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Annie Ross, Mid-Century Jazz Icon, Dead At 89

Jul 22, 2020

Annie Ross, the veteran jazz singer, actress and founding member of the historic vocal trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, died on July 21, four days before her 90th birthday. According to her friend and former manager, Jim Coleman, Ross died in her sleep at her home in Manhattan. She had been suffering from emphysema and a heart condition.

An international collective of electronic music DJs and composers is taking beats from the dance club to jungles and forests and back, all to help save nature's greatest singers. A Guide to the Birdsong of Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean is a new album that samples the sounds of endangered birds and whose proceeds go directly towards efforts to save them.

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Here's a seemingly simple question: Can musicians in quarantine play music together over an Internet connection?

Updated on July 20 at 1:47 p.m. ET.

The listening party has ended, but you can stream the album below via Spotify or Apple Music.

Noting that Speker had won an activities coordinator award, Sydmar Lodge notes that he "performs his activities with creativeness, ingenuity, individuality and originality" and recently took a resident swimming for the first time in 20 years.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland this week announced that the live, in-person induction ceremony has been called off due to COVID-19 concerns.

The Fort Hayes-based Paragon Project releases new music Friday, hosting a virtual listening experience. Friday night's virtual release takes place at 7 on the group's social media channels and YouTube. 

Think "Folkways Records" and what springs to mind is, well, folk. Founded in 1948 by Moses Asch, the New York label was conceived primarily as an audio library of American traditional music, but it also released a great number of ethnomusicological field recordings from around the world. The packaging of Folkways' albums reinforced this documentarian aura: sturdy cardboard sleeves, a somewhat frumpy design palette of earth tones, murky greens and somber purples, deeply educational liner notes.

The Tiny Desk is working from home for the foreseeable future. Introducing NPR Music's Tiny Desk (home) concerts, bringing you performances from across the country and the world. It's the same spirit — stripped-down sets, an intimate setting — just a different space.

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For Jazzmeia Horn, this concert defined a moment.

Updated on July 20 at 1:50 p.m. ET

The listening party has ended, but you can stream the album below via Bandcamp.

Twenty years ago, life was hard for a rock fan. On the radio, corporate pop and slick R&B reigned. Justin, Britney and Christina were rising, straight from Mickey Mouse Club finishing school, trained to give red carpet quotes to Carson Daly on TRL. Grunge had been reduced to a lifestyle concept, used to sell Smashing Pumpkins t-shirts and cheap flannels at Hot Topics in malls across America. Spin magazine had Mark McGrath and Matchbox 20 on the cover. Pitchfork barely existed, still just some online thing a dude from Chicago ran out of his bedroom.

One of country's most familiar artists has died. Charlie Daniels — a singer, songwriter, bandleader and player of many instruments — died Monday in Nashville. His death was confirmed by his publicist, Don Murry Grubbs, who said that he died of a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83 years old.

Charlie Daniels was born Oct. 28, 1936 in Wilmington, North Carolina. He started out playing bluegrass locally with the Misty Mountain Boys before moving to Nashville in 1967. He was already becoming known as a songwriter as well; he co-wrote an Elvis Presley song, "It Hurts Me," in 1964.

The sister band HAIM is synonymous with the sound of Los Angeles — sunny, airy and wistful. After a two-month delay due to the coronavirus, sisters Este, Danielle and Alana finally get to share their third record, Women in Music Pt. III, with their fans. NPR's Scott Detrow spoke to the Haim sisters about creating a record that's a little less sun and a little bit more shade as they explore some of the darker challenges that each sister has faced lately. Listen in the audio player above.

On July 4, 1970, the countdown started. Originally hosted by Casey Kasem, American Top 40 played "the best selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico," as he stated on the first program broadcast 50 years ago as of tomorrow.

On any given week, American Top 40 could feature a ballad, next to a country song, next to a funk song, next to a rock song. The show became a national obsession but 50 years ago, it was considered a risky idea.

The British government will spend nearly $2 billion to help rescue the nation's theater, museum and arts sectors. Sunday's announcement came as more than 1,000 theaters remain shuttered across the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The iconic score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: This is the sound of the American West, at least filtered through the ears of an Italian — specifically, composer Ennio Morricone. He was a giant in the world of film scores who wrote the music for more than 500 movies.

Wynton Marsalis has always been deeply engaged in the subject of American race relations. The issue was a crucial part of his education as a young musician in New Orleans, and it has been a core preoccupation of his own work going as far back as Black Codes (From the Underground), a trailblazing album from 1985.

This week, Bob Dylan's first album of new music in eight years, Rough and Rowdy Ways, rose to No. 2 on the Billboard albums chart, making him the first ever artist to have a Top 40 album in every decade since the 1960s. But Bob Dylan is not alone in making vital new music well into what some might call his "retirement" years.

Updated at 9:45 a.m. on Friday, July 3.

Sufjan Stevens has announced a new album, The Ascension, out September 25.

We committed the unpardonable crime of being mavericks who were successful, and everybody hated us. It would've been fine if we'd been just hacks and made a lot of money, that's OK. Or to be really original and starve, that's OK. But it's not OK to do both, and they didn't forgive us.

Songs don't necessarily mean something different now than they did before this roller coaster of a year started clicking down its one-way track, but you'll forgive us if we act like they do. Perhaps it's just that our needs over the first six months of 2020 have been more intense, but the songs to which we've turned have met them. These rallying cries, these tiny vacations, these serotonin infusions, these distillations of pain and strength and comfort, confirm the power and flexibility of this form.

On Nov. 20, 1934, a brand new symphony brought a Carnegie Hall audience to its feet. The concert featured the Philadelphia Orchestra, led by its star conductor Leopold Stokowski. The music was the Negro Folk Symphony, by the 35-year-old African American composer William Dawson.

The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group's name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.

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"Get ready for Oakland to meet New Orleans!" Fantastic Negrito, aka Xavier Dphrepaulezz, teased on Twitter.

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts announced its newest class of National Heritage fellows: 10 artists, ensembles and cultural workers who represent the richness and breadth of America's traditional arts. They range from one of the pioneers of the Memphis sound of Southern soul to an Ojibwe birchbark canoe builder.


2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march, in recognition of the Stonewall uprising of 1969. Since then, Pride has evolved: from that small commemoration to community gatherings in progressive enclaves like New York and San Francisco to corporate-sponsored parades and ticketed events across all 50 states; from a space where people on the margins created fragile alliances to a mainstream festivity.

Phoebe Bridgers is the first to admit that she's not reinventing herself on her new album. "There's nothing avant-garde about it," she says of Punisher, her second solo record and fourth major musical project in the last three years. Even so, there's a quiet, assertive power to Punisher.

Our Daily Breather was a daily series where we asked writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helped them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. The series concluded on June 13, 2020. Here, we've collected some of the stories about the creative hobbies and practices that artists have shared with us throughout the series.

First, a pandemic, then economic collapse and now there are mass demonstrations over police brutality and racism.

In times of upheaval like this, music can be an escape. Maybe a way to reflect or try to make sense of things. This is what led to a new series we're launching today. For the Morning Edition Song Project, we've been asking musicians to write and perform an original song for us.

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