Ornette Coleman died Thursday, at the age of 85. Listen to a pair of conversations with the saxophonist and composer, as well as interviews with members of his quartet — Don Cherry and Charlie Haden — and his son, Denardo Coleman.
Oregon saxophonist Rich Halley takes inspiration from the Wallowa mountain range on his new album Crossing the Passes. On Boss of the Plains, Chicago-based trio Wheelhouse makes music that evokes the Great Plains and wind chimes on a porch when the weather changes.
Jazz lost many great saxophonists in 2012, including David S. War, John Tchicai, Byard Lancaster, Faruq Z. Bey, Hal McKusick and Red Holloway. Critic Kevin Whitehead pays tribute to three more of his favorites.
The jazz saxophonist and flutist died Thursday at age 85. Fresh Air remembers the musician, whose 1949 improvisation over "I'm in the Mood for Love" became a jazz staple, with highlights from a 1996 interview.
Dutch composer, saxophonist, bass clarinetist and bandleader Willem Breuker died in Amsterdam last Friday. He was 65. Breuer led his own big band while also composing music for films, theater and classical ensembles. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead looks back at Breuker, who he says helped shape and define modern Dutch music.
Celebrated soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom — a pioneer, among other things, in the use of electronics in live jazz — has an inventively formatted new recording. Fresh Air's jazz critic has a listen.
Jackie McLean, the legendary jazz saxophonist who died last week at age 74, began playing at the age of 15 in his native New York City. Schooled in bebop at the start of his career, the alto sax player names Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young and Charlie Parker as influences. We offer a rebroadcast of a conversation with McLean.
Sidney Bechet played soprano saxophone in the early decades of jazz, before John Coltrane popularized the instrument. A new anthology, Mosaic Select: Sidney Bechet, offers listeners a chance to hear Bechet's music, transferred and restored from rare recordings from 1923 to 1947.
Blue Note has recently reissued recordings that feature three so-called "second-tier" saxophonists: The Complete Blue Note 45 Sessions by Ike Quebec; Tex Book Tenor by Booker Ervin; Let Me Tell You 'Bout It by Leo Parker.
Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews the new box set Albert Ayler: Holy Ghost, celebrating the saxophonist and composer. Through renewed interest — and a string of reissues — Ayler has grown increasingly influential and appreciated in recent years.
The jazz tenor sax player died July 22 at the age of 81 in Queens, N.Y. A seminal figure in R&B, Jacquet played with some of the great big bands, including ones led by Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, and Count Basie. (Rebroadcast From Oct. 13, 1988).
Saxophonist Branford Marsalis. He's just released "Footsteps of Our Fathers," the debut release on the artist's own Marsalis Music label. In the nearly two decades that he has released solo albums, he's won two Grammy Awards and was nominated for a third in 1995. He was the first band leader for Jay Leno's "The Tonight Show" and appeared on the show from 1992-1995. In addition to the solo and ensemble records he's released, Marsalis has participated in various film scores as both composer and featured soloist.
Johnston is best known for his work with the Microscopic Septet from 1980 to 1992. His latest band, Big Trouble, has just released the album, "Flood At The Ant Farm." He has a reputation as one of contemporary music's most versatile composers. In addition to playing the saxophone, Johnston has a growing interest in scoring music for film, T.V., and radio programs. He has written the theme music for "Fresh Air." He has also written music for other NPR programs, MTV, and Comedy Central.
Moody's new CD, "Young At Heart" is a collection of Frank Sinatra tunes. Just after World War II, Moody joined the bebop big band of Dizzy Gillespie and played with Milt Jackson. His most famous recording is of an improvisatory piece he performed in 1949, now known as "Moody's Mood For Love." In the new CD, Moody performs as vocalist, tenor/alto/soprano saxist and flutist. He talks about his career and how his hearing problems have affected his career.