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

Tuesday

Sonny Rollins' big-hearted music speaks for itself on newly reissued 'Freedom Weaver'

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Wednesday

Celebrating singer Sarah Vaughan, on what would have been her 100th birthday

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Thursday

Remembering jazz composer Carla Bley

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Tuesday

Remembering four jazz notables who died in 2023

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Tuesday

Saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi's recipe for music is 'Extra Extra' on this new album

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Wednesday

Composer Angelica Sanchez takes inspiration from the sound of the woods at night

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Thursday

Argue's Secret Society produces 'Maximum Tension' on a lively new album

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Monday

An appreciation of Von Freeman, the patron saint of Chicago jazz musicians

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Monday

Celebrating jazz great Sam Rivers, on what would have been his 100th birthday

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Wednesday

Jazz pianist Sonny Clark gets first-class treatment on a new box set collection

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Wednesday

Newly unearthed 1974 session by Clifford Jordan is a striking, one-of-a-kind album

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Monday

Mingus' 'Changes' is a mixed bag: Some brilliant music, then a hero's tragic fate

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Thursday

Composer and saxophonist Henry Threadgill has a new album and a new book

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Thursday

Arturo O'Farrill puts piano in the foreground on 'Legacies'

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Wednesday

Remembering pianist and NEA Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal

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Friday

Walter Smith III sounds right at home on 'return to casual'

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Thursday

100 years ago today, Louis Armstrong wrapped his first recording session

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Tuesday

Esperanza Spalding teams up with pianist Fred Hersch in this 'Vanguard' recording

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Wednesday

Remembering Wayne Shorter, jazz saxophonist and visionary composer

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Wednesday

Remembering Burt Bacharach, master of the melodic hook

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Thursday

Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis and Shirley Scott heat things up in their 'Cookbook' sessions

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Monday

NEA Jazz Master Kenny Barron shines playing solo on 'The Source'

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Thursday

Remembering cello player Abdul Wadud, and other jazz greats who died in 2022

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Tuesday

'Emerald City Nights' revisits jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal in a series from the 1960s

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