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Dr. Lonnie Smith, an NEA Jazz Master known for his dynamism and wizardry on the Hammond B3 organ, died Tuesday. He was 79 years old.

His death was confirmed on Twitter by Blue Note Records. A spokesperson for the label said the cause of death was pulmonary fibrosis, a form of lung disease.

Music impresario George Wein, who spawned the modern music festival when he helped launch the Newport Jazz and Newport Folk Festivals, has died at the age of 95.

According to a statement from his family, Wein died peacefully in his sleep early Monday morning.

Wein co-founded the Newport Jazz Festival in 1954 and the Newport Folk Festival in 1959. Newport was the first and largest event of its kind in the U.S., setting the standard for outdoor music festivals to come.

Jazz Calendar (Updated 10/12/2021)

Sep 12, 2021

The voice of Phil Schaap was as distinctive as the trumpet of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk's piano, or the sumptuous saxophone harmonies of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, but he didn't didn't make his mark as a musician. Instead, Schaap was one of the leading jazz scholars in America, and the genre's foremost evangelist. He was a radio host, a record producer, a concert programmer, an educator, a reissue producer, an archivist and a researcher, and served many other functions beyond those.

Another piece of New Orleans's rich jazz history has crumbled to the ground.

The building where musical great Louis Armstrong spent much of his childhood is no longer standing after Hurricane Ida battered the city. 427 South Rampart Street was called the Karnofsky Shop, after the family who lived there.

Some of the most esteemed figures in the history of France, including Voltaire, Victor Hugo, Marie Curie, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Simone Veil, are interred in the Panthéon in Paris. And now a new spirit will join them: an entertainer, activist, and agent of the French resistance.

Josephine Baker was born in St. Louis in 1906, began performing in her teens, and moved to Paris.

"I just couldn't stand America, and I was one of the first colored Americans to move to Paris," she told The Guardian in 1974.

Charlie Watts, the unshakeable drummer for The Rolling Stones, died this morning. According to a publicist, he died in a hospital in London, surrounded by family. No cause of death was given. He was 80 years old.

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, it was virtually impossible to imagine attending a live concert in person, let alone a festival. One of the first American jazz festivals to make a comeback and bring a little rejoice to the world, is Exit Zero in Cape May.

There's a moment on "Oceans of Time," from a 2016 album by The Cookers, when alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr. takes a solo full of swerving self-assurance. Swinging mightily behind him is the composer of the tune, master drummer Billy Hart.

Nnenna and Phil Freelon were a power couple: He was the lead architect for the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African American History & Culture, and she was a Grammy-nominated jazz singer, composer, actress and playwright. They enjoyed an exciting, full life of work, travel, friends and family.

Erroll Garner, the effervescent and boundlessly inventive jazz pianist and composer, died more than 40 years ago, at the age of 55. A household name and major concert attraction in his prime, he has recently regained a measure of cultural cachet thanks to the Erroll Garner Project, which made a splash five years ago with an expanded rerelease of Garner's landmark album, Concert By the Sea.

Trombonist and composer Curtis Fuller, a pivotal figure on his instrument since the '50s and a beloved mentor, passed away May 8. He was 88. His death was confirmed by his daughter, Mary Fuller, and by the Jazz Foundation of America.

"His sound was massive, striking and immediate, a waveform that was calibrated to overload the senses and saturate the magnetic tape that captured it," says trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik. "In our era of obsession with harmony and mixed meters, Curtis Fuller's legacy reminds us of the importance of sound."

It's not hard to imagine a world where a search for the phrase "jazz connoisseur" turns up a photo of the grinning mug of Phil Schaap. As a historian and educator, a Grammy-winning reissue producer, a curator and a pontificator, Schaap has more than earned his prestigious stature as the 2021 A.B.

Last year, the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert affixed a hopeful coda to the cruelest of months. And for pandemic precautionary reasons, the event was fully virtual, with a carefully produced montage of performances and salutations from around the world. This year's International Jazz Day arrives at quite a different moment, in some respects — though still a good distance from a post-COVID reality.

