Take Five A Weekly Jazz Sampler


5 Locally Grown Projects At Winter Jazzfest 2015

Thursday, January 08, 2015

The 11th annual music marathon now features artists from around the world, but its main attraction is still the chance to hear new ideas from New York's top improvisers.


5 Acts Not To Miss At Newport Jazz 2014

Friday, August 01, 2014

The Newport Jazz Festival turns 60 this year, and NPR Music will be there for the anniversary. When we're not recording, we'll be checking out bands led by Vijay Iyer, John Zorn, Ron Carter and more.


In Time For The World Cup, Explorative New Music From Brazil

Friday, June 13, 2014

Rio de Janeiro has often been the crucible of Brazilian song — a tradition that continues today. As the world's eyes turn to Brazil, hear five songs from Rio's jazz-influenced Flame Collective.


In Memoriam: Jazz Elegies

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Around 1945, jazz's traditional funeral rites manifested in a more modern form of tribute. Now, some of the music's most powerful tunes are written in memory of late colleagues. Hear five examples.


Act Like You Know: Sun Ra

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Sifting through the overwhelming catalog of the Afro-futurist jazz master is a daunting task. To celebrate Sun Ra's centennial, we picked five essential songs that lay his otherworldly evolution bare.


Remembering Armando Peraza, An Afro-Cuban Percussion Giant

Thursday, May 01, 2014

It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker and Carlos Santana. But such was the resumé of Armando Peraza after almost 70 years of making music.


The Art Of Cool: 5 Bands At The Borders Of Jazz

Friday, April 25, 2014

This weekend's Art of Cool Festival in Durham, N.C., aims to expand the audience for improvised music. So it's booked performers from modern R&B, hip-hop and beyond with deep jazz influences.


5 Points Where Poetry Meets Jazz

Friday, April 11, 2014

Structured and free, sonic and rhythmic, poems and jazz music seem like natural partners. For National Poetry Month and Jazz Appreciation Month, here are some notable collisions between the two.


Because It's Never Too Soon To Survey The Year In Jazz, 5 Songs For 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

It may seem as if jazz recordings have slowed to a flurry, but it's more like a blizzard, with dozens already coming down in the new year. Hear highlights from a few albums worth shoveling out, by Archie Shepp, Edward Simon, James Brandon Lewis and more.


Jazz With A Jamaican Accent

Friday, August 30, 2013

In the '50s, Jamaican musicians combined Caribbean calypso and American jazz and R&B to create ska — the foundation of future developments like reggae. Now, jazz musicians are closing the circle of influence. For late summer, here are five songs inspired by the island's characteristic riddims.


Woody Shaw: The Last Great Trumpet Innovator

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The jazz trumpeter who made his first recordings 50 years ago this summer might be his instrument's least appreciated giant. Perhaps the trumpeter of the 1970s, Shaw was an icon for the generation that followed, as well as an innovator on his horn.


5 To Watch: Newport Jazz Festival Debuts

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Whether career sidemen, appealing experimentalists or critically acclaimed bands finally getting a look, new names are getting invited to the granddaddy of jazz festivals with greater frequency. Hear music from some of this year's crop, including Jonathan Batiste, David Gilmore and Dee Alexander.


Patriotism And Protest: Jazz For July 4

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Jazz has become a point of pride for Americans: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. Still, the black jazz pioneers who lived through eras of discrimination have a complicated sense of pride in the U.S. Hear five improvised takes on American patriotic songs, from the reverent to the ironic.


Oui Et Oui: Montreal Jazz's French Connection

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Montreal is a city of two cultures: French and English, usually commingling, sometimes colliding. The Montreal International Jazz Festival — Canada's grandest music event of the year — props up the city's elite Francophones. Here are five French or Quebecois artists featured this year.


Duke Ellington: Highlights Of His Twilight

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The great composer and bandleader was distraught over the 1967 death of Billy Strayhorn, his songwriting and arranging partner of 28 years. But Ellington took Strayhorn's passing as an impetus, born of necessity, to increase his own productivity. Here are five examples.


Woody Herman At 100: 'A Blues Player From His Heart'

Thursday, May 16, 2013

He was a soulful reedman, an amazing talent scout for decades and a bandleader of one of the country's most popular acts. Born in 1913, Herman led "Thundering Herds" that were both big draws and well-respected by the likes of Igor Stravinsky. Here are five recordings which still sound fresh today.


'A Strict Taskmaster': 5 Ways To Play The Jazz Clarinet

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg says his is an "instrument that at times responds better to the oblique glance than direct confrontation." He picks five players who have worked with the difficult horn, yielding unique and personal beauty in the process.


Jazzahead! Highlights: 5 New Bands From Europe

Friday, April 26, 2013

Bremen may be best known for its love of soccer and Beck's beer. But in April, more than 20,000 jazz fans and industry professionals descend upon the German port city for a festival designed specifically to showcase new acts from across Europe.


Jazz Salutes Its Disc Jockeys

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The advent of bebop added a fresh sound to American music. It also added new voices to some metropolitan radio stations: the late-night jazz DJs who specialized in presenting this new music to their fellow hipster nightflies. Appreciative musicians often wrote them tributes like these.


South By South Africa: 5 Jazz Acts From The Rainbow Nation

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For centuries, the country turned its back on black musicians — including the jazz artists whose creations embodied freedom and empowerment. Today, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival is one of Africa's largest musical gatherings. Here are five musicians who played the festival this year.