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THE CAROLINA CHOCOLATE DROPS AND THE BLACK EXPERIENCE IN COUNTRY MUSIC

This week, we talk to the founding members of the Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops. Justin Robinson, Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons started playing music together under the tutelage of legendary black old-time fiddler, Joe Thompson in his backyard shed. The Chocolate Drops came together to carry on the old time and country traditions from the Piedmont region in the Carolinas, but they wanted to do more than just play. They wanted to show their audiences that African American music finds its roots in genres beyond blues and jazz. Then we delve into the archives for our classic conversation with the late, great Ray Charles – and pianist Johnnie Johnson tells us about the surprising origins of Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.”

SONNY ROLLINS & BOB FRENCH

Saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins has been igniting the jazz scene ever since he was a kid in the 1940s, hanging out with his mentor Thelonious Monk. We’ll talk with the jazz master about his work with Miles and Monk among others, and his improvisatory explorations. Then, we’ll visit with New Orleans’ own jazz legend, the late Bob French, who led the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band, to learn the finer points of keeping time in the Crescent City.

IT'S "CARNIVAL TIME" IN THE CARIBBEAN, NEW ORLEANS, AND FRENCH LOUISIANA-WITH PROFESSOR LONGHAIR AND A CAST OF THOUSANDS

It’s Carnival time in the Latin-influenced world. We’ll hear music and celebrations in the Afro Caribbean and Gulf Coast including French Louisiana’s courir de Mardi Gras, and a visit to Mardi Gras day in the neighborhood with the Mohawk Hunters, Black masking Indians from Algiers, on New Orleans’ West Bank. Then a special tribute to New Orleans’ Professor Longhair with fellow pianomen Allen Toussaint, Dr. John and Ellis Marsalis.