music

lolo-38 / Creative Commons

You may leave the radio or the TV on for your kitty when you head off to work, but new research is saying that might not be the best idea. Instead, why not try out a few of these songs, composed specifically for your cat master?

Yale University Art Gallery

Africa Salon, Yale University’s first contemporary African Arts and Culture Festival, starts Friday night. It's part of a larger initiative to advance the university’s focus on the continent.

Goodbye to All That

Mar 26, 2015
Rob Choucroun / Creative Commons

Socio-technological bulletin:

I have decided to get rid of my CDs.

I’ve been thinking about it for a while, and I believe it’s time. I’ve pretty much crossed over to the download/streaming side, and I just don’t play the discs much anymore.

Ojah Media Group

Long before Cassandra Wilson became an iconic and iconoclastic diva, her preternaturally beautiful voice and naturally charismatic way with phrasing and lyrics earned her comparisons with Billie Holiday, the most deeply expressive and tragically doomed jazz singer of the 20th century.

Katrina Leskanich

"Walking on Sunshine" topped music charts worldwide in 1985, catapulting the British band Katrina and The Waves to stardom. 

Wikimedia Commons

A true story: the first time I heard George Harrison’s 1970 song “My Sweet Lord,” I was listening to the radio over at the apartment of a friend of mine. I said to my friend, “That sure sounds a lot like the Chiffons’ ‘He’s so Fine.’” Shortly thereafter, I read that the owners of the copyright to “He’s So Fine” had decided to sue Harrison. After a protracted legal battle, they won their case.

Guillaume Laurent / Creative Commons

Kyle Eastwood, a hard-swinging bassist and gifted jazz and film score composer, continues to carve a brilliant career all his own, an ongoing success story that makes the day for his proud father, the legendary Hollywood actor/director, Clint Eastwood.

IsraelinUSA / Creative Commons

Earlier this week, 47 GOP senators signed a letter to Iranian leaders warning against a nuclear agreement. The letter comes less than a month before the Obama administration is scheduled to complete a draft deal on Iran’s nuclear programs, and just a week after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech before the U.S. Congress. 

On Tuesday, a California federal jury delivered its verdict after eight days of trial testimony examining whether Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams’ song “Blurred Lines” infringed on the copyright for Marvin Gaye’s 1977 hit “Got to Give It Up.”

The Gaye estate walked away with a victory and Thicke and Williams were ordered to pay more than $7 million in damages, plus profits attributable to infringement. It is a sad day for the “Blurred Lines” duo, but what could the ruling mean for the music industry?

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For centuries, female composers have often found themselves overshadowed by their male counterparts. Take Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel, Anna Magdalena Bach, and Alma Mahler, for example. Their names don't roll off the tongue quite as easily as Felix Mendelssohn, J.S. Bach, and Gustav Mahler's do. 

But why?

Women Composers Festival of Hartford

The 2015 Women Composers Festival of Hartford is underway at various locations in the capital city. For the 14th year, the festival has highlighted and promoted the work of women composers past and present.

Ryan King / WNPR

A requiem is historically a mass for the dead, but composer Steven Sametz says "A Child's Requiem" is something different. It's a musical message of consolation. The work is dedicated to those who lost their lives in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, and premieres this week in Connecticut.

Sametz weaves in words of American writers and poetry and short lines of text written by children.

"I thought it was important to give voice to that peer group most affected at Sandy Hook," he said. "I got terrific responses from around the country, some incredibly touching about how children grieve. And I wanted that to be the center of this child’s requiem."

Sony Pictures

Several of my musical friends had said I should see the movie “Whiplash.” They told me I probably wouldn’t like it but that I should see it anyway. So I did.

They were right on both counts. I didn’t like it all that much but I’m glad I saw it. I think young people interested in the performing arts – not just music – should see it.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For 14 years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you dancing.

YouTube

Relaxing in a cozy recliner back home in Columbus, Ohio, the nonagenarian trombonist Arthur Baskerville can, through the miracle of live streaming, sit back on Friday night and watch his brilliant, young grandson, the phenomenal pianist Aaron Diehl, perform with his trio in New Haven, more than 600 miles away, at Yale’s prestigious Ellington Jazz Series.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

For the past 14 years, Mark Crino, Evan Green, Andy Chatfield, and Eric DellaVecchia have been performing under the name Stanley Maxwell. They’re a Connecticut-based quartet with a jazz-meets-rock-meets-funk sound that’s bound to get you off your feet. The four of them recently joined us in our Studio 3 to share some of the music that’s kept them all together for so long.

The Columbia Orchestra

One of the things that people like to point out about classical music these days, usually in an effort to convince us that it’s in decline, is that there are no superstar instrumental performers anymore.

Or sometimes they grant a single exception: cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

The term superstar is used here in the sense of “celebrity that most people have at least heard of.”

