Airs Tuesday, March 26 at 9 p.m. The tenor saxophonist John Ellis is a commanding instrumentalist with a most gorgeous, carmelized tone. And though he now lives in New York, his band gives away the fact that he learned an awful lot in New Orleans. A chunk of Double-Wide lives there — notably, Matt Perrine (sousaphone) and Jason Marsalis (drums) — and the Crescent City's carnivalesque and high-stepping timbres are refracted through Ellis' tunes. You can take the boy out of the South, but you can't take the South out of his musical vision. Joining him also are Gary Versace on organ and accordion and Alan Ferber on trombone.
Airs Tuesday, March 19 at 9 p.m. Like his countryman Pedrito Martinez, drummer Dafnis Prieto came over from Cuba around the turn of the century — promptly placing every rhythm section in New York City on notice. His next-level understanding of the clave, combined with his seeming willingness to try anything that grooves, led to his nomination as a MacArthur Fellow last year. That cast of mind powering a sextet with horns will prove volatile, as it did on his 2008 album Taking The Soul For A Walk. On stage, it's liable to cause bug-eyed amazement if onlookers aren't careful. His band features Peter Apfelbaum on saxophone, Felipe Lamoglia on saxophone, Ralph Alessi on trumpet, Manuel Valera on piano, and Yunior Terry on bass.
Airs Tuesday, March 12 at 9 p.m. The name of the band refers to Ken Peplowski, a Swing-era specialist; Evan Christopher, a living historian of the New Orleans Creole clarinet; and Anat Cohen — what doesn't she do? They're not the only ones on stage, of course — they'll be backed by a band which knows the time-honored and broad-shouldered methods of swing. This reedy convocation on the state of the clarinet today was put together for Newport, and — on the birthday anniversary of Louis Armstrong — was filled with ad lib fireworks.
Airs Tuesday, February 19 at 9 p.m. The great drummer turns 70 during the week following the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival, but he's certainly not going quietly into retirement age. Lately, he's been leading a quintet which combines a brilliant saxophonist fluent in South Asian music (Rudresh Mahanthappa), an electric guitarist known for microtonal experiments (Dave Fiuczynski) and the combination of keyboards (George Colligan) and acoustic bass guitar (Jerome Harris).
Airs Tuesday, February 5 at 9 p.m. Bill Frisell is a soft-spoken guy who does a lot of talking with his guitar — and its pedals and effects. So perhaps it's appropriate that he recently issued an album called All We Are Saying, a collection of John Lennon songs. Though he's known primarily for working with other improvisers, he's of the Baby Boomer generation, and he doesn't hide his love for Beatles songs away. With a band including steel guitarist Greg Leisz, violinist Jenny Scheinman, bassist Tony Scherr, and drummer Kenny Wollesen, Frisell doesn't reinvent the wheel — but he certainly gives it a new spin.
Set List: "Across The Universe" "Beautiful Boy" "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" "#9 Dream" "Come Together" "In My Life" "Strawberry Fields Forever" This concert is made possible by NPR Music and was recorded at the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival.