Airs Wednesday, February 6 at 8 p.m. This one hour special takes listeners to the hidden world of New Orleans corner joints—bars far from the French Quarter, in neighborhoods like Central City, Treme, and Pigeontown. These clubs, patronized almost entirely by locals, nurture a resilient blues and rhythm-and-blues scene that is often overshadowed by the Crescent City’s legacy as a jazz town. They are an essential part of New Orleans’ cultural history, but they are struggling—because of the recession, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and potentially the BP oil spill.
Airs Monday, December 31 at 8:00 p.m. Count down, sing along, and dance to live music all night long. Travel from coast to coast with four celebrations of midnight from time zone to time zone. It's the perfect holiday special for any New Year's event. Spirited, improvised, grooving, and swinging, with strings, horns, voices and drums, each segment is a stop in a sequence of parties, each one contributing something new to the musical feast. WBGO's Rhonda Hamilton anchors, with additional voices along the way.
Airs Tuesday, December 25 at 10:00 p.m. It's a very merry jazz Christmas with an hour of some of the best holiday jazz. We’ll talk with jazz historian Bill Sears about some of the off-the-beaten path jazz takes on your favorite holiday classics, and chat with our producer Lou Blouin about the Christmas duet that brought jazz icon Bing Crosby and rocker David Bowie together. That plus a conversation with pianist Eugene Marlow about his recent jazz reworking of some classic Hanukkah music, and tunes from Duke Ellington, Hammond B3 pioneer Jimmy Smith, Vince Guaraldi, and the Squirrel Nut Zippers, are all coming up on this Special.
Airs, Tuesday December 25 at 9:00 p.m. NPR Music brings you another great concert from the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. NEA Jazz Master Ellis Marsalis, Jason Moran, Geri Allen, and Taylor Eigsti, and other artists perform their favorite holiday songs.
Airs Thursday, December 13 at 9:00 p.m. Tune in to hear banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio, live from Savannah in their debut performance together. The history of the banjo in jazz dates back to the earliest ensembles of the 20th century in New Orleans, when banjo players were occasionally the star of the band. Over the next 100 years, however, the banjo changed within American musical culture, gradually falling out of favor as a primary instrument within a jazz band. In the spring of 2011, the Savannah Music Festival premiered a project featuring banjoist Bela Fleck with pianist Marcus Roberts and his trio. The results proved that the banjo has always been a wonderful solo instrument in jazz, particularly in the hands of a great improvisor like Bela Fleck. Tune in to hear Marcus Roberts on piano, Jason Marsalis on drums, Rodney Jordan on bass and Bela Fleck on banjo, live from Savannah in their debut performance.