Jazz

Airs Monday, August 11 at 8 p.m. James Carter resists category. He plays the tenor, baritone and soprano saxes, plus the flute and bass clarinet. He clearly aligns himself with classic jazz, though his output is so varied that you couldn't possibly call him conservative. Perhaps it's best to say that he's a fiery, obvious talent whose musical imagination spans all of jazz history at once.

Airs Thursday, August 7 at 8 p.m.  Nearly a quarter of a century ago, banjo master Bela Fleck formed a band that drew on bluegrass, jazz, blues and rock, combining the talents of four unique musicians that play acoustic and electric instruments. They call themselves the Flecktones, and the dexterity they use to make their instruments roar, and the obvious joy that they share in doing so, explains the group's longevity and their loyal fan base. Tune in for part one of a 2012 SMF performance by the original lineup of the Flecktones, including pianist and harmonica player Howard Levy.

Airs Thursday, July 31 at 8 p.m.  Nearly a quarter of a century ago, banjo master Bela Fleck formed a band that drew on bluegrass, jazz, blues and rock, combining the talents of four unique musicians that play acoustic and electric instruments. They call themselves the Flecktones, and the dexterity they use to make their instruments roar, and the obvious joy that they share in doing so, explains the group's longevity and their loyal fan base. Tune in for part one of a SMF performance by the original lineup of the Flecktones, including pianist and harmonica player Howard Levy. 

Airs Monday, July 28 at 8 p.m. Vijay Iyer might be a genius. He has a master's degree in physics, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Technology and the Arts from Berkeley. He's also a largely self-taught pianist — and a powerhouse player at that — and composer for string quartet, theatre, film, orchestra, spoken-word multimedia, free improvisation, ESPN commercials, etc. And as a jazz bandleader, his quartets and trios translate his post-idiomatic artistic outlook into spiky, supercharged songs.

Airs Thursday, July 10 at 8:00 p.m. He's an artist influenced by classical, jazz and the diverse musical traditions of the Mediterranean rim. When double bass player and composer Renaud Garcia-Fons arrived backstage in the van with his custom five-stringed bass, we expected to see yet another huge bass case. Instead, he unloaded a much smaller box from which emerged a wooden body, out of which came the neck, followed by some strings that were quickly attached.

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