Patrick Jarenwattananon

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Eric Lewis' career has circulated both in and out of what he calls "the jazz republic." Performing under his given name in the 1990s, Lewis was a powerful up-and-coming pianist who toured in the bands of Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones. As his career progressed — or failed to, from a business perspective — he found that a lot of contemporary rock music also spoke to him deeply.

This tune comes from a demo tape of a band's first-ever public gig. The recording engineer was a 19-year-old college radio kid scrambling to capture 18 musicians in a tiny basement club. But half a century later, that kid now runs a record label and deemed his work good enough to re-touch and issue as part of a deluxe 2-CD package. After all, this was no ordinary band. Within three months of that first gig, this group started making "real" albums — five LPs worth in the next four years, plus two album-length collaborations with singers.

Jazz has its capital cities: major hubs like New York, Chicago and New Orleans. But the music manages plenty well in many other places, too. What goes into those smaller ecosystems to enable jazz to thrive? How do talented musicians make it happen? In search of some answers, we sought out the DIY concert producers of CapitalBop in Washington, D.C., as they presented artists from the Baltimore-Washington area. And we met with the musicians themselves — in one case, touring the place he calls home.

Pedrito Martinez is a world-class Afro-Cuban percussionist — a rumbero called upon by many jazz and pop stars when they need hand drumming, as well as a Grammy-nominated singing bandleader in his own right. He's also a Santería priest.

Like any music, jazz has its revolutions; its sudden incidents in infrastructure; its disruptive presences of unprecedented sound. Mostly it's slower than that, though, with years and generations of accretions before it seems to call for new vocabulary. That's one way to look at Winter Jazzfest, whose latest incarnation occupied a dozen or so venues in downtown New York City last weekend. In a decade and a half of steady growth, a one-night showcase oriented toward industry insiders has become nearly a weeklong landmark of the city's cultural calendar.

A tradition that dates back to the 1970s, NPR Music presents an all-night broadcast of live jazz performances every New Year's Eve.

In a sequence of high-energy concerts, performers counted down to midnight and rang in the new year across four time zones, with performances in Boston; Newport, R.I.; New York City; Chicago; and Northern California. The broadcast featured previously recorded concerts from Anat Cohen, Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis, Clark Terry, Snarky Puppy, Dianne Reeves and Allen Toussaint.

Hear the performances in the playlist below.

Concerts of holiday music have been some of Jazz at Lincoln Center's most popular programming for at least 25 years now. Given the talent of its in-house big band — the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis — it's no surprise that the results are consistently fine. But here's a pretty Christmas ornament that's a little rougher around the edges.

When the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra returns to the newly renovated Rose Theater, it'll bring one of its most popular traditions: its annual concerts of holiday music. The Orchestra, led by Wynton Marsalis, will present new arrangements of favorite seasonal songs with guest vocalists Denzal Sinclaire and Audrey Shakir.

Tonight's performance will also feature an appearance from Aretha Franklin.

NPR Music will stream a live performance of the JLCO's Big Band Holidays concert on Thursday, Dec. 17. This concert has now concluded.

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