Jazz

Relative to other states, Louisiana experienced an early spike in COVID-19 cases and on March 16, the city of New Orleans issued social distancing guidelines that advised against gatherings of more than 10 people. That included funerals. When a few names on the deceased list hit close to home, Brass-a-Holics bandleader Winston "Trombone" Turner felt they needed to be honored like they would have been, ordinarily — with music.

Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes, whose new album What Kinda Music was released on Friday, are two "very different musicians," in the words of the latter. Dayes is a jazz drummer with a flair for the experimental, and Misch is a producer and guitarist whose dreamy R&B melodies pushed his 2018 debut Geography to be certified silver in the U.K.

On this episode of Jazz Night in America, we check out a concert from the archives that I just had to take a listen to. It features one of the greatest pianists ever, Monty Alexander, and my mentor and hero, the late bassist Ray Brown.

In this time of social distancing, hunkering down and chatting remotely, we might learn some new things about each other. For example, you might know Marin Alsop as the longtime music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, one of the leading figures in classical music around the world and a frequent guest on Weekend Edition. But you might not know that back in the 1980s, she also led a swing band.

Lee Konitz, the prolific jazz saxophonist who maintained a singular style and devotion to improvisation throughout a career that stretched more than 70 years, died on Wednesday at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York at the age of 92. His son, Josh Konitz, confirmed to NPR that the cause was pneumonia related to COVID-19.

Andy González, a New York bassist who both explored and bridged the worlds of Latin music and jazz, has died. The 69-year-old musician died in New York on Thursday night, from complications of a pre-existing illness, according to family members.

Born and bred in the Bronx, Andy González epitomized the fiercely independent Nuyorican attitude through his music — with one foot in Puerto Rican tradition and the other in the cutting-edge jazz of his native New York.

Kandace Springs' third record is a source of familiarity in uncertain times. Titled The Women Who Raised me, it's full of beloved and recognizable songs associated with jazz artists who inspired and influenced Springs as an artist: Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Lauryn Hill and Norah Jones, among many others. But the album is not only a tribute to some of those legends, it's also a showcase of Springs' talent for reinterpreting and seamlessly blending genres.

Bucky Pizzarelli, a tasteful sage of jazz guitar who spent the first phase of his career as a prolific session player and the last phase as a celebrated patriarch, died on Wednesday in Saddle River, N.J. Guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli, his oldest son and regular musical partner, said the cause was the coronavirus. He was 94.

When the subject of jazz comes up, the name Marsalis is soon sure to follow. Brothers Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason have all reached international fame. But before they found success, their father Ellis was shaping his own career and lighting the way for others to follow.

A few weeks ago, as the city of New Orleans was preparing to institute a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus, Nicholas Payton got to work.

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