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Michal Shapiro. Photo by Bernard Levy There's a joke about a Jewish rowing team. They practiced obsessively, hoping to compete one day, but they could never break the records of the big colleges. When one of their members got accepted to Harvard, they told him, "Observe how they row,...
Sometimes it’s hard to remember that singer/songwriter Natalie Merchant began her musical career as the lead vocalist and lyricist for 10,000 Maniacs. Her solo career has been remarkably successful both popularly and critically. She’s known as a wonderful interpreter of song and as a...
A student leaps during a dance workshop in Clarksdale, Mississippi, held by Ailey II member Shirley Black Brown (seated). Photo by Panny Mayfield With a long history of poverty, poor education levels, and dismal health statistics, the Mississippi Delta region is accustomed to making do with meager...
Jimmy Owens, center, and his band perform The Monk Project at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola inside Jazz at Lincoln Center. Image by Frank Stewart I'll never forget the moment I met Jimmy Owens in the back of Dizzy's Club a few months ago. The man who often dons a hat that says "Peaceful...
Meet Delfeayo Marsalis , one of the top trombonists and producers working in jazz today, and the third musical son in the acclaimed Marsalis family. (And for you trivia lovers, the Marsalis family has received the one and only group NEA Jazz Masters Award .) Performing internationally with some of...
This week's podcast begins our celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month with a conversation with legendary pianist and 1994 NEA Jazz Master, Ahmad Jamal . Jamal plays the piano with both subtley and virtuosity. As Miles Davis put it, Jamal allowed the "music to breath," and this use of...
This week's podcast is the perfect bridge between Women’s History Month and Jazz Appreciation Month: it’s a conversation with legendary singer and 2012 NEA Jazz Master Sheila Jordan. Jordan grew up with her grandparents in Pennsylvania’s coal-mining country. In high school,...
Marc Smirnoff. Photo by Carol Ann Fitzgerald Marc Smirnoff wasn't looking to start a literary magazine when he moved to Oxford, Mississippi, in 1987. In fact, the native Californian wasn't even looking to move to Mississippi. But thanks to mix of car trouble and serendipity, Smirnoff found...
As we celebrate our 100th podcast---and St. Patrick's Day!--- today's podcast features National Heritage Fellow Liz Carroll , who has long been recognized as one of the great Irish fiddle players. Born and raised in Chicago, Carroll participated in informal Irish musical gatherings, called...
Meet legendary pianist and 2011 National Medal of Arts recipient André Watts. The son of a Hungarian pianist and an African-American soldier, Watts spent his early childhood in Europe before his family moved to Philadelphia. He is a brilliant classical pianist, and for almost 45 years, he has been...

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