Americans consume more bananas than apples and oranges combined. Dan Koeppel, author of Banana: The Fate of the Fruit That Changed the World, gives us a primer on the expansive history — and the endangered future — of this seedless, sexless fruit. Koeppel traces the ubiquitous yellow fruit back to the Garden of Eden, where, he argues, it, not the apple, was the “forbidden fruit” that Eve offered Adam. In the 20th century, he examines the United Fruit Company’s maneuvering in the “banana republics” of Central America, and warns that the banana’s unique reproductive system — each new fruit is a genetic duplicate of the next — makes it especially susceptible to epidemics. ALSO, Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead joins Fresh Air to review The Irrational Numbers, the newest album from improvisational bass player Drew Gress. Gress co-founded the quartet Joint Venture in the 1980s, later moving on to lead the New York-based outfit Jagged Sky and to perform with Paraphrase, an improv trio also featuring Tim Berne and Tom Rainey. He’s also performed with the Fred Hersch Trio, the Don Byron Quartet and others.The Irrational Numbers showcases Berne on alto sax and Rainey on drums, plus Ralph Alessi on trumpet.
A behind the scenes look at the 9/11 Commission. Marty talks with New York Times investigative reporter, PHILIP SHENON about his book “The Commission: The Uncensored History of the 9/11 Investigation.” Then we talk to Former 9/11 Commissioner RICHARD BEN-VENISTE about his thoughts of Shenon’s account.
A conversation with STEPHEN MORSE about the implications of using neuroscience in our legal system. Morse is Professor of Law and Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Law and Medical Schools.
On this special edition of the World Café, David Dye joins Levon Helm in Woodstock, New York for his Midnight Ramble. At this semi-weekly event, the former drummer of The Band opens his barn doors to the public for a concert reminiscent of the old southern medicine shows. In addition to hosting these intimate and often raucous affairs, Levon’s been occupied with Dirt Farmer, his first solo album in 25 years. Showcasing deeply soulful vocals and vigorous drumming, Levon re-emerges clearly forever inspired by his rural musical roots.
THE BAND: The Night They Drove Ole Dixie Down