Tune in and turn on to our nation’s fringe heritage. Along with their spiritual forefathers, the beatniks and folkies, our hippie generation latched on to great music before them—from old-time country and bluegrass, bebop, blues and more—and created their own versions. We’re joined by Maria Muldaur who recalls making jug-band music in the West Village in the ’60s. Also, we speak with bass player Jack Casady, a founding member of the Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna.
Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins has been igniting the jazz scene ever since he was a kid in the 1940s, hanging out with his mentor Thelonious Monk. We’ll talk with the jazz master about his work with Miles and Monk among others, and his current improvisatory explorations. Then, we’ll visit with New Orleans’ own jazz legend, Bob French, leader of the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, to learn the finer points of keeping time in the Crescent City.
Elemental blues, jazz and country from two performers with deep roots and cosmic connections. In the ’60s, young Tracy Nelson left the midwest for psychedelic San Francisco to front the R & B rock band, Mother Earth. Now deep in the Tennessee hills, she’s looking back to country sounds. From South Carolina to deep space, guitarist James “Blood” Ulmer takes us on his journey from childhood gospel to free form harmolodic jazz with Ornette Coleman. Blood now brings it all to bear on a brutal, personal version of the blues.
Jazz pianist Herbie Hancock joins us to talk about keeping his hardcore jazz credentials while breaking the pop barrier with “Watermelon Man.” Hancock recalls famous associations with Miles and more, including those on his recent Record of the Year, River: the Joni Letters, a collection of Joni Mitchell tunes. Plus the four faces of New Orleans’ Mount Rushmore—Art, Aaron, Charles and Cyril—the Neville Brothers. Since 1954, when Brother Art hit with the ultimate carnival classic “Mardi Gras Mambo,” the Nevilles have been on the scene, solo or as a group. We’ll hear their legacy of soul, funk and R & B as the brothers tell us how it all came to pass, and how the legacy lives on in the next generation with Ivan and Ian Neville.