NPR Music boldly attempted what few have done before: Deep soul, indie funk and polyglot jazz share a stage and a bill. In Lee Fields and The Expressions, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and Fight the Big Bull with Steven Bernstein, we brought three very different, very large bands, recorded live from Joe's Pub in New York City.
Smith received her highest-profile endorsement when she covered Dolly Parton's iconic song "Jolene" for Just Because I'm a Woman, a Parton tribute album. The country icon began publicly singing Smith's praises, and the young singer's career took off from there. Hear Mindy Smith perform live in concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
North Carolina native Riley Baugus has contributed his banjo skills to the Oscar-winning movie Cold Mountain and last year's Grammy-winning album Raising Sand. In this edition of Mountain Stage, he performs a set of traditional Appalachian songs.
The trumpeter, film composer and Crescent City resident returned to his hometown for the live concert premiere of music from his forthcoming album, Choices. He was joined by his quintet and a special guest, soul singer Bilal.
The great Les McCann is a veteran entertainer who's spent many years in jazz clubs, making sly humor of hard work. The gravel in his voice pairs sweetly with Javon Jackson's smooth tenor, as they revisit McCann's history-making LP Swiss Movement — celebrating its 40th anniversary this year — and more.
NPR Music boldly attempts what few have done before: Deep soul, indie funk and polyglot jazz share a stage and a bill. In Lee Fields and The Expressions, The Phenomenal Handclap Band and Fight the Big Bull with Steven Bernstein, we're bringing you three very different, very large bands, recorded live from Joe's Pub in New York City.
The overgrown ensemble of musical omnivores called Fight the Big Bull practice a compositional diet of free jazz, flamenco, driving rock, Muscle Shoals-styled soul, wild dance grooves and the generally unusual. The group spent 10 days last winter recording a new album, set for an early 2010 release, with mentor and friend Steven Bernstein.
With eight members — from hipsters and beautiful women to long-haired rockers and what look like everyday office workers — the Phenomenal Handclap Band has been painstakingly engineered to generate a big, bold sensory overload.
Lee Fields is a bona fide soul singer. He's been performing and recording since the '70s, and he's been amazingly prolific, releasing 15 full-length records on different labels. His latest, My World, came out in June.
A New York band that plays smart, jazz-tinged, sometimes-topical indie-pop music, Elizabeth and the Catapult fuses sweet chamber-pop melodies with the charismatic vocals of Elizabeth Ziman. Hear the group perform live in concert from WXPN in Philadelphia.