Guitarist and singer Marty Grosz and cornet player Randy Reinhart join us for a special in-studio performance in honor of the 100th birthday of Thomas "Fats" Waller. He would have been 100 on May 21. Grosz and Reinhart will perform songs composed by the great pianist and vocalist. Waller wrote many hit songs, appeared in films in the 1930s and 1940s, and wrote Broadway musicals. Some of his best-loved songs include "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Honeysuckle Rose" and "The Joint is Jumpin'." There's a new CD/DVD set called Fats Waller: The Centennial Collection on Bluebird Records.
Blues harmonica legend Charlie Musselwhite has played with some of the biggest legends of the genre, at a crucial time in the history of the blues. Now young lions such as Ben Harper are contributing to his latest CD, Sanctuary. Hear live tracks of songs the two musicians recorded at NPR West, and hear an extended version of the interview.
After 18 years as a quartet, the vocal ensemble Anonymous 4 is retiring. Marsha Genensky, Susan Hellauer, Jacqueline Horner and Johanna Marie Rose are currently performing their last concerts and making their last recordings. And before they go their separate ways, they're spending an hour with PT to sing music from their newest CD, American Angels. In this first set of songs, "The Morning Trumpet," followed by two versions of "Amazing Grace" — a quiet version and a livelier "camp revival" version — and "Sweet Hour of Prayer."
NPR's Liane Hansen chats with singer and songwriter Vienna Teng, who performs songs from her second CD, Warm Strangers. Since their first conversation in 2002 about her debut CD, Teng has toured the country, enjoying a bit of fame and recognition for her talent. She has no regrets about leaving her computer engineering job to pursue music.
Perennial Jazz Fest Performers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band perform live in NPR's Studio 4A. New Orleans' tiny Preservation Hall has presented traditional jazz for more than 40 years. The hall is more famous than the musicians who play there, but the Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to attract music lovers at home and to its concerts around the world.
The mbira, or Zimbabwean thumb piano, is a revered ceremonial instrument from Southern Africa. As played by Stella Chiweshe, the mbira's often haunting sound has recently been embraced by world music enthusiasts. Chiweshe performs songs from her new CD and talks about the deeply spiritual and political sources of her inspiration.