Nate Chinen

Director of Editorial Content

Nate Chinen has been writing about jazz for more than 20 years.

He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Director of Editorial Content at WBGO, Chinen works with the multiplatform program Jazz Night in America and contributes a range of coverage to NPR Music.

He is author of Playing Changes: Jazz For the New Centurypublished in hardcover by Pantheon in 2018, and on paperback by Vintage in 2019. Hailed as one of the Best Books of the Year by NPR, GQ, Billboard, and JazzTimes, it's a chronicle of jazz in our time, and an argument for the music's continuing relevance. It has also been published internationally, in Italian and Spanish editions. 

A thirteen-time winner of the Helen Dance–Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Writing, presented by the Jazz Journalists Association, Chinen is also coauthor of Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, the 2003 autobiography of festival impresario and producer George Wein, which earned the JJA’s award for Best Book About Jazz.

Chinen was born in Honolulu, to a musical family: his parents were popular nightclub entertainers, and he grew up around the local Musicians Union. He went to college on the east coast and began writing about jazz in 1996, at the Philadelphia City Paper. His byline has also appeared in a range of national music publications, including DownBeat, Blender and Vibe. For several years he was the jazz critic for Weekend America, a radio program syndicated by American Public Media. And from 2003 to 2005 he covered jazz for the Village Voice.

His work appears in Best Music Writing 2011 (Da Capo); Pop When the World Falls Apart: Music in the Shadow of Doubt (Duke University Press, 2012), and Miles Davis: The Complete Illustrated History (Voyageur Press, 2012).

Ways to Connect

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic/Getty

In the midst of a turbulent and shocking season for the Recording Academy, some signs of stability could be found in the results of the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

Made in NY Jazz Café & Bar had already closed for the night when tragedy struck, in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Anna Webber

“There’s a mystery,” Kurt Elling sings softly. “An enigma.”

David Redfern / Getty Images

Claudio Roditi, whose lyrical poise and burnished warmth on trumpet and flugelhorn helped make him one of the most accomplished jazz musicians from Brazil, died on Jan. 17 at his home in South Orange, N.J. He was 73.

Gregory Porter intended the title of his new album, ALL RISE, to resonate on multiple levels.

Sara Bill

Greg Bryant is a longtime pillar of the jazz scene in Nashville, as a bassist, a bandleader and a broadcaster. That last role, which goes back to his early teenage years, has now brought him to WBGO, as the new host of Jazz After Hours.

Donald Dietz

“You can’t tell the history of jazz in America without also telling the history of jazz from Detroit,” says Mark Stryker. “Those two things are indivisible.”

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

It’s time to start making your plans.

After all, the Winter Jazzfest is right around the corner — and its wild profusion of sounds and scenes can feel totally overwhelming, without a little prep. 

Arnie Goodman / Used with permission

Vic Juris, a guitarist whose stylistic breadth, technical fluency and selfless poise made him a first-rate sideman for more than 40 years, as well as an influential educator and a perennially underrated solo artist, died early this morning at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J. He was 66.

Dave Stapleton

New Year’s Eve is always a bonanza in New York jazz clubs.

So in this final Take Five of 2019, we’re spotlighting some of the best bookings in town. Those engagements may be sold out by now, but it never hurts to check — and some of these gigs stretch through the end of the week. Then there’s always the music itself, which you can sample here, and purchase for your enjoyment in 2020. Happy New Year! 

Chris Potter’s Circuits Trio, The Village Vanguard

Jason Davis / Getty Images

Just over 40 years ago, Joseph Jarman published a book of poetry that opens with a chant: "we pray o God / for the ego / death." Jarman, a visionary saxophonist and composer, was writing mainly about transcendence of the self. But he keenly understood the power of a collective, which presses each individual into the service of a greater whole.

Just over 40 years ago, Joseph Jarman published a book of poetry that opens with a chant: "we pray o God / for the ego / death." Jarman, a visionary saxophonist and composer, was writing mainly about transcendence of the self. But he keenly understood the power of a collective, which presses each individual into the service of a greater whole.

Ashley Kahn

What do you get when you bring four jazz critics together to discuss The Year in Jazz?

It has been 30 years since Harry Connick, Jr. became an improbable pop star, on the basis of a movie soundtrack that just happened to put many of his best features on display. If you know Connick at all, you might remember that album, When Harry Met Sally..., as some kind of watershed: a burnished vision of New York sophistication that renewed the American songbook for a dashing new cohort.

Have you broken the seal on Christmas music yet? Because we sure have.

Mainstream Records

Buddy Terry, a saxophonist who worked in a broad array of styles and situations — making his most enduring contribution in the realm of soul jazz, and on the ground in Newark, his hometown — died on Nov. 29 in Maplewood, N.J. He was 78.

Evgeny Pobozhiy, a virtuoso guitarist with a busy profile on the Moscow jazz scene, has won the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Guitar Competition. As winner of the prize, one of the most prestigious of its kind, he'll receive $30,000 in scholarship funds and a recording contract with the Concord Music Group.

He also joins an honor roll of past winners including pianist Jacky Terrasson, saxophonists Joshua Redman and Melissa Aldana, and singers Jazzmeia Horn and Cécile McLorin Salvant.

George Lederer / WBGO

Seeking holiday inspiration? We’ve got you covered.

Here is an array of covetable boxed sets, books and special editions for the jazz, soul, blues or gospel fan in your life — at various price points, covering a range of eras and styles.  

YouTube

As an unbilled guest, Aretha Franklin was the surprise gift of the 2015 Big Band Holidays concert at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

John Rogers / Courtesy of the artist

Thanksgiving is upon us, and with it comes a call to gratitude. 

So in this Take Five, we offer reasons to be thankful.

Emma Barber / Courtesy of the Musical Instrument Museum

Hear Cuban big band Orquesta Akokán from the Musical Instrument Museum.

Not quite a decade ago, "the world's only global musical instrument museum" opened in Phoenix. The Musical Instrument Museum, or MIM, now boasts almost 14,000 objects and instruments in their collection, with 370 exhibits from all over the globe — a testament to music's universal human truths. "We're doing the same stuff in different parts of the world," says Lowell Pickett, Artistic Director of the MIM Music Theater, "and we're using the same materials to make the instruments. We're using them to express the same emotions."

Gonzalo Marroquin/Patrick McMullan / Getty Images

Christian McBride, Esperanza Spalding and Branford Marsalis are among the jazz and blues artists in the running for the 62nd Grammy Awards. 

The Recording Academy announced its nominations on Wednesday morning. The Grammys will be held on Jan. 26, and broadcast on CBS.

Daniel Azoulay

Artemis, the all-star septet formed by pianist Renee Rosnes, has signed to Blue Note Records.

In a statement released today, the label confirmed that the group — also featuring vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, trumpeter Ingrid Jensen, clarinetist Anat Cohen, tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana, bassist Noriko Ueda and drummer Allison Miller — will release its debut album next year.

Steve Mundinger / Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz

The Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz has announced 12 semifinalists for its International Guitar Competition, to be held next month in Washington, D.C.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

Dee Dee Bridgewater traveled a short psychic distance from guest of honor to star attraction at the 2019 WBGO Champions of Jazz Gala, on Wednesday night at Capitale in New York.

Blue Note Records

Take Five goes international this week, with artists from South Africa, Germany, Cuba, Spain, Israel and the UK.

Pages