WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:45 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Eighty Years Of Master Educator Ellis Marsalis

Ellis Marsalis performs at the NBA All-Star Game in 2008 in New Orleans.
Chris Graythen Getty Images

If anyone has earned the nickname Pops, it's Ellis Marsalis.

As jazz's best-known father figure, the senior Marsalis has four noted musical offspring: Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason. But if you consider all the musicians he's taught or mentored, his clan is even more extensive, diverse and influential.

I talked to six musicians who gave us the long view of the Marsalis family tree, and how they were schooled by its patriarch.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:09 am
Mon December 8, 2014

For The Season, Trio Mediaeval Spans Centuries

Trio Mediaeval is (from left) Berit Opheim, Anna Maria Friman and Linn Andrea Fulgseth.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 1:26 pm

For all those who just can't bear to hear "Jingle Bell Rock" or any of the other Yuletide earworms that will invade shopping malls and radio waves in the coming months, Norway's Trio Mediaeval has some new old music for the holiday season.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
1:27 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Dublin Guitar Quartet: Tiny Desk Concert

Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Sat December 6, 2014 5:09 pm

Don't ask the members of the Dublin Guitar Quartet to play the time-honored classics of the Spanish repertoire. They might play traditional Spanish style classical guitars, but they're not your standard guitar ensemble. The Dubliners are strictly devoted to contemporary music. They've been commissioning new pieces and adapting others for both acoustic and electric guitars since 2002, when the group formed at the Dublin Conservatory of Music and Drama.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
6:43 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Jazz Night In America on WRTI: Nov. 30, 8 PM
10:20 am
Sat November 29, 2014

SpokFrevo Orquestra: Carnival And Jazz

The SpokFrevo Orquestra is led by the saxophonist known as Maestro Spok.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 11:29 am

During Carnival in Brazil, music fills the streets. And often that music is frevo, a genre drawing from marches, Brazilian quadrilha, polka and classical music.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
1:26 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Guest DJ Jessye Norman: From Augusta To Valhalla

Soprano Jessye Norman leaves the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on Thursday after taping the Late Show with David Letterman.
Ray Tamarra WireImage

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 4:03 pm

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Jazz Night in America: November 23 at 8 PM on WRTI
3:51 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Very Very Henry Threadgill

Henry Threadgill conducts the Society Situation Dance Band at the Very Very Threadgill festival.
Shahar Azran Courtesy of Harlem Stage

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:35 am

Henry Threadgill's music has always pushed boundaries. Two tubas with two guitars, a "sextett" with seven members, a free-improvising trio with an instrument made of hubcaps, a dance orchestra: Nothing is off the table.

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Jazz Night In America on WRTI
2:52 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Reconnecting The Circuit Of Puerto Rican Identity Through Music

Miguel Zenón's new album is titled Identities Are Changeable.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 3:50 pm

New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent are a diverse group. Some were born in Puerto Rico, some have never set foot on the island, and everyone else falls somewhere between.

But they do share a special identity, calling themselves "Nuyoricans." And when you look over the long list of notable Nuyoricans — everyone from Supreme Court Justice Sandra Sotomayor to Jennifer Lopez — it's kind of amazing how much they've contributed to American culture.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
4:27 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago

Ela Stein Weissberger joins the cast of Brundibár for a final song.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 7:53 pm

Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:27 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

A Jazz Institution Moves Back Home To Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock and Pharrell Williams performed Williams' hit "Happy" at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 3:38 pm

Last weekend, at a sold-out, star-studded gala concert in Hollywood, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock remixed Williams' hit "Happy," Kevin Spacey served up a compelling Frank Sinatra imitation singing "Fly Me To The Moon" and former President Bill Clinton offered a heartfelt reminiscence about his early days as a John Coltrane wannabe. ("Sometimes frustrated jazz musicians end up in another line of work and it ends up pretty good," he joked.) The opener was a jazz concert: Three virtuosic young trumpet players — Adam O'Farrill, Billy Buss and Marquis Hill — deftly negotiated standards.

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