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Jazz Library

Gateshead Jazz Festival 2009 Episode 1: Sheila Jordan

Singer Sheila Jordan joins Alyn Shipton to select the highlights from her catalogue.

American singer Sheila Jordan talks to Alyn Shipton in front of an audience at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2009 to select the highlights from her catalogue.

American singer Sheila Jordan joins Alyn Shipton in front of an audience at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival 2009 to select the highlights from her half-century as arguably one of the most adventurous and individual singers in jazz. The programme features her minimal settings and explorations of timbre and timing, from her 1960s classic Portrait of Sheila to her most recent recordings.

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Bob Wilber

Clarinettist and saxophonist Bob Wilber joins Alyn Shipton to look back on his career.

Traditional jazz clarinettist and saxophonist Bob Wilber joins Alyn Shipton for a look back at the highlights of his career, with recordings from the 1940s to the 2000s.

Eighty-one-year old Bob Wilber is one of the leading clarinettists and saxophonists in traditional jazz, and he joins Alyn Shipton to look back at the highlights of a career that began when Bob was a teenage pupil of the great Sidney Bechet. The programme covers recordings from the 1940s to the present day and includes Wilber's dramatic recreations of Ellington for the Francis Ford Coppola film The Cotton Club.

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Stefano Bollani

Alyn Shipton talks to Italian pianist Stefano Bollani about his varied recording career.

As part of the 2009 London Jazz Festival Alyn Shipton talks to Italian pianist Stefano Bollani about his varied recording career, including his latest trio outing for ECM.

One of the highlights of 2009's London Jazz Festival was pianist Stefano Bollani's residency at Kings Place, where the Italian gave solo performances as well as concerts in duo, trio and quintet settings. Recorded in front of an audience at the festival, Alyn Shipton talks to Bollani about his varied recording career, including his latest trio outing for ECM.

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Jelly Roll Morton

Alyn Shipton explores the work of Jelly Roll's band, Red Hot Peppers, and his solo discs.

Jelly Roll Morton: Alyn Shipton is joined by Morton specialist Martin Litton to explore the work of Jelly Roll's band, the Red Hot Peppers, as well as Jelly's solo discs.

Jelly Roll Morton

Alyn Shipton is joined by Morton specialist Martin Litton to explore the work of Jelly Roll's band, the Red Hot Peppers, as well as the solo discs.

The self-proclaimed 'inventor of jazz', Jelly Roll Morton was a colourful figure, with diamonds in his teeth and gold on his fingers. He was also the first musician to appreciate the potential of the 78 rpm record for creating miniature jazz compositions.

Including a contribution from Morton's last living sideman, 99-year-old Lawrence Lucie.

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Mark Lamarr explores the life of blues woman Memphis Minnie.

Mark Lamarr explores the life of blues woman Memphis Minnie, known for her guitar skills, her rowdy ways and the song When the Levee Breaks.

Mark Lamarr looks at the little-known story of Memphis Minnie, known for her guitar skills, her rowdy ways and the song 'When the Levee Breaks' a musical celebration of a key moment in Blues history.

'Levee', later made famous by Led Zeppelin and Dylan, was released in 1929, long before guitars found amplification, in reference (like many blues songs of the time), to the great Mississippi flood of 1927.

The flood was a huge factor in the Migration of African Americans into what would become the great RnB and Blues towns of Detroit, Memphis & Chicago. When the Levee Breaks is its most famous telling.

Neither born in Memphis nor called Minnie, the musician who wrote and recorded it travelled that now well worn blues journey both physically and musically in the first wave of blues musicians emerging from the Delta in the late 20s.

When the Levee Breaks was one of over two hundred songs written by Minnie during her lifetime, many are blues classics. Though her story has been largely ignored when compared to Robert Johnson, Leadbelly and other Blues artists of the time.

In a journey that starts along the banks of the Mississippi in a post Katrina New Orleans and ends in the promised land of the Blues, Chicago, Mark Lamarr explores her story, the flood itself and the development of the Blues that emerged around the Great Migration.

Producer: Rob Alexander

A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

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Paul Motian

Martin Speake joins Alyn Shipton for a selection of the essential discs by Paul Motian.

Martin Speake joins Alyn Shipton for a selection of the essential discs by Paul Motian - one of the most innovative and influential percussionists from the world of jazz.

From his early recordings with the Bill Evans trio in the 1950s, Paul Motian remained in the very highest echelons of jazz until his death in November 2011. His former colleague, the saxophonist Martin Speake, who worked with Motian on record and in concert, joins Alyn Shipton for a selection of the essential discs by this most innovative and influential of percussionists. As well as work with Evans, the programme includes pieces by Keith Jarrett, the trio with Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell, and Motian's own Electric Bebop Band.

