At the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February, one couldn't help but notice the striking new grand piano on the main stage, emblazoned with the name SHADD. When the many accomplished pianists that weekend sat down to strike those keys, it was equally easy to spot their delight in the instrument.
That piano was the product of a trailblazer in his field. The Shadd in question is jazz drummer Warren Shadd, the first African-American piano manufacturer. That makes him the first large-scale commercial African-American instrument manufacturer, period.
These guys don't speak or sing a word, but each song sends a clear message. Public Service Broadcasting is a duo featuring the nerdy J. Willgoose, Esq. on guitar, banjo and electronics and Wrigglesworth on drums. The source material for the music is British public-service films from roughly the 1940s through the 1960s.
If you're just joining us, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath. What connects the films "Drugstore Cowboy," "Pet Cemetery," "Batman Forever" and "Frida?" You can skip Kevin Bacon and connect them all with just one name, composer Elliot Goldenthal.
When you consider that critics have been writing about him for over 60 years, it can seem as if there's nothing left to say about Sonny Rollins. But there is – because over the decades, the "Saxophone Colossus" has never stopped growing or adding to his sound.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Kids in America can dream of becoming an opera singer and performing around the world. The odds are long, but talent, hard work, the right breaks - all of that could make it happen. But what if you grew up in Sri Lanka, off the coast of India?
Even in music's melting pot, Young Fathers are an unlikely trio. Alloysious Massaquoi is originally from Liberia, Kayus Bankole has Nigerian parents, and producer Graham "G" Hastings hails from North Edinburgh, Scotland, where the three first met as teenagers in the early 2000s.
In a conversation with NPR's Audie Cornish, the members of the genre-mashing group say they connected instantly — even though, under the circumstances, they couldn't actually speak to one another: