Jazz Tonight with Leslie Keros

Monday-Thursday 8-midnight on WVTF Music
  • Hosted by Leslie Keros

Born and raised in the Detroit area, Leslie Keros has been steeped in music since she can remember, taking classical piano lessons, singing in youth and adult choirs, and attending fine arts camp in the summer. She first heard jazz on the radio in her youth, and her love for the music continued after she moved to Chicago. She has hosted jazz and blues shows since 2000. Playlist can be found here.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

Every January, I attend globalFEST at a New York City nightclub and see some of the most fantastic music I'll experience all year. Now, given the pandemic's challenges and the hardening of international borders, NPR Music and globalFEST moved the 2021 edition from the nightclub to your screen of choice and shared the festival with the world. We called it Tiny Desk Meets globalFEST.

I can think of no better summation of our shared experience over the last year than "A World Lost," the title of the piece that opens Maria Schneider's Data Lords. A slow, foreboding dirge in an oblong time signature, it instantly sets a tone of somber contemplation.

If you're old enough, you might recall the comic Godfrey Cambridge from late-night television in the 1960s, when he was one of a new wave of black stand-ups (others included Bill Cosby and Dick Gregory) who, though addressing racial issues in their monologues, came up through jazz clubs and beatnik coffee houses rather than the chitlin circuit, and positioned themselves more kin to George Carlin than integration-ready offspring of Red Foxx and Moms Mabley.

The 2020 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll

Jan 14, 2021

Below are the results of NPR Music's 8th Annual Jazz Critics Poll (my 15th, going back to the poll's beginnings in the Village Voice). These are the jazz albums that lit up a dark, unsettling year. Maria Schneider's Data Lords was the critics choice — no surprise, though relative unknown Sara Serpa's victory in the Vocal category in a year when both Kurt Elling and Gregory Porter released new albums was.

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