A phenomenal guitarist and pioneering audio engineer, Les Paul has been a major influence in 20th Century music, both as a performer and technical innovator. The guitar legend made a rare appearance on Piano Jazz, bringing with him his trio — Lou Paulo on guitar and Paul Nowinski on bass.
What is it with trumpeter Avishai Cohen and triples lately? He recently recorded a pair of albums with his band Triveni, a free-swinging trio which showcases his fervent imagination. He's also one of three Cohen siblings in jazz's top echelon; Avishai invited his big sister Anat, the celebrated clarinet specialist, to join him here.
We at NPR Music leave a lot of variables out in the wild when we make Field Recordings. That's especially true when we commission new music for the annual Make Music New York festival, as we have for three years.
Since we're not using a traditional stage and people are roaming around, we don't know exactly what the performance will sound like (though we're lucky to work with fantastic engineering colleagues). It's always held outdoors, and we can't be sure what the weather will be.
The year is half over and that means NPR Music and our public radio partners have been obsessing over our favorite songs of the year so far. The full list of 50 songs makes a potent stew ranging from power pop and brash hip-hop to electro-fueled dance music and intimate portraits from jazz vocalists, classical guitarists and folk troubadours.
Pianist and singer-songwriter Bruce Hornsby spent quite a few years playing in bars and writing songs — many of them with his brother, John Hornsby. The two moved to Los Angeles in 1980 and spent three years writing for 20th Century Fox. In 1985, Bruce Hornsby and his band The Range signed a recording contract with RCA. The resulting album, The Way It Is, produced three Top 20 hits and helped win the group a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1986.