I wish I could say I first found Skinny Lister in a pub some late evening while folks were dancing on the tables. I trust that that happens, but my unforgettable experience with this kick-ass English folk-punk band was at a hotel lobby in midday, in the midst of a sober crowd in Austin, Texas.
The name of the An-sky Yiddish Heritage Ensemble doubles as its mission statement: The quartet of performers and researchers has built a repetoire of old Yiddish folk songs dating back 100 years to the shtetls of Ukraine, in hopes of keeping that music from disappearing. Michael Alpert, who sings in the group, says it's part of a revival of Eastern Eurpoean Jewish culture that's be going on for nearly 40 years.
You could say George Benson's latest album, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, was conceived decades ago. Benson was just a kid when he first mimicked Cole off the radio, singing his own version of "Mona Lisa" while accompanying himself on the ukulele. He even made a recording.
There was an awful lot of dancing going on the first time I stumbled upon the music of Cheick Hamala Diabate. On the dance floor at U Street's Tropicalia that night was a rich cross-section of D.C. life, all entranced by the music of Mali.
They have topped out the skyscraper in New York that started out with the name Freedom Tower but has been formally named One World Trade Center. It is gorgeous and is the tallest building in the western hemisphere. What an incredible accomplishment for a city that shows it’s steely resolve.
Violinist Mark O'Connor is one of the most versatile fiddlers in music today: He seems equally at home playing bluegrass, country, jazz and classical. With its roots in Texas fiddling, O'Connor's music has shaped an entirely American school of string playing. His approach to teaching violin is considered a rival to the Suzuki method.
Please tune in for the forthcoming edition of All This Jazz, which gets underway at 10pm Central on Saturday the 6th here on Public Radio 89.5-1. (We'll also happily offer, as ever, a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday the 7th on Jazz 89.5-2, which is our station's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)
In honor of our search for the great American symphony, here's an encore presentation of one of our favorite Artunes. Got an idea for a classical cartoon or a reaction to this one? Leave your thoughts in the comments section.