If the last two years have taught us anything, it would have to be finding a (shaky, perhaps) balance between celebrating life while continuing to grieve. This year, the music community bid farewell to more than 50 jazz icons; amongst them were people who changed the way we experience jazz forever, from Chick Corea and Dr. Lonnie Smith to George Wein and Greg Tate. Their music, performances, words and impact endure, allowing us further opportunities to introduce new ears to the genre and to grow alongside their legacies.
As we took stock of our losses, we realized that the low end was hit hardest and felt compelled to feature a bassist in this year's visual tribute. John Patitucci and his wife, cellist Sachi Patitucci, graciously agreed to help us honor those memories with a bittersweet ballad called "One More Angel."
Filmed in the showroom at Upton Bass String Instrument Co. in Mystic, Conn., where string instruments are still made by hand, the union of simplicity and elegance there was the perfect setting for Jazz Night in America to remember the icons we lost in 2021.
You can also listen to our Jazz Night's in memoriam radio episode for a closer look at the lives and contributions of nine of these artists — including Curtis Fuller, Pat Martino, Dottie Dodgion and Milford Graves.
"One More Angel" (composed by John Patitucci)
John Patitucci, bass
Sachi Patitucci, cello
Producers: Nikki Birch, Mitra I. Arthur; Recording Engineer and Audio Mix: Josh Rogosin; Videographers: Tsering Bista, Nickolai Hammar, Mitra I. Arthur, Nikki Birch; Editor: Nikki Birch; Photo Editor: Michele Abercrombie; Graphics: Amna Ijaz; Project Manager: Suraya Mohamed; Senior Producers: Nikki Birch, Alex Ariff; Senior Director of NPR Music: Keith Jenkins; Executive Producers: Anya Grundmann, Gabrielle Armand