Martha Wainwright's songs examine uncomfortable moments and life experiences gone wrong, but as she acknowledges in between songs at this Tiny Desk Concert, she often has to fudge her own life story to make the details more unsettling. ("Take everything with a grain of salt," she says, "except the good stuff.") What she does is the opposite of sugarcoating: She roughs up life's smooth spots, then digs her fingertips into the cracks that form.
Burning Bridge personnel, left to right: Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Wang Guowei (erhu), Sun Li (pipa), Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Joseph Daley (tuba), Steve Swell (trombone), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn).
Jazz reflects who we are as a people — democracy in action and all that. But a jazz tune or solo is also a portrait of the musician who makes it; the music reflects the particular background and training that influences how composers compose and improvisers improvise. Jason Kao Hwang makes that autobiographical component explicit throughout his extended composition for eight pieces, Burning Bridge. His parents made the move from China around the end of WWII, and he grew up attending Presbyterian services in suburban Chicago.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with sad news for Beliebers. Justin Bieber's video for "Baby" is no longer the most viewed video on YouTube. The new record-holder is "Gangnam Style" by the South Korean rapper PSY, which topped 820 million views this weekend. And then this happened. Yesterday, Mr. Bieber gave a halftime concert at Canadian football's championship game and his home country crowd booed. Bieber called out coolly: Thank you so much, Canada. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.