Lauren Onkey

When a baby grand piano rolls into the office for a Tiny Desk concert, you expect something special. But none of us could have imagined what it's like to see 15-year old Joey Alexander play that piano with such mastery. The thing is, when you see him play live, you quickly forget his age and get lost in the intense focus of his performance. Alexander and his stellar supporting cast — Reuben Rogers on bass and Kendrick Scott on drums — form a tight trio, locking eyes as Alexander's compositions unfold.

My favorite place to be on Thanksgiving is the kitchen—preferably a crowded kitchen. Bringing a festive meal to the stage, whether it's for two people or twenty, requires a kind of focused chaos that makes me feel, well, grateful. For family, friends and food, of course, but also for arguments, spilled drinks, and recipes that fail. But it requires just the right soundtrack to keep the cooks working and the gratitude flowing. Here's mine, honed over many years in the kitchen. Pass the pie, and cherish the day.

The Beatles finished recording their self-titled double album — "The White Album" — on October 17, 1968, the same week that The Jimi Hendrix Experience released their own two-record set, Electric Ladyland.

"Land of Hope and Dreams," from Bruce Springsteen's forthcoming album Springsteen on Broadway (due out Dec. 14), may not be a song you'd expect to hear at his Tony Award-winning Broadway show. It's one of his most anthemic songs, usually played at scale, with a full band in front of a big crowd.

The saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, a product of the thriving rhythm and blues scene in postwar Los Angeles, died on Sunday in California at the age of 91.

McNeely's honking saxophone and wild stage antics gave form to what would become rock and roll, directly influencing many of the genre's legends.

Though her career carried her from the Baptist churches of Detroit to a life of platinum plaques and diamond-drizzled furs, Aretha Franklin's voice never lost its flavor. Her ability to rouse emotion is a talent few other artists have ever been able to touch. And her piano-playing prowess, which she developed in church, was unmatched. It's the reason she earned the title of Queen of Soul in the 1960s.

Summer heat is a challenge to keeping your cool: it's hard to slow down and not lose your rhythm, your temper, your style. When the temperature crawls up, and the humidity just kinda hangs there, you need music that can help you hang in there with it, not fight it. Ambient music is no match for the heat — groove is essential.

Pages