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December 22, 2013 / robinswood

NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas


It has become something of a seasonal tradition for me, to set aside an evening to listen to the year’s edition of NPR’s Jazz Piano Christmas. Now in its 24th year, the series is hosted at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, and brings together four jazz pianists to offer solo renditions of music for the Christmas season. This year’s line-up included the veterans Stanley Cowell, Michele Rosewoman, and Andy Bey, along with the relative  newcomer Sullivan Fortner. 

After a first listening, I’d have to say that my favourite in the bunch is Cowell’s “Holiday Suite”, made up of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear,” “We Three Kings,” “Our Little Town” (in an arrangement by Jimmy Heath), and “Winter Wonderland.” But you can go take a listen and judge for yourself, simply by clicking here.

There’s also a pretty nice back-catalogue of these concerts available through NPR, my personal favourite being the edition from 2011. The 2011 line-up was very strong – Alfredo Rodriguez, Barry Harris, Eddie Palmieri (offering a killer version of “We Three Kings”), and Jason Moran – and also included an archival performance by  Dr. Billy Taylor, who had died in January of that year. To give it a listen, click here.




One Comment

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  1. Rod / Dec 23 2013 9:01 pm

    Great stuff. Merry Christmas Rev. 🙂

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