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Willie Pickens On Piano Jazz

Apr 20, 2018

Piano Jazz remembers Willie Pickens (April 18, 1931 – Dec. 12, 2017), who passed away at the age of 86. A master of digital speed and harmonic sophistication, the Chicago pianist was McPartland's guest for this 1997 program.

Recorded live at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild in Pittsburgh, the set kicks off with an improvised boogie-woogie that shows why Pickens' contemporaries revered him as "one of the foremost piano players in jazz."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Too young and way too soon - that's what artists and musicians all over the world said today remembering one of their own, Swedish DJ Avicii.

(SOUNDBITE OF AVICII SONG, "HEY BROTHER")

Earlier this week Kanye West ended his social media hiatus and hopped on Twitter to share anecdotes about life, existence and the universe. West announced that he is writing a book on philosophy. He also tweeted that he will release two new albums later this spring (he'd been spotted around Jackson Hole, Wyo. over the last few months, where many believe he is working on his new albums with some of hip-hop's finest).

Arvo Pärt is one of the most popular, most performed living composers. He's beloved worldwide for his signature sound – a spacious, meditative music that tends to sound timeless.

But there's a lesser-known side to the 82-year-old Estonian's career. It's a story that can be traced in a new recording of Pärt's four Symphonies. The album is a musical journey spanning 45 years in fervently detailed performances by the NFM Wrocław Philharmonic, conducted by fellow Estonian Tõnu Kaljuste.

If John and T.J. Osborne hadn't been born brothers, each might have found artistic success in his own lane. John's a hotshot guitarist who developed his smooth, inventive style emulating hard rockers and bluegrass pickers. T.J. has the resonant baritone of a classic country crooner, with a little Eddie Vedder thrown in.

Updated at 2:56 p.m. ET

Avicii, the Swedish producer who was one of the world's most successful DJs, was found dead today in Muscat, Oman, his publicist confirmed to NPR Music. He was 28. No cause of death was given.

Since diplomatic relations broke off between the United States and Cuba in 1961, musical exchange between both countries has been largely left, outside of tours, to the underground. Yissy García remembers her father, Bernardo García — a co-founder of Irakere, one of the most iconic bands in the history of Cuban music — sharing cassette tapes full of artists like Herbie Hancock after he would toured the U.S. These treasured souvenirs shaped her musical foundation — and the methods of sharing music haven't changed much since, either.

Colombia's Monsieur Periné is at that sweet spot of a band's maturation process wherein they've solidified what they know, but are unafraid to venture towards what they don't.

Consider that the group's last album, Caja de Musica, flowed with French-inspired swing-jazz feel-goodness, leading to a breakout 2015 Latin Grammy win for best new artist.

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