NPR Music

When the subject of jazz comes up, the name Marsalis is soon sure to follow. Brothers Branford, Wynton, Delfeayo and Jason have all reached international fame. But before they found success, their father Ellis was shaping his own career and lighting the way for others to follow.

Since new release season is rolling on while the Nashville music community and the rest of us remain holed up at home, here's another round-up of music that shouldn't be missed.


When the Tiny Desk Contest team is looking through entry videos, we're often impressed by where artists take us. This year, for example, we've already seen a brass band performing in a forest (using a redwood stump as a desk), a small orchestra stuffed into an office space and a lot of plants.

Jam band superheroes Phish have capped off an incredibly quick album rollout campaign, unexpectedly releasing a new album, Sigma Oasis, Thursday.

The buildup to the release took a grand total of two days: Tuesday night, the band announced, during a break in its "Dinner and a Movie" series, that a new album was on its way. The following night, Phish hosted a listening party via YouTube and Facebook Live, before releasing the album wide on Thursday morning.

Our Daily Breather is a series where we ask writers and artists to recommend one thing that's helping them get through the days of isolation during the coronavirus pandemic.

Who: Ruston Kelly

Where: Nashville, Tenn.

Recommendation: Reading Ralph Waldo Emerson (and consuming art)

Russell Moore And IIIrd Tyme Out On Mountain Stage

Apr 2, 2020

Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, one of bluegrass music's most decorated bands, stopped by Mountain Stage in Charleston, W.Va., with guest host Kathy Mattea in February. "Their vocals are guaranteed to raise the hair on the back of your neck," Mattea said while introducing the group.

It's tempting, when assessing great creative works, to funnel all credit to a lone genius — a writer, a singer, a director, an artist, or a name that sits atop a marquee. It's so much easier to be spared the task of teasing out greatness from an interconnected web of contributors, partners, helpers, teachers and organizers. We can accept a songwriting credit that reads "Lennon-McCartney," but our icons — our geniuses, our auteurs — more often stand alone, lest their stars seem diminished.

In Spain, just like the rest of the world, citizens are being asked to stay indoors. It's a tough time for musicians worldwide, but one group of roommates in Barcelona has turned their lock down into a jam session.

The group is called Stay Homas, and its members are Klaus Stroink, Guillem Boltó and Rai Benet, three professional musicians who live together in an apartment in Barcelona. They plan to release a new quarantine song every day they remain in self-isolation — which has been nearly three weeks.

Ellis Marsalis, jazz pianist, educator, and patriarch of the Marsalis family, has died at the age of 85. His death was announced in tweets from New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell and Jazz at Lincoln Center, where his son Wynton is managing and artistic director.

He reportedly went into the hospital over the weekend with symptoms of pneumonia. The New York Times reports that his son Branford says the cause of death was complications from COVID-19.

Adam Schlesinger, one of the most prolific and decorated songwriters of his generation, died Wednesday from complications caused by COVID-19. He was 52.

His death was confirmed to NPR by his lawyer, Josh Grier.

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