• Sarah Vaughan Competition 2016 Finalist Deelee Dube with Nicole Sweeney

    November 17, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    UK native Deelee Dube, finalist for the 2016 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition, talks to Nicole Sweeney about grouping up as part of a pair of musical twins and what the divine Sarah Vaughan means to her.


  • Celebrated Jazz Musician Mose Allison Dies At 89

    November 15, 2016. Posted by David Tallacksen.

    Mose Allison, circa 2000. The celebrated pianist and composer died in Hilton Head, S.C. this week. (Image Credit: David Redfern/Redferns)

    Mose Allison had a sharp eye for the way the world works, and doesn't. The pianist, singer and composer's acerbic lyrics, syncopated piano playing and distinctive southern drawl were beloved by jazz fans — and by the British rockers who covered his songs, from The Who to The Clash to Van Morrison.

    Allison died Tuesday morning at his home in Hilton Head, S.C., of natural causes. He had just had a birthday, his 89th, last week.

    Allison was born on his grandfather's farm outside Tippo, Miss. He told NPR in 2004 that he began learning piano from a teacher in Tippo when he was 5 years old, but quickly grew tired of lessons. "As soon as I found out I could pick things out by ear, I lost interest in learning to read music and all," he said.

    Allison was inspired by the blues musicians he heard around him, as well as by Nat King Cole, and combined those influences to create something distinctive. He wound up in New York City, playing with jazz stars like Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan. When people heard him sing, they thought he was African-American.

    "It doesn't matter whether you're black or white," he would say in response. "What matters is whether you're good."

    He was good enough to record some 50 albums. But Allison said he never knew what to call his music, which is perhaps surprising for an English major. In that 2004 NPR interview, he chose to quote a novelist named Ishmael Reed.

    "He wrote a book called Mumbo Jumbo," Allison says. "And he said that in New Orleans in the '20s, there was a virus that started out and it made you wanted to shake your behind and snap your fingers. and it just spread all over the world. And it just grew, so they called it 'just grew.'"

    Allison had a hand — or two — in spreading it, too.

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

  • Sarah Vaughan Competition 2016 Finalist Lauren Scales with Nicole Sweeney

    November 15, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Lauren Scales, finalist for the 2016 Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition talks to Nicole Sweeney about her Detroit roots and what she has learned from listening to masters like Clifford Brown.

    lauren scales

  • Legendary singer-songwriter-pianist Mose Allison has died

    November 15, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Legendary singer-songwriter and pianist Mose Allison has died. He was 89.

    Allison was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2013.

    Here's an excerpt from his performance that evening, featuring his daughter, Amy Allison.

  • Tierney Sutton Band with Nicole Sweeney

    November 14, 2016. Posted by Corey Goldberg.

    Singer Tierney Sutton and bassist-producer Trey Henry stop by to talk to Nicole Sweeney about their new album focusing on the songs of Sting as well as their experience scoring Clint Eastwood's latest film, Sully.