Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 9:11 am
The Umbria Festival in Italy turns 40 this summer. Umbria presents jazz indoors and out in two historic cities — Perugia in summer, Orvieto in winter. Marching bands parade; gospel choirs sing. Concerts start at noon, midnight and all the hours in between. (The New Year's Eve show in Orvieto begins at 1 a.m. on New Year's Day.) And the musicians can be delightfully unfamiliar, at least to American ears.
By 1928, Earl Hines was jazz's most revolutionary pianist, for two good reasons. His right hand played lines in bright, clear octaves that could cut through a band. His left hand had a mind of its own. Hines could play fast stride and boogie bass patterns, but then his southpaw would go rogue — it'd seem to step out of the picture altogether, only to slide back just in time.
The Mountaintop is an award-winning play about the night Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died. But some critics don't love playwright Katori Hall's portrayal of the civil rights icon as a regular guy. Hall tells host Michel Martin why she found it important to focus on the man, not the myth.
Originally published on Thu April 11, 2013 12:53 pm
The drummer Jeff Ballard has a band called Fairgrounds. Well, he doesn't have a band as much as he has lots of bands, and knows lots of people to fill them — which might be expected of someone who has been a drummer for Chick Corea, Ray Charles and Brad Mehldau. With the Fairgrounds project, he gets to play a little fantasy baseball, mixing and matching sounds and musicians for his own ends.
April is usually when we experience spring showers, warmer weather, and a number of music concerts. Even though we’re currently experiencing wet winter weather instead of sunny, blue skies, the shows must go on.
A group of musicians and major donors pose with Lionel Hampton's vibraphone at the 2013 Jazz Appreciation Month launch. From left: Mark Dibner of The Argus Fund, drummer Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez, Fran Morris Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, pianist Randy Weston, Richard Rosman of the Ella Fitzgerald foundation and Smithsonian American History Museum Director John Gray.
The 12th official Jazz Appreciation Month began when April did. But today, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, which founded the JAM campaign, kick started its own celebration with a series of performances, discussions and ceremonies.
Tell Me More celebrates National Poetry Month with the 'Muses and Metaphor' series — where listeners submit their own poems via Twitter. Today's tweet comes from former Social Security Commissioner Michael Astrue, who not only has a fondness for crunching numbers, but is also a published poet.
D.L. Hughley is an actor-comedian, and currently a top 10 competitor on Dancing With The Stars. For Tell Me More's 'In Your Ear' series, he shares some favorite songs that he calls 'savory and sweet' — including an unlikely pick, a folk song that makes him think of his parents.