This Pick of the Week brings you the 2016 recipient of the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, Smokey Robinson. The two-day celebration of Smokey Robinson's 50-year career began in the nation’s capital with a touching moment at the keyboard of George Gershwin’s piano and ended with a rollicking concert of his greatest hits. We hope you enjoy it!
Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden welcomes legendary R&B singer Smokey Robinson to the Library to talk about his recent selection as the recipient of the 2016 Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The interview takes place in the Library's George and Ira Gershwin Room with Robinson sitting at George Gershwin's favorite piano.
If you are a jazz enthusiast, this Pick of the Weekend is a real treat for you. We start with a lecture demonstration on the beginnings of jazz featuring audio recordings of Jelly Roll Morton at the piano at the Library in 1938. Then, the legendary pianist and composer Dave Brubeck engages in a warm and intimate conversation with the Library's jazz specialist Larry Appelbaum. Finally, we close this edition with a lecture on the intersection of jazz and painting by the jazz scholar John Szwed. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.
In 1938, Ferdinand Joseph Lamothe, also known as Jelly Roll Morton (1885-1941), sat down at a piano in the Library of Congress to record the first oral history of jazz. Seated nearby, asking questions and operating a small portable disc recorder, was Alan Lomax, the 23-year-old assistant in charge of the Library's Archive of American Folksong. Writer and jazz scholar John Szwed and pianist Dave Burrell explore this unique legacy right where it was created -- on the stage of the Coolidge Auditorium.
Larry Appelbaum conducts an intimate conversation with the legendary jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. In a career spanning more than six decades, Brubeck created experimental works with odd time signatures, improvised counterpoint, polyrhythm, and polytonality, which remain hallmarks of musical innovation. The year 2020 marks the 100th birthday of this illustrious jazz icon.
John Szwed, John M. Musser Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, African American Studies and Film Studies at Yale University, discusses relationships between jazz and painting and how these different forms of expression influence one another.