music

Bruno Tedeschi

I’ve been thinking a lot about chamber music.

Ann Braithwaite / Braithwaite & Katz Communications

Before settling down and committing himself to jazz, blues, classical, and Brazilian music, the rising, young West Coast pianist/composer Danny Green immersed himself for long periods of time in numerous genres, artists, and composers. 

The Rolling Stones Rock Cuba

Mar 26, 2016

Historians hailed U.S. President Obama's visit to Cuba as the beginning of a new relationship between the two countries. But for hundreds of thousands of Cubans, the real thrill this week was the visit of some prominent Brits: The Rolling Stones.

Mike Mozart / flickr creative commons

Chicago White Sox first baseman Adam LaRoche abruptly retired from baseball last week with a year and $13 million left on his contract because the team's front office told him he had to stop bringing his 14-year-old son Drake into the clubhouse so much. Then the actual team rallied behind both LaRoches. But it turns out it all happened 'cause Adam's teammates complained about Drake. But so anyway: Aren't people who bring their kids to work with them just the worst?

'Born To Be Blue' Finds Truth In Inventive Riffs

Mar 24, 2016

Now is a fine time for jazz trumpet fans to get lost at the movies. April will see the release of Don Cheadle's long-gestating Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead, and this week we get the shaggy dog Born to be Blue, the story of Miles' contemporary Chet Baker. Both films are far looser and more experimental than your typical straight biopic, and concentrate almost exclusively on historic low points in their subjects' lives. And Blue even features brief appearances from Miles himself.

Jesse Kruger via Flickr.com / Creative Commons

A quick early spring roundup of musical milestones from hither and yon.

Malik I. Taylor, the rapper known as Phife Dawg who was a founding member of the seminal group A Tribe Called Quest, died Tuesday at the age of 45.

His family said in a statement that Phife died as a result of complications from diabetes.

Courtesy/Brandee Younger

Whether you call it pushing the envelope, thinking outside the box, or just plain bending the rules, the boldly independent harpist and composer Brandee Younger creates a genre-crossing, smart, soulful, freewheeling, happy hybrid of hipness.

The winner of NPR Music's 2016 Tiny Desk Contest, Gaelynn Lea, produced a "serpentine, earworm melody" with "tremendous heartache in her poetry," according to judge Robin Hilton. 

University of Salford / Creative Commons

The great Sir Peter Maxwell Davies – composer, champion of simple living, all-purpose contrarian – left us a few days ago.

Steven Sussman / Steven Sussman Photography

What accounts for the ring of authenticity resonating through Giacomo Gates’ unaffected, yet affecting vocal craftsmanship is that the hipster, singer, and wordsmith from Connecticut always sounds as if he’s telling you all about life-shaping events and emotions that he himself has actually experienced and reflected upon.

Nick M / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we feature stories and sounds from the West African country of Nigeria. 

First, WSHU reporter Ebong Udoma checks in from Abuja, Nigeria, where he's helped launch a brand new multimedia project called Gotel Africa. When completed, Gotel Africa will become the continent's first-ever pan-African news service. We learn more about it. 

Copyright 1966 Capitol Records

On a hot August afternoon in 1966, I was driving down a residential street in my hometown of Niskayuna, New York.

jessicameyermusic.com

The music of women composers will be featured in several concerts this week. 

Martin Zeman

  

On Fred Hersch’s 2014 trio masterwork, Floating (Palmetto Records), the superb pianist/composer opens the session’s creative floodgates with "You and the Night and the Music," infusing the song with streaming contrapuntal lines whose richness, fluidity, and invention make it seem as if there were actually two pianists playing simultaneously.

Sir George Martin, the music producer who signed the Beatles to a recording contract in 1962 and was their intimate collaborator as they together transformed popular music, died Tuesday at the age of 90.

Martin's death was confirmed by Adam Sharp, his manager in the U.K. In a statement, Sharp said:

Sir George Martin passed away peacefully at home yesterday evening, Tuesday March 8th. The family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers and messages of support.

Listen To The Music

Mar 4, 2016
Ky / Creative Commons

One of the first things I did with the money I made from my part-time job as a teenager was to buy the next album on my wish list of new music. All my friends did the same, knowing that our growing collection was as much about  who we were and what we wanted to be as it was about the music. 

Sam Petherbridge / Creative Commons

Like most of the media landscape, public television is changing. The massive hit Downton Abbey wraps up this weekend, and Sesame Street is now premiering new episodes on HBO! But behind the scenes, broadcasters are taking part in an auction to sell of parts of their over-the-air signal. Most of the population has cable so they won’t be affected, but nearly 15 percent of people watch TV with an antennae.

Thomas Chapin

In a heart-wrenching, unforgettable performance, Thomas Chapin -- a gaunt, desperately ill, but still brilliant and resilient 40-year-old cutting-edge saxophonist/flutist and composer -- played his final concert on February 1, 1998, to a loving SRO audience of friends, family, and fans at Cheney Hall in Manchester.

Havana will meet the Rolling Stones later this month.

The band has announced they'll play a free open-air concert in the Cuban capital on March 25.

That will make them "the most famous act to play Cuba since its 1959 revolution," the Associated Press reports.

Walter Watzpatzkowski via Flickr.com / Creative commons

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve been to a half-dozen live musical performances.

mikecaseyjazz.com

A gifted young man with a horn, a vision, and a dream, saxophonist Mike Casey is in championship form for his “biggest gig yet as a leader” when he performs with his swinging, crisply interactive trio on Friday, February 26, at 8:30 pm at Old Lyme’s prestigious Side Door Jazz Club. 

Thomas Hawk vis Flickr.com / Creative Commons

It’s wrong, I know, but I just can’t seem to quit the Grammy Awards show.

javonjackson.com

Even if Javon Jackson were just jamming in a casual, one-night session with a mediocre, local house rhythm section, it would still be more than worthwhile to hear what this top-seeded tenor saxophonist had to say.

It seemed like there was something for everybody at the 2016 Grammy Awards. Mark Ronson's high-spirited "Uptown Funk," featuring Bruno Mars, won Record of the Year. The songwriting award, Song of the Year, went to Ed Sheeran and Amy Wadge's "Thinking Out Loud," while Taylor Swift won Album of the Year for 1989.

The nominations for the 58th annual Grammy Awards, though, were pitched as something of a showdown between pop and hip-hop. In certain ways, neither won outright — but both genres' reigning queen and king emerged as winners.

A group of 10- and 11-year-olds giggle as professional cellist Frederic Rosselet flexes his wrist as if he's made of rubber. "Really flexible in your wrist," he tells the students. "It's your arm basically that does the work."

The cello students at Downer Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif., drag their bows across their cello's strings, following Rosselet's wrist-shaking lead.

Screeeech. It needs work.

"Guys, wanna try that again? 'Forte' means?"

"Loud!" the students reply.

R. Hurt/Caltech-JPL

This week, the universe chirped... and we heard it! Samantha Bee's new politics-lampooning late-night show debuted to a ton of buzz. The primary debates continued, and debate Twitter was watching.

Yale Symphony Orchestra

Yale Symphony Orchestra alumni return to campus this weekend for a series of events. It's part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the orchestra.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Just to get this out of the way, “My Funny Valentine” is not among my personal favorite Rodgers and Hart tunes.

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