Piano Jazz celebrates the centennial of the grandfather of the jazz violin: Stephane Grappelli. Born in Paris in 1908, Grappelli grew up very poor — his mother died when he was 4 and he spent time in orphanages and boarding schools (including one run by the famous dancer Isadora Duncan) when his father was called away to WWI. Father and son were reunited after the war.
This summer, All Things Considered has asked listeners and guests to share a personal memory of one song discovered through their parents' record collection.
NPR listener Mel Fisher Ostrowski wrote in to tell us about how Don McLean's "American Pie" helped her "bridge a gap between my long-deceased father and baby boy." Hear the radio version at the audio link above — and read a lightly edited version of Ostrowski's original letter to NPR below.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 12:35 pm
The members of the inventive, experimental rock band Animal Collective first met in school in Baltimore County, Md. After collaborating throughout high school and college, they released their debut album as a group, Here Comes the Indian, in 2003. More studio albums followed, including the 2009 breakout Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 7:06 pm
Before she died last year, Dave Douglas' mother left her son with a list of hymns and folk songs to play at her memorial service, down to the specific verses. But even after the funeral, the songs lingered in Douglas' head; he kept toying with the arrangements in search of a more personal reflection. He found it by rebuilding his quintet with new musicians and welcoming a special guest: Aoife O'Donovan, a singer and guitarist best known for her work in folk and bluegrass bands.
The Chandler Travis Three-O makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage. Pigeonholed as "avant-jazz omnipop," Travis' music might be described more accurately as the missing link between The Kinks and Captain Beefheart. The group provides elements of acoustic folk, jazz, psychedelia and pure absurdity — it's worth mentioning that half of the "Three-O" (which, naturally, is a quartet) changed into brightly colored pajamas during its second song.