• Dance Like Animals In Wynton Marsalis' 'Spaces'

    October 6, 2016

    In Spaces, Wynton Marsalis' new dance suite for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, each movement corresponds to a different animal — a chicken, a lion, a frog and more.

    He enlisted tap dancer Jared Grimes and "jooker" (street dancer) Lil Buck to embody the animals in their performances. In this piece, Marsalis also describes his fascination with the animal kingdom, his process of writing, and the way he attempts to draw on the spaces that all creatures inhabit.

    Copyright 2016 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.

  • Newark Stories: Mae Smith

    October 5, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    In honor of this city's 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark’s stories — voices from unheard Newarkers, from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights.

    Today we’re heading to the North Ward, with a story from Mae Smith from 1982.

    That was the year that Newark first hired female police officers —  just nine of them — to patrol the city.  They faced skepticism and discrimination, but Mae stuck with it for 25 years.

    She recently sat down to talk about what those early years were like.

  • Newark Stories: Hobby's Deli

    October 3, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    All October, in honor of this city's 350th Anniversary, we’re bringing you Newark’s stories — voices from unheard Newarkers… from the Ironbound to Weequahic to University Heights. Our first is from a landmark restaurant, downtown:

    Sam Brummer established Hobby’s Deli on the corner of Halsey and Branford Place in 1962, and it has since become a Newark institution. Marc and Mike Brummer watched their dad run the restaurant as kids, and partnered with their father over thirty years ago to run it. They recently sat down to talk about their dad, who passed away last year, and to talk about the legacy of Hobby’s.

  • Jazz on the Mountain

    September 30, 2016. Posted by Brandy Wood.

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  • In 'Latin American Songbook,' Edward Simon Rethinks The American Jazz Standard

    September 20, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    In his new album, Latin American Songbook, jazz pianist Edward Simon offers a new take on some of his favorite Latin standards. (Image Credit: Scott Chernis/Courtesy of the artist)

    Many jazz pianists play tunes from the Great American Songbook, that beloved canon of standards from the early 20th century. But pianist Edward Simon has chosen to focus on another great collection of American standards for his newest album, Latin American Songbook.

    Growing up in Venezuela, near the northern edge of South America, was an advantage for Simon. His early listening encompassed music from the north — Cuba and Puerto Rico — and also extended southward to the music of Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

    When Simon set out to record Latin American Songbook, he realized that the collection couldn't possibly represent every country in the region — that was too vast a scope. Instead, he settled on Latin American songs that he simply loves to play.

    Besides growing up in the geographic center of Latin America, Simon came up in a musical household. The song "Volver" is a famous tango that his father sang as a bolero — so it's something of a family tradition for Simon to bring his own character to the song. His use of mixed meter gives "Volver" the mood of memory — the unreliability only adds to its loveliness.

    Simon wisely chooses standards that lend themselves to fresh harmonies and inventive arrangements. Even more essentially, without a singer on hand, he knows when to bring an extravagant lyricism to his piano lines, as in "Alfonsina Y El Mar."

    The combination of Latin standards and a jazz sensibility is always rich, but this recording really works because an expert musician applies himself so sincerely to songs that were formative for him. Simon puts his head and heart into Latin American Songbook, and the album gives Latin standards a rightful and joyful place at the center of instrumental jazz.

    Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.