Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 10:02 am
If you didn't manage to fly in, drive up or sneak your way aboard a yacht bound for coastal Rhode Island — well, we can't help you get to the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival. But if you're not near Aquidneck Island this weekend, you can still catch a lot of the festival from our live NPR Music webcast, presented with WBGO and WGBH.
The year 1963 saw the March on Washington, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers, the bombing of the Birmingham church that resulted in the deaths of four black girls and the passing of W.E.B. Du Bois. That same year, LeRoi Jones — a twentysomething, Newark, N.J.-born, African-American, Lower East Side-based Beat poet — published a book titled Blues People: a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music.
Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.
Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.
Composer, arranger, conductor and pianist Lalo Schifrin has written some of the most famous music in ﬁlm and TV history. His works include the original Mission: Impossible theme and the scores to Cool Hand Luke and the DirtyHarry ﬁlms. On this page, Schifrin performs his tune "Down Here on the Ground" and joins host Marian McPartland for a duet of "Woody'n You."
Pianist John Bunch was born in Tipton, Ind., a small farming community north of Indianapolis. As a boy, he studied piano, and at 14, he was already playing with bands in central Indiana. During WWII, he served on a B17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Germany. Bunch and his crew were taken captive, and while in a prison camp, he learned to arrange for big bands.
Brass bands often bring New Orleans to mind. But some 1,000 miles away from southeast Louisiana, there's a different kind of brass band at work: the No BS! Brass Band of Richmond, Va.
Since the late 1970s, the brass-band repertoire has morphed into a new sound with the addition of funk, hip-hop and post-bop jazz. With as many as 13 members, No BS! Brass Band picks up on — and expands — that new tradition.
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.
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.