February 19, 2015
The pianist Marcus Roberts rose to prominence as a gifted performer — first with the Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center bands for years, then with his own trio and as a classical soloist. Along the way, he's become a mentor to many younger musicians, training many on the bandstand and from his professorship at Florida State University. That's given rise to a new group called The Modern Jazz Generation, which recently released a suite of original work called Romance, Swing, and the Blues. The band combines his working trio with horn proteges from throughout his career — a dozen musicians in all.
Marcus Roberts recently returned to Jazz at Lincoln Center with The Modern Jazz Generation for a five-night run at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Jazz Night In America presents a set of selections from the Romance suite along with arrangements of standards and early jazz classics.
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February 18, 2015John Coltrane during the recording of A Love Supreme in December 1964. (Image Credit: Chuck Stewart/Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History)
Christian McBride remembers very well the first time he heard A Love Supreme, the John Coltrane classic that turns 50 this month. The bassist, composer and host of NPR's Jazz Night in America was in high school in Philadelphia, and had grown friendly with the staff at record store he passed on his daily commute. One day he pulled the album from the bins and asked a clerk if he should buy it — to which the clerk replied, "I'm not quite sure you're ready for this yet."
"That made me want it more," McBride says. "I was familiar with sound of the quartet, the legendary quartet with McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums — but when I heard A Love Supreme, I got it. Not because the music was any more challenging than I had heard on records like Live at Birdland or Crescent. You could just tell that this was the quartet at its apex — that they were at a peak, and that coupled with Coltrane's spiritual discovery, music being put to that. It's a gospel album in many ways."
Speaking with NPR's Audie Cornish, McBride invoked the names of two contemporary pianists, Eric Reed and Marcus Roberts, and explained how their work demonstrates a similar connection to gospel and reverence for music history. Hear the full conversation at the audio link.Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
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February 12, 2015. Posted by WBGO.
For decades, saxophonist David Murray was a presence in New York City both imposing and prodigious, a hugely talented performer who also collaborated and composed at an astonishing rate. He's now based in Europe, but in early 2015, the Winter Jazzfest — a concert happening which celebrates the depth and breadth of the jazz community — booked him in a way that seemed appropriate to this history: three different sets with three different bands.
Jazz Night In America speaks to Murray and gathers the story behind these three projects — three of many. We hear a revival of the four-man "clarinet summit" bands he first played in decades ago, featuring Don Byron, David Krakauer and Hamiet Bluiett; a new collaborative trio with heavy hitters Terri Lyne Carrington (drums) and Geri Allen (piano); and a quartet performance spotlighting the performance poet Saul Williams.
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