Jazz 91.1 Program Highlights

I'm Talkin' Jazz

Sunday at 9am


Javon Jackson with Chris Cortez
Described as America's African Musical Ambassador, pianist and composer Randy Weston was dedicated to teaching and informing music fans about the connections of Africa's music to American jazz. His songs "Hi-Fly", "Berkshire Blues" and "Little Niles" have become jazz standards.


Claudia Villela with Jesse "Chuy" Varela
Gifted singer, pianist and composer Claudia Villela is known for her inspiring body of work that has been characterized as a distinctive synthesis of jazz and Brazilian musical forms. Her glorious five octave vocal range and breathtaking music has attracted the attention of many artists including Michael Brecker, Harvie S and Toninha Horta and has earned her an international following that continues to grow.


Billy Taylor with Dick Conte
NEA Jazz Master, pianist and composer Billy Taylor was the world's most foremost spokesman for jazz who spent over 6 decades performing and recording while composing more than 300 songs. His extensive appearances on TV and radio educational programs earmed him a Peabody Award and the prestigious NEA Jazz Masters Award in 1998.


Grace Kelly with Lee Thomas
Nationally renowned saxophonist, singer and songwriter Grace Kelly made her recording debut at age 12 earning numerous awards including the ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award. Her collaborations with NEA Jazz Masters Phil Woods and Lee Konitz have garnered critical acclaim and a four and a half star review from Downbeat Magazine.


Eric Reed with Clifford Brown, Jr.
Philadelphia born pianist and composer Eric Reed got a boost in his career at 18 after touring with Wynton Marsalis's septet while attending Cal State Northridge. He later spent two years with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra before launching into his own solo career collaborating with the likes of Mary Stallings, Clark Terry, Elvin Jones, Ron Carer and Christian McBride among others.


Jazz Night in America with Christian McBride

Monday at 9pm


Fred Hersch's Leaves of Grass Project
Fred Hersch is no stranger to the art of introspection. As a pianist, a composer, a bandleader and a sideman, he has always combined clarity of projection with a willingness to go deep. His latest expression of interiority is a graceful and revealing memoir, Good Things Happen Slowly, which takes shape as a gradual declaration of selfhood, in personal as well as artistic terms.

This week, Jazz Night in America joins Hersch in conversation at his loft in SoHo, to talk about his upbringing in Cincinnati, and the early realization that he was gay; about his scrappy arrival on the scene in New York, back when certain gigs stretched past dawn; about his death-defying recovery from a coma in 2008; and about the creative breakthrough he had a few years before that, adapting the work of a personal hero, the American poet Walt Whitman.

Hersch developed Whitman's Leaves of Grass into an elegant song cycle, featuring two articulate vocalists, Kurt Elling and Kate McGarry. The piece has been widely celebrated since its premiere, and Jazz Night consulted a noted Whitman scholar, along with Elling and others, for insights. We'll hear excerpts from a recent performance of the piece, at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

"It's taken me many years and a lot of lumps to realize who I am," Hersch reflects. To that end, Jazz Night in America had the good fortune of catching up with him at a moment of fullest self-realization. It's your good fortune, too.


Jazzmeia Horn
Maybe you became aware of Jazzmeia Horn five years ago, when she took first prize at the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Maybe you got hip when her debut album, A Social Call, was released last year. Maybe you caught her turn on the most recent Grammy Premiere Ceremony, when she knocked a scat chorus into the stratosphere. Or maybe this is the first you're hearing of Jazzmeia, which means you have something to look forward to.

A singer of ironclad capability, creative drive and irrepressible panache, she has emerged as the breakout new talent in a formidable jazz-vocal tradition. This is her moment, and Jazz Night in America has her story.

In this radio episode we'll delve into Ms. Horn's upbringing in Dallas where her grandfather is the legendary pastor of a Baptist church. We'll also cover her experience in New York, first as a fish out of water, then as a jam-session fixture, and then as an unstoppable force. We'll discuss her relationship to the jazz-vocal pantheon: incomparable artists we can conjure just by a first name, like Sarah or Betty or Billie.

More to the point, we'll hear Jazzmeia marking her own terrain, both in conversation and onstage at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola during the recent album-release show that marked another milestone in a young career that's sure to see more.


ECM at 50
ECM is observing its 50th anniversary this year and its largest celebration took place at Big Ears, where artists from its roster played some 20 concerts. Jazz Night in America's intrepid team caught about half of these - including a gorgeous solo bass recital by Larry Grenadier and a coolly mesmerizing dual-piano concert by Craig Taborn and Vijay Iyer.


Years After Apartheid
We celebrate 25 Years of Democracy in South Africa by focusing on the unknown trailblazers that stayed during the brutal era of apartheid with music by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The stories of trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, the South African icons that left their families to find refuge elsewhere, quickly becoming symbols of the pan African freedom movement, are widely known - but what about the forgotten the musicians that remained on South Africa's frontlines like Winston Mankunku Ngozi and Moses Taiwa Molelekwa? We tell their stories along with the master bassist Herbie Tsoaeli, who we captured at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. We also feature one of its rising stars of the "Born Free" generation, Thandi Ntule, who has no recognition of the white nationalist regime.


In Memoriam, 2019
We’re remembering musicians who left in 2019 - on our Jazz Night in American In Memoriam program. We are showing our deep appreciation for some of the greats: Harold Mabern; Dr. John; Larry Willis; Ray Santos; Ethel Ennis; and more. Instead of bringing you a show to mourn, this will be a show to uplift - because the spirit, music and legacy of all these musicians will never die.