World Cafe's Sense of Place: Iceland guest today is a busy man. Composer and musician Ólafur Arnalds creates beautiful, sweeping neoclassical music, perfect for the soundtracks that have won him high praise. He's been in especially high demand since winning a BAFTA award for his musical contributions to the British TV series Broadchurch.
Melissa Aldana, who became the first female instrumentalist and first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition last fall, is not the average talent-contest winner.
Richard Reed Parry is famous for making music sound big. As a core member of Arcade Fire, the Grammy-winning indie rock group from Montreal, he wields multiple instruments to help create deep, layered textures in which strings and synthesizers, slow ballads and disco dance tracks are all at home.
Impulse Records is the legendary label that proudly delivered the "new thing" in jazz in the 1960s: avant-garde records from the likes of John Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. It also helped jazz cross over to a larger audience; quite a few flower children bought Impulse albums.
Known for the emotional range of his solo work, vibraphonist Joe Locke has established himself as a composer, bandleader and educator. He has recorded with artists such as Eddie Henderson and Grover Washington Jr., and he continues to tour worldwide.
In this episode of Piano Jazz, Locke performs his original composition "Seven Beauties" on piano, as well as a medley of songs by Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon on vibes. Host Marian McPartland joins in for a duet of the standard "I Should Care."
Sisters Klara and Johanna Söderberg of First Aid Kit have become an international sensation, thanks in part to the gorgeous harmonies in their sweet folk-pop songs. The Swedish duo's success owes a lot to the Internet: It was a batch of MySpace recordings that got the pair discovered in 2007 by Karin Dreijer Andersson of fellow Swedish band The Knife.