NPR logo Toast Of The Nation Celebrates 2011


Toast Of The Nation Celebrates 2011

Clockwise from left: Von Freeman, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York, Dianne Reeves, Lionel Loueke. Center (L-R): Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green. courtesy of the artists hide caption

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courtesy of the artists

Clockwise from left: Von Freeman, the Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York, Dianne Reeves, Lionel Loueke. Center (L-R): Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green.

courtesy of the artists

On New Year's Eve 2010-11, NPR Music and WBGO once again presented Toast of the Nation, a broadcast of live jazz performances throughout the night, from venues all across the U.S.

The broadcast checked in with live music from five venues, from Boston to San Francisco, and counted down to midnight in four U.S. time zones. All the live performances have been recorded and archived at NPR Music. WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton hosted the entire evening.

Here's the schedule of live events (all times Eastern):

8 p.m.: Lionel Loueke Trio, Boston
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Ten years ago, a guitarist from Benin, a bassist born in Sweden and raised in Italy, and a drummer from Hungary met at Berklee College of Music. In the 10-plus years since, they've developed an incredible rapport, nominally fronted by Lionel Loueke's quietly intricate guitar and vocal techniques. Loueke, Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth returned to their alma mater during Boston's First Night celebrations for a set presented with WGBH.

9 p.m.: Special Tribute to Dr. Billy Taylor
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The late pianist, composer and educator Billy Taylor had a long and productive association with NPR and WBGO. This segment will feature his own words and voice, from NPR's Jazz Profiles and the NPR archive.

9:30 p.m.: Jon Faddis Orchestra feat. Nnenna Freelon, Washington, D.C.
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The Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York has a professional in every chair — not least of all its leader. The trumpeter, once a protege of Dizzy Gillespie, is a tremendously skilled player; he's also led several big bands, including the Chicago Jazz Ensemble and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. Along with vocalist Nnenna Freelon, the large ensemble traveled down the freeway to Washington, D.C., and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

11 p.m.: Jimmy Heath, Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, Nicholas Payton, New York City
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Start out with Cyrus Chestnut and Benny Green, two pianists who absolutely command the instrument. Then add guests like trumpeter Nicholas Payton and saxophonist Jimmy Heath — an elder statesman of the music — and it becomes a party. This session, at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, is billed as "A Celebration in Swing." It's safe to say we'll get that as the musicians count down to midnight in the Eastern time zone.

12:15 a.m.: Von Freeman and Ed Petersen, Chicago
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Ed Petersen currently lives in New Orleans, where he's taken a teaching post. But he annually returns north to share the stage with his friend and mentor Von Freeman, a godfather of the Chicago jazz scene. The two tenor saxophone titans take the stage with a veteran Chicago rhythm section (Willie Pickens, Brian Sandstrom, Robert Shy) at the Green Mill to count down to midnight in Central Time.

1:15 a.m.: JD Allen Trio, Denver
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The great saxophonist went as John D. Allen when he was accompanying Betty Carter on Toast of the Nation 1994. This year's broadcast features him as the leader of his own hard-charging trio, with special guests Ron Miles on cornet and Henry Butler on piano, from a September 2010 concert at Dazzle in Denver. Presented with the help of KUVO.

1:45 a.m.: Dianne Reeves, San Francisco
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The jazz singer Dianne Reeves is a powerhouse — a caretaker of a rich, hearty delivery which goes anywhere she sets her imagination to visit. That can be anywhere between tender balladry and authoritative declamations, though we'd expect her New Year's Eve gig to lean toward the latter. In front of a crack staff of modern jazz musicians, including musical director Peter Martin on piano and Romero Lubambo on guitar, she'll count down to midnight in Mountain Time and on the West Coast from Yoshi's in San Francisco.