Airs Tuesday, April 30 at 9 p.m. A powerhouse behind the drum kit, John Hollenbeck is also becoming one of the great composer-bandleaders of the age. After last year's large ensemble show, he returns to Newport with his unusual small group, the Claudia Quintet (and a sixth member on piano). The band's latest release What Is The Beautiful? sets poems by Kenneth Patchen to music; much like the album, vocalists Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann stand and deliver on stage.
Airs Thursday, April 18 at 8 p.m. Brazilian music has produced many creative composers and a wealth of great guitarists, but rarely do these talents reside within the same individual. One such exception is the brilliant young musician Chico Pinheiro, who was born in Sao Paolo in 1974, and has distinguished himself as a remarkable presence both in and outside the Brazilian music scene. In this episode, we listen to a 2011 SMF performance of Mr. Pinheiro with his quintet, including a duet performance with Romero Lubambo and a special guest appearance by jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves.
Airs Tuesday, April 16 at 9 p.m. Since he came over from Cuba around the turn of the century, the phenomenally talented percussionist Pedrito Martinez has become the conguero of choice for scores of bands. And most weeks in New York City, you can see him with his own, gigging several nights a week at a Cuban restaurant south of Central Park. The Pedrito Martinez Group places him at the congas and behind a microphone, where he exhibits a certain natural charisma.
Airs Thursday, April 4 at 8 p.m. Duke Ellington is widely regarded as one of the most important composers in the history of music and his orchestra of the mid 1930's was at the beginning of its creative peak, featuring some of the finest jazz soloists in the history of the music. During the years of 1936 - 40 a series of small group sessions led by Ellington with his key sidemen, were recorded for a variety of different labels and they have all stood the test of time.
Airs Monday, March 18 at 9 p.m. So much of what we think of as straight ahead jazz was shaped by the Blue Note Sound. As the host of this special, Jim Luce explains, in the mid-20th century Producer Alfred Lyons brought a diverse group of musicians into the studio to conceive, compose and make jazz records without compromise. In Rudy Van Gelder's recording studio in New Jersey, fueled by an intensively creative, collaborative, risk-taking and "hip" culture among the artists, magic happened.
The hour provides a good sampling of music that epitomized that period, featuring artists (interchangeable leaders and sidemen) that included the likes of Horace Silver, J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Freddie Hubbard, Woodie Shaw, Lee Morgan, Billy Higgens, McCoy Tyner, Elvin Jones, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Billy Cobham, Jackie McLean and more.