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19 Segments




'The Clarinets'

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews The Clarinets, a new album from the clarinet-playing trio of Anthony Burr, Oscar Noriega and Chris Speed.


The Quintessential Jazz Man.

Sonny Rollins, tenor saxophonist, is one of the jazz world's greatest improvisational artists. At the tender age of 23, he played with Miles Davis and Charlie Parker. After successfully battling a heroin addiction in the early 1950s, he joined the Clifford Brown-Max Roach quintet. He also began a critically-acclaimed solo career. Now in his sixties, he feels obligated to carry on the vision of his own mentors to today's rising stars. His latest album, "Old Flames" (Milestone), focuses on jazz standards and features Sonny backed by a brass section.


Experimental Jazz Saxophonist Anthony Braxton.

Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews two new albums by composer, saxophonist and clarinetist Anthony Braxton. Although Braxton's music has been much criticized, Kevin calls him one of his heroes. Braxton's new albums are "19 Solo Compositions 1988" and "Seven Compositions (Trio) 1989."


Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead

Terry Gross interviews Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead. He's worked as a rock and restaurant critic. He believes he distinguishes himself by actively featuring artists outside the insular New York jazz scene. Whitehead is also a former seminarian, and a bassist who plays free improvised music.


Composer Terry Riley Remembers "In C"

Riley's breakthrough composition reduced melody to short, repetitive gestures, while still leaving room for improvisation. While hailed as the father of minimalist music, Riiey eschews the term. He is largely inspired by Indian raga, and performs often as an improvisor.


Third Stream Music with Gunther Schuller.

Composer, arranger, conductor Gunther Schuller. One of the most ardent supporters of new music, Schuller is equally at home with the music of bebop and the big band era as he with the 12-tone classical composers. Schuller is the past head of the New England Conservatory of Music, where he founded the New England Conservatory's Ragtime Band. In the late 40s, when he first cultivated his eclectic approach to music, Schuller held jobs simultaneously with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and with Miles Davis' tuba band.


Tribute to Gill Evans.

Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead pays tribute to bandleader and arranger Gil Evans, who died on March 20. A reissue of Evans' music from the early 60s has just been released, and Whitehead uses that record to comment on Evans' varied contribution over the course of his 40-year career.


Paul Bley's Improvisational Jazz.

Jazz Critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a reissue of a 1964 session featuring pianist Paul Bley. In the early years of his career, Bley worked closely with pianist Charles Mingus and saxophonist Ornette Colemen. Since the 60s, he's led his own small groups.


Adding Structure to Improvisation

Avant-garde composer and saxophonist John Zorn's most recent album reinterprets the music of film composer Ennio Morricone. His forthcoming recording pays homage to detective novelist Mickey Spillane.


Olu Dara's Jazz and Rhythm Fusion.

Jazz trumpeter, cornetist, and composer Olu Dara describes his music as "rhythmic fusion," and is the leader of the Okra Orchestra. His live shows are unusual among jazz concerts due to their dancing audiences. Dara joins the show to discuss his life, career, and contemporary jazz.


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