Studio SessionsMusicians perform and discuss their work in the studios of NPR and NPR Music station partners. Live music sessions, interviews, and the best new songs in rock, pop, folk, classical, jazz, blues, urban, and world music. Watch video sessions.
The pianist spent much of her career in a seldom-considered corner of the music business: She's made a living playing in bars, lounges, nightclubs and hotel lobbies. It's recounted in her memoir Piano Girl, and on this episode of Piano Jazz.
Hailing from the classical-music capital of Vienna, Rudolf Buchbinder specializes in the composers who made his hometown famous. Hear him play an impassioned rendition of Beethoven's "Pathétique" Sonata in the studio of WGBH in Boston.
Norman Cook, aka Fatboy Slim, presents a "long lost album that never quite got finished"...until now. I Think We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat, released under the moniker The Brighton Port Authority, features collaborations with the likes of David Byrne, Martha Wainwright and Iggy Pop. The result is a collection of energetic and animated songs that recall a 1970s dance party.
A seasoned alt-rocker and coveted producer, Walker has worked with such chart-topping acts as Katy Perry, Tommy Lee and Pink. Last year, he also found time to release an album of his own, Sycamore Meadows. Named for the street where California wildfires claimed his home, the record finds Walker using his pop production experience to brighten his indie-rock sensibilities.
Web-Only Outtake: Butch Walker Performs 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart'
If he's ever homesick, Jeremy Messersmith just needs to play his new album, The Silver City. It brims with nostalgia for his Minneapolis home, with breezy storytelling and '60s-style Beach Boys pop. Here, Messersmith discusses the album, which juxtaposes love and hope against an urban backdrop.
Jeremy Messersmith in Studio on World Cafe 1/28/09
At 18, British singer Laura Marling takes an organic approach to songwriting, crooning about religion, family and romance. The folksinger has collaborated with Noah and the Whale, and is now out showcasing songs from her reflective debut album in a session with World Cafe host David Dye.
Put together by producer and musician Ivan Duran from Belize, Umalali seeks to revive the Garifuna culture of Central America. In a session from KEXP, the group performs a song by Andy Palacio, a talented Garifuna musician who died early last year.
Taylor has spent much of his long career writing his own material, but many know him for his gentle interpretations of others' songs. Still, not until now has Taylor devoted an entire album to what is essentially a new American songbook. Taylor plays covers of R&B and country standards at WXPN.
Pianist Hod O'Brien is a stalwart bebop acolyte. Since emerging on the scene in the late 1950s playing with Oscar Pettiford and Stan Getz, O'Brien has earned critical acclaim and accolades from his peers. He joins host Marian McPartland and performs an original tune written for the occasion, "Clarion for Marian."
In the midst of hundreds of artists, McCarley still stood out at the 2008 South by Southwest music festival. Her debut album, Love, Save the Empty, pulls off a key element of pop greatness, marrying reflective lyrics with memorable tunes. She performs songs from the album in a session from WXPN.
When R&B singer Nikka Costa came to WFUV to record a studio session, she brought with her a wealth of experience and international fame. Yet when she sat down for the interview, Costa didn't display any of the qualities of a person living a charmed life. She performs with a seven-piece band from WFUV.
Pianist Robert Glasper is an example of the freedom principle at work; walking proof that art is forever the great (small-d) democrat. A soon-to-be father, Glasper says he's excited about the world his child will soon enter, and he describes what Obama's presidency means for jazz.
At 69, gospel singer Mavis Staples continues to spread a positive message through her music. Her latest album, Live: Hope at the Hideout, is as musically and politically charged as her past works. She gives a stripped-down and powerful performance from WXPN.
Nichols just released his solo debut, The Last Pale Light in the West. Its songs were inspired by Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, a novel about a teenage boy's adventures around the Texas-Mexico border in the mid-1800s.