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Eyes on the Prize

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What does it mean to pick a winner in jazz? We’re considering that question in the wake of the Herbie Hancock Jazz Piano Competition, which Nate covered in New York City. The subject leads us to a discussion of the competitive tradition in this music, which extends from Kansas City jam sessions to Jazz at the Philharmonic Tours to the present day. Nobody has a more nuanced handle on the topic than Joshua Redman, who hit the ground running when he won the Thelonious Monk Jazz Saxophone Competition 30 years ago.

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The Late Set is produced by Alex Ariff.

Greg Bryant has been a longtime curator of improvisational music as a broadcaster, writer, host and musician. As a young child, he began absorbing the artistry of Miles Davis, Les McCann, Jimmy Smith, James Brown, Ornette Coleman, Weather Report, and Jimi Hendrix via his parent's record collection. He was so moved by what he was experiencing that he took pride in relaying all of his discoveries with anyone who would listen.
Nate Chinen has been writing about music for more than 25 years. He spent a dozen of them working as a critic for The New York Times, and helmed a long-running column for JazzTimes. As Editorial Director at WRTI, he oversees a range of classical and jazz coverage, and contributes regularly to NPR.