Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 3:10 pm
Jazz is a sponge for outside sounds. Add another idea to it — say, European classical or gospel-inflected R&B music — and it absorbs, assimilating the sound into a new subgenre: like "third stream" or "soul jazz," respectively. Wring it out, and its own improvisatory essence remains in the mix.
Other than bluegrass virtuosos like Ricky Skaggs, players of the mandolin don't often get taken very seriously. But a young Israeli musician named Avi Avital is trying to change that. He's not a bluegrass star; instead, his mandolin sings with the sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach, Ernest Bloch and contemporary composers like Avner Dorman.
Originally published on Fri September 21, 2012 4:29 pm
American folk music has a long tradition of songwriting duos who work miracles with just two voices, from Simon & Garfunkel and Ian & Sylvia to the contemporary likes of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, on through the distorted gutter-punk cigar-box-banjo shredding of Hymn for Her. There's always room for more.
The members of Sauti Sol rehearse in a cramped recording studio above a chapati restaurant off a noisy highway in Nairobi. Bien-Aime Baraza, Delvin Mudigi and Willis Chimano — the founding members, all 25 — have been friends since they sang together as part of a gospel ensemble in high school. When they graduated in 2005, they didn't want to stop singing, so they formed Sauti Sol. Sauti is Swahili for voice, while sol is Spanish for sun. "Voices of light."
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.