This week we bring you three American Icons, stories from our series on works of art that changed the way we think about America. In myth and song, John Henry was a railroad worker who raced the machine that was going to steal his job. He won the race, but it killed him. What does that say about the American work ethic? Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin spurred the abolitionist movement — but the title character is now a vicious slur used against African-Americans. How did that happen? And we find out why Miles Davis’s "Kind of Blue" became the one jazz record that even non-jazz fans own. [Broadcast Date: February 21, 2015] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/150221/rt_stud_150221_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Death wears pumps. And that isn't even the worst part of her day. Being a reaper isn't nearly as easy as flipping hamburgers, but Jazz has never been one to shrug off responsibility. Still, she isn't happy about visiting the state penitentiary to reap the soul of a serial killer. Years ago, Theodore Salazar killed two people near the Eastwood River, but that's all over and done with. With the infamous serial killer dead, the city can breathe a sigh of relief. That relief doesn't last long. The morning after Salazar's death, the killings start up again. The police think they are copycat killings, but Jazz knows better. There's a killer on the loose in Eastwood, and it isn't a copycat or Salazar's ghost. Eastwood is about to discover that the legend of the Chain Man is real, and deadly. Brock Logan, president of the Death Dogs MC, is still chasing Jazz, and she's very tempted to let him catch her, but then the leader of the Shadow Riders reveals something that makes her doubt Brock and the Death Dogs. If that isn't enough chaos, Sir Edward suddenly develops an addiction to TV game shows. It's all part of life when you are Jazz the Reaper. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Julie Kelly. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/064558/bk_acx0_064558_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
San Francisco jazz pianist Evan Horne takes a gig in Los Angeles, where he’s offered his most unusual job yet. Movie megastar Ryan Stiles hires Evan to teach him to look like he’s playing piano for an upcoming role. Evan stays at Stiles’ lush Malibu home for the tutoring, but things suddenly go wrong for the arrogant, spoiled star. Stiles’ adversarial relationship with the paparazzi explodes when a photographer is killed. Was it an accident, or is Stiles himself a suspect? Evan wants out, but Stiles’ manager entices him to stay by dangling the opportunity to score the film. Stiles is cleared, but when the film begins, another mysterious death occurs, and somebody is blackmailing the star. With help from his FBI girlfriend, Andie Lawrence, and Lieutenant Danny Cooper, Evan launches his own investigation to help clear Stiles. But now, to further complicate things, a serial killer has escaped from prison - and it’s Gillian Sims, Evan’s old nemesis. About the author: Bill Moody is a mystery author and professional jazz drummer who has toured and recorded with Maynard Ferguson, Junior Mance, Jon Hendricks, and Lou Rawls. He lives in northern California, where he hosts a weekly jazz show, and is the author of a dozen short stories in various collections and several Evan Horne mystery novels. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Gary Dikeos. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/blak/005233/bk_blak_005233_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Will it be wedding bells or funeral bells?Trouble is brewing in Eastwood. Jazz can’t help but wonder if the bride that haunts Bridal Falls might be behind the strange deaths of two men, both of which were about to walk down the aisle. When Lyndy is left standing at the altar, and her groom is nowhere to be found, the disappearing groom drama gets personal.And then things take a really bad turn. Brock is falsely accused of murder, but the police don’t stop there. Now they think Lyndy might have killed her husband to be. Sir Edward is acting very strange. He stays in his room for hours on end. Lucy is sure her brother is up to no good. Jazz just hopes it’s something harmless and not another game show addiction. Oh, and then there’s the stalker.Someone has been leaving flowers at Jazz’s front door, but is her secret admirer among the living or one, of the dearly departed?It’s all just another day in the life of a reaper. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Robin Assouad. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/130336/bk_acx0_130336_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
If you are desperate enough, terrified enough, there is a jazz club in the French Quarter of New Orleans where you might find help. Might. You might also find Rind, the Angelus of Death, already waiting for you. Meilori's is that kind of club. Its owner, Samuel McCord, is that kind of man. The man with the blood of Death in his veins, who finds some small measure of peace in easing the pains of others, though he cannot ease his own. After Katrina, all of New Orleans stands in need of help. Even the Angelus of Death, Rind, whose presence is a heavy, anguished weight upon Sam's adopted city, needs help. But Sam is just the shadow of the man he was before his wife left him seven years ago. But having a supernatural jazz club has its perks. He arranges for a pay per view internet concert of both the dead and the living giants of jazz to help pour money into a fund to repair all of New Orleans. McCord's friends, both undead and living, help him arrange the "live" concert. But the club also has its downside: For the dead musicians to be able to appear in his club, the undead, usually not the most amiable of creatures, can also pay a visit. And visit they do, along with DayStar, an old enemy who entered this plane of existence from beyond what we think of as Time. But alongside DayStar in this strange club on the outskirts of known reality, McCord discovers that there is a worse fate than being killed by DayStar's plan. It is surviving it. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Charlie James. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/009653/bk_acx0_009653_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
