Jazz Night In America: Video Episodes And Shorts

Brandee Younger: Taxidermy, Two-Headed Skeletons And Jazz HarpWBGO

Among the vestment racks, satchel purveyors and art galleries of New York's SoHo neighborhood lies a small merchant unlike its neighbors. It's called The Evolution Store, and it peddles, um, natural-history collectibles. You know, preserved insects, taxidermy, skulls and bones, remnants of marine creatures. It's as if a museum ran out of space and started putting its sloths and tarantulas in the gift shop.

Naturally, our video producers saw it and thought: Obviously, we need to record there.

We're not quite sure what any of this has to do with Brandee Younger, though she is a rare breed in her world: a jazz harpist. Well, she's classically trained, and plays her share of freelance and wedding gigs — in her C.V. are recordings for rappers Common and Drake — but like predecessors Alice Coltrane and Dorothy Ashby, she's also developed a way to improvise and truly groove on the harp. In 2011, she recorded an EP with her jazz group, and she's got more recording sessions for a full-length record in the next month.

With a full band, the song heard here, "Hortense," takes on a distinct Caribbean bounce, a one-drop reggae beat anchoring Dezron Douglas' bass line. Stripped down to a duo, it wafts and glides, all arpeggios and plucked wires. There's glass everywhere inside The Evolution Store; appropriately, the performance was sparkling and crystalline. If Younger and Douglas were unnerved by all the stuffed, mummified and two-headed fauna around them, they didn't let on — during the performance, anyway.

Credits

Produced by Saidah Blount, Mito Habe-Evans, Patrick Jarenwattananon; Videographers: Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Mito Habe-Evans, Tim Wilkins; Audio engineered by Kevin Wait; Video edited by Gabriella Garcia-Pardo and Mito Habe-Evans; Special thanks to The Evolution Store

[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Rose Murphy. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Rose Murphy On Piano Jazz

Hear the singer and pianist perform "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" in a 1988 session.

Rose Murphy In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476137289/476145176" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Carlos Henriquez in The Bronx. Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center hide caption

toggle caption Lawrence Sumulong for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Jazz Night In America

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid

WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center

The bassist spends a lot of time in Manhattan for Jazz at Lincoln Center, but his roots are uptown.

Carlos Henriquez: The Bronx Pyramid
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/476077535/476086613" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Ayako Shirasaki. Patrick Wamsganz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Patrick Wamsganz/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Ayako Shirasaki On Piano Jazz

Hear the Japanese pianist perform her compositions "Falling Leaves" and "Far Away."

Ayako Shirasaki In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/474388065/474390434" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Barbara Lea on the cover of A Woman In Love + Barbara Lea + Lea In Love. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Barbara Lea On Piano Jazz

The respected vocalist joins Marian McPartland for a tribute to songwriter Hoagy Carmichael.

Barbara Lea In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/473497507/473504650" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Paul Bley. Hans Kumpf/Courtesy of ECM Records hide caption

toggle caption Hans Kumpf/Courtesy of ECM Records

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Paul Bley On Piano Jazz

The avant-garde pianist performed original motifs and a free duet with Marian McPartland in 2000.

Paul Bley In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/472695170/472696689" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Marian McPartland. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

The Music Of Marian McPartland On Piano Jazz

Hear McPartland's compositions performed by Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Laine and more.

The Music Of Marian McPartland
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/471849097/471851264" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Harold Mabern. Gabe Palacio/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Gabe Palacio/Getty Images

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Harold Mabern On Piano Jazz

McPartland caught the Memphis-born pianist for a session just before he left for a 1991 Japan tour.

Harold Mabern In The Studio
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/470957914/470960257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Back To Top