music

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you’re anything like me, a search for the newest, most interesting music is not quite the fun exploration that it should be. It is more of an overwhelming odyssey through countless websites, blogs, and napkins with personal recommendations. And after all that, I usually just buy the new Black Keys record.

Today, we’ll help you if you’re in a similar predicament by presenting "The Internet’s Busiest Music Nerd," Anthony Fantano. He's the host of the wildly popular video blog "The Needle Drop." He got his start on WNPR,but now he has fans all over the world who hang on his every word about music.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Anthony Fantano, host of The Needle Drop, came by WNPR studios and shared a few of his latest favorite musical sounds.

Appearing on WNPR's Where We Live, Fantano told host John Dankosky that it's been the best musical year that he can remember.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Molly" is the nickname for MDMA, or Ecstasy, and it's short for "Molecule", meaning you're getting the "real thing", chemically speaking. Except you almost never do. On this show, we'll talk about the dangers of Molly, the medical uses of MDMA, and the curious romance between the drug and the form of music known as EDM, Electronic Dance Music.

Eliyamin.com

Besides being a gifted pianist, composer, bandleader, educator and co-writer of imaginative jazz musicals for children, New York City musical maven Eli Yamin is a devout, globetrotting evangelist for jazz and blues as a universally healing and unifying communal catalyst, an inspiring historical and cultural force that he calls “the heartbeat of the American experience.”

jimmygreene.com

It’s been two years since saxophonist Jimmy Greene lost his six-year-old daughter, Ana, in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On his new album Beautiful Life, Greene memorializes his little girl.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s so hard to keep up on jazz, especially for the person with only a casual interest. That’s why, every year, critic Gene Seymour and some musicians get together on our show to talk about what they liked and why. On this show, pianists Noah Baerman and Jen Allen round out the panel.

SONGS (in order of appearance):

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s been two years since saxophonist Jimmy Greene lost his six-year-old daughter, Ana, in the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. On his new album, Beautiful Life, Greene memorializes his little girl. 

You want to bench a pretty woman and launch your manifesto. Only you get bounced from her muzigo because she's pursuing a pensioner.

In the end, you were lucky. She's just a detoother who's after a rich guy.

Welcome to Uglish (pronounced "YOU-glish"), the Ugandan variant of English. Bernard Sabiti has written the first Uglish dictionary (not yet available outside of Uganda, but he's working on an e-book version for January).

Chion Wolf / WNPR

It's just unthinkable to me that "Why Can't It Be Christmas Time All Year" is not a classic, and a staple of holiday music. But it's not. In fact, you've probably never heard of it or Rosie Thomas, who recorded it. And that helps explain why it has been 20 years since any song became a mainstream hit. "All I Want For Christmas Is You", released by Mariah Carey in 1994, did what is now impossible - it survived its first season, and became a song that is played every year during the holidays, and performed by other people. It got a big boost, of course, from the movie "Love Actually", but that's not the only reason it stuck around. But 20 years is a long time to go without another success in that department.

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Every now and then, the jazz world needs a reminder that there are master musicians among us whose distinguished careers, elegant artistry, versatility, intelligence, resilience and well-honed craftsmanship are not given the recognition they so richly merit.

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Many people were surprised by the news of a new relationship between the United States and Cuba. It was especially surprising for WNPR's Morning Edition host Diane Orson. When the news broke, she was returning from Cuba, and landed back in the United States. She shares her story and we hear the music of the Sarah LeMieux Quintet, who will brings us on an imaginary visit to a Paris nightclub.

Peter Morenus / University of Connecticut

They just don’t make 'em like they used to, unless you put a bunch of Ph.D.s in a room with a 3D printer. 

Scott Parrish / Creative Commons

With Christmas just days away, I thought Santa, busy guy that he is just now, might appreciate some last-minute gift suggestions for some of the more deserving music folk on his list. 

If you’re looking for a house-rocking, soul-drenched, exuberantly emotional concert, the place to be is Collinsville’s Bridge Street Live on Thursday, December 18, as blues master James Montgomery and his super blues band jam with the skyrocketing, young jazz saxophonist Grace Kelly in a funk-filled funfest.

chorusangelicus.com

In 1990, when five-time Grammy Winner Paul Halley left NYC for the northwest corner of Connecticut, he formed the acclaimed children's choir Chorus Angelicus, and it's adult counterpart Gaudeamus. 

The Meadows Brothers Perform at WNPR

Dec 12, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

Connecticut-based music duo The Meadows Brothers recently visited WNPR's Where We Live to perform and record some live music. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you've ever seen a photograph from the Civil War era, there's a good chance it was created using a process known as tintype photography. These pictures are honest and organic in nature, and they're beginning to make a comeback within the modern photography world. 

NBC

Unless you were marooned on an ice floe last week, you know that NBC brought forth its second live broadcast of a musical in as many years.

Look Into My Eyes / Creative Commons

In his new book, Jealousy, Peter Toohey explores the lesser talked about side of the green-eyed monster. That is, he takes a look at some of the ways that jealousy can actually be good for us. 

This hour, Peter joins us for a panel discussion about jealousy's impact on creativity. We take a look at how the emotion has fueled some of society's greatest books, plays, songs, and paintings -- and discuss what these works, in turn, tell us about ourselves. 

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For even as distinguished a venue as New Haven’s Firehouse 12, presenting the iconic, brilliant, forever bold 87-year-old alto saxophonist/composer Lee Konitz in separate shows at 8:30 and 10:00 pm on Friday, December 12, is a real coup.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Colin McEnroe has been working for an age to get Winterpills to appear on his show. A new album was recently released by the band, Echolalia, allowing WNPR a perfect reason at last to bring in members Philip Price and Flora Reed.

Sky Arts / sadieandthehotheads.com

Elizabeth McGovern doesn't want her role as Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, to overshadow her identity as a musician. But she does admit it drives people to come see her band. Sadie and the Hotheads have just released a new album, Still Waiting. They'll be at Hartford's Infinity Hall on December 14.

It turns out that Joni Mitchell keeps the same hours as the Morning Edition staff. She recently showed up at NPR's studio in Culver City, Calif., just before midnight to discuss Love Has Many Faces, a four-disc collection of songs dating back to the 1960s.

JJ Georges / Creative Commons

Casting is an underrated art. There used to be an Academy Award for it, and there probably still should be. We honor actors, but not the people who pick the perfect actor for the role, so that actor doesn't have to act quite so much.

"Downton Abbey" is immaculately cast, and the choice of Elizabeth McGovern to play Cora, the Countess of Grantham, seems especially nuanced and inspired. Cora is an American Jew, a transplant to English nobility, who wears all the status and tradition comfortably without fully buying into it. McGovern herself is a transplant, married to a British director for 22 years, long enough to slip effortlessly into Cora's skin.

Lucy Nalpathanchil / WNPR

Work songs can be found around the world, sung by a variety of laborers from field workers to fishermen. 

Connecticut Lyric Opera

Grand opera returns to Hartford after a five-year hiatus.

Bill Morgan Media, LLC

Thanksgiving week brought a brief lull, but from now until Christmas, the local concert schedule is busier than a Rich Rosenthal eatery.

Nathan Turner / Litchfield Jazz Festival

Several performing arts and literary publications in Connecticut have been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, totaling $290,000.

Want to play a Tiny Desk Concert? Now's your chance: NPR Music and Lagunitas are holding a contest, and the winner gets to perform at my desk here at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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