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Rashied Ali

Alyn Shipton with a tribute to free jazz drummer and Coltrane collaborator Rashied Ali.

Until his untimely death in 2009, Rashied Ali was widely regarded as the doyen of free jazz drummers. Alyn Shipton picks his best recordings with the help of an archive interview.

Until his untimely death in 2009, Rashied Ali was widely regarded as the doyen of free jazz drummers. He made his name in John Coltrane's quartet and went on to a wide range of musical activity in the forty-two years since Coltrane's death.

More of a colourist than a rhythm player, Rashied Ali changed the role of jazz drumming for ever. In a candid interview with Alyn Shipton he explains the importance of John Coltrane to his life and work, and selects the finest records they made together, before also selecting highlights of his discs with Marion Brown, Archie Shepp, Eddie Henderson and his own bands.

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Bill Frisell

Alyn Shipton is joined by Phil Robson to select Bill Frisell's finest recordings.

Alyn Shipton is joined by Phil Robson to select Bill Frisell's finest recordings. Spanning from 1984 to the present, his discs encompass a huge range of styles and effects.

Looking forward to guitarist Bill Frisell's appearance at the 2009 London Jazz Festival, Alyn Shipton is joined by Phil Robson to select Frisell's finest recordings. Spanning from 1984 to the present, his discs encompass a huge range of styles and effects, pushing forward the boundaries of what it is possible to achieve on the guitar.

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Bob Brookmeyer

Alyn Shipton meets Bob Brookmeyer to pick the highlights of his recorded work.

Alyn Shipton marks the 80th birthday of trombonist, bandleader and arranger Bob Brookmeyer as he picks the highlights of his recorded work.

In 2011, trombonist, bandleader and arranger Bob Brookmeyer celebrated his 80th birthday. To mark the event, Alyn Shipton met Brookmeyer to pick the highlights of his recorded work, ranging from his pioneering small group playing with Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz to his big band contributions to the Mulligan Concert Jazz Band. Alyn also hears about Brookmeyer's New Art Orchestra, based in continental Europe, and discusses recent reissues of Bob's classics such as Traditionalism Revisited, and his trio with Jim Hall and Jimmy Giuffre.

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Ornette Coleman

Alyn Shipton selects the key recordings of influential saxophonist Ornette Coleman.

Alyn Shipton is joined by Paul Towndrow to select the key recordings of influential saxophonist Ornette Coleman, who celebrates his 80th birthday in March 2010.

Celebrating Ornette Coleman's 80th birthday in March 2010, Alyn Shipton was joined by Scottish saxophonist Paul Towndrow to select the key recordings by Coleman, the saxophonist who developed free jazz in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

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Stan Tracey

Alyn Shipton is joined at the 2010 Gateshead International Jazz festival by Stan Tracey.

Alyn Shipton is joined at the 2010 Gateshead International Jazz festival by pianist and composer Stan Tracey, who discusses his work with Sonny Rollins and his own big bands.

Ahead of the launch of his Later Works at this year's Gateshead International Jazz Festival at the Sage, Stan Tracey joined Alyn Shipton to look back at his recording career. As well as work with visiting Americans such as Zoot Sims, Ben Webster and Sonny Rollins, Stan discusses his fascination with Duke Ellington, his own big bands and quartets, his suite Alice in Jazzland, and the story behind his most recent recordings.

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Bix Beiderbecke

Alyn Shipton explores the music of the great cornettist Bix Beiderbecke.

Alyn Shipton explores the music of cornettist Bix Beiderbecke, covering key recordings including Singing the Blues and I'm Coming Virginia as well as later big band work.

Despite a recording career that lasted only from 1924 to 1931, Bix Beiderbecke changed the way jazz soloists played. An influence on a par with Louis Armstrong or Sidney Bechet, his discs had an immediate and long-lasting effect.

Ian Smith joins Alyn Shipton to explore the legend of the tragically short-lived Beiderbecke, and to choose his key recordings, including his small group masterpieces "Singing the Blues" and "I'm Coming Virginia" plus his later work with the big bands of Jean Goldkette and Paul Whiteman. Beiderbecke's piano compositions are also discussed, and his pioneering use of the language of French impressionism in jazz.

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Esbjörn Svensson

Alyn Shipton and John L Walters to reassess the career of pianist Esbjörn Svensson.

Alyn Shipton is joined by John L Walters to reassess the career of Swedish pianist Esbjörn Svensson who died in an accident in 2007.

Before his death in 2007, Esbjörn Svensson was regarded as the leading pianist in European jazz. His trio (EST) topped the Swedish charts and appeared on MTV. His appeal was broad enough to reach audiences of every age, and his repertoire stretched from dazzling interpretations of jazz standards by the likes of Thelonious Monk to quirky originals, such as his "Dodge the Dodo" which combined drum 'n' bass ideas with languid jazz balladry. In this programme, John L Walters of the Guardian joins Alyn Shipton to pick the high points of Svensson's recording career.

