Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.
This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.
NPR listener Mel Fisher Ostrowski wrote in to tell us about how Don McLean's "American Pie" helped her "bridge a gap between my long-deceased father and baby boy." Hear the radio version at the audio link above — and read a lightly edited version of Ostrowski's original letter to NPR below.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:06 pm
Before she died last year, Dave Douglas' mother left her son with a list of hymns and folk songs to play at her memorial service, down to the specific verses. But even after the funeral, the songs lingered in Douglas' head; he kept toying with the arrangements in search of a more personal reflection. He found it by rebuilding his quintet with new musicians and welcoming a special guest: Aoife O'Donovan, a singer and guitarist best known for her work in folk and bluegrass bands.
Originally published on Thu August 22, 2013 2:40 pm
From January 1992 to September 2001, Branford Marsalis set the JazzSet pace, hosting 39 new shows a year (now we do 26) from the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band; festivals in Iowa City, Telluride, Pasadena, Mount Hood, Montreal and Brevard, N.C.; the new music festival in Groningen, the Netherlands, and the Havana Jazz Festival in Cuba; clubs from Yoshi's in California to Sculler's and the Regattabar in Boston. WGBH producer Steve Schwartz sent us lots of Boston sets during that first decade, all of them much appreciated.
Originally published on Thu September 6, 2012 4:29 pm
In this installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots series, Raul Pacheco of the Grammy-winning band Ozomatli talks with host David Dye about how politics influence music. They've certainly affected Pacheco's music, as Ozomatli has been politically driven since its inception. The band's members started playing together 16 years ago, when they were working for the Peace and Justice Center of Los Angeles, and were asked to play for picketers during a strike.
Over the past 20 years, vocalist Karrin Allyson has recorded 13 albums that cover vast musical territory. She's explored The Great American Songbook, the musical styles of Brazil and France, the blues and the work of contemporary songwriters. She's recorded a tribute to John Coltrane and an album of late-night ballads, and she's earned four Grammy nominations.
Members of ACME (violinists Caroline Shaw and Ben Russell, violist Nadia Sirota and cellist Clarice Jensen) dug into Steve Reich's Different Trains to open their performance, recorded live on Sept. 11, 2012.