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In her 20s, Vancouver's Renee Rosnes received a Canada Council of the Arts grant to study jazz in the U.S. High-profile artists such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Joe Henderson (to name a few) gave her high-powered support. Blue Note Records signed and kept her on the label for more than a decade.

After a sweetly harmonized "Tryin' Times" from 1970 by Donny Hathaway and a rocking version of "Compared to What" by Gene McDaniels ("The president, he got his war / Folks don't know just what it's for"), Rene Marie pauses to ask two questions: "Do you remember when it was not unusual for jazz composers to write about social issues? What happened?" There's a pause, and then Carla Cook says off-mic, "The '80s." The audience hears her and laughs.

Norwegian saxophonist Ole Mathisen and trombonist Chris Washburne, who met as students in Boston 25 years ago, work at the front line of the quartet FFEAR. Ole's brother Per Mathisen plays bass alongside drummer Tony Moreno in this Oct. 23, 2010, performance at Miller Theatre at New York's Columbia University, where all but Per teach.

The centerpiece is Ole Mathisen's five-part suite Mirage, for which he layers rhythmic grids and uses microtonal harmony to create an orchestration that sounds greater than a quartet. Be not afraid!

Chuck Brown, the Godfather of Go-Go music, died in 2012. A year earlier, he'd stopped by World Cafe to discuss his 50-plus-year career and his last album.

On a Sunday afternoon during their honeymoon in November 1961, Mario Pavone and his bride Mary drove from Connecticut to New York, to a club date that would be documented on a pivotal album. John Coltrane: Live at the Village Vanguard featured the saxophonist's expanding group with Eric Dolphy on bass clarinet, with music so powerful that Pavone — an aspiring bassist — could not let it go. When Coltrane died in July 1967, Pavone made his move. He quit his job and drove again to New York, to the funeral.

Christian McBride And Inside Straight On JazzSet

May 27, 2010

Rhonda Hamilton, guest-hosting for Dee Dee Bridgewater, is onstage at the 30th annual Detroit International Jazz Festival. She introduces Christian McBride as "the premier bass player of his generation." All in the huge Motor City crowd cheer for that.

When the National Endowment for the Arts informed Kenny Barron that he'd been named a Jazz Master — that's the highest honor in jazz that the nation bestows — "I was elated and surprised," Barron says. "And then I kept thinking, 'Damn, am I really this old?' "

World Cafe Remembers Levon Helm

Jul 7, 2009

This segment, from Jan. 18, 2008, is part of our Vintage Cafe series, in which we revisit some of our best studio performances. Here, we remember an Americana legend and drummer for the '60s rock group The Band, Levon Helm, who died in 2012.

Levon Helm first picked up a guitar at age 8, but soon switched to drums. Though best known as the famous drummer for the rock group The Band, Helm continued to influence music with his collaborations and solo works.

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NPR News Special Coverage: Pentagon Briefing

Apr 1, 2003
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