February 28, 2000 Thursday, March 2nd, is the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer Kurt Weill. A century after his birth and half a century after his death, Weill remains as controversial a composer as he was in the 1920s when he abandoned a promising career in "serious music;" fled the Nazis; and landed on Broadway, where he wrote such standards as, September Song, and Speak Low. This week, the Brooklyn Academy of Music is staging a long-lost Weill opera. NPR's Rick Karr reports.
February 26, 2000 Gwen speaks to opera diva Jessye Norman about her passion for Girl Scout cookies. Last year, she sold some 2000 boxes.
February 23, 2000 Rolando Arrieta profiles Cuban percussionist Mongo Santamaria. After arriving from Havana in 1949, Santamaria quickly made his mark on the New York mambo scene. He soon moved on to jazz, writing such standards as Afro Blue. Now retired, Santamaria still lives in New York City, and has been credited with helping to pave the way for today's Cuban musicians.
February 22, 2000 Linda speaks with Walter Becker and Donald Fagen, of the rock band Steely Dan, about their first new album since 1979: "Two Against Nature." They discuss why they took such a long break, and talk about their website, www.steelydan.com.
February 22, 2000 David D'Arcy (f) profiles Pierre Boulez, a classical conductor and composer who has been nominated for six Grammies. According to Boulez, classical music is intimidating to some audiences and is trying to make it more attractive to different audiences.
American singer, pianist and songwriter Ray Charles performs in concert.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
February 21, 2000 Long after he first improvised it on stage, Ray Charles still used his trademark song as an encore.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1070667/18713446" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
February 15, 2000 Fifty-five-year-old guitarist John Abercrombie has been "on the scene" since he graduated from Berklee in Boston. In the late 1960s and early '70s, he was something of a star playing jazz-rock fusion. In the decades since, he's played very electric and very acoustic but he's always been recognizable for a legato style that numerous younger players have imitated. He's recorded 13 albums as a leader. His latest is called Open Land. Tom Vitale has a profile. (7:45) Open Land by John Abercrombie is on the ECM label (ECM 1683).
February 14, 2000 Screaming Jay Hawkins, a blues singer and pianist has died. Best known for his version of I Put a Spell on You, which was recorded after a night of heavy drinking. He ended up singing it with a series of groans, screams and yells. The song developed a following, and the style became his trademark. Hawkins later added bizarre stage props, such as coffins, rubber snakes and spiders to his act. Linda talks with Bill Wax, host of Stormy Monday Blues, a weekly blues show on WPFW-FM in Washington, about Screaming Jay's career.
Composer Richard Rodgers in London for the opening of 'The Boys From Syracuse'.
Ted West/Getty Images
February 14, 2000 The Rodgers and Hart tune is a perennial February favorite — but it's not exactly a love song.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1070341/18713889" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
George Gershwin in the 1930s.
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
February 13, 2000 At age 25, George Gershwin took only three weeks to compose his most identifiable masterpiece.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1070295/18714449" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
February 13, 2000 Liane is joined in the studio by folksinger Odetta. Affectionately known as the "Queen of American folk music," Odetta's repertoire also includes gospel and the blues. She recently released a new album of blues songs from the 1920s and 30s. She is celebrating 50 years in the music business and last year was awarded a National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton. Her new album on MC Records is titled "Blues Everywhere I Go."
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
February 7, 2000 Carl Perkins' 1956 hit song was the first million-seller triple play crossover.
<iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/1070070/18714257" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
February 6, 2000 Liane Hansen speaks with Canadian singer/songwriter Bruce Cockburn, who also performs a selection from the studios of KQED, San Francisco. His new cd is "Breakfast in New Orleans Dinner in Timbuktu" (Rykodisc RCD 10407).
February 4, 2000 Noah speaks with Balwant Dixit, an Indian music promoter about Usted Allarakha Khan, the famous Indian tabla player, who died yesterday at the age of 81. Allarakha elevated this two drum instrument and widened the popularity of classical Indian music around the world in his performances with sitar player Ravi Shankar.
February 2, 2000 A current car ad campaign has revived interest in a long gone singer songwriter. Volkswagen is using music by Nick Drake, who died in 1974. His music is known by few, but it influenced many. Tom Moon takes a brief look at the life of a musician whose short life has been has been eclipsed by his music. (4:30) Way To Blue: An Introduction to Nick Drake, is available on Island Records.
NPR thanks our sponsors
Become an NPR sponsor