Since 1982, the National Endowment for the Arts has presented the fellowships – America’s most prestigious award for folk & traditional arts. We’ll hear music and conversation from Fellows in years gone by, like Doc Watson, Staple Singers, Clifton Chenier, Ralph Stanley, B.B. King, Flaco Jimenez and New Orleans’ own Treme Brass Band. Then we present the 2015 Fellows, many performing live from the stage at George Washington University, including the Gee’s Bend quilters, a circus aerialist, Piedmont bluesman, klezmer musicians, mariachis and more.
This week on American Routes, we give voice to the saxophone – an instrument revered by everyone from free jazzmen like Charles Lloyd to soul rocker Charles Neville, of the Neville Brothers. New Orleanian Charles Neville tells us how music carried him through his family, his neighborhood and a segregated South. Charles Lloyd, a real California dreamer, traces the roots of his modern, free style and musical collaborations back to the blues of Memphis. From the archives we hear words and music of saxophone honker Sam Butera (Louis Prima), bebopper Sonny Rollins and modernist Yusef Lateef; plus recordings from Sidney Bechet, Lester Young, Louis Jordan, John Coltrane and King Curtis.
This week feel the Pan-Latin vibe with guests Flaco Jimenez and Eddie Palmieri. San Antonio native and king of the conjunto accordion, Jimenez recalls his father’s influence on his playing. And NuYorican jazz pianist Eddie Palmieri talks about reshaping Latin bands with his La Perfecta group in the early 1960s. Plus, hear how Latin music influenced American roots rock, jazz and even Cajun music.
American Routes celebrates Mother’s Day with Marty Stuart and his mom, Hilda. We’ll talk about their shared love of photography and a certain girl singer, Connie Smith. Then we’ll hear stories about mothers from Fontella Bass, Sonny Rollins, Bo Diddley, and Geno Delafose, among others. Plus songs from blues to bluegrass about and for dear old mom.