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We profile two men that begin in classical and jazz and move in differing directions. Buttressed by a conservatory background, French horn player and composer David Amram moves freely and eclectically across genres of Latin, jazz, folk and classical music. Blind pianist Marcus Roberts speaks about his time spent as protégé of Wynton Marsalis and looks back over the history of jazz to his touchstones, James P. Johnson, Monk, Jelly Roll Morton and others.


The family that plays together stays together, and this week on American Routes we have a couple of them. First up, it’s 12 and Shorty, better known as James and Troy Andrews, brothers and horn players with a long New Orleans musical lineage. Rockers and brothers Cody and Willy Braun, of Reckless Kelly, and their father Muzzie share their memories of being in a cowboy family band.


Explore the connection between the wail of the cantor and the slide of a blues note—where jazz and western swing meet the klezmorium. Legendary R&B producer Jerry Wexler recalls working with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan and more. Banjo player and author Henry Sapoznik talks about going from Old Time Country back to the music of his roots, klezmer. Plus jazz-inflected western swing, swinging klezmer and more.


Join us this week as we visit with the King of the Chitlin Circuit, Bobby Rush. The singer, songwriter, manager, harmonica player, guitarist and bus driver talks about a life in the blues and breaks down his famous stage show. Mississippi-born, Louisiana-bred guitarist Sonny Landreth drops by for a live set and reveals his special technique with the slide.