Tom Reney

Jazz à la Mode Host

Tom has been producing Jazz à la Mode since 1984.  He began working in jazz radio in 1977 at WCUW, a community-licensed radio station in Worcester, Massachusetts. Before his career in radio began, Tom had many formative experiences hearing and meeting some of the icons of jazz and blues, all of which ignited his passion for sharing the music with others. Tom earned a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majored in English and American Studies.

In addition to his hosting duties at New England Public Radio, Tom writes NEPR's jazz blog and produces our JazzBeat podcast, and lectures occasionally on music and cultural topics at UMass, Amherst, Smith, Hampshire, and Mt. Holyoke Colleges. He and his wife Margaret live in Holyoke.

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Jazz Beat - Fats Domino

Nov 14, 2017

Tom Reney's memorial tribute to Fats Domino credits the great pianist as a founder of rock 'n' roll and an exemplar of New Orleans rhythm and blues, and addresses a schism between jazz and r&b.

Fats Domino
PBS

There's no doubt in my mind that the first music I heard from New Orleans was by Fats Domino, and that he was in my head for well over a decade before the city's music became a passion of mine. That didn't take place until I saw Professor Longhair performing in Central Park in 1973, but I would have heard Fats as early as the late fifties, and there the seed was planted. His hit tunes "Blueberry Hill,"  "Ain't That a Shame," and "Walkin' to New Orleans," were part of the aural wallpaper of my youth, and the intriguingly named Antoine Dominique Domino was no stranger to television either. (Since his recent death, I've been surprised by the number of people who've told me they thought Domino was a nickname that went along with Fats.)

Andy McGhee
Berklee College of Music

Andy McGhee was a household name in the world of jazz education, but Berklee's gain meant that Andy remained one of the least-known and most under-recorded tenor masters of the past half-century. Why, even his name is subsumed under a colleague's in this 2006 performance of "Body and Soul."

During his 1985 appearance on the NPR program, Piano Jazz, Dizzy Gillespie was asked by host Marian McPartland about the month he spent playing with Duke Ellington in 1945. 

October’s quite a month for big-time jazz birthdays, and this year it’s ringing with major milestones, including the centennials of Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, the 95th of Illinois Jacquet, and the 90th of the ever-ready Lee Konitz, who's still touring and making records.

Tom Reney looked into the legends of the two bluesmen known as Sonny Boy Williamson for this Jazz Beat podcast refuting some of what Randy Newman asserts in his new song, "Sonny Boy." Hear deep background on these blues greats, as well as Newman's tune, and blues classics by Sonny Boy I and II, and Billy Boy Arnold and Mose Allison.

Thelonious Monk
Jean-Pierre Leloir

It's now 35 years since his death in 1982, and over 45 since his last significant recordings were made. The pianist was 30 by the time he made his first session as a leader for Blue Note, and it took another decade before he began to develop a dedicated following and the respect of critics. 

It's been over twenty years since the late Steve Lacy last came to town, but the memory remains vivid of his annual visits to the Iron Horse in Northampton. 

This edition of Jazz Beat is devoted to Tom Reney’s interview with Geoff Muldaur, the singer/guitarist/banjo player whose associations include the Jim Kweskin Jug Band and Maria Muldaur in the 1960s, and Paul Butterfield’s Better Days in the early ‘70s.  

Bud Powell Revisited

Sep 27, 2017
Bud Powell
Robert James Campbell

Today is Bud Powell's 93rd birthday anniversary. In this 21st century moment in which police brutality and shootings of African Americans have become matters of national outrage and discord ranging from the 'hood to the gridiron to a reactionary and divisive White House, it must be noted that Bud was a victim of a severe beating by Philadelphia police in 1945. 

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