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Herbert Von Karajan: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - Tchaikovsky: Ballet Suites

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Jon Batiste: Hollywood Africans will be featured every Thursday evening on Jazz on the Rox with your host Roxane Gagne.

Years before Jon Batiste started regularly commuting to New York's Ed Sullivan Theater as the bandleader on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he was a student at Juilliard -- who found himself, frequently, learning off-the-clock in the quiet museum halls and low-ceilinged jazz clubs of the city.

He'd gaze at the frenzied strokes of Jean-Michel Basquiat or trip down the stairs of downtown jazz Mecca the Village Vanguard. His newest CD gazes deeper into Basquiat's painting of the same name and the dialogue it sparks about the exploitive, racist practices woven into the fabric of American entertainment.

Produced by T Bone Burnett, the album is a sparse solo affair guided entirely by Batiste’s Jelly Roll Morton–inspired piano playing and, for the first time, his vocals. Across 11 tracks, Batiste traverses the entire history of 20th-century music, mixing impressive original ballads like “Don’t Stop” and “Mr. Buddy” with Thirties pop standards (“The Very Thought of You”), traditional New Orleans favorites (“Saint James Infirmary Blues”), and video-game soundtrack classics (Sonic the Hedgehog’s “Green Hill Zone”).