Lacy ran with Monk's wisdom, beginning with the idea your voice as jazz composer starts with your sound and timing as an improviser.
"No comedian wants to have to analyze and defend" jokes, says Rock, who wrote, directed and stars in the new film Top Five. He adds: "I'm not a politician; I'm not a thinker. I'm a comedian."
Ray Davies discusses 50 years with The Kinks; jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews three jazz books out this holiday season; Josh Brolin, who stars in Inherent Vice, still wonders if he's good enough.
In the Australian chiller, a bogeyman announces himself in a rhyming, pop-up book on a 7-year-old's shelf. But the real horror is that the boy's mom, a grieving widow, is battling psychic demons.
Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker says that one of the best books he's ever read about punk rock is a new memoir by Viv Albertine.
McLagan, who died at 69, helped define the sound of '60s British rock with his bands Small Faces and Faces. He toured with the Rolling Stones, Dylan and Billy Bragg. He appeared on Fresh Air in 2004.
Ron Rash's best short stories from the past 20 years take you to a land apart psychologically and geographically. His writing is powerful, stripped down and very still.
Brolin co-stars in an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice. He says as an actor he's always wondering: "Can I live up to what this person has written? There's always a fear around that."
Fresh Air jazz critic Kevin Whitehead reviews a singer's biography, a pianist's autobiography, and a fat coffee table book.
Journalist Jeffrey Toobin notes how Obama's appointees are a new mix of ethnic minorities, women and gay judges. But a couple of these courts are hearing suits that could undo some of Obama's actions.
NBC is airing a live version of Peter Pan on Thursday, nearly 60 years after the first live telecast. Critic David Bianculli says the cast and the revival of the medium are genius.
Two doctors wrote a book that probes the environmental, biological and socioeconomic factors contributing to early puberty. These girls face risks like anxiety and depression, one author says.
In his new book All Eyes Are Upon Us, Jason Sokol writes about how Northerners were blind to patterns of segregation, discrimination and racial violence in such states as New York and Massachusetts.
The best-selling author died Thursday. She was 94. In 1987, James told Terry Gross that while the "shock of finding the bodies is important" in her novels, she personally doesn't like "messy lives."
Richard Zoglin talks about Hope's life and legacy; rock critic Ken Tucker recommends holiday listening; and Will Holshouser plays songs from his new album.
Bob Gaudio wrote most of The Four Seasons' hits, some of which are compiled in a new anthology. He tells Fresh Air about the band's history, including why its songs had some "anger" in them.
Out of love and necessity, Stuart has become a country-music historian. "People were throwing things away," he says. "I just took it as a family matter."
"I think if I had been an accomplished songwriter I wouldn't have written 'You Really Got Me,'" Davies tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.
It's not too early to be releasing Christmas albums, and Fresh Air rock critic Ken Tucker has been listening to a lot of them.
Phil Klay served in Iraq from January 2007 to February 2008. He recently won a National Book Award for his collection of short stories.