NEA Jazz Masters

Podcasts

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Photo by Marina Umari

Pianist and 2019 NEA Jazz Master

Pianist and 2019 NEA Jazz Master Abdullah Ibrahim combines the musical influences of his childhood in Cape Town, South Africa, which include traditional South African songs, gospels and spirituals, and Indian ragas, with the improvisation of jazz to create a sound that is distinctly his. Born Adolph Johannes Brand in 1934, he was known professionally as Dollar Brand before changing his name when he converted to Islam in 1968. Ibrahim, along with Hugh Masekela and Kippi Moketsi, formed the short-lived but impactful septet The Jazz Epistles who recorded the first South African jazz album, Jazz Epistles, Verse 1. Because of the limits imposed on black South Africans by the repressive apartheid government, Ibrahim left the country. He traveled first to Zurich, where he met Duke Ellington who recorded him, and then to New York City, where he met everyone else and played in Carnegie Hall. He returned to South Africa briefly and in the mid-1970s composed what became the people’s national anthem, “Mannenberg.” Exiled once more, he returned to South Africa at the invitation of Nelson Mandela and performed at Mandela’s presidential inauguration. In this podcast episode, Abdullah talks about his many diverse musical influences, his deep love of jazz (which he calls “the highest form of music”), living and performing under apartheid, exile, and the musician as healer. We pack a lot into this podcast, but Ibrahim has had a long, rich life.

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Photo courtesy of Christian McBride

Jazz Bassist

Jazz bassist Christian McBride takes us through his own musical journey--from his early days in Philadelphia to playing with some of the great jazz legends like NEA Jazz Masters Sonny Rollins and Chick Corea. He also talks about fronting a group and walks us through composing one of his signature songs "Brother Mister." Christian also reflects on his long friendship with 2019 NEA Jazz Master Stanley Crouch and Stanley's importance to jazz criticism and advocacy.

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Credit Jimmy and Dena Katz photo

Composer, conductor and 2019 NEA Jazz Master

2019 NEA Jazz Master composer, conductor, and arranger Maria Schneider creates highly original and evocative compositions for her jazz orchestra, which she formed in 1992. Much of her music is autobiographical, evoking the Minnesota plains where she was born and raised. She returns to the theme of her childhood in a prairie town again and again; in fact, she’s come to realize that the foundation of her music is her hometown. She finds parts of it magical, and we certainly hear it in her music. Although she’s composed classical work and collaborated with David Bowie, Maria’s musical center remains in jazz. In this podcast, we talk about her connection to jazz (especially to the music of NEA Jazz Master Gil Evans), the ways in which she and the musicians in her band inspire one another, her collaboration with Bowie, and how her deep ties to Windom, Minnesota, translates into mesmerizing music.

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Photo by John Abbott

2018 NEA Jazz Master

2018 NEA Jazz Master Todd Barkan is a man of many talents: impresario, club owner, producer, artistic programmer. But he would count chief among them his deep and abiding love for jazz and the musicians who create. Owner of the legendary Keystone Korner, Todd created a club where musicians ruled and audiences felt at home. In this music-filled podcast, he talks about that great San Francisco club and shares stories about his many friend-- jazz greats like Miles Davis, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bobby Hutcherson and Sonny Rollins.

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Photo by John Peden

Guitarist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master

Guitarist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master Pat Metheny creates music that challenges easy description: he can play free jazz (as he did with Ornette Coleman in Song X) as well as acoustic guitar and pretty much everything in-between. In this tune-filled podcast, we talk to Pat Metheny about the music he plays, the people he’s played with and making the music you want while making a career in music.

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Photo by Carol Friedman

Pianist and 2108 NEA Jazz Master

Uncovering new dimensions of music.

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Photo by Jerris Madison

Vocalist and 2018 NEA Jazz Master

Making music without boundaries.

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Photo by John Abbott

1983 NEA Jazz Master and 2010 National Medal of Arts recipient

The great tenor saxophonist reflects on his life in music.

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Photo by Frances McLaughlin-Gill

2017 NEA Jazz Master

Celebrated by his son Fitz Gitler

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Photo by Bob Haggart Jr.

Pianist and 2017 NEA Jazz Master

A musical shape-shifter.

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