During my lunch hour, I like to go for walks and listen to jazz podcasts. Podcasts are also great for those times when I can't find anything good to listen to on the radio. In the interest of sharing, here are my favorite jazz podcasts.
MARIAN McPARTLAND'S PIANO JAZZ
You probably know all about Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio program, but just in case, here's a brief summary: During each show, one or more guest artists join Marian McPartland for an interview and a live performance in her studio. That's one way to describe her show. You could also say it's the best show of its kind, ever, in the history of the world.
A professional jazz pianist herself, Marian McPartland began her career in the 1940s and she led her own band throughout the 1950s in New York City. Unlike most radio and podcast hosts, she didn't just study jazz history, she lived it! While chatting with legendary jazz musicians on her radio program, Marian's recollections are often as fascinating as those of her guests. And her guests are truly the best of the best. During the 25 years that she hosted her show on NPR, she's interviewed and performed with Bill Evans, Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, and several hundred more of the best musicians of our time.
Over the years I've listened to several of Marian McPartland's radio programs, but there are so many that I missed. And only a limited number of the older programs have been available online or as albums. With Marian McPartland's recent passing, however, it appears that NPR is beginning to make more of the old programs available. I say "beginning to make... available" because the list seems to be growing by the day. I first started downloading the old programs a couple of weeks ago and there are more than twice as many available today. For now, you can't easily download all of them as podcasts, but you can listen to them online. Here are the various places where you can access the recordings:
Online - this is where you'll find the largest number of programs
Go to the official Piano Jazz at NPR.org page. Once you've opened the NPR page, click "View Full Archive" near the bottom of that page. From there click the "Previous" links to access the older shows. Although you can't download all of these as podcasts for offline listening, the site works well from a mobile device so you can still take this with you wherever you have network connectivity.
Podcast via NPR app - about 30 programs are available here
In the NPR application for iPhone or Android, click the Programs button, then scroll to "Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz." From that page you can add them to your playlist and play them from within the NPR App
Podcast via iTunes - about 15 programs are available here
Here is the iTunes link for Marian McPartland's podcasts in iTunes.
GORDON VERNICK'S JAZZ INSIGHTS
I mentioned Gordon Vernick's jazz podcast a few years ago, but since that time it has changed locations within iTunes. Since the old location stopped receiving updates, I assumed he wasn't making any new podcasts. While chatting with Gordon a couple of months ago, he told me that the podcast is still going strong, so I looked it up and found the new iTunes location. If you had subscribed to his old podcast, you're in luck. There are dozens of new recordings. I especially enjoyed the ones on Tito Puente, Nat King Cole, and the new Miles Davis podcast. Also, if you're an aspiring jazz musician, be sure to listen to the recording with Joe Gransden. Joe Gransden is one of the most successful gigging jazz musicians here in Atlanta, and in that podcast you'll hear about all of the work it takes to achieve that success.
Here are some other shows that I enjoy, but for one reason or another, I can't recommend them as much as the ones I mentioned above.
- NANCY WILSON'S JAZZ PROFILES - The great vocalist, Nancy Wilson, hosted a long-running program on NPR called "Jazz Profiles." This is a fantastic program, but I can't really recommend it as a podcast since so few of the shows are available outside of the NPR website. A few years ago, a handful of the programs were available in iTunes, but I can't seem to find any of them anymore. Hopefully NPR will make more of these shows available on iTunes and/or in their mobile app.
- NOISE FROM THE DEEP - this podcast, by trumpeter Dave Douglas and his Greenleaf Music label, features interviews with various jazz musicians. This relatively new podcast has ten segments thus far. I've listened to about half of them, and I'd definitely recommend them to any fans of Dave Douglas and/or his Greenleaf music label. This jazz podcast probably doesn't have the mass appeal of the aforementioned podcasts, though, since this one features lesser-known and/or up-and-coming jazz musicians (some of whom play free/experimental music).
- JUDY CARMICHAEL - JAZZ INSPIRED - this podcast was recommend by "Marlon" in the comments. Judy is a stride pianist and her podcast contains interviews along with recordings from her featured guests. The guests are mostly jazz musicians, but you'll also find interviews with magicians, actors, directors, and other members of the entertainment industry.
- JASON CRANE - THE JAZZ SESSION - this is another recommendation from "Marlon". Jason Crane is a DJ and his podcast features interviews with a wide variety of jazz musicians. This is definitely worth checking out.
YOUR SUGGESTED JAZZ PODCASTS
If you know of any other great jazz podcasts, please share them in the comments to this post. As they come in, I'll add them to this section.