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Jazz of the past, present and future.

Jazz of the past, present and future.
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Westfield, MA


Jazz of the past, present and future.




(413) 585-5100


Podcast 612: A Jazzy Valentine's Day

Whether you think its a commercial enterprise or a day for the expression of true love, you have to admit - Valentine's Day is everywhere. So on a day like this - and it's mid-week this year, making celebration just a tad harder than usual - how about an hour of jazz guaranteed to bring out the lover in you and your partner(s)? Then Podcast 612 is for you - and the musical selections include: Steve Tyrell - "A Song for You" Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra - "Lover Man (O Where Can You...


Podcast 611: Mardi Gras 2018

It feels earlier than ever, but Mardi Gras is sweeping New Orleans with the greatest party in America once again. The great food, great crowds, parades, costumes, liquor... and the music! Oh that music! Which brings once again to the time to bring you an hour plus of New Orleans' finest in Podcast 611. Bon Ton Roulez! Musical selections include: Jambalaya Brass Band - "Congo Square" Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - "New Orleanian Love Song" Donald Harrison - "Cissy Strut" Dirty Dozen...


Podcast 610: A Conversation with Kate McGarry & Keith Ganz

With six critically acclaimed CDs and a Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Vocal CD Kate McGarry has become recognized as a jazz artist who brings authenticity and vitality to every song regardless of genre. Downbeat Magazine cited McGarry as 'Rising Star' vocalist for the past 9 years, including a recent #1 Rising Star Female Vocalist. In addition to her own work, her 2013 collaboration with John Hollenbeck’s Large Ensemble, Songs I Like A Lot, was lauded as a milestone in contemporary...


Podcast 608: A Conversation with Bobo Stenson

One of the oft-overlooked stars of the ECM roster is pianist Bobo Stenson. The Swedish composer-performer has been the anchor of a series of outstanding piano trios over the past forty years, and his latest band has produced one of his finest recordings yet, Contra la Indecision mixes originals with 20th century classical music re-imaginings, all with that distinctive ECM sound. Stenson has been working with Anders Jormin (Double Bass) and Jon Fält (Drums) for more than a decade, and they...


Podcast 609: A Conversation with James Weidman

We kick off Black History Month with a conversation with pianist-organist-composer James Weidman, who plumbs the depth of the Negro Spiritual, the "sorrow songs" of slavery on his new album Spiritual Impressions. "Impressions" is an important word, as he and his band, featuring vocalist Ruth Naomi Floyd, spin new and different arrangements for familiar tunes. In the hands of this group, even a classic like "Wade in the Water" comes off as something new. Weidman has a long history of...


Podcast 607: A Conversation with Jimmy Katz

Renowned photographer and recording engineer Jimmy Katz is launching Giant Step Arts, an innovative, artist-focused non-profit organization with a very simple goal - to help jazz musicians get the support they need for their most creative work. Giant Step Arts will launch with two nights at New York City’s Jazz Gallery on January 21-22, presenting four sets by The Johnathan Blake Trio featuring saxophonist Chris Potter and bassist Linda Oh Giant Step Arts will present unique live...


Podcast 606: A Few of My Favorite Things 2017

It’s time once again for me to close out the year with my annual “A Few of My Favorite Things” podcast. This is the chance I get to go back through the music I have had the privilege to listen to during the year, and present some of my favorites to you. I prefer not to think of this as a true “Best of” list, but rather a way of commenting and making recommendations to you on those that caught my fancy and earned repeat playings on my stereo in 2017. I created five somewhat arbitrary...


Podcast 605: The Annual Nuthin' But Christmas Podcast - 2017 Edition

Straight No Chaser is getting into the holiday spirit with this Podcast post! I don’t call it “Nuthin’ But Christmas” for nuthin ‘ – here’s an hour of Christmas themed jazz for you to enjoy while running those holiday errands, decorating the house, or best of all, sitting before a fire and sipping a cocktail with a loved one. This year’s mix includes tracks from some new Holiday releases like Champian Fulton’s Christmas with Champian and Leslie Odom Jr.’s Simply Christmas; a pair from...


Podcast 604: A Conversation with Jane Ira Bloom

The use of poetry by jazz artists as inspiration or collaboration is one of the most welcome trends of the past few years. There is often a great link between the poet and the musician, as they play with shaded tones and meanings, textures and allusions, following or breaking rules as suits their artistic goals. Jane Ira Bloom’s Wild Lines: Improvising Emily Dickinson matches one of our great soprano sax players with the timeless poetry of one of America’s greatest – and most enigmatic –...


Podcast 603: A Conversation with Adam Rudolph

Adam Rudolph continues to create new and wonderful soundscapes with every project in which he gets involved. This year has seen him finish his trilogy that began with U: Vibrational presents The Epic Botanical Beat Suite, by releasing Morphic Resonances and The Glare of the Tiger. While each of these three albums has a different vibe, and is performed by different musicians, there is a commonality in the music’s spirit, yearning quality and intellect. This is modern music written and...