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Red Mitchell

Alyn Shipton and Simon Woolf explore the recorded legacy of American bassist Red Mitchell.

Simon Woolf joins Alyn Shipton to explore the recorded legacy of American bassist Red Mitchell - from his early years on the West Coast and time in Sweden to his later duo work.

Simon Woolf joins Alyn Shipton to explore the recorded legacy of American bassist Red Mitchell - from his early years on the West Coast and time in Sweden to his later work in duos.

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Boyd Raeburn

Alyn Shipton picks the finest recordings of bandleader Boyd Raeburn.

Bruce Boyd Raeburn joins Alyn Shipton to select some unusual examples of the original works of his jazz bandleader father, Boyd Raeburn.

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Phineas Newborn Jr

Brian Priestley joins Alyn Shipton to pick the finest recordings by Phineas Newborn Jr.

Alyn Shipton and Brian Priestly pick highlights and reappraise the largely forgotten genius of pianist Phineas Newborn Jr, in the wake of several recent reissues of his work.

Phineas Newborn Jr. was one of the finest pianists in jazz history, but his short career was dogged by physical and mental illness and he is now a somewhat obscure figure. In the wake of several recent reissues of Newborn's work, Brian Priestley joins Alyn Shipton to pick the highlights and to reappraise this largely forgotten genius of the piano.

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Artie Shaw

Alyn Shipton is joined by Alan Barnes to explore key recordings by clarinettist Artie Shaw

Alyn Shipton is joined by Alan Barnes to explore the diverse key recordings of clarinettist Artie Shaw, including tracks by his big bands, and by Billie Holiday and Hot Lips Page.

Artie Shaw was one of the most technically brilliant clarinettists in jazz. He was also an improviser, composer and bandleader of the first order, until he ended his career at the age of 44, believing that he had said all he had to say as a musician. Alan Barnes, who has specialised in playing Shaw's music, joins Alyn Shipton to pick the key examples from Shaw's varied catalogue. The music includes tracks by his various big bands, by singers Billie Holiday and Hot Lips Page and by Shaw's small group the Gramercy Five.

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Ramsey Lewis

Chicago-born pianist Ramsey Lewis joins Alyn Shipton to discuss his recorded highlights.

Following his recent 75th birthday and the release of his latest trio recording Songs from the Heart, pianist Ramsey Lewis joins Alyn Shipton to discuss his recorded highlights.

This month, Chicago-born pianist Ramsey Lewis celebrates his 75th Birthday and the recent release of Songs From The Heart, his latest trio recording. This acoustic format has been a central component of Lewis' sixty-year career, bringing chart success in 1965 with 'The In Crowd', a track recorded live at Washington D.C.'s Bohemian Caverns where the audience's whoops and claps became, in Ramsey's words, the 'fourth member of the band'. But, as Alyn Shipton finds out in this programme, Lewis' catalogue of discs is richly varied, including interpretations of Beatles ballads, forays into fusion (with the help of Earth, Wind & Fire) and a large-scale gospel album alongside his many trio outings. A natural storyteller, Lewis remembers his father introducing him to the virtuosity of Art Tatum (prompting the question: 'Dad, who are they?') and, in conversation with Alyn Shipton, he describes how Western Classical tradition holds an important position in his musical thinking.

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Mike Stern

Guitarist Mike Stern joins Alyn Shipton at the 2011 Gateshead Jazz Festival.

For the 2011 Gateshead Jazz Festival, guitarist Mike Stern joins Alyn Shipton at the Sage to trace his main musical collaborations and pick some of his own best recordings.

Guitarist Mike Stern has been a major figure in jazz fusion throughout his career. In this programme he traces some of his principal associations and picks some of his own best recordings in conversation with Alyn Shipton at the Sage Gateshead, as part of the 2011 Jazz Festival there. The music ranges from his work with Miles Davis and the Brecker Brothers to his long association with saxophonist Bob Berg.

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Joe Lovano

Saxophonist Joe Lovano talks to Alyn Shipton about some of his finest recordings.

In conversation with Alyn Shipton in front of an audience at the 2011 Gateshead International Jazz Festival, saxophonist Joe Lovano discusses some of his finest records.

Saxophonist Joe Lovano is one of the most versatile soloists in jazz. In conversation with Alyn Shipton in front of an audience at the 2011 Gateshead International Jazz festival he discusses some of his finest records, from duos with Hank Jones to a range of trios, and from there to octets and his current group Us Five. He also discusses his compositions and work with large ensembles such as his Symphonica project.

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