Airs Thursday, January 23 at 8 p.m. The piano has been an integral part of the jazz idiom since its inception. Due to its combined melodic, harmonic and rhythmic possibilities, it has been the one instrument that allowed the greatest jazz players to use their creativity to address all of these elements of musical style simultaneously. This episode of SMF Live features the first half of Piano Showdown 2010, with New Orleans powerhouse Henry Butler, the encyclopedic Dick Hyman, the virtuosic Marcus Roberts and one of the most talented players of the younger generation, 25 year-old Gerald Clayton.
Airs Monday, January 20 at 8 p.m. His bloodline alone makes him something of a prince of jazz. But his legendary father died when he was a toddler, and Ravi Coltrane blazed his own trail on the tenor saxophone; indeed, his ideas about composition and flow and tone sound most at home with his own generation of improvisers. His quartet has developed a new set of repertoire for a new album in the works. We get a good midterm progress report from the Harbor Stage at the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival.
Airs Thursday, January 16 at 8 p.m. Though his artistic pursuits are difficult to categorize stylistically, there is no doubt that mandolinist, composer, producer, educator and historian David Grisman has an insatiable appetite for music. Hist idiosyncratic artistic journey has been one of elaboration and refinement, so when he formed a trio in 2011 to explore the common musical roots of folk, country and jazz, it was a simple and logical extension of his musical activity.
Airs Monday, January 6 at 8 p.m. The Grammy Award-winning ensemble performes at the Newport Jazz Festival. Decades after his death, the richly-detailed, soul-stirring oeuvre of Charles Mingus still packs a wallop. Thankfully, the beat goes on in the form of the Mingus Big Band — one of several repertory ensembles organized by widow Sue Mingus. Its latest, Grammy-winning album captures the ensemble's regular residency at the Jazz Standard in New York; this recording finds the band sparking the action on the Fort Stage of the 2011 Newport Jazz Festival.
Airs Monday, December 30 at 8 p.m. The Berklee College of Music in Boston has educated at least eight bandleaders playing this year's Newport Jazz Festival, and several other sidemen. So it's appropriate that the school annually sends one of its most enterprising student groups to Newport. At the Harbor Stage, Puerto Rican saxophonist Mario Castro leads a group of musicians from places as far-flung as South Korea, Israel and California, and as close as a few hours north on the Massachusetts coast.