Podcast 602: A Conversation with Roswell Rudd

Roswell Rudd is an undisputed master of the trombone. For me, he is that rare musician who can simultaneously straddle two wildly different musical worlds. He can keep one foot firmly in the musical school where he started, playing Dixieland and Standards; while at the same time being able to play Free Jazz with the wildest cats out there today. As he moves through his Eighties, he is still a force to be reckoned with. Now with the RareNoise label, and recording at Avant-wizard Jamie...


Podcast 601: A Conversation with Dave Bennett

Dave Bennett’s first album for the Mack Avenue label, Don’t Be That Way, established the clarinetist as a talented throwback, the kind of player who could still get you excited to hear “Sing. Sing, Sing” for the umpteenth time. A great entertainer, where he shows his prowess on guitar and piano, Bennett still had to show me that he could do more than bring swing into the 21st century. Blood Moon, his latest release, does just that, and more. More than half of the CD is made up of Bennett...


Podcast 600: A Conversation with Rudresh Mahanthappa

I can’t think of a musician with whom I’d rather celebrate Podcast 600 than Rudresh Mahanthappa. Long one of jazz’s top saxophone players, he has helped build a jazz program at Princeton University, while helping raise a young family. He’s also extremely articulate, and a delightful person with whom to have a give and take conversation. Rudresh toured steadily behind his last CD, Bird Calls, which was universally praised. I chose it as one of the best releases of 2015, and have been...


Podcast 599: A Conversation with Gary Meek

When you look at Gary Meek’s name on this podcast, you might wonder if you had heard him play before. The answer is an emphatic yes – a session and sideman par excellence, Meek has spent most of his career playing saxophone and other reed instruments for the likes of Airto Moreira & Flora Purim, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, and Dave Weckl. As a leader, he now has six albums to his credit, the most recent of which, Originals, has given him an opportunity to not only showcase his chops, but...


Podcast 598: Spooky Songs for Hallowe'en

After something of a hiatus, Podcast 598 marks the return to Straight no Chaser of another set of Spooky Songs for Hallowe’en. Some years I’ve focused on a theme (2014 had a Devils theme), and other years it’s just been a grab bag of musical tricks and treats. If you are interested in checking out previous year’s selections for a Hallowe’en soundtrack, you can download Podcasts 452, 387 , 309 , and 240 . Here’s hoping all your candy is chocolate, your tricks are few, and your treats many....


Podcast 597: A Conversation with Hilary Gardner

If you are a fan of the female trio Duchess – and readers of this blog know that I am among them – you know that the three talented ladies who make up the band also have solo careers. One of them, Hilary Gardner, has just released a set of duets with pianist Ehud Asherie on Anzic Records entitled The Late Set. The title is apt, as the record is permeated by that late night club feel, as the signer and her accompanist make beautiful music. Hilary and Ehud have carefully chosen selections...


Podcast 594: Dizzy Gillespie 100

Someone on my Facebook feed recently lamented that while we have had epic celebrations of the Birthday Centennials this year of Ella Fitzgerald and Thelonious Monk, the fact that this is Dizzy Gillespie’s Birthday Centennial seems to have gone under the radar. It’s been suggested that the heartbreaking story of his friend Charlie Parker, culminating in Bird’s early death, has pushed Gillespie to the back burner when most folks think about be-bop and that great period of jazz exploration....


Podcast 593: The Sounds of Autumn

It hasn’t looked much like autumn here in Western Massachusetts until very recently. Here we are almost a month into the season, and Columbus Day weekend has come and gone. The colors just haven’t had the type of vibrancy that we have come to expect. With Hallowe’en just ten days or so away, here’s hoping for some late leaf peeing opportunities. Autumn has been a popular subject for jazz compositions over the years, from the ever popular “Autumn Leaves” and “Autumn in New York” to some...


Podcast 596: Monk 100 - Playing Monk

Yesterday was Podcast 595, a celebration of the music of Thelonious Monk, as played by Monk solo, and in various groups. Today, it’s Podcast 596, where some of the greatest jazz musicians of all time tackle some of the greatest jazz compositions of all time. Enjoy! Musical selections include: Paul Motian - “Ruby My Dear” from Monk in Motian Danilo Perez - “Bright Mississippi” from PanaMonk John Beasley - “Criss Cross” from MONKestra, Vol. 2 Steve Lacey - “Four in One” from Steve...


Podcast 595: Monk 100 - Thelonious, My Old Friend

One hundred years ago today, the man who would forever change the way jazz piano was played was born in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Thelonious Sphere Monk would go on to be that rare artist whose career spanned almost all of the important historical genres, and who earned the right to be called the “Genius of Modern Music.” But it took a long time for the world to catch up with him. Monk’s family moved to Manhattan when he was four years old, and by his early teens, he was playing stride...


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