NPR and WBGO present live jazz all night long on New Year's Eve for the 30th consecutive year. Starting at 8 p.m. ET Thursday, the national radio broadcast criss-crosses the country, presenting five live concerts and four midnight countdowns.
The Bad Plus performing at the Village Vanguard.
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toggle captionJohn Rogers for NPR/johnrogersnyc.com
Until recently, Back Door Slam appeared to be the next big blues-rock band, armed with a powerful album (2007's Roll Away) and a charismatic frontman (Davy Knowles). But the trio split up this year, before re-emerging as a more Knowles-centric group called Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam. Hear the new band perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.
Taking its name from the mountainous region of northwestern Mexico, Son de Madera specializes in Son Jarocho, a musical style based on the traditions of Veracruz, Mexico. The band strives to incorporate new sounds into this traditional style to create a unique cultural and musical experience, and it performs original arrangements of four traditional Son Jarocho songs here for Mountain Stage.
Son de Madera in Concert on Mountain Stage - 12/18/2008
Drummer Matt Wilson calls his quartet Arts and Crafts because it makes music from scratch. From his "Scenic Route" to bassist Martin Wind's "Cruise Blues" (music for the trip of life) to Carl Sandburg's "Bubbles," this band keeps it musical and fun.
Quetzal is a boundary-pushing, L.A.-based Chicano band started by multi-instrumentalist Quetzal Flores in the early 1990s. Featuring dense instrumentation (including violin, Hammond organ, requninto guitar, congas and bajosexto in addition to bass and drums) and impassioned vocals, Quetzal has adapted its music for the 21st century.
British singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore recently stopped by Mountain Stage to perform music from her latest album, Liejacker. Released in September, it's the follow-up to her critically acclaimed Harpo's Ghost, as well as the product of adversities in Gilmore's personal life and professional career. The result is some of her starkest and most emotional songs.
Thea Gilmore in Concert on Mountain Stage - 12/15/2008
This past fall, the Festival of New Trumpet Music staged a major retrospective of Woody Shaw compositions at the Jazz Standard. Old Shaw bandmates backed three young-lion horn players with chops. Hear the group Woody Shaw Legacy Ensemble: Brass Knights, and get to know Shaw's music on JazzSet.
Woody Shaw Legacy Ensemble: Brass Knights at the 2008 FONT Festival
For some diehard Kinks fans, the idea of mixing the band's classic songs with a full choir had little appeal. One of those fans, All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen, was dubious, before he heard the results on the latest CD from Kinks frontman Ray Davies, The Kinks Choral Collection. Boilen was part of a rapt audience at a Nov. 20 performance of the songs, recorded live in New York, by Ray Davies and the Dessoff Chamber Choir. Hear that show in its entirety here.
Driven by a dream of a child who'll destroy him, Herod flies into a rage that drives the holy family to flee into Egypt. Hear the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, with conductor Douglas Boyd and soloists, perform Hector Berlioz's vivid L'Enfance du Christ in concert.
Hear 'L'Enfance Du Christ' With The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra
It may be the longest night of the year, but the saxophonist and world-music ambassador has celebrated it every year for more than a quarter century by playing a concert. Hear the 2009 version of Winter's annual dance and music special.
Direct from the largest room in the largest private home in the country, WDAV and NPR present A Carolina Christmas from Biltmore Estate, with Kathy Mattea — a new special featuring classic and contemporary holiday songs.
Train is a woman out of time, with a powerful old-soul voice and a gift for rich, gospel-tinged tones. Suitable for fans of Norah Jones, Janis Joplin, jazz and/or blues, her music even seems to channel Aretha Franklin at times. Hear Train perform a concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.
Kristina Train, Recorded Live In Concert
Steve Turre introduced the conch shells to jazz in 1981.
David Redfern/Referns/Getty Imageshide caption
An NPR holiday tradition celebrates two decades this winter. Jazz pianists Eldar, Robert Glasper, Patricia Barber, Joe Sample, Ramsey Lewis and Dr. Billy Taylor were all on hand to perform original takes on classic holiday songs, live in concert.