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Toast Of The Nation 2022

The Keyon Harrold Quintet's performance is featured in this year's <em>Toast of the Nation</em>.
Courtesy of the artist
The Keyon Harrold Quintet's performance is featured in this year's Toast of the Nation.

As we mark another 365 days around the sun, it's time for some reflection and glorious celebration. This year we have a whole lot to be thankful for, including our ability to enjoy live music again.

For our annual Toast of the Nation party, we present five powerhouse performances: The Quinteto Astor Piazzolla celebrates the centennial of Argentina's legendary late composer (recorded live at the Musical Instruments Museum), the Brandee Younger Quartet offers healing vibrations on an outside farm (recorded liveat the Arts Center at Duck Creek), organ phenom Cory Henry fires up his sold-out audience in New York (recorded live at The Blue Note Jazz Club), trumpeter Keyon Harrold takes his quintet home for a heartfelt performance (recorded live at Jazz St. Louis) and the Louis Cole Big Band creates a wild dance party in halls of Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Paris.

Hosted by Jazz Night In America's Christian McBride, we showcase the superpower of music and its ability to bring folks together for the hope of a brighter future.

Set 1 of 5

Quinteto Astor Piazzolla
Mauricio Velez / Courtesy of the artists
Courtesy of the artists
Quinteto Astor Piazzolla

Argentina's most beloved composer of the 20th century — the late Astor Piazzolla — celebrated the 100th anniversary of his birth in 2021. To commemorate the occasion, The Astor Piazzolla Foundation based in Buenos Aires configured a group of today's finest "nuevo tango" players to pay homage to the maestro. They assembled the Quinteto Astor Piazzolla, which features Piazzolla's preferred vehicle of expression: bandoneón, piano, acoustic bass, violin, and electric guitar. This invigorating program explores both familiar and obscure selections in Piazzolla's deep repertoire of dances and compositions, at a concert recorded at the Musical Instruments Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.

Set List:

  • "Operation Tango" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Fugue and Mystery" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Shark" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Tres Minutos con la Realidad" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Invierno Porteño" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Milonga Loca" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Decarissimo" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Milonga del Ángel" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Adiós Nonino" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • "Thriller" (Astor Piazzolla)
  • Musicians: Pablo Mainetti, bandoneón; Serdar Geldymuradov, violin; Armando de la Vega, guitar; Bárbara Varassi Peg, piano; Daniel Falasca, bass

    Engineering from Clayton Melocik and Neil Tevault. Special thanks to Patrick Murphy, Cindy Byram, and AnneMarie Martins.

    Set 2 of 5

    The Brandee Younger Quartet
    / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist
    The Brandee Younger Quartet

    The harpist Brandee Younger has a natural way of bringing people together. Perhaps it's the soothing vibrations of her instrument, or her hypnotic compositions and arrangements.

    This outdoor concert from the Arts Center at Duck Creek in Long Island, NY stands out for its particularly good vibrations.

    Set List:

  • "Turiya & Ramakrishna" (Alice Coltrane)
  • "Equinox" (John Coltrane)
  • "Love and Struggle" (Brandee Younger)
  • "Reclamation" (Brandee Younger)
  • Musicians: Brandee Younger, harp; Allan Mednard, drums; Rashaan Carter, bass; Anne Drummond, flute

    Special thanks to Jess Frost, Peter Watrous, Jess Weber, and sound engineer Rafael Alvarez.

    Set 3 of 5

    Cory Henry
    / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist
    Cory Henry

    It's hard to think of a better artist to ring in the new year with than the organ phenom Cory Henry. He brought his trio to a sold-out crowd at the Blue Note Jazz Club in his hometown of New York City. They performed fresh renditions of songs from their critically-acclaimed album First Steps, originally released in 2014.

    Set List:

  • "Afro Brooklyn" (Cory Henry)
  • "Back When" (Cory Henry)
  • "Walkin'" (Cory Henry)
  • "Heart" (Cory Henry)
  • "Look on the Bright Side" (Cory Henry)
  • Musicians: Cory Henry, organ; Shajuan Andrews, drums; Josh Easley, bass

    Music recorded and mixed by Eric Parker.

    Set 4 of 5

    Keyon Harrold
    / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist
    Keyon Harrold

    Keyon Harrold brings his quintet home to Jazz St. Louis, where the trumpeter and composer currently serves as its Creative Advisor. There, he organizes workshops, community education programs, and curates many of its concerts. The Ferguson-born brassman performs a heartfelt concert that conjures a sing-along with his exuberant audience.

    Set List:

  • "She's Leaving Home" (Paul McCartney, John Lennon)
  • "Stay this Way aka Lullaby" (Keyon Harrold, Bilal Oliver, Big K.R.I.T)
  • Musicians: Keyon Harrold, trumpet; Shedrick Mitchell, piano; Charles Haynes, drums; Nir Felder, guitar; and Burniss Travis, bass

    The music was recorded and mixed by Paul Hennerich.

    Set 5 of 5

    Louis Cole
    / Courtesy of the artist
    Courtesy of the artist
    Louis Cole

    Louis Cole leads one of the most irreverent, fun, and brilliant jazz big bands on the scene today. But don't let the good times fool you, his arrangements are as intricate as they are funky. The multi-instrumentalist (drums, keys, and vocals) leads his 15-piece ensemble (all wearing skeleton costumes) in dance halls recorded in Los Angeles, Amsterdam, and Paris.

    Set List:

  • "Things" (Performed by the Louis Cole Big Band)
  • "Bank Account" (Performed by the Louis Cole Big Band)
  • "Park Your Car On My Face" (Performed by the Louis Cole Trio)
  • "Everytime" (Performed by the Louis Cole Trio)
  • "Last Time You Went Away" (Performed by the Louis Cole Big Band)
  • "My Buick" (Performed by the Louis Cole Big Band)
  • "Thinking" (Performed by the Louis Cole Big Band)
  • Musicians: Louis Cole Trio: Louis Cole, drums, keys, vocals; Chris Fishman, piano, keys; Nate Wood, drums, bass

    All songs written, arranged, and mixed by Louis Cole.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Corrected: December 30, 2021 at 12:00 AM EST
    A previous version of this post misspelled the name of Cindy Byram as Cindy Bynam.
    Simon Rentner
    For more than 15 years, Simon Rentner has worked as a host, producer, broadcaster, web journalist, and music presenter in New York City. His career gives him the opportunity to cover a wide spectrum of topics including, history, culture, and, most importantly, his true passion of music from faraway places such as Europe, South America, and Africa.