Jazz

Even a professional gamer is no match for Kamasi Washington in the arcade classic Street Fighter II Turbo.

Your Favorite Summer Jams

Jun 22, 2018

Earlier this week, we asked you for your favorite summer jams — the feel-good music that'll carry you through unrelenting news cycles, flat LaCroix, and incessant reminders from your mom ("HAVE YOU PUT ON SUNSCREEN YET?"). We loved your choices, from the sultry Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa song "One Kiss" to Korean boy band BTS's "Fake Love." More importantly, we appreciated your enthusiasm: "It bangs" was a common comment, along with "It slaps" and "IT BUMPS IN THE WHIP." (We may have learned some new terms).

Virtuosity — of a dazzling, ebullient, yet altogether generous sort — might be the most obvious bridge between David Holland and Zakir Hussain. But there's also a deep cultural foundation behind their musical dialogue, which forms the beating heart of a project called Crosscurrents.

Kamasi Washington's idea of heaven is the world he creates and retreats to in his mind. The jazz torchbearer's double album Heaven and Earth, out today, represents that inward heaven versus his outward reality on Earth.

On this week's episode of New Music Friday, All Songs Considered's Robin Hilton chats with NPR Music's Ann Powers and Rodney Carmichael, along with jazz critic Nate Chinen from WBGO about the most exciting new releases for June 22. Albums include the intense, industrial rock of Nine Inch Nails, the new joint project of Lecrae & Zaytoven and the wildly ambitious, shape-shifting jazz of Kamasi Washington.

Featured Albums

  1. Nine Inch Nails: Bad Witch
    Featured Song: "Ahead Of Ourselves"

There's a pivotal, possibly apocryphal scene in Bob Dylan's Chronicles, Vol. 1, wherein the author walks into a bar. He's taking a breather from a wan rehearsal with The Grateful Dead, circa 1987, in Marin County, Calif. What draws him into the bar is the sound of a jazz combo.

New York's Village Vanguard may come closer than any other club to embodying the spirit of jazz. For nearly 30 years, the guardian of that spirit has been the Vanguard's formidable impresaria, Lorraine Gordon. Gordon, a jazz champion since her teen years and one of the music's female pioneers, died Saturday at the age of 95.

Harold Mabern has never had any hang-ups about not being the center of attention. "I get joy out of being an accompanist," the pianist affirms, likening himself to an offensive lineman on a football team. "When you can do something to make the soloist happy and proud," he says plainly, "you've done your job."

Barbara Cook On Piano Jazz

May 25, 2018

This week's Piano Jazz remembers Barbara Cook (Oct. 25, 1927 – Aug. 8, 2017), the Tony and Grammy Award-winning lyric soprano who was a favorite of audiences around the world. She was a star on Broadway as an ingénue and became a staple of the New York cabaret scene in the later years of her prolific career.

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