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Thankfully, guitarist Django Reinhardt has not fallen out of our 21st Century Jazz universe, though he’s been gone almost seventy years. That owes partly to the simple fact that his instrument remains ubiquitous in fields beyond Jazz: A musician with the chops that Django had will always be a marvel.  Reinhardt also was a good […]

2020 is a time of heightened consciousness about “diversity inclusiveness.” That’s not wrong. Even in the seemingly open-minded field of Jazz, so-called minority players are routinely edged out, and programming decisions must be attentive—rightly—to redress those exclusions. The reason this is worth talking about for November’s WICN artist of the month, Mary Lou Williams, is […]

WICN’s October Artist of the Month For forty years now, Pat Metheny has been the emblem and the model for one particular vision of jazz creativity.  It’s fresh and light, visionary, radio friendly, and unabashedly tech-savvy—in a way that not all jazz is comfortable with. Metheny is an unusual entry in the roster of jazz […]

It’s difficult to represent the importance of Charlie Parker on the development of Jazz in a brief overview. To give his musical impact the weight it deserves, we would have to review Parker’s music for a couple of hours every single day—alongside a balanced diet of 90 minutes of Duke Ellington, an hour of Louis […]

Jazz fans sometimes have trouble connecting with the outside world on the matter of music, even with friends. Who is Eric Dolphy? Why can’t she just sing the melody? How do you follow this music? There’s seemingly no common ground to meet on. Jimmy Smith is often the solution to that problem: in among the […]

Across the last 40 years, Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has grown to be one of the great trumpet heroes of our time. Sandoval represents the bravura high-pressure, high-intensity, high-note tradition of Dizzy Gillespie—a virtuosic style that’s at its best when fueled by the high level of Sandoval’s creativity. This month you’ll hear him prance and […]

If a Mt. Rushmore existed for Jazz vocalists , who would be enshrined there? Surely the likenesses of Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, and Anita O’Day. Many would also place our April Artist of the Month, Carmen McRae, there among the best and most influential singers that Jazz has ever encountered. Let’s consider why. Carmen McRae […]

If there was a recognizable new face to emerge from the Jazz ranks in the early 2000s, it would be that of one Norah Jones—a legitimate celebrity indeed, and also immediately recognizable just by the sound of her voice in any context. Her superstardom gives us a new perspective on the relationship of Jazz and […]

For many of us, the formative saxophone solos of our early listening years didn’t come from Jazz records. They were played by Clarence Clemons with the Boss’s E Street Band; Phil Woods on a Billy Joel record; Sam Butera with Louis Prima and Keely Smith, or any of thousands of others, on records from the […]

Jack DeJohnette in 2019 is a cornerstone of the versatility of modern Jazz.  Appropriate in any Jazz situation, his drumming signature is managing drum energy more as a flow than a pulse. Since the beginning of his professional career, he has represented a breath of fresh air in percussion. It’s sometimes a wave motion and […]


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