Arts and Entertainment

Music Reviews
11:59 am
Thu December 5, 2013

William Parker's Abstract Grooves Collected In Box Set

William Parker.
Roberto Serra - Iguana Press Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 1:55 pm

Steve Lacy used to say that the right partner can help you make music you couldn't get to by yourself. Take the quartet William Parker founded in 2000, for example. Parker's bass tone was always sturdy as a tree trunk, but power drummer Hamid Drake gives him lift. The upshot is that free jazz can swing, too. The quartet's front line is another firm partnership: quicksilver alto saxophonist Rob Brown and flinty trumpeter Lewis Barnes.

Read more
A Blog Supreme
11:34 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Wade In The Water: 5 Jazz Takes On Spirituals

The gospel/folk singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe was accompanied by a jazz orchestra on her debut recording.
Chris Ware Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 3:21 pm

Read more
The Checkout: Live
2:10 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Patrick Cornelius: Live At Berklee

Patrick Cornelius.
Michael Borgida Berklee College of Music

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:18 am

Many jazz musicians write music here and there, but it's still a leap for someone to go from "writing tunes" to taking pride in the art of composition. The alto saxophonist Patrick Cornelius, based in New York for a decade now, is headed that way. After releasing his fourth album, Infinite Blue, earlier this year, he's now set to premiere a new set of compositions for jazz octet. While We're Still Young is a suite based on the illustrated book of children's poems When We Were Very Young, by Winnie-The-Pooh creator A.A.

Read more
Live At The Village Vanguard
2:05 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

Brian Blade Fellowship: Live At The Village Vanguard

John Rogers for NPR johnrogersnyc.com

Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 8:19 am

A Brian Blade Fellowship concert feels a bit like a family reunion. Its core — drummer Blade, pianist Jon Cowherd and bassist Chris Thomas — has played together for more than 20 years, and its horn players have stayed loyal to the operation, too. Its repertoire feels rooted in a deep emotional well where sacred abuts secular and jazz meets its Southern folk cousins. Sparks always seem to fly when it gathers for an infrequent recording or string of tour dates.

Read more
Book Reviews
6:13 am
Wed December 4, 2013

NPR's Book Concierge: Our Guide To 2013's Great Reads

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 12:53 pm

Over the past five years, we've published more than 80 year-end book lists. So this year, we decided to try something new. Introducing NPR's Book Concierge, your personal guide to the best books published in 2013.

NPR staff and critics selected more than 200 standout titles. Now it's up to you: Choose your own adventure! Use the categories to search through our favorite books and find the perfect read for yourself or someone else. Happy reading!

Read more
Kitchen Window
1:32 am
Wed December 4, 2013

Get Freshly Minted This Holiday Season

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 2:03 pm

When I was growing up, my uncle Richard farmed mint. In the late summer, he and his crew would mow the mint fields like hay and collect the leaves in enclosed wagons, then drive them down to the still, where they would seal them and pump them full of steam. The steam caused the oil in the leaves to turn to vapor, which re-liquefied when pushed through a condenser.

Read more
Music Reviews
4:14 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

27 Years Ago, Keith Jarrett Was A One-Man Band

Keith Jarrett circa 1986.
Toshinari Koinuma Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:57 pm

Keith Jarrett is a jazz legend. His catalog of recordings includes solo piano improvisations, trio and quartet works, classical performances, early sessions with Charles Lloyd and late ones with Miles Davis. But there's nothing quite like Jarrett's new double-CD set No End: It was recorded in his home studio in 1986, and he plays all the instruments — notably drums, bass and electric guitar.

Read more
Arts and Entertainment
1:07 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Fate Of Oklahoma Pop Culture Museum Remains Uncertain

An artist's rendering of the proposed Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture (OKPOP) in Tulsa.
Credit Oklahoma Historical Society

Promoters of a museum dedicated to all things pop culture in Oklahoma plan to once again seek funding from the Legislature, but the fate of the Tulsa-based museum remains uncertain.

The Tulsa World reports the Oklahoma Museum of Popular Culture, or OKPOP, would be a 75,000-square-foot building dedicated to the state's contributions in music, film, television, theater, pop art, comic books, literature and humor.

But state lawmakers have not yet committed to it for the 2015 fiscal year.

Read more
Music Interviews
4:34 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Ben Allison: Leading A Stellar Band Far Beyond The World

The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 6:55 pm

Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Read more
Music Interviews
7:24 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Bringing Jazz On Walkabout: Jon Batiste And Stay Human

Jon Batiste (second from left) and the Stay Human band.
Peter Lueders Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 1:25 pm

Pianist Jonathan Batiste was born and raised in New Orleans as part of the Batiste jazz family dynasty there. He was playing with the family band by age 8. Eventually he took his talents to Julliard, and that's where he met the rest of Stay Human: Joe Saylor on the drums, Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba and Eddie Barbash on alto sax.

Read more

Pages