• 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.

  • Christian McBride on JazzSet

    December 16, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Steve Wilson, sax .. Christian, bass .. Warren Wolf, vibes .. also Peter Martin, piano, and Carl Allen, drums .. photo by David Tallacksen
    Steve Wilson, sax .. McBride, bass .. Warren Wolf, vibes .. also Peter Martin, piano, and Carl Allen, drums .. photo by David Tallacksen

    Christian has great musicianship, personality, and he's versatile. In 2008 he led a Philly-Detroit Connection show at the Detroit Jazz Fest. In 2009 he served as DJF Artist in Residence. He returned to Detroit in winter 2010 to present The Movement Revisited, a suite for four civil rights era figures, which I blogged about here. His two current CDs feature his big band and a program of duets with various artists.

    And on this JazzSet from Detroit, Christian is the heart and soul of his small group. Tune in / log on for Christian McBride and Inside Straight at the 2009 DJF, this Sunday, December 18 at 6pm, and again Wednesday, December 21 (solstice night?) at 6:30. They play outdoors in Hart Plaza, named for MI Sen. Philip Hart (1912-76), "The Conscience of the Senate".

    Rhonda Hamilton is the guest host. Here's a promo, and there's more about the show here.

  • Chestnut, Green, Heath and Payton .. A Celebration in Swing on JazzSet

    December 9, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

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    Benny Green photo by Fran Kaufman

    Party with Cyrus Chestnut and Benny Green at two pianos this Sunday, December 11, at 6pm and Wednesday, December 14,  at 6:30 . NEA Jazz Master Jimmy Heath and Nicholas Payton add more fun, with Dezron Douglas on bass and Willie Jones III on drums. Put on your dancing shoes one more once for this New Year's Eve 2010-11 set, says host Dee Dee Bridgewater . . . .

  • FFEAR with Ole Mathisen and Chris Washburne on JazzSet

    November 25, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.

    Things are not what they seem to be .. a four-piece group sounds like a larger ensemble, playing music that is a convincing illusion.

    Tune in Sunday, November 27, at 6pm and/or Wednesday, November 30 at 6:30 for FFEAR on JazzSet. It's not scary, it's seductive as reed man Ole Mathisen carries us away from the familiar with microtonal harmony and layered rhythms, then brings us home, changed.

    FFEAR Photo by Lena Adasheva
    FFEAR Photo by Lena Adasheva

    Chris Washburne plays trombone and Tony Moreno, drums, with Ole's brother Per Mathisen from Norway on bass at Miller Theater, Columbia University, New York. Recording and Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

    Ole practices alternate fingerings to produce tones that are neither natural, flat nor sharp but somewhere in between. Three-quarter tones. But, as Chris says, these in-between pitches already live in jazz; for one example, blues singers use them liberally to tell stories and express  emotion.

    Ole's composition "Mirage" was commissioned by Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works, funded generously by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

    Listen on demand any time during the week, here.

  • Mingus Big Band, Miguel Zenon on JazzSet

    November 21, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.


    Photo by Boston Photographer Erik Jacobs for NPR.

    Tune in to JazzSet Sunday, November 20, at 6pm and/or Wednesday, November 23, at 6:30, for the Mingus Big Band (saxophones above) and Miguel Zenon at Newport. What a match! Emotional, colorful, and Miguel is rhythmically revolutionizing music from the Puerto Rican songbook. Here is a 30-second preview, one of my favorite JazzSet promos ever.

    The show is available on demand any time this week, here.