Jazz à la Mode

NEPR: Weekdays, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.

Welcome to Jazz à la Mode, which airs weeknights between 8-11 p.m. on 88.5FM.  Jazz à la Mode draws on the rich and varied traditions of jazz from the 1920’s to the present.  Whether it’s a classic recording by Louis Armstrong or Billie Holiday, a great standard by Harold Arlen or Duke Ellington, modern jazz landmarks by Miles Davis or John Coltrane, or the latest by Gregory Porter or Wynton Marsalis, Jazz à la Mode has plenty to satisfy your tastes.

Find Jazz à la Mode archived blog posts.

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Lenny Bruce
The Telegraph

Too much! Amazing and sweet! Lenny Bruce on jazz and modern art, with Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Teddy Kotick, and Philly Joe Jones playing Charlie Parker's "Au Privave," and Lenny and Philly Joe jiving on Bela Lugosi.

Randy Weston
Chuck Stewart / Mosaic Records

Randy Weston, who died on September 1 at 92, was one of my early favorites among jazz pianists. Like his “biggest influence,” Thelonious Monk, as well as Herbie Nichols, Cecil Taylor, and Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy had a powerful touch that reflected the influence of Duke Ellington. (Ellington was sufficiently impressed with Weston's playing to produce Randy's album Berkshire Blues, in 1965.) In Weston's case, early influences also included pianists Count Basie, Art Tatum and Nat "King" Cole, and the arpeggiated improvising style of Coleman Hawkins.

Aretha Franklin at President Barack Obama's Inauguration, January 20, 2009
Jason Reed / Reuters


Alas, Aretha Franklin died on Thursday, August 16, three days after I posted the tribute below to the Queen of Soul.  We listened to Ree for our three-hour drive to Cape Cod on Wednesday night and I could hardly contain myself. Hers is simply the most powerful and versatile voice of my lifetime. The line that's resonated most this week is "If you walk in that door, I can get up off my knees," from "Since You've Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)." It reminds me of a to-the-point reflection sent by a 70-year-old female friend, "Boy, did she ever get me through some tough times." 

I found impeccable footage of T-Bone Walker two weeks ago and have been on the search for more ever since. T-Bone's performance of "Don't Throw Your Love on Me So Strong" was filmed in 1962 for a West German TV special, "Jazz Heard and Seen." He's accompanied by pianist Memphis Slim, bassist Willie Dixon, and drummer Jump Jackson, who were all part of that year's American Folk Blues Festival tour in Europe.

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