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Content from KIOS staff relating to jazz, blues, and all kinds of music.

Jazz Calendar (Updated 1/22/2021)

Jan 22, 2021

The 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Jan 15, 2021

Below are the results of NPR Music's 8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 15th, going back to the poll's beginnings in the Village Voice). These are the jazz albums that lit up a dark, unsettling year. Maria Schneider's Data Lords was the critics choice — no surprise, though relative unknown Sara Serpa's victory in the Vocal category in a year when both Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter released new albums was.

If you've been a jazz fan for any length of time, you know farewells are an essential part of the deal. But this was a harder year than most, as the ravages of a pandemic compounded and quickened the scope of our losses, especially during a heartbreaking stretch last spring.

This year's edition of A Jazz Piano Christmas almost didn't happen.

But with the cooperation of the Washington, D.C. city government, the staffs of both NPR Music and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts went forward with the show.

This holiday season, Jazz Night in America presents your favorite holiday classics, courtesy of Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra saxophonist Sherman Irby and his band.

MUSICIANS

Sherman Irby, alto saxophone; Steve Turre, trombone; Isaiah J. Thompson, piano; Gerald Cannon, bass; Chris Beck, drums; Camille Thurman, vocals.

SET LIST

Billie Holiday's life and artistry have been analyzed, scrutinized, interpreted and embellished more than any other jazz singer in history. But the first biographer to fully immerse herself in the world of Lady Day was a New York journalist and avid Holiday fan named Linda Lipnack Kuehl. For some eight years in the 1970s, Kuehl interviewed everyone she could find who had a personal association with Holiday — musicians, managers, childhood friends, lovers and FBI agents among them.

Jazz Standard, a perennial favorite New York City venue for musicians and fans alike, has shut its doors. It is the first major jazz club in the city to close permanently due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The basement club first opened in 1997, but was re-opened in 2002 along with a sister barbecue restaurant upstairs, Blue Smoke Flatiron, as the city staggered back to its feet in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Both the club and the restaurant are owned by restaurateur Danny Meyer and his Union Square Hospitality Group.

Like some fellow Austrians before him, Mozart, Haydn and

The pioneering Cuban percussionist Cándido Camero has died at age 99.

Camero's grandson, Julian, told NPR member station WBGO that the Cuban conguero died peacefully at his home in New York on Saturday morning.

He came from Saturn, on a mission to spread peace through the power of music — or so Sun Ra claimed. "I'm really not a man, you see. I'm an angel," the legendary bandleader said in an interview in the late 1980s. "If you're an angel, you're a step above man."

Today marks what would have been jazz giant John Coltrane's 94th birthday. Two years before his untimely death from liver cancer in 1967, a young San Francisco couple heard him play — and their experience was literally religious.

They founded a spiritual community inspired by his music and 50 years later, they're still preaching that gospel at the Coltrane Church in San Francisco.

It wasn't your typical crowd in the Rose Theater one afternoon last fall, for a sold-out concert by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. For one thing, every grown-up in the audience seemed to be accompanied by an excited child or two. Then there were the guest artists, whom everybody knew on a first-name basis: Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, Oscar, Abby. Bert and Ernie.

A hard-bop stalwart. An avant-garde original. A ceiling-shattering bandleader. A bebop-obsessive broadcaster. These are some brief descriptors for the incoming class of NEA Jazz Masters, announced this morning by the National Endowment for the Arts.

A man sits on a bench in a brightly lit room. He is wearing a black hat, blue shirt and purple pants. His hands are clasped in front of him.
Matthew Bushey

The Holland Center for Peforming Arts will hold its first indoor concert this weekend since the beginning of the pandemic. Singer-songwriter Willy Porter will perform Saturday, Oct. 3 to a socially distanced crowd. 

Porter is a Wisconsin musician best known for his 1994 album "Dog Eared Dream." His blues-rock songs are often accompanied by impressive fingerstyle guitar playing.

Two men illuminated on a stage. One holds a guitar in the foreground. The other signs into a microphone.
Sack of Lions

The Holland Center reopens for in-person entertainment this weekend with two days of free concerts. Holland Center Outdoors will take place on the building’s lawn with up to eight patrons inside one of a series of 10-foot by 10-foot painted squares.

Stanley Crouch, the lauded and fiery jazz critic, has died. According to an announcement by his wife, Gloria Nixon-Crouch, Stanley Crouch died at the Calvary Hospital in New York on Wednesday, following nearly a decade of serious health issues.

Gary Peacock, a versatile bassist who collaborated with some of the 20th century's most notable jazz musicians, has died. He was 85.

His family confirmed in a statement to NPR that Peacock died peacefully Friday, Sept. 4, at his home in upstate New York. No cause of death was provided.

Over a career that spanned seven decades, he played on recordings alongside Albert Ayler, Paul Bley, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, among many others.

Union for Contemporary Arts

  

  “I’m sorry. We’ve kept our silence long enough.”

That is the last line of a poem by writer Ikran Hamza titled, “My apology letter (children of war).”

The poem is pasted in neat white letters across the street-facing windows at the Union for Contemporary Art in North Omaha. Inside the windows are two beautiful black and white photographs taken by local artist N8 DeVivo. The display can be viewed entirely from the sidewalk outside the building.

Helen Jones Woods, who played trombone with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a history-making all-female big band that toured widely during World War II, died of COVID-19 on July 25 in Sarasota, Fla. She was 96.

Her daughter Cathy Hughes, founder and chairperson of the broadcast media company Urban One, confirmed the details of her death to NPR.

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