He was a soulful reedman, an amazing talent scout for decades and a bandleader of one of the country's most popular acts. Born in 1913, Herman led "Thundering Herds" that were both big draws and well-respected by the likes of Igor Stravinsky. Here are five recordings which still sound fresh today.
Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler
Get to know jazz, five songs at a time.
Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg says his is an "instrument that at times responds better to the oblique glance than direct confrontation." He picks five players who have worked with the difficult horn, yielding unique and personal beauty in the process.
WBGOBremen may be best known for its love of soccer and Beck's beer. But in April, more than 20,000 jazz fans and industry professionals descend upon the German port city for a festival designed specifically to showcase new acts from across Europe.
Jazz24The advent of bebop added a fresh sound to American music. It also added new voices to some metropolitan radio stations: the late-night jazz DJs who specialized in presenting this new music to their fellow hipster nightflies. Appreciative musicians often wrote them tributes like these.
WBGOFor centuries, the country turned its back on black musicians — including the jazz artists whose creations embodied freedom and empowerment. Today, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is one of Africa's largest musical gatherings. Here are five musicians who played the festival this year.
WFIUMusicians like Lil Hardin Armstrong, Carla Bley and Mary Lou Williams didn't just make it in the historically male-dominated field of jazz: They were the driving forces behind their own bands. Hear five pioneering examples of women who composed for and directed their own groups.
The Memphis-bred, New-York-honed and coastal California resident developed a reputation as an earthy, sincere voice — one one the world's most popular jazz musicians. Hear five tunes spanning the saxophonist's career, from '60s mysticism to modern spirituals.
Jazz24Many jazz standards are themselves about making lists. Here are five of them, including Louis Armstrong's take on "Let's Do It," Johnny Hartman's version of "These Foolish Things" and a classic reading of Jobim's "Waters of March."
WFIUSince the Harlem Renaissance, African-American musicians have portrayed black history as extended musical works. Jazz is full of such long-form compositions. Hear five examples from composers such as Oliver Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Duke Ellington.
KMHDJazz fans will surely know some of the musicians who have called the City of Roses home: Charlie Rouse, Jim Pepper, Esperanza Spalding and more. But the annual Portland Jazz Festival, which opens Friday, turns the spotlight on a diverse community of talent in place right now.
Jazz24In the Northern Hemisphere, January is typically the coldest month of the year — and it feels as if it'll never end. Perfect conditions for a blues lament. Hear songs from Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Blind Willie McTell and more.
WBGOUnpredictability is the key ingredient of the annual New York showcase, which often emphasizes new bands or projects. Here's a preview of five groups who will present unreleased music, featuring musicians like Lee Konitz, Brandee Younger and Jason Lindner.
There's a certain intensity of spirit in jazz and improvised music, to the point where it occasionally aligns with religious worship. Of course, sometimes jazz musicians just like playing familiar songs. Here are five records, all from 2012, which run the gamut of Christmas jazz.
The late pianist and composer never tired of playing his greatest hits. But both before and after his seminal 1959 album Time Out, Brubeck took his craft to college kids, to churches, to musicals, to social-justice concerns and to the imaginations of countless new jazz fans.
Jazz24Starting in the 1920s, Hawkins made an afterthought of an instrument into one of the sounds we most identify with jazz. He also straddled the era of big band swing and later developments like bebop. Here are five songs that illustrate his genius.