Live At Jazz TX

Saturdays, 7 p.m.

The culture of South Texas and America's great gift to the world, jazz music, come together each week on "Live At Jazz, TX," as Nathan Cone and Doc Watkins host an hour of great music, recorded live at Jazz, TX at the historic Pearl Brewery. On-stage and backstage interviews offer insight into the music and performers, and sometimes there's even a magical surprise (kind of like a Cracker Jack prize, but on the radio)!

“Puerto Rico is known for a couple of things,” says Jose Amador, founder of NATIAO Latin Jazz. “One of them is rum.  So obviously, you mix rum with this kind of music, and you have no choice—dancing is mandatory!”

For Doc Watkins, playing in a trio vs. the big band he runs brings a unique set of challenges and opportunities.

“With the piano trio, there's a vast palette of colors that you can try and capture with the sounds of brushes or sticks on the drums, or floor toms, or "arco" on the bass (with a bow) to the way that you harmonize a melody, to the way that the melody is presented in the first place. I feel as a trio we're just getting to the point where we really are wanting to step out and try and explore all the possibilities of that particular format.”

Courtesy photo

A few minutes with Sammy Miller & The Congregation, and you may start musing on the Duke Ellington title that closes out this show: “Things Ain’t What They Used To Be.” In this case, it’s because Miller and his band bring an infectious, joyous stage show as part of their sets, including bits of comedy and theatrical performance.

Justin De Hoyos

Although he grew up in a bilingual household, Adrian Ruiz didn’t hear a lick of English-language music until he was 11 years old. Growing up, it was all conjunto and horn-based music on radio station KEDA, or music from his uncle, an ace on the accordion, or the beautiful voice of his great-grandmother. When he finally joined the band in school, Ruiz jokes the band director gave him three choices: trumpet, trumpet, or trumpet.

Julia Novikova

For over two decades, the Jazz Protagonists have been holding down the fort for classic straight-ahead trio jazz in San Antonio.

“This band is old enough to drink,” jokes Barry Brake, who plays piano in the group. “And boy, do we need it!”

Onstage, the Jazz Protagonists have the kind of zippy repartee that comes with the years together. They’re near telepathic when it comes to performance, and they’re almost Beatle-esque in between songs with their non-sequiturs and puns.

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