Alex Ariff

Coordinating Producer, Jazz Night in America

Ways to Connect

Why do hip-hop producers gravitate toward jazz samples? For a mood, for sonic timbre, for a unique rhythmic component. Swing is a precursor to the boom-bap. "If you're a hip-hop producer that wants a lot of melodic stuff happening," pianist Robert Glasper says, "you're probably going to go to jazz first."

Jay Gilbert

There are many paths to a killer groove, and few fixed parameters. The most important criterion is an intangible: just how good, how essentially right, does it feel? Every new track featured in this installment of Take Five is a winner in that respect, whether we’re talking about a hard-swinging churn or a minimalist swirl. As a bonus, you’ll see a first-rate drummer do a goofy dance.

This archival material comes from our Playdate series and was originally published March 24, 2014. Click here for Playdate Show #8, which features, among others, Larry Coryell.

This poignant "Body and Soul" was played by guitarist Larry Coryell with pianist Albert Dailey, bassist George Mraz, and drummer Billy Hart at the Village Vanguard on April 26, 1984.

This year's Winter Jazzfest, which took place last week in New York City, presented an explicit theme of "Celebrating Social Justice." Conceptually and musically, Winter Jazzfest pushes the genre forward; after taking in as many of the 130-plus acts across many stages in Manhattan and Brooklyn as they could, our team reported back with some of the festival's highlights.


"Stories like forests are subject to seasons."

Michael League
Arjan Aelmans

  Originally published May 27, 2015.

Bassist Michael League talks with Alex Ariff about his band Snarky Puppy and their new album Sylva, which features the Metropole Orkest.

This archival material comes from our Playdate series and was originally published March 25, 2014.

This is the final Playdate in our 8-part series, and we've managed to cover a lot of ground!

Want piano? We've got Harold Mabern in New York City and Frank Emilo Flynn in Havana, Cuba in this show. Also from Havana, we've got trumpeter Roy Hargrove playing street rhumba and trombonist Steve Turre on conch shells.