Take Five

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.

Miles Davis led such a prismatic and changeable career that any attempt at summation is destined to feel incomplete.

But the 2019 documentary Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool does an impressive job of it, portraying the trumpeter in his myriad phases and moods, and in an unvarnished yet sympathetic light.

Amazon Music

Including the latest from Reverso, co-led by Ryan Keberle and Frank Woeste.

Sylvain Gripoix

Along with choice new music from Jeff Davis and Kandace Springs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

MLK Day was first observed as a federal holiday precisely 34 years ago.

The occasion provides a welcome prompt to reflect on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy — as a leader of the Civil Rights Movement, as an emblem of resistance, and as a voice of unwavering conscience in American life.

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. 

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

Tom Copi / Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Woody Shaw, the groundbreaking trumpeter, would have turned 75 on Dec. 24.

Though he was born in North Carolina, Woody grew up in Newark from age one — eventually studying classical trumpet at Cleveland Junior High School and  jazz at Arts High. So it’s only fitting that the anniversary of his birth would occasion official proclamations from both Mayor Ras Baraka and Gov. Phil Murphy. And of course, only appropriate that we’d celebrate his music at WBGO. 

Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

This week, WBGO announcers take over Take Five with 12 — wait, make that a baker’s dozen — favorite holiday tracks. 

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