Airs Monday, April 21 at 8 p.m. Should you ever meet Donny McCaslin, you'll encounter an imposingly tall fellow who's one of the nicest guys you'll shake hands with — and who wields a sax like few others. His band has gone electro-funk with fuzz-dub bass, analog synths and hard grooves. One of his newer tunes is called "Stadium Jazz," which is a little tongue-in-cheek and with a little bit of the grand vision implied. They played a side stage in the morning. The audience didn't know what hit 'em.
Airs Monday, April 14 at 8 p.m. As a whole, Terence Blanchard's high-functioning quintet reliably serves up sleek modernism in the form of post-bop jazz. Individually, its members are also becoming great composers: Blanchard's new album, Magnetic, features tunes from everyone in the band. The new repertoire sees Blanchard cop some electric feels for his trumpet. And a guest turn from guitarist Lionel Loueke, who also appears on the album, makes this band a rare six-person quintet.
Airs Thursday, April 10 at 8 p.m. The general definition of a prodigy is "a child with a skill set or an ability that is incredibly accomplished, far beyond their years." Often times, such individuals are found in more quantitative fields, such as chess, music and math. One such prodigy is Julian Lage, who was born in 1987 and acclaimed as a major musical talent by the age of 8, when he became the subject of the 1997 Academy Award nominated documentary "Jules at Eight." Since then, Julian has gone on to become a wonderfully original performer who adores teaching almost as much as he does playing. In the spring of 2013, Julian Lage made his third appearance at the Savannah Music Festival, playing on a double bill with guitarist Martin Taylor. In this episode, we hear highlights from Julian's solo performance, along with two duets with Martin Taylor.
Airs Monday, April 7 at 8 p.m. Berklee College of Music graduate Ali Amr grew up in the Palestinian territories, where music was literally what kept him off the streets. He's translated that into a prepossessing command of the 72-string instrument called the qanun, and at Berklee, he's found a way to blend it into in a fluid, jazz-based improvising context. Like Robert Glasper, Amr calls his hybridized band the Experiment; that word has a different connotation in his hands.
Airs Thursday, April 3 at 8 p.m. When you study jazz under Sir Roland Hanna and Jimmy Heath, earn your Master of Arts degree Summa Cum Laude from the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and receive the Louis Armstrong Award for Composition from the ASCAP Foundation all while in your young twenties, the serious of your intent is not in question. In the spring of 2013, we brought 38 year old jazz pianist Jeb Patton, best known for his work with the Heath Brothers and being a "go-to" pianist on the NYC jazz scene, for a concert with the great saxophonist Charles McPherson and his quartet. While in town, Jeb also gave a lunchtime recital to an enthusiastic crowd, displaying his immense love for, and command of, the history of jazz piano. Tune in to hear highlights from the recital.