Take Five: A Weekly Jazz Sampler
May 23, 2013 — The great composer and bandleader was distraught over the 1967 death of Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years. But Ellington took Strayhorn's passing as an impetus, born of necessity, to increase his own productivity. Here are five examples.
May 16, 2013 — He was a soulful reedman, an amazing talent scout for decades and a bandleader of one of the country's most popular acts. Born in 1913, Herman led "Thundering Herds" that were both big draws and well-respected by the likes of Igor Stravinsky. Here are five recordings which still sound fresh today.
May 9, 2013 — Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg says his is an "instrument that at times responds better to the oblique glance than direct confrontation." He picks five players who have worked with the difficult horn, yielding unique and personal beauty in the process.
Apr 26, 2013 — Bremen may be best known for its love of soccer and Beck's beer. But in April, more than 20,000 jazz fans and industry professionals descend upon the German port city for a festival designed specifically to showcase new acts from across Europe.
Apr 18, 2013 — The advent of bebop added a fresh sound to American music. It also added new voices to some metropolitan radio stations: the late-night jazz DJs who specialized in presenting this new music to their fellow hipster nightflies. Appreciative musicians often wrote them tributes like these.
Apr 16, 2013 — For centuries, the country turned its back on black musicians — including the jazz artists whose creations embodied freedom and empowerment. Today, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is one of Africa's largest musical gatherings. Here are five musicians who played the festival this year.
Mar 29, 2013 — Musicians like Lil Hardin Armstrong, Carla Bley and Mary Lou Williams didn't just make it in the historically male-dominated field of jazz: They were the driving forces behind their own bands. Hear five pioneering examples of women who composed for and directed their own groups.
Mar 15, 2013 — The Memphis-bred, New-York-honed and coastal California resident developed a reputation as an earthy, sincere voice — one one the world's most popular jazz musicians. Hear five tunes spanning the saxophonist's career, from '60s mysticism to modern spirituals.
Feb 28, 2013 — Many jazz standards are themselves about making lists. Here are five of them, including Louis Armstrong's take on "Let's Do It," Johnny Hartman's version of "These Foolish Things" and a classic reading of Jobim's "Waters of March."
Feb 21, 2013 — Since the Harlem Renaissance, African-American musicians have portrayed black history as extended musical works. Jazz is full of such long-form compositions. Hear five examples from composers such as Oliver Nelson, Wynton Marsalis and Duke Ellington.