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.
M. Ward has always followed his own path. Propelled by both his agile acoustic guitar work and his considerable wit and charisma, Ward's folk-blues take on classic Americana has won him countless fans and a place among the nation's top contemporary singer-songwriters.
While Jazz may have a strong presence in the U.S. it also has deep roots in countries all over the world, including Poland. Tomasz Stanko is a Polish jazz trumpeter and composer who has followed in the footsteps of icons Miles Davis and Chet Baker.
It's day two of a visit with the Takacs Quartet in the Performance Today studios. Today, the group plays the String Quartet in G Minor by Claude Debussy. In 1893, Debussy was 31, and was having trouble trying to write a string quartet. It turned out to be his only string quartet.
Gabriela Montero loves it when listeners sing her a tune that she can improvise around, right on the spot. This time, the song is the well known "You Are My Sunshine." You can hear the rays of sunlight shining through in Montero's off-the-cuff rendition.
Old Crow Medicine Show is a country/bluegrass quintet with a punk attitude and a vibrant Americana style that's hard to resist. The group's instrumental repertoire includes upright bass, harmonica, fiddle, banjo and multiple guitars, to go with vocals propelled by a distinctive country twang.
Old Crow Medicine Show in Studio on World Cafe - 10/25/2006
Greg Anderson's passion for piano verged on obsession when he appeared on the show six years ago. Then 18, the pianist and composer performed Ravel's Toccatta from Le Tombeau de Couperin, as well as his own "Star Wars" Fantasy.
Five years ago, Lin Ong was one of two female percussionists in her high school band. The 16-year-old wowed the From the Top audience with her performance of Toshiro Mayuzumi's Concertino for Xylophone and Orchestra.
Girl Stood Out in Male-Dominated Percussion Section
At 17, Sean Hennessey was playing trumpet and composing, but he dreamed of playing one of his own compositions with the Chicago or New York Philharmonic. The teen had been studying with his idol, trumpet master Wynton Marsalis, since he was 12. During his appearance on the show six years ago, he performed Ernest Bloch's Proclamation.
When Victoria Bass appeared on the show five years ago, she was a student at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Then 18 years old, she had plans to pursue a career as a cellist, and impressed the audience with her performance of Luigi Boccherini's Sonata for Cello No. 6 in A, 1st mvt.
Though Will Kimbrough's masterful guitar work has been featured on albums by Jimmy Buffett and Rodney Crowell, his solo career is what's made him a legend in some circles. When he first became popular in his home state of Alabama, a bar could attract huge crowds just by advertising that "Will" was playing.
Will Kimbrough in Studio on World Cafe - 11/24/2006
Zero 7's newest album, The Garden, might just be the band's best yet. Filled with lightweight-yet-powerful pop hooks and vocal harmonies, the collaborations with singers Jose Gonzalez and Sia that dot the record help render it organic and beautiful.
The Dears' distinct brand of rock is both comforting and groundbreaking, with a whimsical streak, a many-layered sound and often profound meaning: In the title track on No Cities Left, an upbeat tempo is paired with ethereal vocals and apocalyptic lyrics.
The music of singer-songwriter Mindy Smith appeals to a wide audience while remaining close to her distinct vision. With Dolly Parton's endorsement, Smith has built a career on her own terms, without music-industry interference.