Kevin Whitehead Kevin Whitehead is the jazz critic on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
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Kevin Whitehead

Kevin Whitehead

Jazz Critic, Fresh Air

Kevin Whitehead is the jazz critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Currently he reviews for The Audio Beat and Point of Departure.

Whitehead's articles on jazz and improvised music have appeared in such publications as Point of Departure, the Chicago Sun-Times, Village Voice, Down Beat, and the Dutch daily de Volkskrant.

He is the author of Play the Way You Feel: The Essential Guide to Jazz Stories on Film (2020), Why Jazz: A Concise Guide (2010), New Dutch Swing (1998), and (with photographer Ton Mijs) Instant Composers Pool Orchestra: You Have to See It (2011).

His essays have appeared in numerous anthologies including Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006, Discover Jazz and Traveling the Spaceways: Sun Ra, the Astro-Black and Other Solar Myths.

Whitehead has taught at Towson University, the University of Kansas and Goucher College. He lives near Baltimore.

Story Archive

Fresh Air remembers jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis

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The Free Form Funky Freqs blend jazz, R&B, rock and a little space music

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New quartet album by jazz drummer Billy Drummond is a treat

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Tyshawn Sorey's 'Mesmerism' celebrates the everyday miracle of the jazz rhythm trio

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Jacob Garchik's boldly mixed 'Assembly' is quintessential COVID-era jazz

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Pianist David Virelles shows off the depth and breadth of what he can do on 'Nuna'

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Max Roach's 1960 landmark 'We Insist!' proves timeless in a reissue

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The Clarinet Trio's new album showcases the lovely sound of blended woodwinds

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'Fresh Air' marks the centennial of jazz great Charles Mingus

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Reissue traces jazz giant Ornette Coleman's 'Genesis of Genius'

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Cecil Taylor's piano lightning bolts are precisely targeted in this 1973 recording

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Remembering jazz trumpet player Ron Miles, a thinking person's improviser

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Lennie Tristano's private stash of recordings reveal a trove of free improvisations

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Jazz trio Artifacts gets to the point quickly, and sticks to it, on a new album

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Jazz legend Chick Corea, shown here in 2018, died on Feb. 9, 2021. Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images for OGR hide caption

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Giorgio Perottino/Getty Images for OGR

'Fresh Air' remembers the jazz notables who died in 2021

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