1 of 9

View slideshow i

Concerts

A Jazz Piano Christmas 2012

Listen

Listen

Loading…

59:54
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/167272583/167248972" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

NPR Music has an annual tradition around the holidays: Invite some of the world's best jazz keyboard players to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, then set them loose on their favorite Christmas tunes. The results are harvested for the public radio special A Jazz Piano Christmas.

For the program's 23rd year, new Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor for Jazz Jason Moran steps up to the host microphone. He's no slouch himself on the instrument, and leads off the festivities. The brilliant twentysomething pianist Taylor Eigsti follows with tunes he remembers from his family's Christmas gatherings. The other two guests rank among the most widely respected jazz pianists anywhere — and both issued fine Christmas records in 2011. Geri Allen played the title track from A Child Is Born, while Ellis Marsalis played tunes he recorded on A New Orleans Christmas Carol.

This year's special is dedicated to the memory of Dave Brubeck, the legendary pianist and composer who died several days before A Jazz Piano Christmas 2012 was recorded. To close the show, all four pianists get together to jam on the song he made a hit: "Take Five," written by Brubeck saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Set List
  • Jason Moran, "A Merrier Christmas" (Monk)
  • Jason Moran, "Jingle Bells" (Pierpont)
  • Taylor Eigsti, "Christmas Time Is Here" (Guaraldi)
  • Taylor Eigsti, "Little Drummer Boy" (Davis)
  • Geri Allen, "A Child Is Born" (Jones)
  • Geri Allen, "Angels We Have Heard On High" (Barnes)
  • Ellis Marsalis, "The Christmas Song" (Torme/Wells)
  • Ellis Marsalis, "Winter Wonderland" (Bernard/Smith)
  • Round Robin on "Take Five" (Desmond)
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Sergio Salvatore. Teri Bloom/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Teri Bloom/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Sergio Salvatore On Piano Jazz

The composer and pianist was only 14 when he was a guest on the program back in 1996.

Listen Loading… 57:53
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/464861388/464864128" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Jane Ira Bloom. Johnny Moreno/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Johnny Moreno/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Jane Ira Bloom On Piano Jazz

The soprano saxophonist is known for her high-energy compositions. Hear a 1993 session.

Listen Loading… 57:49
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463170450/463171819" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Nels Cline and Julian Lage. Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage hide caption

toggle caption Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

Nels Cline And Julian Lage On Mountain Stage

The genre-straddling star guitarists perform together with fluidity, precision and grace.

Listen Loading… 23:36
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/463034184/463037835" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

James P. Johnson (front) in the mid- to late 1940s. William Gottlieb/Library of Congress hide caption

toggle caption William Gottlieb/Library of Congress

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

James P. Johnson: The Father Of Stride

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

Johnson's seminal work represents the cornerstone of jazz piano conception. Hear four tributes.

Listen Loading… 57:10
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/462323926/462325385" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Eric Mintel. Jorge Fernandez/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Jorge Fernandez/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Eric Mintel On Piano Jazz

The pianist's straight-ahead style has engaged audiences at the White House and the Kennedy Center.

Listen Loading… 57:52
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/461615259/461623769" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor