NPR Music

Music Interviews
3:52 pm
Sat November 15, 2014

When The Lights Go Down, Who Will Hear 'The Last Transmission'?

Filmmaker and musician Melvin Van Peebles' new album with the London band The Heliocentrics is titled The Last Transmission.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 7:35 pm

A lot of popular musicians in the 1960s and '70s showed a passionate interest in getting extremely high — higher than any human had ever been.

We're talking, of course, about space exploration. David Bowie, Pink Floyd, Sun Ra, Funkadelic; all contributed to our shared space mythology. That doesn't happen so much these days.

But a new record from London band The Heliocentrics is a welcome, and trippy, exception.

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Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program
11:42 pm
Wed November 12, 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 9:35 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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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
10:34 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Pete Jolly On Piano Jazz

Pete Jolly on the cover of Herb Alpert Presents.
Courtesy of the artist

A vital force on the West Coast jazz scene, Pete Jolly was a pianist and accordionist known for his movie soundtracks and television themes, including Get Smart, Dallas and M*A*S*H.

On this episode of Piano Jazz from 1986, Jolly showcases his swinging piano style with a solo in "You, The Night And The Music"; then, host Marian McPartland joins in for a performance of "Barbados." McPartland solos in "Close Enough For Love," and the two performers create a rousing finale as they play a two-person version of "Oleo."

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All Songs Considered
12:08 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Viking's Choice: Kid Millions & Jim Sauter, 'Game Jump'

Jim Sauter (left) and Kid Millions, blowin' your ears out.
Lisa Corson Courtesy of the artist

In the noise-improv trio Borbetomagus, Jim Sauter hooks bells with Don Dietrich to obliterate any notion you have of the saxophone (sorry, birthday boy Adolphe Sax). In Oneida and Man Forever, Kid Millions is a psychedelic shaman of the drums. In "Game Jump," Sauter issues a brief warning that sounds something like a zombie-infested cruise ship bellowing its final notes before it plummets into a blood-freezing ocean. Then it's on.

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Jazz Night In America Videos
9:53 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Jon Batiste Leads A Private Street Parade Atop A Fort

Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 8:25 am

Jon Batiste is from New Orleans, where a street parade might assemble around the corner on any given day. Evidently, he likes a good walkabout: He's liable to lead his band at a guerrilla concert in the New York City subway, or out of a venue, or — as he did at the Newport Jazz Festival — off stage and into the audience.

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