New Frontiers of Jazz
Icons among us

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Jazz, the great American art form, is so great it’s been a problem. How do you keep going, changing, staying vital, fresh, when the shadows of the greats are so long and deep?

There’s Armstrong and Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonius Monk, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Bill Evans, Dave Brubeck, and on and on.

So is jazz now? Or is jazz then? A new documentary tours the new horizon of jazz. The new icons. New names. Benevento. Blanchard. Glasper. Shipp. Jason Moran. The Bad Plus. And their sound.

This hour, On Point: on the new frontier of jazz.

What, who, does “jazz” mean to you? Miles? Monk? Dizzy? Or somebody new? And if it’s too new, too different, is it still jazz? Tell us what you think — here on this page, on Twitter, and on Facebook.


Joining us from New Orleans is John Comerford, president of Paradigm Studios and executive producer of the big, new four-part documentary, “Icons Among Us: Jazz in the Present Tense.” It’s currently airing on the Documentary Channel, Mondays at 9 PM, with the music and voices of a whole new pantheon of jazz.

Also from New Orleans, we’re joined by Alan Evans, drummer with the jazz/funk band Soulive. They’ve recorded with Chaka Khan, Dave Matthews, Talib Kweli, and John Scofield, and opened for The Rolling Stones, The Roots, and John Mayer. Their latest album is “Up Here.”

More links:

Here’s the music heard in the segment ins and outs during this show, in the order played, with links to the artists’ websites:

“Fleur de Lis” – Nicholas Payton, from the album “Into the Blue”

“Flow, Pt. 1″ – Terence Blanchard, from the album “Flow”

“Blue Skies” – Robert Glasper Trio, from the album “Mood”

“Principle” – Greg Osby, from the album “9 Levels”

“I Know You Know” – Esperanza Spalding, from the album “Esperanza”

“End of the World Party” – Medeski, Martin and Wood, from the album “End of the World Party (just in case)”

The New York Times’ Ben Ratliff reviews “Icons Among Us.” On the LA Times music blog, Chris Barton reviews the film and features some video clips. “Icons Among Us” on MySpace features more video.

Here’s an 8-minute trailer for the film and an excerpt featuring Soulive (from YouTube):

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