The last time Fred Hersch was featured on Weekend Edition Saturday, the headline read, "Back On Stage By No Small Miracle." It was 2009, and scarcely a year earlier, the jazz pianist had suffered AIDS-related dementia and fallen into a coma for several months. Since recovering, Hersch has come roaring back to music, releasing a string of live albums to critical success.
World Cafe's week-long series Sense of Place: Iceland draws to a close with an unexpected treat. We'd been in Reykjavik for a few days when we learned that June 17 would mark a daylong celebration of Icelandic National Day, the anniversary of Iceland's independence from Denmark in 1944. Events planned for the holiday ranged from outdoor chess matches to accordion concerts, culminating in a free outdoor show for an audience expected to hit 10,000.
Carmen Lundy's contralto voice perfectly conveys the soul and depth of her compositions. She joined Piano Jazz host Marian McPartland in 1999 to perform Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.