Jazz Beat

Jazz Beat

Jazz Beat is a jazz and blues podcast from New England Public Media's Tom Reney. Tom was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association with the Willis Conover-Marian McPartland Award for Career Excellence in Broadcasting in 2019. In addition to hosting Jazz à la Mode since 1984, Tom writes the jazz blog and produces the Jazz Beat podcast at NEPM. He began working in jazz radio in 1977 at WCUW, a community-licensed radio station in Worcester, Massachusetts. Tom holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where he majored in English and African American Studies.

Episodes

May 9, 2022 51 min
Jazz critic Gary Giddens talks to Tom Reney about Sonny Rollins
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For Jazz Beat 57 and 58, Tom Reney spoke with Billy Boy Arnold about his autobiography, THE BLUES DREAM OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD.
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February 1, 2022 51 min
For Jazz Beat 57 and 58, Tom Reney spoke with Billy Boy Arnold about his autobiography, THE BLUES DREAM OF BILLY BOY ARNOLD.
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In Part 3 of Tom Reney's interview with Ricky Riccardi, author of Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong, they discuss Armstrong's tour of England in 1932, and his European sojourn in 1934-35; his top billing in the movie, Pennies From Heaven; his groundbreaking achievement as the first African American host of a network radio series; and the controversy over his 1938 recording, "When the Saints Go ...
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In part two of Tom Reney's interview with Peter Guralnick, they discuss three of the subjects of Guralnick's book, Looking to Get Lost: Adventures in Music and Writing: Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, and country music legend, Dick Curless, whose career began in the late 1940s in Ware, Massachusetts.
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January 27, 2021 50 min
In 2015, Tom Reney spoke with Peter Guralnick about his biography, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock & Roll. And now in a two-part Jazz Beat, he’s interviewed Peter about six of the American music legends who are profiled in Guralnick’s new book, Looking to Get Lost: Adventures In Music & Writing: Robert Johnson, Skip James, Johnny Cash, Howlin’ Wolf, Dick Curless and Ray Charles.
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In Part Two of Tom Reney's conversation with Ricky Riccardi about his new book, Heart Full of Rhythm: The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong, Riccardi discusses Armstrong's skirmishes with Prohibition-era gangsters and managers; the trumpeter's triumphant return to his birthplace of New Orleans in 1931; and the massive archive of self-documentation in letters, scrapbooks, and tape recordings that Armstrong left for poste...
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Tom Reney spoke with Louis Armstrong biographer Ricky Riccardi about his new book, Heart Full of Rhythm, The Big Band Years of Louis Armstrong. In the first of a multi-part interview, they discuss Armstrong’s breakthrough in the early 1930s as a popular artist; his first recordings of Broadway show tunes; and the mixed response that Armstrong received during this period from critics in the U.S. and Europe.
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Tom Reney spoke with drummer Joe Farnsworth about his new album, TIME TO SWING. In his liner note essay for the album, veteran drummer Billy Hart describes Farnsworth as "one of the rhythm philosophers.” Listen here for the South Hadley, Massachusetts native discussing his experiences working with Junior Cook, Harold Mabern, Lou Donaldson, Cecil Payne, Eric Alexander and Wynton Marsalis.
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Tom Reney interviewed Sonny Rollins in August 2020 for a project honoring Yusef Lateef’s centennial. Sonny enjoyed a long friendship with Yusef, and he considers the late saxophonist a mentor and spiritual inspiration. The 90-year-old Saxophone Colossus also discusses his groundbreaking work of 1958, THE FREEDOM SUITE, and elaborates on interviews he’s recently given The New York Times and The New Yorker about living by the Golden ...
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Tom Reney spoke with Paul Arslanian on May 6 about his career in jazz. Paul is a veteran pianist who's been a highly visible figure in jazz in Western Massachusetts since 1984. In 2010, he was a co-founder of the Northampton Jazz Workshop, and since then, he's produced a series of weekly performances that feature a guest artist who plays with the Northampton-based Green Street Trio. Arslanian is the Trio's pianist, whic...
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April 17, 2020 38 min
Jazz a la Mode host Tom Reney interviewed Lee Konitz in 2004 before concerts he was playing in Northampton and Cambridge. Konitz died from Covid-19 related pneumonia on April 15 at age 92. He was still touring and recording until social distancing began in March. A major figure in his own right, the Chicago-born saxophonist was associated over the course of his 75-year-long career with the jazz greats Miles Davis, Lennie Tristano, ...
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January 15, 2020 47 min
Champian Fulton was hailed by Francis Davis in the Village Voice in 2007, the year of her debut recording, as "the best new singer I've heard this year-- make that several years." Mark Stryker in the Detroit Free Press called her "the most gifted pure jazz singer of her generation." And Nate Chinen in the New York Times said, "she's a charming young steward of the mainstream jazz tradition." Jazz a l...
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October 21, 2019 49 min
Tom Reney spoke with Bennie Wallace for Jazz Beat a few days before concerts that the veteran tenor saxophonist was scheduled to play in Connecticut in October 2019.
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August 26, 2019 50 min
Jazz Beat host Tom Reney appeared on Open Source with Christopher Lydon on WBUR. They discuss jazz and r&b and classical music and Tom Reney reveals eight essential recordings and one book that he would take to a desert island.
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December 18, 2018 24 min
Jazz Beat 44 is devoted to Tom Reney's appreciation of the blues singer and guitarist T-Bone Walker.
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As with many of you, my Aretha Franklin vigil began with the news of August 13 that she'd entered hospice, and for the next two days I posted some reflections on Lady Soul on Facebook. Then on what proved to be the eve of her death, I listened to her throughout a three-hour drive to Cape Cod and could hardly contain myself. Hers is simply the most powerful-- and versatile-- voice of my lifetime. The line that's resonated mo...
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May 25, 2018 29 min
Tom Reney pays memorial tribute to Charles Neville on this edition of Jazz Beat.
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March 16, 2018 59 min
This edition of Jazz Beat features an interview that Tom Reney conducted with Anat Cohen in 2008 when she was the Billy Taylor Artist in Residence at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.
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February 2, 2018 21 min
In his latest edition of JazzBeat, NEPR’s Tom Reney turns the spotlight on Boston-born trumpeter Ruby Braff. Braff’s biography and his influences illuminate the period of jazz history that he inhabited. But the tone and style that you’ll hear in the episode’s music samples point to the timelessness of the music coming from his trumpet.
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