Arts and Entertainment

Arts, culture and entertainment

There are few living theater directors who can convince audiences to stay up all night watching the staging of a Sanskrit poem. But 30 years ago, director Peter Brook did just that. He put on what came to be known as one of the great theater events of the 20th century: The Mahabharata. It was nine hours long, and it was epic.

Chucho Valdés On Piano Jazz

Oct 7, 2016

At one time, pianist Jesús "Chuco" Valdés was banned from performing in the U.S. Today, he performs and teaches here, as well as in his native Cuba. Valdés is a world-class innovator in Latin jazz. In 1973, he founded Irakere, a group that introduced a new fusion of African traditional music with Cuban jazz.

Dance Like Animals In Wynton Marsalis' 'Spaces'

Oct 6, 2016

In Spaces, Wynton Marsalis' new dance suite for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, each movement corresponds to a different animal — a chicken, a lion, a frog and more.

He enlisted tap dancer Jared Grimes and "jooker" (street dancer) Lil Buck to embody the animals in their performances. In this piece, Marsalis also describes his fascination with the animal kingdom, his process of writing, and the way he attempts to draw on the spaces that all creatures inhabit.

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The best way to enjoy this next story is if you listen through headphones. It's about "The Encounter," a new Broadway show. It uses three-dimensional sound effects to take the audience deep into the Amazon. Jeff Lunden reports.

A Blog Supreme was a jazz thing published by NPR Music from May 2009 through September 2016. It presented news, features, aggregated content, historical primers, opinion and analysis, recommendations and other types of music journalism. It was twice named the Jazz Journalists Association Blog of the Year.

Lee Musiker On Piano Jazz

Sep 30, 2016

Grammy- and Emmy-winning conductor, pianist, composer and arranger Lee Musiker has long worked with leading jazz, classical, pop and Broadway performers. He conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the National Orchestra in the U.S. and Canada. His work can also be heard on the soundtracks of major Hollywood films.

Musiker brings a wealth of knowledge to this 2005 episode of Piano Jazz, on which he performs "Fascinating Rhythm" with host Marian McPartland.

Norah Jones returns to the piano for many of the songs on her new album, Day Breaks, which hearkens back to her blockbuster debut, Come Away With Me. She recruited an assortment of Blue Note jazz greats for the album, on which she delves into some of the issues of the day — particularly in "Flipside."


  • "Flipside"

Many jazz pianists play tunes from the Great American Songbook, that beloved canon of standards from the early 20th century. But pianist Edward Simon has chosen to focus on another great collection of American standards for his newest album, Latin American Songbook.

Growing up in Venezuela, near the northern edge of South America, was an advantage for Simon. His early listening encompassed music from the north — Cuba and Puerto Rico — and also extended southward to the music of Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.


Copyright 2016 KCUR-FM. To see more, visit KCUR-FM.


Edward Albee, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? among many others, died Friday at the age of 88 following a short illness, according to his longtime personal assistant.

Leonard Feather On Piano Jazz

Sep 16, 2016

Leonard Feather (1914–1994) was hailed as the "Dean of Jazz Journalists." He critiqued artists for Downbeat, Melody Maker, Wire and his own weekly syndicated column in the Los Angeles Times. He authored works including The Jazz Years: Earwitness To An Era and The Encyclopedia Of Jazz.

Kristin Chenoweth has starred on Broadway in Wicked and on television in Pushing Daisies and The West Wing. We've invited Chenoweth, who is 4 feet 11 inches, to answer three questions about 6-foot-1 model and actress Brigitte Nielsen, who is perhaps most famous for her brief marriage to Sylvester Stallone. Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

Robert Glasper is always making music. Solo or with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, he's released 9 albums and collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Kendrick Lamar, investigating the sounds and rhythms of jazz and hip-hop in equal measure,

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

Sep 9, 2016

Oliver Jones is one of Canada's premier pianists and a winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child, he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson's sister. With a long career as a performer, composer and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene.