Catch up on the careers of the music’s greatest and latest artists.

Jamie Cullum: The Boy of Summer

He’s the boy wonder of jazz at the moment, but, unlike so many buzz-generating young artists, the 24-year-old Englishman Jamie Cullum has all the skills and charm to be around for a long, long time. The pianist-vocalist’s U.S. debut, Twentysomething (Verve), is already earning big sales and even bigger raves-even from the cynics. Christopher Loudon reports.

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Jazz to Ska Mania

Jamaica is known for sunny beaches, Red Stripe and reggae. But the music that Bob Marley made famous around the world has its roots in an early 1960s phenomenon known as ska-a mix of Jamaican folk music and American jump-jazz with the off-beat rhythms emphasized. The musicians who created ska were steeped in jazz and played in big bands or small combos on the island. Christopher Porter talks to some of the biggest names from ska’s heyday, such as Ernest Ranglin, the Skatalites and Monty Alexander, and gets the scoop on how jazz and American R&B helped form the Sound of Young Jamaica.

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Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd: Give the Drummer Some

While not the first bossa-jazz crossover, the 1962 album by Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd, Jazz Samba, is credited with sparking the bossa-nova boom in America. There are many tales about who conceived this album-Was it Getz? Was it Byrd? Was it producer Creed Taylor?-but rarely are the names of drummer Buddy Deppenschmidt and bassist Keter Betts mentioned. If you ask them, however, you’ll hear a different story. David Adler digs deep to find out the truth behind Jazz Samba.

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Frank Kimbrough: Ghost Dance

As a member of the Jazz Composers Collective and the Herbie Nichols Project, pianist Frank Kimbrough has garnered rave reviews from the critics-even though he’s remained relatively unknown to the public. Perhaps Kimbrough’s new album on Palmetto will change that and people will come to know the man Andrew Hill calls “one of the few meaningful artists of our time.” Nate Chinen reports.

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