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One of the jazz world's most enduring artists, the influential 87-year-old guitarist and composer Kenny Burrell, is facing financial ruin and homelessness.

Nathan Cone / TPR

Kevin Eubanks became a household name as the leader of The Tonight Show band for a decade, where he joshed with Jay Leno on-air while cranking out solid performances of pop and rock hits. Since 2005, he’s been able to follow his passion for jazz, and last month at Jazz, TX, Eubanks and his band unleashed some absolutely face-melting music.

John Zorn, the prolific and brilliantly iconoclastic composer, realized a dream of sorts last year when he released The Book Beriah — a box set of 11 new albums, featuring as many different groups interpreting music he had written for that purpose.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Justin De Hoyos

In 1939, a German emigre, Alfred Lion, teamed up with the American writer Max Margulis to found a record company that would have an outsized influence on the sound of jazz. Blue Note Records, and its signature sound of the 1950s and 1960s engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, lived up to its motto, “The Finest In Jazz.”

On a sunny Thursday afternoon in May, the corner of First Street and LaSalle in New Orleans' Central City neighborhood was lively. Kids tooled around on bikes and grown-up neighbors danced to the sounds of DJ Jubilee and Al Green, spun onstage by DJ Mannie Fresh, the producer whose exceptional skills put Cash Money Records on the map back in the '90s. The party was hosted by PJ Morton — a native New Orleanian and the keyboardist for Maroon 5 — who followed Fresh's set with a long, jammy performance of his song "New Orleans Girl," including both a bounce verse and a trombone solo.

Courtesy photo

The Lineage Trio take their inspiration from the members’ common love of guitarist Barney Kessel, bassist Ray Brown, and drummer Shelley Manne, who recorded five albums together under the name “The Poll Winners,” after the three men took top honors in the annual Downbeat magazine poll... five times! The Lineage Trio is quick to tell you they haven’t yet won any polls, themselves.

Herbie Hancock took a moment during the International Jazz Day All-Star Global Concert to address some fraught geopolitical realities.

Not that Hancock, in his dual capacity as UNESCO goodwill ambassador and chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz, got into specifics, or really needed to. Speaking from a podium at Hamer Hall in Melbourne, Australia on Tuesday night, he just extolled the spirit of cooperation and exchange in jazz, "at a time when internal and external relationships among so many countries are unsettled."

Sixty years ago, this month, Miles Davis finished recording Kind of Blue, perhaps his greatest masterpiece and still jazz's bestselling album. But it was not the only milestone recorded that year.

Dave Creaney

The year was 1994, and a newspaper ad led to the formation of the long-running Western swing band Hot Club of Cowtown—in New York City. You might think it an odd place to hear the songs of Bob Wills, but to hear guitarist Whit Smith tell it, “God just put me there,” he says. Smith had answered the call from fiddler Elana James, and it wasn’t too much longer that bassist Jake Erwin joined.

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