Paul Jackson, who as bassist for Herbie Hancock's Headhunters helped secure the first million-selling jazz album, died on March 18 in Japan, where he had lived since 1985.

He was 73. His death was confirmed on social media by his longtime musical associate, drummer Mike Clark.

Chick Corea was the recipient of 23 Grammy awards, the most of any jazz artist ever, when he died shockingly last month, at 79. He could add two more to his tally at the 63rd Grammys this Sunday: Best Improvised Jazz Solo, for his crisp piano excursion on "All Blues," and Best Jazz Instrumental Album, for Trilogy 2, on which that performance appears.

Guitarists Mike and Leni Stern are one of those awe-inspiring couples. More than 40 years together, they've had a front row seat in witnessing music history from their flat in Manhattan. Mike's credits include performing with Miles Davis and Jaco Pastorius. Leni was named Gibson's "Female Jazz Guitarist of the Year" five times. They have another guitar hero, Bill Frisell, to thank for making the introduction back in 1977, when Frisell took Leni on as a private student at the Berklee College of Music.

Ralph Peterson Jr., a drummer, bandleader, composer and educator whose lunging propulsion and volatile combustion were hallmarks of a jazz career spanning more than 40 years, died on Monday in North Dartmouth, Mass. The cause was complications from cancer, his manager, Laura Martinez, tells NPR Music; Peterson had been living with the disease for the last six years. He was 58.

Vijay Iyer recorded Uneasy, his forthcoming ECM album, at the close of 2019, in the waning light of what's sometimes wryly hailed as "the before-times."

"It was really on the cusp of, well, the rest of everything," Iyer, a pianist and composer of exceptional renown, tells NPR Music. "I'm really glad to have this document of what we used to be, and what we will be again. This is a reminder of what's possible: how we can be together, how we can move together, how we can build something together."

Drummer, scientist, educator and improviser Milford Graves died in his Queens, N.Y. home around 3 p.m. on Fri., Feb. 12. He was 79. Lois, his wife of sixty-one years, confirmed to NPR that the cause was congestive heart failure, related to a 2018 diagnosis of amyloid cardiomyopathy. Mr.

This story was updated at 9:28 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb. 11.

The keyboardist, composer and bandleader Chick Corea — one of the most revered figures in contemporary jazz, but an artist whose work spanned fusion to classical — died on Feb. 9 at age 79.

Following a two-year search process, a unanimous decision, and a much-anticipated announcement, Ankush Kumar Bahl returns to Omaha to conduct his first performance as recently named Music Director Designate of the Omaha Symphony.  The Maestro takes the podium to  lead the orchestra in a jubilant program featuring Mendelssohn’s unfettered concert overture, “The Hebrides” and Sibelius’ colorful Symphony No. 2 in D Major.

Ankush recently sat down with Mike Hogan for a two-part "Live & Local" interview about his new role, how he stayed “fresh” during the shutdowns, and gave insights into his conducting heroes.

Performances with Ankush on the podium will take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, February 13 and 2 p.m. Sunday, February 14 at the Holland Performing Arts Center Peter Kiewit Hall. 

Performances at the Holland Performing Arts Center feature physically distanced seating and will only be seated at a maximum of 30 percent capacity.  All patrons will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire prior to accessing their mobile tickets via the Ticket Omaha app.  Masks are required at indoor Omaha Symphony performances.

For information, one can go to the website  https://www.omahasymphony.org/concerts/mendelssohn-sibelius

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John Coltrane composed these words in December 1964, as part of a poem he called A Love Supreme.

NPR Music's Tiny Desk series will celebrate Black History Month by featuring four weeks of Tiny Desk (home) concerts and playlists by Black artists spanning different genres and generations each week. The lineup includes both emerging and established artists who will be performing a Tiny Desk concert for the first time. This celebration highlights the beautiful cornucopia of Black music and our special way of presenting it. We hope you enjoy.

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