Night Train highlights ‘hits’ tonight – actual jazz hits, jazz covers of pop hits, and some rare instances of jazz compositions that were turned into pop hits. Among the highlights, an early drummer-less version of “Poinciana” from Ahmad Jamal, the song that revived Nina Simone’s career some 30 years after it was first recorded, the Horace Silver song Steely Dan borrowed for one of their hits, and jazz covers of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and the Zombie’s “Time of the Season.”
On the Night Train birthday list tonight, two pianists/composers/arrangers – Dave Grusin and Bill Cunliffe, and drummer Joey Baron, including a new album just out from Cunliffe, a couple of tribute albums Grusin did, and guest appearances by Baron with Bill Frisell, Steve Kuhn, and Enrico Pieranunzi. Also new music from Eric Applegate, and Jim Snidero & Jeremy Pelt with a tribute to Cannonball Adderley. And for the June Caribbean American Heritage Month feature, a song from the Virgin Islands from Sonny Rollins, and in hour two, a special featuring Puerto Rican saxophonist Miguel Zenon.
Night Train continues the Caribbean American Heritage Month feature with some Afro-Cuban (and other) Latin jazz tonight – including music from Mongo Santamaria, Ray Mantilla, the Caribbean Jazz Project, Charlie Haden – and off new albums from Steven Kroon, Azar Lawrence, Freddy Cole, the Ellis Marsalis Quintet, the Kenny Barron Quintet, and Akira Tana.
Night Train marks the birthday of Richard Rodgers with a number of his compositions that appear on new albums from Bill Anschell, Susan Krebs, Amy Cervini, Roberta Piket and a new Nina Simone compilation. It’s also the birthday of keyboardist John Medeski and we’ll hear him with Medeski, Martin & Wood, Roswell Rudd, and last year’s Hudson release with Jack DeJohnette, John Scofield & Larry Grenadier. We also mark the birthday of Tierney Sutton, including with a special featuring her in hour two of the show.