jazz

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World's 'Fastest Girl Drummer' Is Gone

Viola Smith has died at 107

(Newser) - The "fastest girl drummer in the world" is gone. Viola Smith, a swing musician who fought for female inclusion in the big-band era, died Wednesday at home in Costa Mesa, Calif., the Washington Post reports. She was 107. At a time when jazz giants like Artie Shaw and Benny... More »

Drummer Knew Iconic Album Was Pretty Good

Jimmy Cobb, 91, was the last of the band on Miles Davis' 'Kind of Blue'

(Newser) - Jimmy Cobb, a percussionist and the last surviving member of Miles Davis' Kind of Blue, a groundbreaking jazz album that transformed the genre and sparked several careers, died Sunday. His wife, Eleana Tee Cobb, announced on Facebook that her husband died at his New York City home of lung cancer,... More »

Coronavirus Leads to Death of New Orleans Jazz Legend

Ellis Marsalis Jr. had pneumonia caused by COVID-19

(Newser) - Ellis Marsalis Jr., jazz pianist, teacher, and patriarch of a New Orleans musical clan that includes famed performer sons Wynton and Branford, has died after battling pneumonia brought by the coronavirus, one of his sons said late Wednesday. He was 85. Ellis Marsalis III confirmed in an interview with the... More »

Last Member of the 'Classic Quartet' Is Dead at 81

McCoy Tyner's full-blooded playing gave post-bop its signature piano sound

(Newser) - McCoy Tyner is no more. The nimble and innovative jazz musician—called by one critic "the most influential pianist of his generation"—died Friday at home in Bergenfield, NJ. He was 81. Tyner will always be associated with John Coltrane's "classic quartet," which erupted in... More »

How Native Americans 'Rocked the World'

A new PBS documentary aims to set the record straight

(Newser) - As a child, Fred Lincoln "Link" Wray Jr. hid under a bed when the Ku Klux Klan came to his parents' home in rural North Carolina. Racist groups often targeted the poor family of Shawnee Native American ancestry as the Wrays endured segregation in the American South just like... More »

A Jazz Legend Is Gone at 81

Vocalist, NPR host, and civil rights activist Nancy Wilson is dead

(Newser) - A powerful jazz vocalist has sung her last song. Nancy Wilson, a three-time Grammy winner and host of NPR's "Jazz Profiles," died Thursday at her home in Pioneertown, Calif., after a long illness, her manager confirms to NPR . She was 81. Known for telling stories through her... More »

Roy Hargrove Dead at 49

Winner of two Grammies played vast array of styles

(Newser) - Trumpeter Roy Hargrove, a prolific player who provided his jazz sound to records across a vast range of styles and won two Grammys, has died at age 49, his manager said Saturday. Hargrove died in New York on Friday of cardiac arrest stemming from a longtime fight with kidney disease,... More »

Ex-Wife Discovers 'Lost' Record by American Giant

1963 record by the John Coltrane Quartet is about to come out

(Newser) - One of America's most acclaimed musical artists has a new record coming out more than 50 years after he died, the New York Times reports. The newly revived label Impulse! says it will release Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album by the John Coltrane Quartet, a 1963 recording... More »

'Father of Vocalese' Jon Hendricks Dies

The singer was 96

(Newser) - Jon Hendricks, the pioneering jazz singer and lyricist who with the trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross popularized the "vocalese" singing style in which words were added to instrumental songs, has died. He was 96, AP reports. His daughter, Aria Hendricks, confirmed his death to the New York Times . She... More »

Jazz Great Al Jarreau Is Dead at 76

He was a 7-time Grammy winner

(Newser) - The Grammy's will surely be scrambling to pull together a tribute to a seven-time winner in time for Sunday night's show. R&B and jazz great Al Jarreau died Sunday morning at age 76, reports Rolling Stone , whose obituary notes that he was dubbed the "Acrobat of... More »

'Fun-Loving' Jazz Master Dead at 85

Horace Silver helped pioneer hard bop and wrote infectious tunes

(Newser) - Jazz fans lost one of the greats this week—pianist, composer, and band leader Horace Silver. He died at his home in New Rochelle, NY, on Wednesday at age 85, the New York Times reports. In the 1950s, Silver helped pioneer hard bop, a driving, rhythmic music that critics considered... More »

Remembering Jazz Titan, Saturn 'Native' Sun Ra

Late artist's legacy lives on in his Arkestra

(Newser) - He was a jazz titan who achieved little mainstream success, a big band leader, a free spirit, a poet, the author of thousands of songs, and, as he sometimes claimed, a resident of the planet Saturn who dropped by our humble planet for a little musical interlude. NPR today takes... More »

What Louis Armstrong Really Thought About Race

Jazz giant had on-off affair with the Civil Rights movement

(Newser) - People still love Louis Armstrong's music and warm, colorful personality, but we forget about his mixed record during the Civil Rights years—when one critic slammed him as a "racial cop-out." There's something to it: He sang for white audiences in movies (with Barbra Streisand, no... More »

Sandy Hook Victim's Dad Turns Her Life Into Music

Saxophonist Jimmy Greene says he grieves for his daughter every day

(Newser) - Jazz musician Jimmy Greene said he couldn't touch his saxophone for a month—after his 6-year-old daughter, Ana Márquez-Greene, was murdered in the Sandy Hook massacre , the New York Times reports. "I don’t know if we’ll ever feel whole again," said Green, who also... More »

Jazz Great Dave Brubeck Dead at 91

Pioneer of the genre attained pop-culture success

(Newser) - Jazz legend Dave Brubeck died this morning of heart failure in Norwalk, Conn., one day short of his 92nd birthday. Even those who are not aficionados will likely recognize hits such as "Take Five" and "Blue Rondo a la Turk," which came out in 1959 on what... More »

NYC Jazz Finds New Home—in Qatar

Stay at the St. Regis, take in a show at Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha

(Newser) - Want to hear some top-notch jazz but can't make it to New York City? Try Qatar. Jazz at Lincoln Center is opening a new club in the capital city of Doha in April; it will be the nonprofit jazz organization's first permanent location abroad. And it won't... More »

Dead Jazzman Found in Trunk

Body of Stanley Wright found stashed in his Brooklyn home

(Newser) - The body of beloved Brooklyn jazz musician Stanley Wright was found stuffed inside a trunk in the basement of his home several days after he had last been seen. Police searched the Brownsville home of the 61-year-old, who performed under the name Suleiman-Hakim and was last heard from on Thursday,... More »

Jazz Great James Moody Dead at 85

Jazz world mourns veteran saxophonist

(Newser) - Beloved jazzman James Moody has died in San Diego at the age of 85. The saxophonist, flutist, band leader, and composer had a distinguished career in jazz that began in Dizzy Gillespie's band just after World War II and lasted well into the 21st century. Moody, famed for his versatility,... More »

Groundbreaking Lena Horne Dead at 92

'Stormy Weather' great broke ground for African Americans

(Newser) - Lena Horne, the legendary singer who broke new ground for African-Americans in Hollywood, has died at the age of 92. Best known for the song "Stormy Weather," the jazz vocalist won accolades as a cabaret and Broadway performer. Horne got her start in 1933 as a teenage chorus... More »

HBO's Treme Does Justice to New Orleans

'Wire" creator David Simon scores with new series set in Big Easy

(Newser) - Critics seem thrilled with Wire creator David Simon's new HBO series Treme, about post-Katrina New Orleans:
  • Dave Walker, New Orleans Times-Picayune : "This is the screen depiction that New Orleans deserves, has always desired, but has been denied."
  • Locals want to know two things: "Is it real? and
... More »

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