Jazz

Saxophone Celebration
9:57 am
Thu November 6, 2014

A Bit Of The Best Saxophone You'll Ever Hear

Adolphe Sax, a Belgian musician and the inventor of the saxophone, was born 200 years ago Thursday.
Credit The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

Thursday marks the 200th birthday of Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone. And yes, that's his real name. A bit about him and his instrument, from NPR:

As a young man, Sax worked for his father, also an instrument maker. The younger Sax made improvements to the bass clarinet and invented a family of instruments called saxhorns before creating his eponymous "phone" in the early 1840s.

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You Don't Know Sax
8:46 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Are You A Saxpert? Find Out Here

Adolphe Sax's invention has found its way into many styles of music. Here, Clarence Clemons plays the tenor sax with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band in Lexington, Ky., in 1984.
Credit Lexington Herald-Leader / Getty Images

It's the 200th birthday of the saxophone's inventor, Adolphe Sax - really, that was his name. To celebrate, NPR invites you to try and identify some great sax solos. How well do you know your saxophone?

Find out with this interactive audio quiz.

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KJEM Launch
10:32 am
Fri November 1, 2013

NWPR Launches Jazz Station

Listeners on the Palouse can hear KJEM on 89.9 FM. It is also streaming online.

Northwest Public Radio is now in the jazz business, with a third program stream airing on its newest station, KJEM.  (LISTEN). Click here for current on-air playlist.

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NWPR Books
2:25 am
Sat September 28, 2013

'If It Swings': An Asian-American Jazzman's Pioneering Career

Gabe Baltazar (fourth from left) at New York City's Birdland Club in 1962, with members of Stan Kenton's band and the Count Basie Orchestra. The photo, from Baltazar's collection, is signed by Kenton (fourth from from right) and trumpeter Harry "Sweets" Edison (second from right).
Courtesy of Gabe Baltazar

Originally published on Sat September 28, 2013 8:16 am

Saxophonist Gabe Baltazar got his big break after Stan Kenton heard him playing in a college band and invited him to join his Orchestra in 1960.

"One of my biggest highlights in Stan's band was being featured on a beautiful standard tune called 'Stairway to the Stars,'" the 83-year-old Baltazar says. "He liked that tune, and he thought it would be my signature song. And throughout my career, four years with the band, I was featured on that and it was just great."

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NWPR Books
4:53 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Sax, Drugs And Jazz: Charlie Parker's 'Lightning'-Fast Rise

Charlie Parker, shown here in an undated photo, was a legendary jazz saxophonist.
STF AFP/Getty Images

Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, early 1942. The Jay McShann Orchestra from Kansas City, Mo., has the stage, and Charlie "Bird" Parker picks up his alto saxophone:

"The rhythm section had him by the tail, but there was no holding or cornering Bird. Disappearing acts were his specialty. Just when you thought you had him, he'd move, coming up with another idea, one that was as bold as red paint on a white sheet."

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Music + Culture
3:47 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

Remembering Marian McPartland

Marian McPartland became a legend throughout her 40 years in jazz.
Credit RJ Capak / SCETV (via NPR)

Jazz legend and public radio host Marian McPartland died of natural causes Tuesday night at the age of 95.

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John LaChapelle
5:20 pm
Fri April 5, 2013

Memorial Concert For Beloved Northwest Guitar Teacher Set For Sunday

John LaChapelle died at age 91 in March. He was a beloved jazz guitar teacher throughout the Northwest.
LaChapelle family

Jazz musicians from around the country will gather on Sunday to honor a musician who didn’t sell a lot of records, but influenced three generations of jazz guitarists. John LaChapelle died last month at the age of 91 in Richland, Wash.

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Native American Jazz Singer
5:06 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Tribe Seeks To Correct Jazz History On Native Singer’s Heritage

Mildred Bailey, 1947, New York City.
Photo courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb Collection

PLUMMER, Idaho - Jazz aficionados know Mildred Bailey as the legendary singer who cleared the way for female jazz greats like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. Less well known is the fact that Bailey was Native American. Now, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe in Idaho has launched a campaign to bring the singer -- and her heritage -- into the spotlight. Jessica Robinson tells the story.

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Music + Culture
12:46 pm
Fri March 9, 2012

A Jazzy Spin on an Infamous Classical Piece

The music of two innovators from the last two centuries comes together Saturday night in Tacoma.  Tacoma Philharmonic and Broadway Center present ‘The Bad Plus – on Sacred Ground: Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring’.  According to Billboard, The Bad Plus is America’s most “audacious, rule-breaking jazz trio”.  They will be performing one of the most famous works of 20th century art, Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, a work that at its premiere in 1913 caused a riot among the audience

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Inland Northwest Music
5:48 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Returns To Moscow

John Clayton is artistic director of the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival.
Photo courtesy University of Idaho

MOSCOW, Idaho -- The Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival is back for another year at the University of Idaho in Moscow. Now ten years after the death of its namesake, the festival, like many such celebrations, is challenged by a changing jazz industry. Northwest Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports.

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