Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 7:20 pm
Berklee College of Music graduate Ali Amr grew up in the Palestinian territories, where music was literally what kept him off the streets. He's translated that into a prepossessing command of the 72-string instrument called the qanun, and at Berklee, he's found a way to blend it into in a fluid, jazz-based improvising context. Like Robert Glasper, Amr calls his hybridized band the Experiment; that word has a different connotation in his hands.
A guitarist who sounds like no other, Mary Halvorson can both astound and confound, with craggy phrasing, strange pitch-bends and pedal effects galore. With two quintet albums out and a septet record due soon, she's at Newport this year as a composer and bandleader too. Her quintet resembles certain classic Jazz Messengers lineups or Charlie Parker's working band, but her pieces take a few more left-hand turns. That keeps the proceedings good and weird.
The historic Michigan factory where the iconic Rosie the Riveter and thousands of other women built B-24 bombers during World War II could face the wrecking ball two months from now.
A modest nonprofit is trying to raise enough money to salvage some of the massive plant, which Ford sold to General Motors after the war. The Yankee Air Museum figures the factory is the perfect place to start anew, after a devastating fire destroyed its collections in 2004.
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 7:21 pm
Pianist Bill Charlap's trio is about as quintessentially "New York elegant" as it gets. At Newport, it's been drafted to accompany the reedman Bob Wilber, an esteemed elder who specializes in classic jazz styles. (You might specialize too if you were mentored by Sidney Bechet.) The presence of Newport favorite Anat Cohen makes this something of a clarinet summit: a refreshing little hint of traditional jazz at a festival that's become a lot about the modern lately.
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 7:21 pm
As a whole, Terence Blanchard's high-functioning quintet reliably serves up sleek modernism in the form of post-bop jazz. Individually, its members are also becoming great composers: Blanchard's new album, Magnetic, features tunes from everyone in the band. The new repertoire sees Blanchard cop some electric feels for his trumpet. And a guest turn from guitarist Lionel Loueke, who also appears on the album, makes this band a rare six-person quintet.
Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 2:15 pm
Here's the next great male jazz singer. He's got a booming delivery straight from vintage soul. He writes original tunes packed with metaphor and delivers authoritative versions of standards. It's little wonder Blue Note Records signed him for a new album this fall. The forthcoming Liquid Spirit is great, but he's even better live, surrounded with a long-running band that knows what he's after and enables it splendidly. As he suggests on the title track: Clap your hands now.
HAL 9000 he's not. But Kirobo, the first-ever talking robot in space is heading to the International Space Station this week ahead of his human companion, Japanese astronaut Kochi Wakata, who takes over as ISS commander in November.
U.S.-Russia relations hit a new low this week, when Moscow ignored U.S. requests and gave temporary asylum to a man who leaked classified documents on U.S. government surveillance programs.
Many in Congress are complaining that the Edward Snowden case is just the latest example of how the Kremlin is thumbing its nose at the White House.
The Obama administration famously reset relations with Russia when Dmitry Medvedev was president. But now that Russian President Vladimir Putin is back in the Kremlin, it seems to be having a more difficult time.
Hear the full interview with FBI's Ron Hosko on "Weekend Edition"
Ron Hosko, the assistant director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division, tells NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday that the Internet has become a key tool for recruitment of child prostitutes and that cutbacks at the federal and local levels have made it harder to clamp down on the problem.
Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 7:31 am
A speeding car plowed through a crowd at Los Angeles' popular Venice Beach boardwalk, killing one person and injuring 11 others before he fled the scene. The driver apparently surrendered to police later.
The Associated Press reports that security video shows the driver of the black Dodge initially parked his car along the boardwalk on Saturday, and then minutes later got back in the vehicle and sped through the crowd. Hundreds of pedestrians were sent scrambling.
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 4:46 pm
Update At 4:40 p.m. ET:
State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki says Sunday that the embassy and consulate closures will be extended:
In a statement, Psaki says the decision was taken "out of an abundance of caution" and the it was "not an indication of a new threat stream, merely an indication of our commitment to exercise caution ... to protect our employees."
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 11:42 am
Hassan Rouhani, Iran's newly elected president, is being sworn-in on Sunday, succeeding the controversial Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose focus on the country's nuclear program proved a constant source of tension with the West.
Rouhani, 64, is viewed as a moderate and has pledged greater openness on the country's nuclear program. However, the former chief nuclear negotiator for Tehran appeared late Saturday to be reading from the same script as his predecessor:
The Department of State has issued a travel alert over the continued potential for terrorist attacks, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. NPR's Dina Temple-Raston speaks with Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin about the threat of more attacks.
The NSA surveillance programs have raised questions about the balance between privacy and national security. Much of the debate has focused on something called the FISA court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It was this court that approved the NSA spying programs that have caused such a stir. This past week, a group of Democratic senators put out a plan to change how the court works. Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico is one of those lawmakers. He told me that the problem with the court is that it's secret.
This is WEEKEND EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. If you watched "Saturday Night Live" in the 1990s, you might remember this:
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE")
UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As announcer) And now, deep thoughts by Jack Handey.
JACK HANDEY: Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself, mankind. Basically, it's made up of two separate words: mank and ind. What do these words mean? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind.
A lot of sports have all-star games: baseball, basketball, hockey - the best of the best facing off against each other. But football's all-star game, well, it's having a little bit of trouble. The Pro Bowl, as it's called, has struggled for audiences. So, this past week, the NFL and the player's union declared new rules which they hope will fix the problems. And it just so happens that NPR's Mike Pesca has some thoughts about all of this. Hey, Mike.
In Uganda, local activists have been fighting a bill that might be one of the most punitive and anti-gay measures in the world. It's actually called the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and that's just one vote away from becoming law.
NPR's Gregory Warner is in Kampala. Welcome to the program, Greg.
GREGORY WARNER, BYLINE: Thanks, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, it's Gay Pride Week in many countries around the world. How is it being marked in Uganda, especially in light of this pending legislation?
The former president will be charged with the murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was killed at a rally in 2007. Host Rachel Martin talks to Hameed Gul, former director general of the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, about the political deterioration in Pakistan.