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 Friday, May 17 at 9 p.m. This week on the Caravan we have new music by the Secret Sisters and The Black Swans as well as tunes by Robert Deeble, John Trudell, and Alex De Grassi. On Blues at the Bottom, something old from Billy Holiday and something new from James Cotton, plus Joe Pug and Charles Brown. Then, in our concert hour, Dave Brubeck at the 2009 Newport Jazz Festival. On Be Quiet and Play the Music we'll wander into the Great Impossible. Tune in Friday at 9 for the Caravan here on Red River Radio.
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 Monday, January 27 at 8 p.m.Randy Weston has long nurtured a pan-African outlook in his life and music, having spent years living in Morocco and studying traditions from throughout the continent. And when you're 85, as he is, "long" means from the bebop era to the present day. He remains a distinctive and imposing piano stylist, and his African Rhythms Trio closes the Quad stage on the first day of the Newport Jazz Festival.