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The Filling Station Voxpop

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Bike Shop

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First Day of School

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Terry Gross

Terry Gross manages to interview Martin Bayne about a pretty depressing subject without getting maudlin. Even though Bayne has a sad personal story to tell, she steers the interview towards how he uses his journalistic skills to record and respect the elderly and sometimes demented people he lives with. She asks Bayne direct questions about death and dying and he’s able to answer really honestly. She sets up the questions so that he can tell small stories with his answers. And when she turns the questions toward his time in a Buddhist monastery we hear him go back in time. What could have been a real downer of an interview ends up being a revealing portrait of one man’s journey toward enlightenment. I think Gross masterfully avoids the impulse to ask Bayne “poor you” type questions and pulls out the real story which is that his life is actually enriched by his unusual living situation. Beautiful story.  ...
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Ben Powell – In the Footsteps of Jazz Fiddle Royalty...

Monday, Aug. 27, I listened to an “All Things Considered” story about a young jazz violinist, Ben Powell. I’d never heard of Powell, or of his idol Stephane Grappelli, but the story was compelling because in just 6 ½ minutes you got a sense of Powell’s passion and talent, as well as that of the players that shaped his style. There were sound bites from Powell explaining how he first learned classical violin, then taught himself jazz by listening to Grappelli’s recordings from the 20’s and 30’s. We hear Grappelli’s music juxtaposed with Powell’s and the influence is clear, as is Powell’s technical virtuosity. There’s a great moment when Powell plays with pianist Tim Ray and the ambient sound really gives you a feel for how they work together. Finally, conductor Keith Lockhart explains that he was so impressed with Powell that he took a demo recording of the then 18[year-old Powell to the Berkeley Conservatory of Music in Boston. Powell was accepted into the jazz strings program where he is currently a student. Music plays throughout and is as integral to the story as the text which really gives the listener a feel for the world of a...