Guitarist and singer Camila Meza will release a new album, Traces, in February.
Chris Drukker/Courtesy of the artist
January 13, 2016 Jazz in its most flexible definition hits New York City in a marathon weekend every January. Here are some of the 120 bands to seek out, including Camila Meza, Makaya McCraven and Ray Angry.
Following her conversion to Catholicism, pianist Mary Lou Williams began to compose and record religious music.
William Gottlieb/Library of Congress
December 23, 2015 What was once called "the music of the devil" became, mere decades later, the setting to several liturgical or traditional ceremonies. With Christmas upon us, here are some prime examples.
Billy Strayhorn, pictured here in the 1940s, wrote more than 1,000 works, most of them for Duke Ellington.
William P. Gottlieb/Library of Congress
November 29, 2015 Though overshadowed during his own lifetime by his employer, Duke Ellington, the composer-arranger wrote more than 1,000 pieces. Here are takes on his most famous tunes.
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June 26, 2015 With more than six million visitors from around the world, downtown Montreal hosts one of the world's biggest events of its kind. Hear some of the native talent on display this year.
Nina Simone's voice may have had a limited range, but its unique power and melancholy made for a legendary effect when paired with her genre-crossing piano.
June 24, 2015 There are certain figures in jazz history whose iconic status can be telegraphed by a single name. The pianist and singer Nina Simone seems to be ascending to that place of pop-culture reverence.
Eddie Henderson performs three times at the 2015 Winter Jazzfest.
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January 8, 2015 The 11th annual music marathon now features artists from around the world, but its main attraction is still the chance to hear new ideas from New York's top improvisers.
The audience at the main stage of the Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR
August 1, 2014 The Newport Jazz Festival turns 60 this year, and NPR Music will be there for the anniversary. When we're not recording, we'll be checking out bands led by Vijay Iyer, John Zorn, Ron Carter and more.
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June 13, 2014 Rio de Janeiro has often been the crucible of Brazilian song — a tradition that continues today. As the world's eyes turn to Brazil, hear five songs from Rio's jazz-influenced Flame Collective.
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Wynton Marsalis leads a group of musicians through upper Manhattan's Riverside Church for the New Orleans-style funeral of vibraphonist Lionel Hampton in 2002.
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May 25, 2014 Around 1945, jazz's traditional funeral rites manifested in a more modern form of tribute. Now, some of the music's most powerful tunes are written in memory of late colleagues. Hear five examples.
Sun Ra's music sounds like it was intercepted from another world.
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May 22, 2014 Sifting through the overwhelming catalog of the Afro-futurist jazz master is a daunting task. To celebrate Sun Ra's centennial, we picked five essential songs that lay his otherworldly evolution bare.
Armando Peraza, center, was a key member of Santana for nearly three decades.
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May 1, 2014 It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker and Carlos Santana. But such was the resumé of Armando Peraza after almost 70 years of making music.
The vocal trio KING features production from Paris Strother, a jazz-trained pianist.
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April 25, 2014 This weekend's Art of Cool Festival in Durham, N.C., aims to expand the audience for improvised music. So it's booked performers from modern R&B, hip-hop and beyond with deep jazz influences.
Jayne Cortez in 1996. The poet often recorded her poems to improvised music.
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April 11, 2014 Structured and free, sonic and rhythmic, poems and jazz music seem like natural partners. For National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some notable collisions between the two.
Donny Hathaway remains widely admired in jazz, but much of his repertoire has yet to be tapped by improvisers.
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January 17, 2014 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.
Lionel Loueke (left) and Miguel Zenon (right) join Jeff Ballard in the drummer's rhythm-oriented trio.
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January 8, 2014 The 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.
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