Tom Moon

If his own memoir and various other accounts are credible, Graham Nash was right in the middle of the burgeoning cultural awakenings of the 1960s. First as a member of the U.K.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PROCESSION")

KADHJA BONET: (Singing) Oh, every morning brings a chance to renew, chance to renew. Oh...

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The first recorded collaboration between singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur and guitarist Peter Buck of R.E.M. fame isn't a concept album in the strictest sense. But many of its songs do revolve around a central theme: The messy metaphysical process of getting "woke."

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From the beginning of his career as a recording artist, Ry Cooder has treated the music of the past as a resource, turning to old (and very, very old) songs for guidance, mentorship, life lessons, spiritual advice.

When Johann Sebastian Bach compiled the first book of the Well-Tempered Clavier in 1722, he wrote that the 24 preludes and fugues were "for the profit and use of musical youth desirous of learning, and especially for the pastime of those already skilled in this study."

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

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(SOUNDBITE OF THE BAD PLUS' "LAYIN' A STRIP FOR THE HIGHER-SELF STATE LINE")

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

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Jazz drummer Brian Blade is best known for this kind of sound.

(SOUNDBITE OF WAYNE SHORTER'S "ORBITS")

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