Jazz & Blues

Getty Images
October 23, 2014 | NPR · The mockingbird is known for latching on to sounds and repeating them. But in the case of a certain four-note phrase New Orleans musicians use to communicate, the bird may be the original artist.
 

Sony Pictures Classics
October 14, 2014 | NPR · NPR’s Audie Cornish speaks with actor J.K. Simmons about his much buzzed about performance as a brutal music teacher in the new film Whiplash.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 8, 2014 | NPR · NPR’s Melissa Block and music critic Tom Moon discuss the thrill of intimacy on three new albums by duos.
 

NPR
October 4, 2014 | NPR · When he gets a chance to be the frontman, the Brooklyn trombonist runs a nifty jazz quartet. Assisted by vocalist Camila Meza (and by employer Sufjan Stevens, in absentia), Catharsis visits NPR.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 13, 2014 | NPR · On a new tribute to Waller, Moran explores his subject’s many contradictions: “The son of a preacher, the man who likes to drink, the man who finds his sorrow but expresses it through comedy.”
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 4, 2014 | NPR · One of Europe’s biggest jazz stars, pianist Stefano Bollani is also a TV personality, a published author and, his friends attest, a skilled impressionist.
 

ECM Records
September 4, 2014 | NPR · Turner’s new quartet album Lathe of Heaven gets its name from Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel. A lot of action happens at thoughtful medium tempos, and there’s beautiful dissonance in the two-horn harmonies.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 30, 2014 | NPR · The tuba was the first bass instrument in jazz, until it was replaced by the string bass. For nearly 50 years, Bob Stewart has been trying to carve out a new niche for his instrument in modern jazz.
 

The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images
August 24, 2014 | NPR · The late-’50s detective series Peter Gunn was popular, but Henry Mancini’s music for it became iconic. NPR’s Linda Wertheimer finds out what makes the jazzy score so indelible.
 

Courtesy of the artist
August 7, 2014 | NPR · The virtuoso jazz musicians perform from their new album of duets. It features hymns based on a tradition called shape-note singing, which dates to the early 1800s.
 

 

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News

NASA
October 24, 2014 | NPR · AR 2192, the largest sunspot seen since the beginning of the current 11-year cycle that started in 2008, is producing strong solar flares.
 

MPR News
October 24, 2014 | MPR · If you live in Rochester, Minn., you’ll get used to seeing wheelchairs left in odd places. The city is home to the Mayo Clinic, after all. But some of those wheelchairs venture far afield indeed.
 

NPR
October 24, 2014 | NPR · New research suggests that curiosity triggers chemical changes in the brain that help us better understand and retain information.
 

Arts & Life

Bill Franzen
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Earning honors for fiction, nonfiction and young children’s literature, respectively, the writers are the first to win the award. Also: The Bronx’s bookstore returns, while the U.K. shows off doodles.
 

Other Press
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Reporter Giuseppe di Piazza’s debut novel, The Four Corners of Palermo, follows an unnamed young reporter during the brutal early days of the mafia’s conflict with the Italian government in the 1980s.
 

Thomas Dunne Books
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Historian Peter Ackroyd’s new book surveys the history of England from the end of the Tudor era to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 — almost a century of war, debate and transformation.
 

Music

Tinnitus Photography
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Our recurring puzzler for careful listeners, this week featuring a selection of handpicked fills from Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss. Hear the drum fill (or intro) and match it to the song.
 

Courtesy of the artist
October 24, 2014 | NPR · Recorded with Liz Harris’ voice, a piano and not much else, Ruins achieves striking intimacy, its emotional heft commanding attention throughout.
 

October 24, 2014 | NPR · NPR TV critic Eric Deggans looks at the new documentary, Mr. Dynamite: The Rise of James Brown, featuring rare and never-before-seen footage. The film premieres on HBO Monday.
 

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