• Christian Scott Quintet: Live In Concert

    November 17, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Christian Scott. (Image Credit: Kelly Davidson/Berklee College of Music)

    The trumpeter Christian Scott is a rare breed these days: A young musician who has earned mainstream attention for making modern jazz. He's only 28, but he's already put out four albums of original music. He's been cast in feature films, photographed as a fashion plate, called to play with Prince. His quintet has played on late-night talk shows — twice.

    That quintet, the one behind 2010's Yesterday You Said Tomorrow, has recently recorded material for a new album. It would be the next landmark for the New Orleans native, who grew up ingesting his hometown's musical traditions, but has refused to tailor his career arc exclusively within them. To wit, he's known for his distinctive tone — he sometimes employs what's been called "whisper technique" — and for the stylistic fusions of his bands.

    He and his current bandmates, most of them fellow alumni of Berklee College of Music, returned to their alma mater for the premiere installment of The Checkout: Live At Berklee. In a live radio broadcast on WBGO and live online video webcast at NPR Music, the Christian Scott Quintet performed live at Berklee's Cafe 939 on Thursday, Nov. 17. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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  • Warren Wolf + Lage Lund: Live From 92Y Tribeca

    November 16, 2011. Posted by Joshua Jackson.

    Warren Wolf (left) and Lage Lund. (Image Credit: John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com)

    A vibraphonist from down the turnpike in Baltimore; a guitarist from across the pond in Norway. Both have dedicated themselves to hard-swinging jazz of the highest order, and both journeyed to downtown Manhattan to lead bands in the next installment of The Checkout: Live From 92Y Tribeca.

    Warren Wolf is best known as a vibraphonist — notably, on his 2011 self-titled album, and as the malletman in Christian McBride's Inside Straight band. Plenty of musicians know him also as a drummer or as a pianist; he's toured and recorded in both capacities. After studying, then teaching at Berklee College of Music in Boston, he moved back to Baltimore — the place where he met several of the musicians joining him on stage here.

    Lage Lund came to New York City in 2002 — after a stint at Berklee — and he quickly found his way into the jazz scene. His chops and vision won him the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2005. He's been able to lead more bands lately; in 2010, he issued Unlikely Stories, a disc of original tunes, followed up with a live trio set this year called Small Club, Big City. He brings a band of first-call New York musicians to the date.

    On Wednesday, Nov. 16, The Checkout: Live series paired the bands of Lage Lund and Warren Wolf in a double bill, in performance at 92Y Tribeca. The concert was broadcast on air via WBGO and in an online video webcast at this page on NPR Music, with a live online chat. For more information about this series and the full concert archive, visit npr.org/checkoutlive.

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  • Do The Astral Plane: Five Songs Where Jazz Meets Electronic Music

    November 15, 2011. Posted by Simon Rentner.

    Jazzanova. (Image Credit: Ben Wolf)

    Remember when jazz was a so-called "dance" music? When swing drove masses to ballrooms and inspired popular dances like the Lindy Hop, Charleston and Jitterbug?

    Probably not; most of us will never know what the '30s and '40s were like, when jazz was more than a spectator sport. But in this age of electronic music, with sampling and loops, getting down to jazz sounds isn't so uncommon — sampled saxophones and ride cymbals have re-emerged in dance halls in innovative forms of house music. Here are few successful fusions of jazz and electronica.

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