jazz | Texas Public Radio


Greg Harrison

Let a Mahler symphony transport you. Watch a Texas town turn into artists’ studio. And then enjoy some jazz at Travis Park. The weekend is here and it’s packed with fun.

Historians and critics have pored over the recordings of these jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stan Getz so exhaustively, it might feel like they've left no stone unturned. And yet, fans are seeing a slew of exciting new discoveries lately from these and other artists — so-called "lost" albums by some of the biggest names in jazz.

Most people who don't know jazz can probably recognize the name of one of the genre's best singers: Ella Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald is one of the eight women at the center of this season of NPR Music's Turning the Tables, and she's arguably one of the most important vocalists not just in jazz but in the entire history of American music. With an exceptional vocal style, supreme technical capabilities and a spirited energy, she was "The First Lady of Song."

Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Waters And The Colors Of Sound

Sep 4, 2019

There is a widespread tendency to superimpose racial identity on the singing voice and musical genres, and for many years, my own encounters with this left me struggling to understand the sense of alienation I felt when I was accused or celebrated as sounding "white." Throughout adolescence and early adulthood, I was constantly on the lookout for role models who looked and sounded like me. There was always a sense of tension between what people expected of me and the eclecticism of my own vocal style, musical tastes, and sensibilities.

The Voice That Shattered Glass

Sep 3, 2019

It's the stuff of legends: an urban legend and a jazz legend combining into a legendary advertising campaign.

lenn, who played with Armstrong. Neil DeFeo, trombone. Aug. 31, 2019.
Norma Martinez / Texas Public Radio

A San Antonio jazz legend was honored by his friends, family, and former bandmates Saturday.

Fifty years ago this August, Miles Davis assembled a group of musicians to record the sprawling, groundbreaking album Bitches Brew. With the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Sly & the Family Stone and James Brown in his head, Davis plugged in and brought these electric rock sensibilities to jazz.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


"There is never any end," John Coltrane said sometime in the mid-1960s, at the height of his powers. "There are always new sounds to imagine; new feelings to get at." Coltrane, one of jazz's most revered saxophonists, was speaking to Nat Hentoff about an eternal quest — a compulsion to reach toward the next horizon, and the next.

Courtesy James Cullum

Jim Cullum Jr.’s musical talent, positive demeanor and love of jazz has been a definitive part of San Antonio since the early 1960s. On Aug. 11, the 77-year-old Cullum passed away at his home of an apparent heart attack. TPR’s David Martin Davies spoke with Cullum in 2009.