The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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Ben Allison says that putting a personal spin on the songs he loves often requires breaking them apart. Lourdes Delgado hide caption

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On Action-Refraction, due out April 12, Ben Allison covers an eclectic set of songs by everyone from Thelonious Monk to The Carpenters. Greg Aiello/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Greg Aiello/Courtesy of the artist

On Action-Refraction, due out April 12, Ben Allison covers an eclectic set of songs by everyone from Thelonious Monk to The Carpenters. Greg Aiello/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

toggle caption Greg Aiello/Courtesy of the artist
Erik Jacobs for NPR

Ted Nash grew up with Henry Mancini's music: His father and uncle played in the jazz composer's studio orchestras. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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