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Miguel performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Denise DeBelius/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Miguel

Miguel turned up in the NPR Music offices early one morning, after playing a show late the night before. Calm and good-natured, he betrayed no hint that he was nervous about stripping his highly produced hits down to their bones.

The Polyphonic Spree performs a Tiny Desk Concert. Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

The Polyphonic Spree

The sprawling assortment of singers, horn players, guitarists and percussionists is the largest band we've ever hosted at the Tiny Desk. But Tim DeLaughter and his group say they're used to playing a game of "human Tetris," and had no problem squeezing behind Bob Boilen's desk for this special holiday performance.

Dwight Yoakam performs on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW hide caption

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Favorite Sessions

KCRW Presents: Dwight Yoakam

KCRW

One of country's most critically-acclaimed artists visits the "Morning Becomes Eclectic" studios at KCRW to perform "A Heart Like Mine," from his latest album, 3 Pears.

Alt-J Tiny Desk Performance NPR 2012 Lauren Rock/NPR hide caption

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Tiny Desk

Alt-J

The Mercury Prize-winning band plays angular, poetic music that takes unexpected turns, shifting gears when you least expect it. Seeing Alt-J live in the NPR Music offices reveals a few of its mysteries, making a group that can be difficult on first listen a bit easier to digest.

The front line of The Cookers. L-R: Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

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The Checkout: Live

The Cookers: Live In Concert

WBGO

Take a group of heavyweight jazz masters — the kind who helped to make the classic records that defined the modern idiom — and put them together on stage: Of course there'll be fireworks. After five years, they've cohered as a band too. The Cookers lift off in loose assembly.

Geri Allen. John Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com hide caption

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The Checkout: Live

Geri Allen And Timeline: Live In Concert

WBGO

For the better part of three decades, the pianist has been widely recognized as one of the fiercest and most inventive pianists in improvised music. Here, she rides the rhythmic boost of a particularly kinetic quartet, featuring tap dancer Maurice Chestnut.