Rudresh Mahanthappa wins 2015 NPR Music Critics Poll

December 30, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Playlists


Rudresh Mahanthappa tied for first place in the 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll compiled by writer Francis Davis. The alto saxophonist talks about his victory, Bird Calls, a recording he calls a "blissful devotion" to Charlie Parker. Mahanthappa also shares his favorite recordings this year, music by Cecile McLorin Salvant, Rez Abassi, Liberty Ellman, and Amir ElSaffar.

2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll with Patrick Jarenwattananon

December 30, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Playlists


The critics have voted. The ballots are counted. The results of the 2015 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll are here.  A Blog Supreme's Patrick Jarenwattananon talks about its findings and shares some of its highlights, including music by Maria Schneider, Kamasi Washington, Arturo O'Farrill, Hiatus Kiayote, Mary Halvorson, and more.

See the poll results here.

A Creole Christmas with Etienne Charles

December 23, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Featured


The trumpeter from Trinidad bestows music from his recording A Creole Christmas in our studio. Etienne Charles features his quintet Mark Whitfield Jr. (drums), David Williams (bass), Victor Gould (piano), and Alex Wintz (guitar). Audio mix by David Tallacksen.

Jason Moran's Salute to Cecil Taylor

December 16, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under New Music


Pianist Jason Moran honors one the greatest experimentalists of the 20th century: Cecil Taylor.  Moran selects some of his favorite Taylor recordings including a Cole Porter song and duo with Mary Lou Williams. Moran also pays tribute to him in concert, a solo performance captured at Harlem Stage.

Dayna Stephens' New Beginning

December 16, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Featured, Interviews


Dayna Stephens suffers from the rare kidney disease focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a condition that leads to kidney failure. The day before his life is renewed, when he undergoes the procedure of receiving new (donated) kidney, the young saxophonist talks about the years leading up to this moment, the countless treatments of dialysis, and the music that came from this experience, including listening to Coltrane's Transition and making his own recording That Nepenthetic Place (Sunnyside).

Gilad Hekselman's Homes

December 9, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Interviews


Guitarist Gilad Hekselman, who is always on the road, rarely finds a place he calls home. Homes (Harmonia Mundi) is the name of his latest recording that features two stellar drummers -- Jeff Ballard and Marcus Gilmore.  He also talks about music he grew up listening to at home (Israeli) by Matti Caspi in addition to a rarely heard song by one of his guitar heroes, Kurt Rosenwinkel.

Jazz on Turntables with Kid Koala

December 7, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Interviews


Montreal-based turntablist Eric San, aka Kid Koala, is jazz musician trapped inside a DJ's body. The "scratch artist" talks about transcending the limitations of his instrument, the details about his new operatic puppet show Nufonia Must Fall, and music from his recent American roots recording 12 Bit Blues (Ninja Tune).

Click here for Nufonia Must Fall's touring schedule.

Victor Prieto Trio Plus One Live at Berklee

December 7, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under Studio Sessions


Master accordionist and singer from the Galicia region of Spain performs at Berklee College of Music. His Trio Plus One features Chris Cheek (sax), Carlo De Rosa (bass), and Vince Cherico (drums). Recorded at Cafe 939's Red Room on November 4th, 2015.

Watch a video of his performance of Six Note Samba here.

Jacob Garchik's Ye Olde

December 7, 2015 by Simon Rentner
Filed under New Music


The trombonist and composer's Jacob Garchik's adventure into fictional medieval Brooklyn with his recording Ye Olde. Recorded at the 2015 Newport Jazz Festival.