San Francisco, September 1921: Silent-screen comedy star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is throwing a wild party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel: girls, jazz, bootleg hooch...and a dead actress named Virginia Rappe. The D.A. says it was Arbuckle who killed her - crushing her under his weight - and brings him up on manslaughter charges. William Randolph Hearst's newspapers stir up the public and demand a guilty verdict. But what really happened? Why do so many people at the party seem to have stories that conflict? Why is the prosecution hiding witnesses? Why are there body parts missing from the autopsied corpse? Why is Hearst so determined to see Fatty Arbuckle convicted? In desperation, Arbuckle's defense team hires a Pinkerton agent to do an investigation of his own and, they hope, discover the truth. The agent's name is Dashiell Hammett, and he's the book's narrator. What he discovers will change American legal history - and his own life - forever. 1. Language: English. Narrator: Dick Hill. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/brll/001623/bk_brll_001623_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
At 63, former jazz musician Wade Lovett finds himself something of a trailer park Lothario carrying on affairs with three different women. But when circumstances prompt Carol Smitzky to make a compelling case for a marriage arrangement, he agrees. The next morning, he visits girlfriend number two, Peggy MacCallister, to tell her the news - and finds her lying dead on her kitchen floor. Shortly after Peggy's death, Wade is surprised to learn that she left him guardianship of her prized cat, Prince Albert. Even more surprising, she named Wade as beneficiary of her life insurance, which provokes her son to demand an autopsy. As a natural death seems less and less likely, Wade becomes the prime suspect in her murder, forcing him to investigate the crime himself. Was Peggy killed by one of her two children, the park manager, a mystery second boyfriend, or was it Wade's third paramour, Sue Mullins? 1. Language: English. Narrator: Peter Husmann. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/acx0/051955/bk_acx0_051955_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
Senator and former first lady, Hillary Rodham Clinton and, for Father's Day, famous dads and sons talk about their relationships on this edition of Fresh Air. First, in Hillary Clinton's new memoir, Living History, she writes about growing up in the 1950s, her life in the White House, the Senate, and the sexual scandal that almost ended her marriage and her husband's presidency. Then, saxophonist Branford Marsalis talks about his father, jazz great Ellis Marsalis. Tenor saxophonist and composer, Ellery Eskelin talks about his father, Rodd Keith (also known as Rod Rodgers), who was killed when he was struck by cars on the Hollywood Freeway after leaping or falling from the Santa Monica Boulevard overpass. Eskelin only knew his father for the first eighteen months of his life. Writer Benjamin Cheever is the son of the late novelist and short story master John Cheever, and he edited a collection of his father's letters. (Original Broadcast Dates: June 12, 2003, October 21, 2002, December 2, 1996 and November 11, 1988) 1. Language: English. Narrator: Terry Gross. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/whyy/030613/rt_whyy_030613_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.
In last week’s State of the Union address, President Obama reminded us of China’s turbocharged economy outstripping our own. But when it comes to the global culture war for hearts and minds, the United States remains the unrivaled superpower. For now. Next, last month, thousands of mathematicians attended the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Boston — the largest annual gathering of its kind. In addition to presentations on phylogenetic algebraic geometry and trace formulas, the conference featured an art exhibition, with 80 artists presenting more than 120 works. Then, in Mexico’s drug war, nearly 50,000 people are estimated to have been killed since 2006, and there seems to be no end in sight. A new film called Miss Bala is an artful, riveting depiction of that war, and it isn’t the good guys-bad guys shoot-em-up you might expect. After that, the drummer Jack DeJohnette has recorded with all the jazz superheroes of the last half century — Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Keith Jarrett, to name a few. He was recently named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, recognizing a lifetime of contributions to the field.Following that, we received hundreds of submissions to our 420-character-story challenge. Although the contest is over, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to call a couple more authors and have them read their work.And finally, In 2009 the composer Eve Beglarian spent four months traveling down the Mississippi River — from the Headwaters in northern Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. She made the trip mostly in a kayak, trading off for a bicycle on some stretches. But “it wasn’t stressful exercise,” she tells Kurt Andersen. “It was that kind of wonderful exercise where your mind can travel as you’re travelling. And I think it put me in a different kind of place in relation to the sources of my creativity.” [Broadcast Date: Feburary 4, 2012] 1. Language: English. Narrator: Kurt Andersen. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/rt/stud/120204/rt_stud_120204_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.