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Beyond Country And Blues: The Jazz Legacy Of Houston08:07

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Though not well known for its jazz scene, Houston, Texas has produced some of America's best jazz musicians, including Jason Moran. (Courtesy of the artist)closemore
Though not well known for its jazz scene, Houston, Texas has produced some of America's best jazz musicians, including Jason Moran. (Courtesy of the artist)

When you think of the sound of Houston, you might think of country and western music. Maybe you've heard of bluesmen like Johnny Copeland and Albert Collins or gospel stars like Yolanda Adams. Or, you know, Beyoncé?

But Houston has also produced some of the biggest jazz musicians of today, according to the host of Jazz Night in America, composer and bassist Christian McBride.

"It seems to me that over the last 15 to 20 years, there has been an onslaught of these great musicians from Houston on the jazz scene," McBride says, pointing to the rise of artists like Jason Moran, Robert Glasper and Eric Harland. "All of a sudden you're thinking, where did all these cats from Houston come from all of a sudden? Especially considering Houston is not always a usual stop on most guys' tour schedules, how are all these bad cats coming from out there?"

With a little help from Jason Moran himself, McBride joined NPR's Audie Cornish to consider some of the brightest jazz stars in Houston's history, including saxophonist Billy Harper, pianist Helen Sung and more. Hear their full conversation at the audio link.

Copyright NPR 2016.

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