Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw keeps good company. He tours with Roy Haynes, the living legend of jazz drums. He grew up in the Philadelphia music community, where new creative ferment in black pop music abutted multiple generations of jazz elders. He knows the music of Charles Mingus quite well from playing in the Mingus Big Band.
The history of jazz is often told as a sequence of epic heroes, legends whose careers proceed from one great accomplishment to another. Coincidentally, the saxophonist Chris Potter, bright-toned and gymnastically powerful, has been reading Homer lately. That's inspired his latest suite of compositions, a collection of tuneful numbers based on The Odyssey. The Sirens is geared largely around a quartet of widely admired musicians, not least of whom is Potter himself.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:12 pm
Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.
"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.
A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.
The halting testimony of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, gravely injured in a mass shooting two years ago, may have provided the most gripping moments of the Senate's first gun control hearing this session.
But the star witness on Capitol Hill on Wednesday was Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association's top lobbyist.