Jazz à la Mode

NEPR: Weekdays, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Welcome to Jazz à la Mode, which airs weeknights between 8-11 p.m. on 88.5FM. Hosted by Tom Reney since 1984, Jazz à la Mode draws on the rich and varied traditions of jazz from the 1920’s to the present. Whether it’s a classic recording by Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday, a great standard by Harold Arlen or Duke Ellington, modern jazz landmarks by Miles Davis or John Coltrane, or the latest by Gregory Porter or Wynton Marsalis, Jazz à la Mode has plenty to satisfy your tastes.

Find Jazz à la Mode archived blog posts.

Listen to Jazz à la Mode on demand

Today is Ruby Braff’s 90th birthday anniversary. The cornetist was born in Boston in 1927. Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and Lester Young were his heroes. By most accounts Ruby was a prickly personality, but on all accounts he was a player dedicated to beauty. Great songs never failed him. He called his aesthetic, “adoration of the melody.” Ruby made a ton of records, not a throwaway in the bunch.

LADY DAY IN NEWARK, 1957
Jerry Dantzic

The New York Times last week posted an album of rarely seen photos of Billie Holiday. The pictures were taken by Jerry Dantzic in 1957 during her engagement at Sugar Hill on Broad Street in Newark, New Jersey. As the Times blog by John Leland notes, Billie had been denied a cabaret card for nearly a decade at that point, and without it she was unable to work in New York establishments that served alcohol, i.e., nightclubs.

Andy Jaffe Octet

Mar 6, 2017

Illness notwithstanding, I ventured out into the bitter cold of Saturday night for the second half of the Easthampton Jazz Festival’s nighttime lineup with the Andy Jaffe Octet; it was well worth it and apparently restorative. Andy’s group featured eight of the nine members of the nonet that he leads on his 2016 Playscape recording, Arc. The woodwind player Tom Olin has passed on since its release, but the rest of the group is intact.

February 22 was Rex Stewart's 110th birthday anniversary. The Philadelphia-born cornetist was a remarkably complete stylist whose features ranged from a 1931 assignment with Fletcher Henderson playing the lyrical solo that Bix Beiderbecke essayed on "Singin' the Blues," to portraying "Menelik, the Lion of Judah," in the "stylized jungle" manner that was synonymous with Duke Ellington. "Singin' the Blues," recorded as a memorial to Bix, dates from October 4, 1931, two months after his death on August 6.

Jazz Beat - Nat Hentoff

Jan 19, 2017

For Jazz Beat 30, Tom Reney pays tribute to Nat Hentoff, who died on January 7 at 91. The Boston-born journalist wrote primarily on First Amendment issues for the Village Voice for 50 years, but was also a renowned jazz critic and historian. In the early 1960s, Hentoff produced an outstanding series of albums for Candid Records by Charles Mingus, Clark Terry, Abbey Lincoln, and blues greats Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, and Lightnin’ Hopkins. Tom’s memorial includes excerpts from some of these, and an overview of Hentoff’s devotion to jazz and principles of free speech.

Bob Dylan
CREATIVE COMMONS

In the latest edition of NEPR's Jazz Beat, Tom Reney highlights the prominence of jazz in Bob Dylan’s memoir, Chronicles, Volume 1, and a critical moment of impact that the music had on the return to form that the Nobel laureate has exhibited since 1997.

Loren Schoenberg
Lynn Redmile @ openingminds / CREATIVE COMMONS

For the latest edition of New England Public Radio's Jazz Beat, Tom Reney speaks with Loren Schoenberg, the founding director and resident scholar at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem. The museum has just released the first volume of recordings from the Savory Collection, a treasure trove of jazz recorded off of broadcasts in the 1930s and early ‘40s. Listen here for Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Lionel Hampton, and other highlights from the collection, and a lively exchange between Loren and Tom.

In this edition of Jazz Beat, NEPR's Tom Reney pays tribute to the jazz legend Phil Woods. The late, great alto saxophonist was born in Springfield, Mass, 85 years ago. This month, Downbeat Magazine announced that Phil has been elected to its Hall of Fame. Listen here for an overview of Woods's career and numerous samples of his great music.

John Coltrane
CREATIVE COMMONS

John Coltrane, whose 90th birthday is Friday, September 23rd, had a short but episodic career. On the latest edition of Jazz Beat, New England Public Radio’s Tom Reney takes a look at an important transition in Coltrane’s life, when he made his final tour with Miles Davis and first began playing soprano saxophone, which was a gift from Miles to the tenor sax-playing icon.

Houston Person
CREATIVE COMMONS

The latest edition of Jazz Beat delivers some great music along with an appreciation of the great jazz saxophonist Houston Person. Person, who frequently plays in Western New England, is an exemplar of why the role of "keeper of the flame" is essential to the tradition and future of jazz.

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