Richard Conde

Laszlo Gardony, Hungary’s great gift to the world of jazz piano, celebrates the lush, orchestral possibilities of the instrument at the Hartford Public Library’s free Baby Grand Jazz series at 3:00 pm on Sunday, March 1, collaborating with his trio, a hard-swinging, cerebral chamber jazz unit that grooves on deep emotion and bold invention.

Duke University Archives

A professor is offering a course later this semester that explores the power of music on major civil rights movements around the world.

University of Hartford associate professor of ethnomusicology Anthony Rauche said much of the focus will be on the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, when a confluence of cultural movements came together to give the civil rights movement its collective voice.

Chris Lewis / Creative Commons

A few days ago, after the 27th snowstorm of the season – or possibly the 34th – an elderly woman of my acquaintance asked me if I could recommend some music to help her get through the remaining days of this winter.

“You know, some of that happy, uplifting type of music,” she said.

I gave her a few top of the head suggestions. But then I began to think: maybe she’s on to something. Maybe the next few weeks would be more bearable for us all if we concentrated on the happy, uplifting type of music.

Bill Mays

A consummate jazz pianist, Bill Mays is so good, in so many varied ways, in so many diverse settings -- from chamber group to big band -- that his dazzling versatility and multiple talents sometime seem to outshine his luminous skills as a compelling solo concert pianist.

Mays, a globe-trotting musician, California native, and resident of Shohola, Pennsylvania, travels to the Berkshire Hills of Western Massachusetts this weekend to shine a well-merited, bright light on his first-class solo piano artistry at 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 21, at the city of Pittsfield’s fourth annual 10x10 Upstreet Arts Festival at Baba Louie’s Backroom, a noted Berkshire County jazz spot at 34 Depot Street. Tickets: $15.00 in advance, $20.00 on day of event at berkshiresjazz.org

I am old enough to know better, but I still make a point of watching the Grammy Awards every year, in the quaint belief that I should be keeping my finger on the pulse of American music.

After last Sunday’s headache-inducing show, I feel like Groucho Marx in “A Day at the Races,” as he placed his thumb on the wrist of an ailing Harpo: “Either this man is dead or my watch has stopped.”

Today we're thrilled to announce that the winner of the Tiny Desk Concert Contest is Fantastic Negrito.

Kārlis Dambrāns / Creative Commons

In his book Classical Cooks, Hartt professor Ira Braus explores the link between musical and culinary taste. This hour, he joins us to explain the relationship that composers had with food, and the impact this had on their musical output. Were some of your favorite symphonies and operas inspired by some fatty meats or tasty sweets? Join us to find out.

diannereeves.com

Just one week after winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album, the dynamic diva Dianne Reeves will be even more electrifying than ever as she presents a celebratory victory performance at 7:30 pm on Sunday, February 15, at Hartford’s Infinity Music Hall.

Reeves, 58, received the fifth Grammy of her career for her album Beautiful Life on Concord Records.  Her triumphant release edged out stiff competition from albums by singers Tierney Sutton, Gretchen Parlato, Rene Marie, and composer/arranger Billy Childs’ eclectic compendium of vocalists paying homage to Laura Nyro.

All the jubilant Grammy Award winner has to do to bring down the house in Hartford on Sunday night is launch into the passionate, a cappella opening bars of her wordless tour de force on an original song called "Tango," a mesmerizing power number that helped propel Beautiful Life to beautiful victory.

Sam Smith, the British singer whose debut album, In the Lonely Hour, was one of only two albums released in 2014 to go platinum, won four Grammys, including Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best New Artist.

UPDATE: Perhaps it's a sign that we have to give up our nostalgic attachment to live-blogging, but technical difficulties and a totally broken live-blog have sent Stephen and me back to Twitter, where we — at @nprmonkeysee and @idislikestephen — will be tweeting at the hashtag #NPRGrammys. Thanks for your patience.

Tara Baker Photograhy

In a music field crowded with singer-songwriters, Connecticut up-and-comer Connor Wallowitz is a little different. Sure, he has the requisite following on Facebook and YouTube, and a well-received debut album. But what makes Connor unique is that he's only 13 years old.

Wallowitz has written about 30 songs so far, five in the last month alone, and is gaining fans and accolades for his debut CD, Bleeding Colors. The CD was released last fall, and Connor is hard at work on what he hopes will be his follow-up album.

Bain News Service / U.S. Library of Congress

There’s a moment in Billy Wilder’s 1955 movie “The Seven Year Itch” that I like a lot, and it doesn’t involve a white dress billowing over a subway grate.

It’s when the Tom Ewell character, a hapless married man whose wife and son are away on summer vacation, puts a little music on the record player in order to get the Marilyn Monroe character -- his new upstairs neighbor, who has dropped down for a visit -- in the mood for some misbehaving.

The piece he carefully selects is the heavy-breathing Piano Concerto No. 2 of Rachmaninoff.

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