Kevin Whitehead

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

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 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.

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12:00pm

Tue June 12, 2012
Music Reviews

Edmar Castaneda's 'Double Portion' Of Harp

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 12:46 pm

Edmar Castañeda's new album is titled Double Portion.
Courtesy of the artist

The Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda was born in Bogotá, and began playing at 13. A few years later, in the mid-1990s, he moved to New York, where he studied jazz trumpet. Then he returned to the harp with a new perspective and set of skills.

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11:40am

Tue June 5, 2012
Music Reviews

Tracing The Evolution Of Lost Chicago Jazz

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:29 pm

Mike Reed's People, Places and Things.
Courtesy of the artist

Drummer Mike Reed put together his quartet People, Places and Things to play music by their 1950s forebears. But it makes sense that, after a few years together, they'd also play later pieces, tracking the evolution of Chicago jazz on a new album titled Clean on the Corner. One dividend of their repertory work is that it inspires Reed to write his own tunes in the same spirit, like "The Lady Has a Bomb."

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11:52am

Tue May 29, 2012
Music Reviews

Anti-Virtuoso Piano, Delicate And Despoiled

Originally published on Tue May 29, 2012 12:11 pm

Left to right: Masabumi Kikuchi, Thomas Morgan, Paul Motian.
John Rogers

The death of a great musician ripples through the jazz community. It's a special loss to those improvisers we might call immediate survivors: working partners who'll miss that special interaction with a singular musician.

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9:46am

Wed April 18, 2012
Music Reviews

Jenny Scheinman's 'Mayhem' Hard To Pin Down

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 11:24 am

Jenny Scheinman's (left) quartet represents players raised on and used to playing all kinds of music.
Michael Gross

Violinist Jenny Scheinman's band and new album are both called Mischief and Mayhem. The record was made just after her quartet played a week at the Village Vanguard, but despite the jazz cred of regular Vanguard appearances, their stylistically fluid music draws on a lot of traditions.

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10:11am

Wed March 21, 2012
Music Reviews

Clark Terry: Not Just A Jazz Jester

Originally published on Wed March 21, 2012 3:15 pm

Clark Terry.
Courtesy of the artist

Writing about Clark Terry in the past, I've grumbled that this great and distinctive trumpeter had long been stereotyped as a pixie-ish jazz jester. There's more range and deep blues feeling to his sound than that. It wasn't all sweetness when he was growing up poor in St. Louis, touring in the Deep South before WWII or breaking the color line with TV orchestras in 1960.

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