Jazz Night In America

Sunday, 8 to 9 pm
  • Hosted by Christian McBride

A national jazz series presented by some of the leading producers of jazz content in the U.S., Jazz Night In America is a weekly syndicated jazz program that reflects our times. It showcases the artists who are on the scene today, at the height of their creative powers, and offers listeners a way to discover and connect with the world of jazz using the technology that's available to them. Christian McBride, the extraordinary bassist and bandleader, is the host of the show.

How to Experience Jazz Night In America:

On The Radio: Every Sunday night, we'll broadcast the one-hour program centered on great concerts and the stories behind them. 

On Wednesday Nights: Every Wednesday at 9 pm through the academic calendar, we'll videocast a streaming video presentation of a concert. It will often be the same show that you hear on-air — except you can hear AND see the full performance. We'll run a live chat, which all are welcome to join. The videocasts are ONLY available on Wednesdays at 9 pm. So don't miss it!

On Demand: Did you miss the radio broadcast? No problem. The audio will be available on demand on our website. Additional content, including highlights from webcasts, documentary features, and other content will be at npr.org/jazznight.

Even if you don't know anything about jazz, it's quite possible you've heard the music of saxophonist Kamasi Washington: That's him on the latest albums by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. But that's only the very tip of his iceberg.

Is there a modern-day equivalent to Duke Ellington? Or Ornette Coleman?

Who are the people today who think differently about jazz — who have created new forms, and expanded the musical vocabulary?

For 30 years, saxophonist Steve Coleman has been pushing the music forward, traveling the world to collect new sounds, rhythms and ideas. Along the way he's mentored many of the most exciting younger artists in jazz — musicians like Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran and Vijay Iyer.

WXPN

The Hammond electronic organ was developed with churches in mind, as a lower-cost alternative to pipe organs. But in Philadelphia, a keyboard player named Jimmy Smith was inspired by early jazz experiments on the instrument, and found a devastating way to adapt the new bebop style to the Hammond B-3.

It seeded a new tradition of organ players in Philadelphia — major figures like "Groove" Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, Papa John and Joey DeFrancesco, and Trudy Pitts — and started a new sound in jazz at large.

Jazz bassist and composer Christian McBride recently finished a week-long West Coast tour in Seattle. It reminded him of how great a town it was for jazz, both historically and presently.

"There's always been a very powerful jazz community in Seattle," McBride says, citing the early careers of Ray Charles and Quincy Jones. "Quietly, it's been one of the most important jazz cities."

Don't be mistaken: Philadelphia is complimented far and wide. The City of Brotherly Love is our well-known handle, and our fine-eating places are the talk of other towns. Also peculiar to the area are those gastronomic delights known as hoagies, soft pretzels, and cheese steaks. We've got Billy Penn; we've got the Liberty Bell.

Christian McBride likely doesn't need much of an introduction. He's a bassist who's worked with everyone from McCoy Tyner to Diana Krall to Paul McCartney.

During Carnival in Brazil, music fills the streets. And often that music is frevo, a genre drawing from marches, Brazilian quadrilha, polka and classical music.

Henry Threadgill's music has always pushed boundaries. Two tubas with two guitars, a "sextett" with seven members, a free-improvising trio with an instrument made of hubcaps, a dance orchestra: Nothing is off the table.

New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent are a diverse group. Some were born in Puerto Rico, some have never set foot on the island, and everyone else falls somewhere between.

But they do share a special identity, calling themselves "Nuyoricans." And when you look over the long list of notable Nuyoricans — everyone from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor to Jennifer Lopez — it's kind of amazing how much they've contributed to American culture.

A Night At The Museum

Nov 6, 2014

Jazz musicians find inspiration in many things. Himalayan art is not typically one of them.

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