Barney Kessel is a jazz guitarist, composer, and music writer. He has worked with artists such as Fred Astaire and Bille Holliday. He continues to perform across the country. He joins the show to discuss his career and life.
Bill Evans, jazz pianist, died yesterday at the age of 51. Contributor and jazz critic Francis Davis, host of Fresh Air's "interval," a segment on out-of-print jazz, joins the show to pay tribute to Evans.
Mercer Ellington is a trumpeter, composer, and band leader. He is also the son of jazz legend Duke Ellington. Mercer Ellington is the conductor for the musical based on Duke Ellington's work, "Sophisticated Ladies." Mercer Ellington joins the show to discuss the musical and his father.
Bobby Short is a singer and pianist who is known for keeping the tradition of the American Songbook alive. He has recently gained fame amongst a new audience for his work in television commercials. He joins the show to discuss American composers such as the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Cy Coleman, Rodgers and Hart, Burt Bacarach, and Stephen Sondheim.
Oliver Lake is a jazz and funk saxophonist and composer. He is in town to play a concert with his newest band Jump. Lake joins the show to discuss his career and audience, the music industry, and what it means to be considered an avant-garde musician. (Interview by Danny Miller)
Heath Allen was recently commissioned to write new liturgies for the Calvary United Methodist Church in West Philadelphia. His theater piece, Report on a Castaway, features the poetry of Bertolt Brecht.
Musician and composer David Eyges is one of the few jazz cello players. In recent years, he has worked with Philadelphia saxophonist Byard Lancaster, with whom he recorded the album "The Arrow." The duo has now become a trio with the addition of Philadelphia drummer Sunny Murray. The group recently released the album "Crossroads." Eyges' music is part of a trend of blurring the lines between jazz and classical music.
Trombonist Melba Liston is one the few women to find success as a musician, arranger, and composer in the world of jazz. Liston has worked with artists as diverse as Dizzy Gillespie and Aretha Franklin. After spending five years living in Jamaica, Liston has returned to the United States and formed a new big band, the seventeen-piece "Melba Liston and Company."
John Cage is an avant-garde musician known for his "chance compositions," which use "found" sounds. His music mixes Eastern philosophy with Western high-technology. Cage is also an expert on mushrooms. In celebration of his birthday, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is putting on an exhibition of his scores, "John Cage: Scores & Prints." Cage joins the show to discuss his art and philosophy.