A linchpin of "cool" jazz in the 1950s and '60s, he assembled bands that came to be described as chamber jazz, full of unusual textures and future star talent. Hamilton, who continued performing into his ninth decade, was 92.
The music is only about 100 years old, but it's already seen scores of geniuses creating joyful noises against all odds. We examine time-honored masterpieces and tell the narratives around them — and in doing so, refract the cultural history of the United States and beyond.
He had gigs before and enjoyed prominent freelance work afterward. But the mellow saxophone and flute player's career was kickstarted by spending more than a decade in the front row of Count Basie's "New Testament" band.
The late South African vocalist Sathima Bea Benjamin is remembered as her country's greatest jazz singer, who brought deliberation and questions of identity to her music. But she only launched her own career, from the shadow of her famous husband Abdullah Ibrahim, after several false starts.
The late author and cultural theorist's career was dedicated to proving that American culture wasn't black and white, but both at once. In doing so, he called upon jazz as his chief example, devising many of the ways the music is now commonly perceived.
The bluesy, commanding improviser rose to eminence in the '50s and '60s with bands like Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, where he played a starring role and established himself as a deft small-group composer. Walton continued to perform and record his entire life.
Few had the late Fort Apache Band drummer's intuition for both jazz and Afro-Cuban musical languages. Bandleader Jerry González remembers his colleague, who toured with Mongo Santamaria, Art Blakey, Tito Puente and Max Roach, and earned a Grammy nomination for one of his own albums.
In 1963, a jazz-obsessed, college-educated black Beat poet in New York wrote a "theoretical endeavor" linking the sociopolitical and the sonic. A half-century later, Amiri Baraka's book remains the first of its kind — and among the most important — in African-American studies.
Musically speaking, it's hard to discern much of a connection to The Rite Of Spring in saxophonist Phil Woods' Rights Of Swing suite. But in the final "Presto" section, he and his French horn player leave a little Easter egg for us — like many jazz recordings before and after it.
"Women in Jazz Day" officially hits New York City Friday, complete with a new documentary on the subject. While the celebration is deserving, it remains incomplete, commentator Lara Pellegrinelli says. She lists many more resources on the subject — on film, print and wax.
In 1982, Jaki Byard and Tommy Flanagan played a duet date in San Francisco. Both pianists were of equal stature, among the best-respected in jazz history. But a newly released recording of that event illustrates why their differences are plenty interesting, too.
From 1948 until 1966, the Palladium Ballroom, at the corner of 53rd and Broadway, was the city's mecca for Afro-Caribbean dance music. And for a lot of that time, Puente was one of the main attractions. A new box set compiles the Latin music legend's RCA recordings of this crucial period.
As NPR's employees file their federal returns and take up shop in a new building, we look back at an interesting historical moment in the 1940s. A cabaret tax led to more jazz being performed in smaller venues that couldn't accommodate dancing. Of course, that's not the only reason why bebop sounds the way it does.
After he helped to develop the bluesy, driving hard bop style in the '50s and '60s, his funkier commercial hit recordings shaped black pop music through the advent of hip-hop. A committed music educator, the Detroit native was 80 when he died last week.
The prodigious drummer Marcus Gilmore, 25, has been playing with the biggest names in jazz since he was a teenager. He's coming off a career year that saw him named the top rising star among jazz critics. It helps that his grandfather is Roy Haynes, one of the great pioneers of the drum kit.
WBGOThe highest federally supported awards for jazz artistry are presented to singer-songwriter Mose Allison, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson, club owner Lorraine Gordon and pianist Eddie Palmieri. On Monday, Jan. 14, watch a webcast of the ceremony live from Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York.