Patrick Jarenwattananon

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

Henry Threadgill, a saxophonist and flutist known as one of the most original composers influenced by jazz, has been awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his recording In for a Penny, In for a Pound.

Eric Lewis' career has circulated both in and out of what he calls "the jazz republic." Performing under his given name in the 1990s, Lewis was a powerful up-and-coming pianist who toured in the bands of Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones. As his career progressed — or failed to, from a business perspective — he found that a lot of contemporary rock music also spoke to him deeply.

This tune comes from a demo tape of a band's first-ever public gig. The recording engineer was a 19-year-old college radio kid scrambling to capture 18 musicians in a tiny basement club. But half a century later, that kid now runs a record label and deemed his work good enough to re-touch and issue as part of a deluxe 2-CD package. After all, this was no ordinary band. Within three months of that first gig, this group started making "real" albums — five LPs worth in the next four years, plus two album-length collaborations with singers.

Jazz has its capital cities: major hubs like New York, Chicago and New Orleans. But the music manages plenty well in many other places, too. What goes into those smaller ecosystems to enable jazz to thrive? How do talented musicians make it happen? In search of some answers, we sought out the DIY concert producers of CapitalBop in Washington, D.C., as they presented artists from the Baltimore-Washington area. And we met with the musicians themselves — in one case, touring the place he calls home.

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