Burning Bridge personnel, left to right: Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Wang Guowei (erhu), Sun Li (pipa), Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Joseph Daley (tuba), Steve Swell (trombone), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn).
Jazz reflects who we are as a people — democracy in action and all that. But a jazz tune or solo is also a portrait of the musician who makes it; the music reflects the particular background and training that influences how composers compose and improvisers improvise. Jason Kao Hwang makes that autobiographical component explicit throughout his extended composition for eight pieces, Burning Bridge. His parents made the move from China around the end of WWII, and he grew up attending Presbyterian services in suburban Chicago.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll meet the star of the new film "Life of Pi," based on the best-selling novel by Yann Martel. The film is getting rave reviews for its amazing special effects, as well as the performance of the young man we are going to meet in a few minutes for whom this was his first professional acting job. That's coming up.
The new film Life of Pi tells the story of a teenage Indian boy who survives a shipwreck, only to find himself in another ordeal: stranded on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The movie is based on the best-selling novel of the same name, and is being mentioned as an Oscar contender by many critics.
Congress comes back to work this week and the fiscal cliff is its top priority. Some Republicans have said they'll break a longstanding pledge not to raise taxes. Host Michel Martin talks politics with columnist Mary Kate Cary of U.S. News and World Report and The Root's political correspondent Keli Goff.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 12:15 pm
(We updated the top of this post at 11:50 a.m. and 12:15 p.m ET):
Moving quickly after the announcement that Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro is leaving on Dec. 14, the White House just said that President Obama has designated SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to be her replacement.