Friday Night Jazz

Friday, 8-11 p.m.

Trumpeter, percussionist, composer, arranger and educator Ray Vega hosts three hours of jazz. For Ray, jazz "is a celebration of life!"

Listen to Friday Night Jazz on VPR. Catch the last two weeks of shows in the VPR Replay stream!

Ways to Connect

Seth Cashman / courtesy

This Friday night, trumpeter, percussionist, composer, arranger and educator Ray Vega takes over as the new host of Friday Night Jazz.

To introduce you to the man behind the music, we asked Vega to share a few tracks that have played a significant role in his life and provide a peek at what he keeps on regular rotation.

Musician, composer and educator Ray Vega is the new host of Friday Night Jazz on VPR.
Seth Cashman

Trumpeter, percussionist, composer, arranger and educator Ray Vega will join Vermont Public Radio this month as the new host of Friday Night Jazz.


Reuben Jackson returns to VPR Classical for a celebration of composers who had a "profound and enduring impact on a certain nerdy, young music lover growing up in Washington, D.C."

Broadcast April 29th at 10 a.m. and Monday, May 1st at 8 p.m.

Photo courtesy, Brian McCarthy

Join Reuben Jackson on Friday Night Jazz this Friday night at 8 p.m. when he welcomes alto saxophonist Brian McCarthy for a preview of "The Better Angels Of Our Nature."

Credit Ben Resnik

It's time once again for the insights and selections of our favorite musical cross-pollinator. This month, VPR's Reuben Jackson takes us through the world of contemporary American opera.

October features an interview with Peter Stopschinski, whose Bum Phillips: An All American Opera recently premiered in Houston, where Phillips was coach of the Houston Oilers.  We'll also hear jazz-tinged versions of works by Samuel Barber, Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov, and others.

Broadcast Monday, October 26th at 8 p.m.


Each month, VPR's Reuben Jackson explores the cross-pollination between jazz and classical works, and artists that are "beyond category." For the August edition of Where Have We Met Before, we'll explore classical works by Keith Jarrett, Ornette Coleman and Coleridge Taylor-Perkinson, plus compositions by Charles Ives and Johannes Brahms interpreted by jazz artists Bill Frisell and Kurt Elling.

Ty Robertson / VPR

Alice Schroeder, a senior at Burlington High School, will be singing four sublime, arresting originals this Friday night on Friday Night Jazz, and accompanying herself on piano. In between songs we'll discuss her musical influences, compositional approach and her future plans.


The first hour of this week's edition of Friday Night Jazz will feature music from Vermont's own Eight 02 - a quartet who describes their lyrical, funky and daring work as "accessible jazz fusion."

The selections, performed and recorded at VPR's Colchester studio, were interspersed with an equally compelling interview.

Broadcast Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8 p.m. on VPR.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr

On Nov. 27, 2014, James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix would have turned 72 years old. To celebrate his legacy, I’ve chosen five of my favorite Hendrix compositions. Choosing just five is like choosing my favorite Vermont fall day – nearly impossible to do.

I hope you enjoy my top five choices as much as I do.

1. Machine Gun. This searing, mournful anti-war title from Jimi's 1970 Band Of Gypsys album finds his fluid guitar work and blues drenched vocals in fine form. In this piece, he's joined by bassist Billy Cox and drummer/vocalist Buddy Miles.

Photo credit, Angela Evancie, VPR

Join Reuben Jackson, host of Friday Night Jazz for a performance by vocalist Audrey Bernstein recorded live in the VPR Performance Studio. Bernstein and her ensemble will scare away any Halloween Night jitters with selections from her forthcoming recording.  Jackson will also feature new music from Tony Bennett, Lady Gaga, Sergio Mendez and many others.

Broadcast on Friday, October 31st at 8 p.m.

Angela Evancie / VPR

Trumpeter-flugelhornist Ray Vega is my guest on Friday Night Jazz this Friday, July 25 at 8 p.m.

Vega is a veteran of seminal Latin Jazz ensembles led by Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Johnny Pacheco and many others. He has also worked with Paul Simon, The Lincoln Center Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and The Duke Ellington Orchestra.


You can now listen to My Place with Joel Najman, All The Traditions with Robert Resnik and Friday Night Jazz with Ray Vega online in the VPR Replay stream.

Tim Johnson VPR

Join Reuben Jackson tonight for an exclusive conversation with Rickie Lee Jones.  She stopped by our studios Thursday on her way to the Northeast Kingdom where she performs tonight at Lyndon State College. 

Jones talks with Reuben about her music, her inspiration, and her career.   More from Reuben on Rickie Lee Jones and her music in his blog post.

Friday, August 30th, 2013, 8p.m.  It's hard to believe it, but Friday Night Jazz with Reuben Jackson turns one next week! To celebrate, you'll hear a live taped performance of saxophonist Brian McCarthy.  He'll be playing with Paul Asbell on guitar, Rob Morse on bass, and Jeff Salisbury on drums.  Reuben Jackson will round out the program with requests that have come in from listeners.  Listen Friday night at 8.

"O summer, summer, summertime." - Robert Hayden

Each season has its own music - its own powerful singularity. And we as individuals often alternately revel in - or curse - the specifics.

When I think of summer in Vermont, I am reminded of something a longtime resident of the Green Mountain State told me 30 plus years ago: "Reuben, a Vermont summer is a short story."

I think he was right.

Sunday June 9, 2013

A sleeping bandstand
I miss the crowds already
Jazzy souveniers.


Saturday June 8, 2013

A student asked if
I had a second career.
Yes. Chasing music.


Duke Ellington was the composer of American jazz standards such as Mood Indigo, sumptuous extended works like The Afro Eurasian Eclipse, The Far East Suite and three Sacred Concerts. He was also the consummate multitasker.


Clark Terry is a versatile and swinging 93 year-old trumpeter, flugelhornist, composer and bandleader whose resume includes stints with Quincy Jones, Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He was the first African American musician in The Tonight Show Band. In 2010, Terry received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Swinging Sequel

Apr 12, 2013

Tonight we continue our survey of Big Band Jazz (and jazz-related ensembles)in the first hour, then continue with new releases by Jason Marsalis, Mark Egan, Next Collective, Mimi Fox, and others.

April Blossoms

Apr 5, 2013

Hour One

-Duke Ellington And His Orchestra-Plays Music From Mary Poppins- Spoonful Of Sugar
-Rahsaan Roland Kirk-Kirkatron- Sugar
-Ben Webster- At The Renaissance- Ole Miss Blues
-Kyle Eastwood-The View From Here-The View From Here
-Roberta Martin-Twain- The Early Winter Trees
-Jill Sobule- Stone Soul Picnic
-Leni Stern-Upstairs By A Chinese Lamp
-Gato Barbieri- Last Tango In Paris- Jeanne
-Juliet Greco-The Moment For A Song- One Day You'll See
-John Carisi- Springsville