Robert McFerrin, Sr., a baritone, was the first African American man to perform solo at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and an important interpreter of spirituals. He's clearly passed along some of his talent to his son, the world-renowned vocal gymnast Bobby McFerrin. And McFerrin the younger has recently taken an interest in his father's spiritual repertoire, putting his own spin on them for his 2013 recording spirityouall. At the Monterey Jazz Festival, he performs that material with his own progeny — his daughter Madison McFerrin.
The reedman Paquito D'Rivera has made a career out of crossing genres. Born in Cuba, his larder is never out of Afro-Caribbean and Latin American sounds; he's made a name for himself as a jazz virtuoso and classical performer. Chicago's Latino Music Festival took advantage this year. Artistic director Elbio Barilari, himself a composer (and host of Fiesta!
Every month, the members of the Colorado-born sextet Convergence gather from near and far at the Denver club Dazzle, often with a special guest. The band certainly has plenty of material to draw from — Convergence first converged in 1991. For Toast of the Nation 2013-14, it welcomed Hammond B-3 organist Larry Goldings from Los Angeles to ring in midnight in Mountain Time. Carlos Lando of KUVO hosts the festivities.
At the American Physical Society's fluid dynamics conference this winter, there was a healthy infusion of biology. In between talks on propellers and plane wings, there were presentations about flying snakes, fire ants, humpback whales and hummingbirds. Physicists from all over the world are turning to the natural world to help them solve engineering problems.
The journalism world may be in crisis, but one magazine in France has been steadily gaining subscribers for 40 years. It's a nature journal called La Hulotte, and twice a year it focuses on an animal or plant indigenous to the French countryside. The magazine published its 100th issue in November. It has more than 150,000 subscribers in many countries and is doing terrific financially.