Take Five

Dave Stapleton

Tracks from five new albums that expand horizons, each in its own way.

Tom Copi / Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Few artists ever traveled farther while keeping a foothold in the blues.

Yusef Lateef, the pioneering multi-reedist and composer born 100 years ago this week, could never be constrained, neither by limits nor by labels. He was a serious cultural hybridist long before the imprecise term “world music” entered circulation. And much like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, who admired him even as he looked up to them, he was a lifelong seeker.

John Rogers

Along with the latest from Rob Mazurek’s Exploding Star Orchestra, jazz-vocal supergroup säje, and keyboard whiz kid Justin Lee Schultz.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

In Take Five, hear one sterling track for each decade of Sonny’s monumental career.

Eric Ryan Anderson

Along with a new collaboration between Angelica Sanchez and Marilyn Crispell.

Chick Corea Productions

Along with the latest from saxophonists Alan Braufman and Dave Pietro.

David Redferns / Redferns

It’s never a bad time to celebrate Art Blakey, the indefatigable drummer, towering bandleader and peerless mentor.

But the occasion of a new release by Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, just out on Blue Note, is reason enough to hijack this edition of Take Five with a Blakey beat. This hardly begins to scratch the surface of his monumental recorded legacy — but it gives some picture of what he was about. Beginning with a cut from the newly unearthed album, it goes on to cover some of his work as a sideman, and later as a guardian of tradition.

John Abbott

Also: a made-in-quarantine album by Miles Okazaki, and the marital duo of Jana Herzen and Charnett Moffett.

(Complete with a dessert course served by Benny Green.)

Monica Jane Frisell

Along with a timely track by pianist Mike King, and a video exclusive by Joey Alexander.


Black lives matter. We hold this truth to be self-evident, and yet it needs to be said.

Over the past two weeks, since the death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, there has been a reckoning in America and around the world. And as we have seen before, musicians are responding in urgent fashion.

Priscilla Jiminez

Along with some duo magic from Esperanza Spalding and Fred Hersch, and a ray of sunshine from Matt Wilson.

Courtesy of the artist

Plus a taste of Michael Olatuja’s new album, featuring Regina Carter.

David Crow / Courtesy of the artist

Also: new music from the Joshua Redman Quartet, Leni Stern, Harold López-Nussa, and Big Heart Machine.

David Brisco

Music of renewal, reassurance and reminiscence.

jazz at lincoln center

Bright moments for difficult times, in this week’s Take Five.

The recent passing of Nuyorican pianist Professor Joe Torres reminds us that the important role of a sideman is all too often ignored.

A first-class accompanist who was revered by his colleagues for his ability to add sabor (flavor) and drive, he was also respected for his sight-reading skills.

Ami Sioux

New music that speaks to our moment, with uplift and determination.

Jonathan Chimene / WBGO

We’ve been losing some of our heroes. Their music lives on.

Seiichi Nitsuma

Here is some brand-new music with the lift we all need.

Lior Tzemach

Hear some new music that speaks clearly of human connection.

Tjasa Gnezda

Extraordinary times call for extraordinary music.

This edition of Take Five delivers on that front, with selections from noteworthy albums on the near horizon or in the immediate rearview. Each track goes to some places you might not expect — so buckle up and settle in.

Jonathan Chimene

Roy Haynes, the inexhaustibly propulsive drummer, bandleader and NEA Jazz Master, turns 95 this week, on March 13.

In his honor, we’re devoting this week’s Take Five to a handful of his indelible performances on record and on film. Our announcers chose four of the picks, with a personal story for good measure; our editorial director couldn’t resist making a selection too. Happy listening — and don’t miss the slideshow above, featuring vivid recent photographs by Jonathan Chimene. This one’s for Roy! 

courtesy of the artist

Along with the latest magical hookup by Béla Fleck and Toumani Diabaté.