NPR: Kevin Whitehead

Kevin Whitehead is the jazz critic for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Whitehead's articles on jazz and improvised music have appeared in such publications as Point of Departure, the Chicago Sun-Times, Village Voice, Down Beat, and the Dutch daily de Volkskrant.

He is the author of Why Jazz: A Concise Guide (2010), New Dutch Swing (1998), and (with photographer Ton Mijs) Instant Composers Pool Orchestra: You Have to See It (2011).

His essays have appeared in numerous anthologies including Da Capo Best Music Writing 2006, Discover Jazz and Traveling the Spaceways: Sun Ra, the Astro-Black and Other Solar Myths.

Whitehead has taught at Towson University, the University of Kansas and Goucher College. He lives near Baltimore.



Fri May 13, 2011
Music Reviews

Early Impulse: A 50-Year Legacy In Jazz


In 1961, ABC Records got into the jazz market when producer Creed Taylor set up the Impulse label, whose glossy fold-out album covers with orange and black spines were easy to spot on collectors' shelves. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says collectors usually had lots of them — more for the music than the packaging. The label turns 50 this year, and First Impulse: The Creed Taylor Collection, 50th Anniversary, a commemorative box of early Impulse releases, has just been released.

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Wed April 20, 2011
Music Reviews

Tim Berne: Slow-Cooked Jazz

Saxophonist Tim Berne came up on New York's so-called "downtown scene" 30 years ago. That scene is known for postmodern jump-cutters like John Zorn, who'd leap from one style to another in the space of a beat. But Berne went another way — he's fascinated by gradual transitions. In his music, improvisers take their time, wending their way from theme to theme over a long, continuous set.

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