NPR's 27th annual New Year's Eve special, Toast of the Nation, celebrates with live jazz and blues performances covering four midnights coast-to-coast. The eight-hour special will originate from the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City and, throughout the night, will also feature live performances from Kendrick Oliver & The New Life Jazz Orchestra in Boston, Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra in New York City, Karrin Allyson in Kansas City and McCoy Tyner with special guest Joe Lovano from Oakland, Calif.
Co-produced by NPR and Jazz 88 WBGO in Newark, N.J., Toast of the Nation will broadcast Sunday from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. ET.
8 p.m. ET: Sing! Stomp! Shout! with tuba player Kendrick Oliver and the New Life Jazz Orchestra at Berklee College of Music in Boston — they swing like a young Count Basie Band gone to church. Produced by WGBH in Boston, and hosted by WGBH's Eric Jackson.
9 p.m. ET: The hour features a never-aired show from alto saxophonist Bobby Watson's Kansas City Jump Band at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, and a tribute to pianist Jay "Hootie" McShann (1916-2006), the last of the great Kansas City players.
10 p.m. ET: The Big River Concert for New Orleans at the Chicago Symphony Center with guest host Branford Marsalis. See above.
11 p.m. ET: Steven Bernstein's Millennial Territory Orchestra rings in midnight on the East Coast at Tonic in New York. The MTO re-imagines 1920s Midwestern-style territory charts, and giddily wails into 2007. Their roots are in the movie Kansas City, directed by the late Robert Altman, for which Bernstein was a consultant. A recent profile of Bernstein on Morning Edition sums it up: "There's magic in mixing the strange and the familiar." Produced by Jazz 88 WBGO.
12:15 a.m. ET: The Karrin Allyson Quintet at the Kansas City Repertory Theater shines her down-to-earth Midwesternness on a pocketful of riches. Her CD Footprints — with new lyrics fit to her favorite melodies — topped the jazz radio charts for seven weeks this past summer. It's a command performance from this Kansas City daughter and her band, with champagne at midnight thanks to KCUR.
1:15 a.m. ET: We hear a Fall 2006 Derek Trucks Band show at the Keswick Theatre near Philadelphia. At 29, Trucks is the youngest person to be named to Rolling Stone's list of All Time Great Guitar Players. The Mountain Time countdown to midnight will also include a Dec. 31, 2005, party with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles.
2:15 a.m. ET: The McCoy Tyner Trio with saxophonist Joe Lovano plays at Yoshi's in Oakland, Calif. The power trio includes Christian McBride on bass and Jeff "Tain" Watts on drums. After just a few measures of Tyner, your heart will dance all the way to midnight Pacific Time, thanks to KCSM and host Bud Spangler.
3:30 a.m. ET: A reprise of Kendrick Oliver's New Life Jazz Orchestra in Boston.