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.

Precious few have earned – just one, really – the honor to be proclaimed "the Grace Jones of jazz," but Lady Blackbird is not your average interpreter. Blackbird released a bold debut last year with her slow-burning version of Nina Simone's "Blackbird," while her second single, "Beware the Stranger," was a similarly intense reworking of "Wanted Dead or Alive," the rare groove classic popularized by the Voices of East Harlem. Last October, she released a gorgeously melancholy take on the James Gang's "Collage."

What does a line from a James Joyce novel sound like on the piano? Or a scribble from the visual artist Cy Twombly? Can you translate the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright into music? For pianist and composer Myra Melford, there is inspiration in all of the above, "a kind of dialogue for me – a thing to bounce my ideas off of."

Paul Jackson, who as bassist for Herbie Hancock's Headhunters helped secure the first million-selling jazz album, died on March 18 in Japan, where he had lived since 1985.

He was 73. His death was confirmed on social media by his longtime musical associate, drummer Mike Clark.

With a resume that ranges from Talib Kweli to Paul McCartney, L.A.-based drummer Karriem Riggins has assembled his kit in a borderless zone that encompasses modern jazz, hip-hop, classic singer-songwriters and whatever else tickles his fancy. Riggins studied with bassist Ray Brown and quickly became the go-to rhythmatist for Ron Carter, Donald Byrd, Oscar Peterson and other jazz icons.

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