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Michael Kernodle / Lakewood High School

When Lakewood High School’s band director Michael Kernodle walked through the music room door eight years ago, he found one marching band, no equipment and a program without structure — a far cry from glory days half a century earlier.

It’s been a lot of work, but the St. Petersburg school's music program has exploded. It has three full-time music instructors who teach orchestra, jazz, piano, steel drums and AP music theory.

Want to hear more about live music in the Tampa Bay area?

Florida Matters host Robin Sussingham sat down with Florida Matters producer Stephanie Colombini and WUSF reporter Daylina Miller and asked them about their experiences with and impressions of the local music scene.

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Stephanie Colombini / WUSF Public Media

The Tampa Bay area boasts some world class performing arts venues. But you don't have to pay big ticket prices to hear great music. As part of WUSF’s ongoing Art Populi series on live, local music, we visit a restaurant in downtown St. Petersburg where jazz reigns every Monday night.


Stephanie Colombini / WUSF

Strolling through the halls of the University of South Florida School of Music you can hear students in various practice rooms. But inside Director of Jazz Studies Jack Wilkins' office, teachers are rehearsing too.

Daylina Miller / WUSF Public Media

  During his final Saturday Night Jazz broadcast on WUSF 89.7, Bob Seymour took us back to his small Illinois hometown.

Courtesy The New York Times

Sharon Preston-Folta grew up knowing that jazz great Louis Armstrong was her father.

When she was little, she and her mom rode the tour bus with him. And since she didn't see him often, it was "a celebration" when her dad was around.

Jazz Pianist Kenny Drew Jr. Passes Away

Aug 6, 2014
AllAboutJazz.com

Kenny Drew Jr., a Bay Area pianist and composer known to jazz audiences around the world, died this past Sunday. WUSF 89.7 Jazz Director Bob Seymour shares this remembrance:

He was immensely talented and had a piano sound identifiable within just a few notes. Kenny Drew Jr., the son of a major jazz piano player, was taught largely by his aunt, and that early classical training was apparent in the virtuosity that was always a big part of his sound.

For more than 30 years, jazz pianist Marian McPartland hosted one of public radio's most beloved shows, Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz. As NPR's Felix Contreras writes, she "gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation." McPartland died of natural causes on Tuesday at the age of 95.

Marian McPartland, who gave the world an intimate, insider's perspective on one of the most elusive topics in music — jazz improvisation — died of natural causes Tuesday night at her home in Long Island, N.Y. She was 95.

Albert Murray, the influential writer and critic who helped found Jazz at Lincoln Center, died Sunday at home in Harlem. He was 97 years old. Duke Ellington once described him as the "unsquarest person I know."

For Murray, jazz and blues were more than just musical forms. They were a survival technique — an improvisatory response to hardship and uncertainty, as he told NPR in 1997: "You don't know how many bars you have, but however many of them you can make swing, the better off you are. That's about it."

Patriotism And Protest: Jazz For July 4

Jul 4, 2013

Jazz music has become a point of pride for the United States of America: a homegrown art form forged from folk traditions. But jazz recordings of American patriotic songs aren't abundant. Perhaps because many of jazz's foremost creators were black Americans who lived in a society which actively discriminated against them, many didn't think to tackle that material.

WUSF Jazz Director Bob Seymour featured an extensive conversation with Chuck Owen in debuting ‘River Runs’ on All Night Jazz, and prepared this piece for All Things Considered.

 Click HERE to listen to the full, uncut interview that aired on WUSF's All Night Jazz.