NPR Jazz Notes

50 Great Voices

Ella Fitzgerald: First Lady Of Song

In the 1930s and ’40s, band singers were mostly blond, sophisticated and attractive. Ella Fitzgerald was awkward, gawky and even a bit chubby by comparison — in the words of one newspaper writer, “a big, light-colored gal.” But could she sing.

And could she ever: Susan Stamberg’s profile of the great vocalist is this week’s entry in NPR’s 50 Great Voices series. Also, don’t miss a video of Hiromi at NPR, a solo performance by guitarist Martin Taylor and the Michael Wolff trio with — there he is again — Steve Wilson on sax. Enjoy.

—Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR Music

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Studio Sessions

Hiromi: A Melodic (And Headbanging) Travelogue

Her new album, Place To Be, was conceived as a journal in sound. In a solo performance at NPR headquarters, the energetic jazz pianist shows how she translates street scenes to melodies, with her typical effervescence.

Favorite Sessions

Martin Taylor: Solo Jazz Guitar

Not only is Martin Taylor widely acclaimed as one of the finest solo acoustic jazz guitarists alive, he’s always great company. In a session from Jazz24, Taylor performs “Stompin’ at the Savoy” and talks about teaching guitar online.

JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater

Michael Wolff Trio With Steve Wilson On JazzSet

Michael Wolff says he approaches the piano like a saxophone, to combine his “physical impulsiveness [to put] a certain energy into the musical ideas.” Highlighting this Washington, D.C. set, is “Joe’s Strut,” for Wolff’s friend Joe Zawinul.

Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz

Bucky Pizzarelli On Piano Jazz

The guitarist is known for playing the great songs of the ’30s on his seven-string instrument. As part of the 30th Anniversary celebration, Bucky Pizzarelli returns to Piano Jazz with guest host John Pizzarelli, his son and fellow guitarist.