Arts and Entertainment

First Listen
10:03 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

Review: Kamasi Washington, 'The Epic'

Kamashi Washington's new album, The Epic, comes out May 5.
Mike Park Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue May 5, 2015 3:00 pm

The word "epic" sits cheerily amid the most overused hyperbole of our age. Teenage bros proclaim their recent "pretty epic" mild successes; sports commentators call anything which ends dramatically an "epic game"; the Internet-literate are quick to point out an "epic FAIL." But what else do you call a three-CD, nearly three-hour album anchored by a 10-piece jazz band, featuring a 32-piece orchestra and 20-member choir, and driven by the daydream of an imaginary martial arts grandmaster?

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Monkey See
4:21 am
Sat April 25, 2015

The Hard Work And Close Bonds Of Competitive College A Cappella

Voices In Your Head, from the University of Chicago, performs their competition set. In the front, you can see Kari Wei β€” she's the one with the pitch pipe around her neck.
Joe Martinez Photography

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 11:36 am

It's been many years since I did my three semesters of college a cappella, but it remains a genre of performance for which I have enormous affection. In 2012, the arrival of Pitch Perfect meant that suddenly, I knew a lot more people who even knew what a college a cappella was.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
6:05 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman At Detroit Jazz Festival

Reid Anderson, Joshua Redman, Dave King and Ethan Iverson.
David Jacobs Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 5:43 pm

Saxophonist Joshua Redman and the collaborative trio The Bad Plus both stand among the most celebrated, thoughtful and prominent jazz acts of the last couple decades. That, and their contrasting aesthetic sensibilities, made it at least news when they first got together in 2011. As it turns out, that collaboration bore lasting fruit: After a series of gigs last summer, they went into the studio with each others' tunes to record The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (say it out loud), to be released in late May.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
6:04 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Kamasi Washington's 'The Epic' In Concert

Kamasi Washington.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 5:42 pm

Saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington, 34, has been working on releasing his now three-CD, nearly three-hour, choir-and-strings-assisted album The Epic for the better part of five years now. Even longer, if you consider how long his 10-piece working band has known each other: Most of its members, known collectively as The Next Step or The West Coast Get Down, have known each other since at least high school decades ago in South Central Los Angeles, and in some instances well before that.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
6:02 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Celebrating Joe Temperley In Concert

Joe Temperley and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 10:57 am

For 25 years, the baritone saxophone chair of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has been held by a one Joe Temperley. The Scottish musician, now 85, carries tons of credits to his C.V., especially with big bands: Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Clark Terry and β€” most notably β€” the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
6:00 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Vijay Iyer Trio At Metropolitan Museum Of Art

Vijay Iyer Trio plays the Temple of Dendur.

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 10:34 am

The pianist and composer Vijay Iyer frames his new trio recording, Break Stuff, around the idea of musical breaks: "a break in music is still music: a span of time in which to act," he writes. Formally, he's referring to breakbeats and other musical breakdowns, but more generally, Iyer's trio exploits opportunities to rupture convention.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:10 am
Fri April 24, 2015

Stanley Cowell On Piano Jazz

Stanley Cowell.
Tom Marcello Flickr

Marian McPartland hosts pianist Stanley Cowell for this 1999 episode of Piano Jazz, recorded before an audience at NPR's studios in Washington. Known for his brilliant and highly personal approach, Cowell bridges traditional and contemporary styles of jazz. He and McPartland challenge each other in inventive duets, and Cowell performs his composition "Equipoise."

Originally broadcast in the winter of 1999.

Set List

  • "Bright Passion" (Cowell)
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7:37 am
Thu April 23, 2015

Spiked Cabbage And Blown Glass Among Attractions At Annual Oklahoma City Festival

Chelsy and Jasmine Glenn are enjoying a family tradition they've kept since Chelsy was 4 years old- ordering their favorite dish from International Food Row on opening day at Festival of the Arts.
Brooke Lefler KGOU

Families, couples and groups of friends relax in tree shade on a wide lawn next to a flower garden in full bloom. They giggle and watch the antics of comedian and juggler Dan Raspyni. He reveals an axe with a top spike for his next trick, and some tough teens from the back of the crowd call out, β€œIs that real?”

β€œYes!” says Raspyni. β€œTo prove it, I will cut whoever said that. Now who said that?”

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
9:52 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

The Legacy Of The Jazz Organ In Philadelphia

Rich Budesa was one of six organists to perform.

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 9:56 am

In mid-century Philadelphia, dozens of organists reshaped jazz into a popular, swinging, danceable contemporary music. Often in trios with drums and guitar or saxophone, these organ players made church instruments into portable orchestras β€” a tradition that continues to the present day in Philadelphia.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
7:15 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Akua Dixon At Central Brooklyn Jazz Festival

Akua Dixon.
Jose Iorio Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 10:40 pm

It's not as if there were ever clear paths for cello players beyond the European classical tradition, but Akua Dixon made one for herself. The New York City native found work in the pit band of the Apollo Theater, the multi-racial Symphony of the New World, and the bands of many jazz musicians β€” including drummer Max Roach's Double Quartet. As she developed her jazz chops, she also started her own string quartet, featured prominently on her new self-titled album. Akua Dixon also features her crafty arranging for strings over jazz standards and Afro-Latin grooves.

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