It may seem as if jazz recordings have slowed to a flurry, but it's more like a blizzard, with dozens already coming down in the new year. Hear highlights from a few albums worth shoveling out, by Archie Shepp, Edward Simon, James Brandon Lewis and more.
The singer-songwriter remains influential in jazz, but improvisers have yet to fully mine his repertoire. Here are a few of the attempts so far, from musicians such as Kenny Garrett, Carmen Lundy and George Benson.
WBGOThe New York music marathon turns 10 this year and expands far beyond its modest origins, but it remains a place to discover new views of improvisation. Hear tunes from groups like the Jeff Ballard Trio, Tillery and Aruán Ortiz's Orbiting Quartet.
WFIUThe songs were a byproduct of slavery in the U.S. But after being passed along by generations of African-American musicians, they were later embraced by a variety of improvisers, including Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Grant Green and John Coltrane.
Professing love for Bob James' music can yield a side-eye in some circles, as his 1970s work is seen as a progenitor to smooth jazz. But he certainly knew his way around a catchy melody and an infectious riff — as legions of rap and house producers have discovered through sampling.
WBGOAs a fledgling classical soprano in New York, Norman went to hear singers like Mabel Mercer perform. She tells WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton that her study of jazz vocalists influenced the way she interprets songs — including operatic arias.
KMHDIn the '50s, Jamaican musicians combined Caribbean calypso and American jazz and R&B to create ska — the foundation of future developments like reggae. Now, jazz musicians are closing the circle of influence. For late summer, here are five songs inspired by the island's characteristic riddims.
The jazz trumpeter who made his first recordings 50 years ago this summer might be his instrument's least appreciated giant. Perhaps the trumpeter of the 1970s, Shaw was an icon for the generation that followed, as well as an innovator on his horn.
Whether career sidemen, appealing experimentalists or critically acclaimed bands finally getting a look, new names are getting invited to the granddaddy of jazz festivals with greater frequency. Hear music from some of this year's crop, including Jonathan Batiste, David Gilmore and Dee Alexander.
Jazz has become a point of pride for Americans: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. Still, the black jazz pioneers who lived through eras of discrimination have a complicated sense of pride in the U.S. Hear five improvised takes on American patriotic songs, from the reverent to the ironic.