WBGO Blog
  • A Jazz Piano Christmas 2014

    December 11, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Harold Mabern, Kris Davis, Lynne Arriale and Cyrus Chestnut perform at A Jazz Piano Christmas 2014. (Image Credit: NPR)

    Every year, NPR Music invites a handful of the world's top keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. We ask them to play some of their favorite holiday music for the audience — solo — and the recording becomes the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.

    For its 25th anniversary, the program welcomes four artists. Harold Mabern, 78, is one of the great post-bop pianists. Kris Davis brings a distinct, experimental style that's made her a celebrated rising talent. The veteran performer Lynne Arriale returns to A Jazz Piano Christmas, and Cyrus Chestnut, at home in both the church and dialing up dazzling high-speed runs, has recently been named a professor at nearby Howard University.

    Jazz Night In America presents the 2014 edition of A Jazz Piano Christmas from the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center.

    Copyright 2015 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Ellis Marsalis At 80

    December 11, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrated his 80th birthday in performance at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis has four famous musical sons — Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis — but considering his career, he's a father figure for many more musicians. In high school and college classrooms, he's been the major figure in New Orleans jazz education since the time that formal jazz education didn't exist. And as a pianist, he carved out a space for contemporary jazz in his hometown, and has grown into an elder statesman of the scene.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. Jazz Night In America was in the house for Ellis Marsalis' birthday.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .

  • Ellis Marsalis' 80th Birthday Concert

    December 10, 2014. Posted by WBGO.

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    Ellis Marsalis celebrates his 80th birthday in concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (Image Credit: Lawrence Sumulong/Jazz at Lincoln Center)

    Ellis Marsalis is a father figure of modern jazz — in quite a few ways. As a pianist, he was among the first generation of musicians to bring bebop to New Orleans, and even worked with Ornette Coleman before the saxophonist recorded his landmarks of free jazz. As an educator, many great musicians came through Marsalis' tutelage, whether in New Orleans' arts high school or at various university programs. And of course, he is also the actual father of several exceptional musicians named Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason Marsalis.

    He turned 80 in November, and to celebrate, Jazz at Lincoln Center — where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director — hosted him and his band. Jazz Night In America fetes Ellis Marsalis with a special birthday performance from Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola.

    Set List

    • "Monkey Puzzle" (James Black)
    • "Homecoming" (Ellis Marsalis)
    • "Bloomdido" (Charlie Parker)
    • "Beautiful Old Ladies" (Harold Battiste)
    • "Sweet Georgia Brown" (Bernie/Pinkard)
    • "Creole Love Call" (Duke Ellington)
    • "Happy Birthday" [encore with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra]

    Personnel

    Ellis Marsalis, piano; Derek Douget, saxophones; Jason Stewart, bass; Herlin Riley, drums.

    Copyright 2014 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit .