NPR : World Cafe

Filed Under:

World Cafe Looks Back: Jazz Greats

Throughout the month of October, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of World Cafe by revisiting some of the best and most memorable interviews of the past 20 years.

Today's World Cafe session features three talented musicians who've uniquely shaped the evolution of jazz: Sonny Rollins, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette.

The show begins with a look back at the career of Sonny Rollins, one of the greatest living saxophone players. Inspired by the likes of Fats Waller, Rollins says he feels "a holy obligation" to evoke his heroes in his playing. Rollins has released 57 studio albums, and he stopped by World Cafe in 2007 after releasing Sonny Please, his first in five years. In this interview (one of our best), he discusses his lifelong desire to elevate jazz in society, his performances with The Rolling Stones, and the ways his grandmother instilled in him a passion for activism.

From Rollins, we turn to Jack DeJohnette, the Chicago-bred drummer who played with legends like John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson and Thelonious Monk. In this 1998 interview, DeJohnette explains how his uncle, an influential DJ, introduced him to jazz through his collection of 78s. He recounts discovering his talent when a drum set was left in his basement, as well as his experience playing with Davis on Bitches Brew.

Finally, we close with bassist Stanley Clarke. Declared a legend at 25, Clarke was likely the first bassist to headline jazz tours overseas, and he invented both the piccolo bass and tenor bass. In this 2007 interview, Clarke describes his musical childhood in his school's band and orchestra, and discusses his album The Toys of Men.

This segment originally aired on October 17, 2011.

Copyright 2012 WXPN-FM. To see more, visit


No Meekness Here: Meet Rosa Parks, 'Lifelong Freedom Fighter'

As the 60th anniversary of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott approaches, author Jeanne Theoharis says it's time to let go of the image of Rosa Parks as an unassuming accidental activist.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

Internet food culture has brought us new words for nearly every gastronomical condition. The author of "Eatymology," parodist Josh Friedland, discusses "brogurt" with NPR's Rachel Martin.
WAMU 88.5

World Leaders Meet For The UN Climate Change Summit In Paris

World leaders meet for the UN climate change summit in Paris to discuss plans for reducing carbon emissions. What's at stake for the talks, and prospects for a major agreement.


Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.