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I've seen a lot of brilliant live shows in my life, but none more life-changing or life-affirming than the one Sufjan Stevens gave in 2015 at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. for his album Carrie & Lowell.

Shirlette Ammons is a multidisciplinary hip-hop artist from Durham, N.C., who specializes in making musical connections. Her latest album, Language Barrier, is a tour de force that includes contributions from many of the artists World Cafe spoke with during our Sense Of Place visit to North Carolina — including Heather McEntire from Mount Moriah, M.C.

One hundred years ago, a musician was born who took the world by storm, both with his violin and with his warmhearted humanity. Yehudi Menuhin was born April 22, 1916, in the Bronx to Russian immigrants. He began his career as an astounding child prodigy in velvet knee pants. But two men who knew him well — documentary filmmaker Bruno Monsaingeon and violinist Daniel Hope — maintain that as Menuhin grew older, he turned out to be far more than just another virtuoso.

The Code Switch team was sitting in our daily team meeting when our editor looked up from Twitter and broke the news that Prince was gone.

Julia Holter's music exists in tiny universes, colliding in torch songs and bits of cosmic cabaret that are as reverent as they are perverse. The most minute details and the plainest words suddenly form a grandiose spectacle.

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicks off its 47th iteration today, April 22. To celebrate its patron saint, we take a listen back to a particularly fierce live version of Professor Longhair's take on "Mess Around."

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Somewhere in the back of my closet is a torn photograph from a party in Seattle in 1982. Dig if you will the picture: It's me, in a second-hand chiffon dress that (though the photo is black and white) I'm sure is violet. My hair is a two-toned mass of strawberries and cream, my neck's draped in my mom's big costume pearls; a bracelet of pretend diamonds dangles from my wrist. This is an ordinary look for a college girl with a nightlife obsession in 1982. I'm gazing into a mirror; behind me is my friend Pete, holding the camera, laughing his head off.

Prince was one of those rare musicians who continued to connect with people decades after the start of his career. As NPR Music's Ann Powers tells All Songs Considered hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton, Prince had a unique vision of a perfect world, one that challenged gender and sexual norms, one where love was the only rule.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

One of the major highlights of World Cafe's Sense Of Place trip to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area was a one-time event that M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger put together just for us.

Recently, two new jazz recordings came my way. One, titled Some Other Time: The Lost Session From The Black Forest, is an album of never-before-released studio recordings from Germany in 1968.

The Legacy Of The Benny Goodman Quartet

Apr 21, 2016

In the late 1930s, a bespectacled white man who played the clarinet was a teen idol. That was Benny Goodman, and he got to be that way from leading a quartet with Lionel Hampton, Teddy Wilson and Gene Krupa — one of jazz's first racially integrated bands. In a special stage show written by Geoffrey Ward and narrated by Wendell Pierce, a young band (Christian Sands, piano; Joel Ross, vibraphone; Sammy Miller, drums) with a rotating cast of clarinetists (Will Anderson, Peter Anderson, Patrick Bartley and Janelle Reichman) tells the whole story at Jazz at Lincoln Center.

Prince passed away today. Details are not clear as I write this. What is clear is how much he meant to so many. How will you remember Prince? Tell us in the comments below how he impacted your life, or just pick a song you love. Or find us on Twitter @allsongs.

Fair warning: Wicker Man-inspired costumes, grisly occult dealings and static-flickering VHS tapes lie ahead. For some of us (read: me), director Torin Langen's video for Crosss' "Golden Hearth" is the stuff of nightmares, but the heavy weirdness is definitely worth your time.

Prince — the Purple One, who reeled off pop hits in five different decades — has died at age 57. The shocking news was confirmed by Prince's publicist after reports that police were investigating a death at his Paisley Park compound outside Minneapolis.

"It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer Prince Rogers Nelson has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57," publicist Yvette Noel-Schure said. "There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time."

Earlier this week, we were happy to share the news that The Avett Brothers have a new album, called True Sadness, coming out in June. This will be the group's ninth album, and just one of many that we have loved talking about and listening to here at All Songs.

Soul singer Mayer Hawthorne knows how to put on a show. He hits many high notes — literally and figuratively — on his new record Man About Town. Here's "Fancy Clothes."

SET LIST

  • "Fancy Clothes"

Watch Mayer Hawthorne's full Morning Becomes Electric performance on KCRW.com.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The music of The Black Lillies has an Americana sound that blends country, rock and folk with the mountain music of their home: Knoxville, Tennessee. Frontman Cruz Contreras says that when the band first began playing shows, it found the most fervent audiences in regions like eastern Tennessee, easter Kentucky and southwestern Virginia.

Kanye West sometimes gets himself in trouble with what he says on Twitter. Now, one of his tweets may get used against him in court.

Back in February, he tweeted that his new album, The Life Of Pablo, would only be available on Tidal, the streaming music service in which he owns a stake, and "never never never" on Apple.

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