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Music

Toast Of The Nation 2021

The Jazz Gallery All-Stars perform live from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C..
The Jazz Gallery All-Stars perform live from the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C..

In 1977, the first Jazz Alive New Year's Eve special was broadcast live from The Cookery and The Village Gate. The tradition continues with Toast of the Nation, NPR's annual holiday special that rings in the New Year with jazz.

This year features some of the best jazz collectives performing today. Hear four solid hours of festive music from the Catherine Russell Trio (recorded live at Dizzy's Club at Jazz At Lincoln Center), The Jazz Gallery All-Stars (recorded live at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts), KOKOROKO (recorded live at the Royal Albert Hall in London) and Pink Martini (recorded live from bandleader Thomas Lauderdale's home).

Hosted by Jazz Night In America's Christian McBride, here's the perfect complement to your holiday festivities.

Set 1 of 4

Catherine Russell performs live with her trio.
/ Courtesy of the Artist

Grammy award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell is one of the most widely recognized jazz vocalists performing today. She and her trio kick off the series with a mix of swing, R&B and early blues, live streamed from Dizzy's Club back in October.

Set List:

  • "Send For Me" (Ollie Jones)
  • "Did I Remember" (Walter Donaldson / Harold Adamson)
  • "That Ain't Right" (Nat King Cole)
  • "You Brought A New Kind of Love" (Sammy Fain / Irving Kahal / Pierre Norman)
  • "Sticks and Stones" (Luis Russell / Henry Red Allen)
  • "He May Be Your Dog (But He's Wearing My Collar)" (Rosa Henderson)
  • "When Did You Leave Heaven" (Walter Bullock / Richard A. Whiting)
  • "Just Because You Can" (Rachelle Garniez)
  • "You Can't Pull The Wool Over My Eyes" (Milton Ager / Murray Mencher / Charles Newman)
  • "You Reap Just What You Sow" (Alberta Hunter)
  • "What A Difference A Day Made" (María Grever)
  • "I Only Have Eyes For You" (Harry Warren)
  • "Errand Girl For Rhythm" (Nat King Cole)
  • "Kitchen Man" (Andy Razaf / Edna Alexander)
  • Wynton Marsalis plays "East of the Sun (West of the Moon)" (Brooks Bowman)
  • Musicians: Catherine Russell, vocals; Matt Munisteri, guitar; Tal Ronen, bass.

    Set 2 of 4

    The Jazz Gallery All-Stars performs live at the Kennedy Center.
    / Jati Lindsay

    2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the Jazz Gallery, an important New York City institution dedicated to jazz and creative music. The Jazz Gallery All-Stars were assembled to celebrate this milestone. Unfortunately, most of its gigs got canceled, but we are grateful the group was still able to play this Kennedy Center show.

    Set List:

  • "Strange Fruit" (Abel Meeropol)
  • "Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder" (Joel Ross)
  • "Formel" (Miguel Zenón)
  • "Ashe" (Aaron Parks)
  • "Ofafrii" (Gerald Clayton)
  • "Strasbourg / St. Denis" (Roy Hargrove)
  • Musicians: Miguel Zenón, alto; Melissa Aldana, tenor; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Charles Altura, guitar; Aaron Parks, piano; Ben Williams, bass; Kendrick Scott, drums; Jessica Boykin-Settles, vocals.

    Set 3 of 4

    KOKOROKO performed their first concert since the pandemic began for Toast of the Nation.
    / Nina Manandhar

    With roots in Africa and the Caribbean, this eight-piece band blends the sounds of Afrobeat and jazz with a West African approach to improvisation. KOKOROKO plays music that grabs your attention and makes you want to move in the funkiest way possible. The band performed this concert — its very first concert since the pandemic began — at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with no audience. But that didn't stop KOKOROKO from getting it done like they always do.

    Set List:

  • "Uman" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Abusey Junction" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Ti-de" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Flip Story" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Baba Ayoola" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Age of Ascent" (KOKOROKO)
  • "Carry Me Home" (KOKOROKO)
  • Musicians: Sheila Maurice-Grey, trumpet; Cassie Kinoshi, saxophone; Richie Seivewright, trombone; Oscar Jerome, guitar; Yohan Kebede, keys; Mutale Chashi; bass; Ayo Salawu, drums; Onome Edgeworth, percussion.

    Set 4 of 4

    Pink Martini band leader Thomas Lauderdale anchors the concert from his piano, with singers China Forbes, Storm Large, NPR's very own Ari Shapiro and more special guests.
    / Chris Hornbecker

    For more than a decade, this self-described "little orchestra" has always been on tour this time of year, celebrating the holidays in front of adoring audiences. Until 2020. But, right before Thanksgiving, the band got together anyway —under strict safety measures — to record some festive holiday songs. This concert took place in bandleader Thomas Lauderdale's home, in front of his 35-foot Christmas tree. He anchors the concert from his piano, with singers China Forbes, Storm Large, NPR's very own Ari Shapiro and more special guests.

    Set List:

  • "Concerto for Trumpet" (Harry James, featuring Gavin Bondy on trumpet)
  • "Tempo Perdido" (Ataulfo Alves, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes) 
  • "Let's Never Stop Falling in Love" (Thomas M. Lauderdale / China Forbes, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes) 
  • "Hang on Little Tomato" (Thomas M. Lauderdale / China Forbes / Patrick Abbey, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes)
  • "Donde estas, Yolanda?" (Manuel Jimenez, featuring lead vocalist Timothy Nishimoto)
  • "Ich dich Liebe" (Lotar Olias / Max Kolpé / Karl Vibach, featuring lead vocalist Storm Large)
  • "And Then You're Gone" (Thomas M. Lauderdale / China Forbes / Alex Marashian / Derek Rieth, featuring lead vocalist Storm Large) 
  • "But Now I'm Back" (Thomas M. Lauderdale / Alex Marashian, featuring lead vocalist Ari Shapiro)
  • "Elohai" (Danny Maseng, featuring lead vocalists China Forbes, Ari Shapiro, and Ida Rae Cahana)
  • "Besame Mucho" (Consuelo Velázquez, featuring lead vocalist Edna Vazquez)
  • "Sola soy" (Edna Vazquez, featuring lead vocalist Edna Vazquez)
  • "Then Your Heart is Full of Love" (Josie Carey Franz / Fred Rogers, featuring lead vocalists Ida Rae Cahana and Sofia von Trapp)
  • "Hey Eugene" (China Forbes, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes)
  • "Una Notte a Napoli" (Thomas M. Lauderdale / China Forbes / Alba Clemente, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes)
  • "Tomorrow" (Charles Strouse / Martin Charnin, featuring lead vocalist Jimmie Herrod)
  • "Auld Lang Syne" (traditional, featuring lead vocalist China Forbes)
  • "Zundoko Bushi" (composer unknown, featuring lead vocalist Timothy Nishimoto)
  • Musicians: Thomas M. Lauderdale, bandleader & piano; China Forbes, lead vocals; Storm Large, guest vocals; Ari Shapiro, guest vocals; Edna Vazquez, guest vocals; Jimmie Herrod, guest vocals; Gavin Bondy, trumpet; Robert Taylor, trombone; Philip Emilio Baker, upright bass; Dan Faehnle, guitar; Nicholas Crosa, violin; Timothy Nishimoto, percussion and vocals; Brian Lavern Davis, percussion; Miguel Bernal, percussion; Reinhardt Melz, percussion; Andrew Borger, drums and percussion; Sofia von Trapp, vocals; Cantor Ida Rae Cahana, vocals.

    Copyright 2021 WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center. To see more, visit WBGO and Jazz At Lincoln Center.