• Steve Wilson with Strings on JazzSet

    February 7, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Remember this? A classic LP, tracks often heard to this day on WBGO.

    12 02 02 Charlieparkerwithstrings

    Wednesday, February 8, at 6:30 .. Steve Wilson with Strings plays  the original parts from the 1950 release Bird with Strings. Altoist Steve re-imagines the music at the Kennedy Center, now on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater. Here's a 30-second sample of this jazz-and-classical combination:

    DSC_0059Photo by Sue Lyn Schramm

    One highlight is "Ezz-thetic" by composer and music theorist George Russell for Ezzard Charles, the African-American boxing champion from the late 1940s into the '50s. When Charles beat Jersey Joe Walcott and then Joe Louis, he was the world heavyweight champ. Ezzard Charles was a noted bass player, as well; he jammed at Birdland back in the day. Wilson says the modern-sounding "Ezz-thetic" is "really a peek into what might have been the next musical step in Charlie Parker's development." Parker died in 1955, leaving the future an open question.

  • Arturo O'Farrill and the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra on JazzSet

    January 27, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Last weekend at two concerts, the pianist and his big band celebrated its first decade. Congratulations!

    THIS weekend, they're on JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater -- Sunday, January 29, at 6pm and Wednesday, February 1, at 6:30.

    Tired of winter? Join the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra for an hour at Newport .. photo by Lena Adasheva

    Jon Pareles wrote in The New York Times, "[The orchestra's] 18-piece lineup preserves the sound of the great old Latin dance bands, a demanding repertory in itself. But Latin jazz in New York City has always had a progressive, experimental side . . . . [and] The orchestra continues that mission, welcoming new compositions that fling wild dissonances and abstruse rhythms into the mix. It also embraces music from across the Americas, old and new, playing all of its diverse material with the same precision and fire it brings to a mambo workout."

    Jon Faddis is a special guest for Calidoscopio and Exuberante, two movements from "Three Afro-Cuban Jazz Moods" by Chico O'Farrill, Arturo's father.

    12 01 26 Arturo Faddis

    Forty Acres and A Burro, the latest ALJO album, is Grammy-nominated. Awards to be announced on February 12.

  • Mark Turner, David Virelles, Ben Street, the late Paul Motian on JazzSet

    January 20, 2012. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Photo by John Rogers for NPR Music
    Photo by John Rogers for NPR Music

    Mark Turner's woodwind-like tenor tone spans atall range, and he sidesteps onto the rungs as he climbs and descends. There’s a piece by Monk and another by Bud Powell, but the heart of this set is a pair of flowing, conversational, improvisatory pieces – “Wasteland” by Turner leading to “Etude” by Motian (bassist Ben Street’s choice). Pianist David Virelles, born in 1983 in Santiago de Cuba, adds a fresh slant.

    Listen on WBGO 88.3 this Sunday, January 22, at 6pm and Wednesday, January 25, at 6:30.

    Thanks to Josh Jackson for documenting this Mark Turner Quartet,  one of drummer Paul Motian's final nights in his favorite room, the Village Vanguard. Hear why -- oh those cymbals -- on this week's JazzSet.

    There's more about the show andweb extra music at jazzset.npr.org.