If you missed, as I did, the public radio series "American Mavericks", then dry your eyes-- it's all here, streamable, on the web.

If you're not familiar with the series, then you're missing a real treat. Suzanne Vega hosts this series, also featuring Michael Tilsen Thomas of the SF Symphony, and provides lush sounds and fascinating commentary.

I'm particularly fond of Program 4, "It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing", which traces the parallel evolution of swing and jazz with their Harlem roots music, and links these influences squarely into the music of Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Gershwin, and Copeland. Did you know that Duke Ellington composed symphonies? I sure didn't, and now have a library request in for CD's of "Black, Brown, and Beige" and "Harlem", and for George Still's "Afro-American Symphony".

Another great thing about this site is that they have streaming links to a wide selection of pieces featured in the programs. Ellington's "New World a'Comin" and the absolutely exquisite SF Symphony rendition of Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue" have made my morning a much nicer one.


Anonymous Preston Wright said...

Thanks for the complements. I worked really hard on this Web site and I am glad people are still enjoying it 2 years later.

8:58 AM  

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