Suite Air

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The best made musicians are the those that find creative space between the cracks of what already existed. On this edition of All Ears, we hear from a few of them.

We begin with two artists who developed their sound by fusing other styles. Robinella Bailey formed a band in the late 1990s mashing up bluegrass, jazz and traditional music. Similarly, saxophonist Eric Dolphy began using influences from Stravinsky's neoclassicism and American bebop to create a musical style in the 1950s now considered free or avant-garde jazz. We hear his composition "Something Sweet, Something Tender." Dolphy's papers were recently donated to the Library of Congress.

Leonard Bernstein's Mass is an example of polystylism on a large scale. The composer wrote the piece for the opening of the Kennedy Center in 1971; the piece caused a stir and President Nixon declined to show up at the performance. We hear one of the most stirring sections from the evening-length theatrical work.

We also feature a piano composition written at a time when Leos Janacek found himself living between the cracks of personal sorrow and professional rejection.