JAZZ

Sarah Elizabeth Charles.
Matthew Pandolfe / Courtesy Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Jazz vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles, a native of western Massachusetts, has been making a name for herself nationally.

Khalif Neville performs with Branford Marsalis at an event honoring Charles Neville.
Julian Parker-Burns / Laudable Productions

Pianist Khalif Neville is heir to one of the most prominent musical families to come out of New Orleans. Khalif is the son of Charles Neville, of the legendary Neville Brothers, who have been performing together since the late 1970s.

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.

Miguel Zenón was 12 when he first experienced the devastation of a major hurricane in his homeland, Puerto Rico. That was Hugo, which hit as a Category 3 in 1989, and drove nearly 30,000 residents from their homes.

Jazz Beat - Warmest And Tightest

Jul 29, 2017

This episode of Jazz Beat focuses on the one and only album that Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington made together. Tom Reney reviews the run-up to the Great Summit, highlights of the album, and thoughts on the legacies of these two jazz giants. 

Arthur Blythe
Stuart Nicholson

They call me a producer/host in the staff directory at NEPR, but this week, like many others, I feel more like a eulogist. Two days after writing a memorial tribute to my friend and jazz radio colleague Steve Schwartz, word came that Arthur Blythe died on Monday, at 76. The San Diego native had been sidelined with Parkinson's since 2005, but for a few decades he was one of the most potent forces in the music. I hadn't seen Blythe since the mid-'90s, but I heard him as often as possible after his arrival in New York around 1975.

My Irish-born grandmother lived by admonitions and apothegms. "There is nothing as virtuous as a man without the price." "Paper never refused ink." "A fool and his money are soon parted." Whenever I contemplate Ben Webster, I keep hearing Nana Reney's brogue intone another humbling rejoinder, "When the wine is in, the wit is out."

Steve Schwartz
WGBH

Friday night, as I was noting Day 30 of a cold virus, my friend Steve Schwartz was admitted to Seasons Hospice in Milton, Mass.

James Cotton, R.I.P.

Mar 19, 2017
Jason Marck

James Cotton, the blues harmonica great renowned for his long tenure with Muddy Waters and the high-octane energy of his own festival and nightclub shows, died on Thursday, March 16, in Austin, Texas. Pneumonia was the cause of death at age 81. Cotton was born in Tunica, Mississippi, on July 1, 1935. His father was a rural preacher who died when James was five, and his mother played rudimentary harmonica in imitation of barnyard animals. Cotton heard the real thing when he caught a broadcast of Sonny Boy Williamson’s local daytime radio show.

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.

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