NPR News



Tue July 26, 2011
A Blog Supreme

Frank Foster, Jazz Saxophonist And Arranger, Has Died

American jazz saxophonist Frank Foster performs on stage circa 1981.
David Redfern Redferns/Getty Images

Frank Foster, a saxophonist and composer/arranger best known for his longtime association with the Count Basie Orchestra, has died. He passed away in his sleep early Tuesday morning at his home in Chesapeake, Va., according to his widow and manager, Cecilia Foster. He was 82.

Foster was a key member of the "New Testament" Basie band — the large ensemble Basie led in the 1950s and beyond. In addition to his playing on tenor saxophone and other woodwinds, he contributed many melodies and arrangements. At least one of those tunes, "Shiny Stockings," became a jazz standard.

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Tue July 26, 2011
Deceptive Cadence

A Tradition Shattered: Israelis Play Wagner At Bayreuth

Roberto Paternostro, the music director of the Israel Chamber Orchestra.
Israel Chamber Orchestra

Like all of Richard Wagner's music, performances of his piece Siegfried Idyll, is unofficially — but effectively — banned in Israel.

It's not just that Wagner was an anti-Semite. He wrote a notorious essay called "Jewishness in Music." And after his death, Wagner's family was close to Adolph Hitler. Hitler often the attended the annual Bayreuth Festival, which is devoted to Wagner's music.

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Tue July 26, 2011
The Two-Way

Designer Alexander McQueen's Legacy Favors Charity

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:36 am

British fashion designer Alexander McQueen is surrounded by applauding models after a Paris show in 1997. The influential designer was found dead Thursday in his London home. He was 40 years old.
Remy de la Mauviniere AP

The bulk of Alexander McQueen's 16-million pound ($26 million) estate will go to his Sarabande charity, according to documents made public Tuesday. The renowned fashion designer killed himself in February 2010, following closely on his mother's death.

McQueen said in his will that he hoped Sarabande would support scholarships at the Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, which he attended.

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Tue July 26, 2011

On U.S. Debt, An Early-Warning Indicator Flashes Red

A week from now, the U.S. Treasury may default on some debts as it hits against a $14.3-trillion debt ceiling.

Despite that once-unthinkable possibility, financial markets appear calm. The stock market has not crashed and interest rates have held steady.

Still, one indicator is showing investors are getting nervous: the cost of insuring U.S. government debt against default is starting to spike.

"It's an early-warning indicator," says Otis C. Casey III, director of credit research for Markit Group Ltd., a London-based financial information services company.

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Tue July 26, 2011

McDonald's Move May Make Healthy Business Sense

When McDonald's announced Tuesday that it would make the standard child's Happy Meal more healthful, company officials said they were responding to the desires of its customers. But the move also makes business sense, analysts say.

"This is good publicity and if you sell more happy meals, you're likely selling more Big Macs to the parents," said Peter Saleh, a restaurant analyst with Telsey Advisory Group in New York.

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