Ben Webster (3.27.16)

Ben Webster was an American jazz saxophonist who helped to shape the musical landscape of the 20th century. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about the life and legacy of Ben Webster.

Rudresh Mahanthappa (5.10.15)

Rudresh Mahanthappa is an American jazz alto saxophonist and composer. Much of his music fuses the western improvisational approach to jazz, with sacred music from India, to expand the understanding of what it means to be in a present moment intercontinentally.

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, talks about what Mahanthappa’s work and style, can teach us about how we understand the process of becoming, as we live in this world.

King Curtis (2.15.15)

King Curtis was an American saxophonist, who played not only jazz, but R&B, rock n’ roll, and funk as well. His style was powerful and poignant, allowing moments to fully expand and develop. Unfortunately Curtis died young, murdered at the age of 37. In this installment of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe talks about what the life and legacy of King Curtis can teach us today.

Benny Golson (1.25.15)

Benny Golson is an American jazz saxophonist, composer and arranger who made his name with greats like John Coltrane, Art Blakey, and Lionel Hampton. Yet, perhaps his best known and recognized composition was for his friend, jazz trumpeter and legend Clifford Brown, who was taken at the age of 25 in a car accident. Golson wrote, “I Remember Clifford”, in the wake of his passing, and you can hear much of Brown’s rich and smooth texture throughout Golson’s piece.

In this edition of Liner Notes, Rabbi and jazz historian Neil Blumofe, talks about the life and work of Benny Golson. He explores what it means to memorialize loved ones who have passed before us, as their lives and souls remain vivid within us, even though their bodies are no longer here.

Jaki Byard (6.15.14)

Jaki Byard was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist and composer who collaborated with many artists, significantly Charles Mingus. He incorporated a range of styles in his approach, from ragtime to bebop, and swing to stride. He spanned years of musical tradition, bringing history into one moment–an eternal now. In this edition of Liner Notes Rabbi Neil Blumofe explores what the music and legacy of Jaki Byard can teach us today.

V&B: Coleman Hawkins and The Art of Failure

Coleman Hawkins, the great saxophone player, helped to establish jazz as a stand alone art form, distinguished from swing — the popular music of the day. With his originality, lyricism, and his keen sense of appreciating the latest trends, his work was the influence and foundation for bebop and the most expressive jazz ballads. And yet, what is the dearest price given for the artist who expresses his art?

Join Rabbi Neil Blumofe and KUT’s Rebecca McInroy for conversation and superlative live music recorded live at the Cactus Cafe in Austin, Texas. It was an evening dedicated to discovering jazz and appreciating the beauty of this incredible and accessible American art form.


Shelly Carrol, saxophone

Ephraim Owens, trumpet

Red Young, piano

Roscoe Beck, bass

Brannen Temple, drums

Charlie Parker (12.15.13)

American jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker crafted the sound that was eventually called bebop. This deeply soulful music gave him and other musicians a way to express themselves in original ways. Parker’s addiction to heroine unfortunately cut his life short at just 34 years old. He died in the hotel room of his friend Nica.

Coleman Hawkins (Sunday 10.13.13)

Coleman Hawkins was at the head of the line in forging a path for the saxophone as an instrument and for the countless saxophonists that would follow him. Hawkins began his successful career in the early 1920s.

Cannonball Adderley (Sunday 9.15.13)

Hard bop was popularized by Cannonball Adderely in the 1950s and 1960s. Adderely reinvigorated jazz in the 1970s after a successful career playing with many of the jazz greats.

Sonny Rollins (Sunday 9.8.13)

Sonny Rollins pioneered a bass drum rhythm section with no piano so his saxophone playing would stand out as well as be a rhythm instrument itself. Rollins joined the Miles Davis Quintet in 1955.

Art Pepper (Sunday 9.1.13)

Alto saxophone player Art Pepper redefined himself repeatedly, and each time gained greater respect and popularity.