington': A Pianist Gives Duke Her Personal Touch Cécile McLorin Salvant: Making Old Songs New Again http://krwg.org/post/c-cile-mclorin-salvant-making-old-songs-new-again Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Miami to French and Haitian parents, and started singing jazz while living in Paris. Back in the U.S., she won the Thelonious Monk vocal competition in 2010. The 23-year-old's first album, <em>WomanChild,</em> is now out — and few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash.<p>Salvant's unusual material sets her apart as much as her chops do. The most recent non-original tune on her nervily accomplished debut is by <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15342292/fats-waller">Fats Waller</a>. Tue, 18 Jun 2013 17:43:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 43608 at http://krwg.org Cécile McLorin Salvant: Making Old Songs New Again Sarah Vaughan: A New Box Set Revels In Glorious Imperfections http://krwg.org/post/sarah-vaughan-new-box-set-revels-glorious-imperfections Singer <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15202481/sarah-vaughan">Sarah Vaughan</a> came up in the 1940s alongside bebop lions <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15368367/dizzy-gillespie">Dizzy Gillespie</a> and <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15119268/charlie-parker">Charlie Parker</a>, starting out in <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404349/earl-hines">Earl Hines</a>' big band. Hines had hired her as his singer and deputy pianist, while Gillespie praised her fine ear for chords as she grasped the arcane refinements of bebop harmony. Mon, 20 May 2013 17:17:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 41519 at http://krwg.org Sarah Vaughan: A New Box Set Revels In Glorious Imperfections 100 Years Of Woody Herman: The Early Bloomer Who Kept Blooming http://krwg.org/post/100-years-woody-herman-early-bloomer-who-kept-blooming <a href="http://www.npr.org/artists/15404345/woody-herman">Woody Herman</a>, who would have turned 100 on Thursday, bloomed early and late — and then later still. He turned pro by age 9, singing and dancing in movie theaters on summer vacation. He'd perform one song deemed too risqué for radio when he recorded it decades later: "My Gee Gee From the Fiji Isles."<p>Herman was 17 when he went on the road playing saxophone in traveling bands. Eventually, he joined songwriter Isham Jones' orchestra. When Jones broke it up in 1936, his jazzier guys reformed as a co-op with Herman out front. Thu, 16 May 2013 16:48:00 +0000 Kevin Whitehead 41285 at http://krwg.org 100 Years Of Woody Herman: The Early Bloomer Who Kept Blooming