music

Noah Baerman

If you knew absolutely nothing about Noah Baerman except for the music you heard on his nine triumphant recordings, you’d never suspect for a minute that the brilliant pianist/composer from Middletown has struggled for years with the debilitating pain caused by a rare and incurable connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS).

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Will she or won’t she?

For months now, people who pay attention to the arts scene in town have been wondering: will Hartford Symphony music director Carolyn Kuan stick around, or will she split for brighter lights, bigger cities?

jeffbarnhart.com

When Jeff Barnhart, a ragtime and traditional jazz piano virtuoso, and his wife Anne, a classically-trained flutist, got married in 2000, one might have thought the sectarian differences between the faiths of jazz and classical music would prevent this Connecticut couple from ever hitching up in a harmonious professional musical partnership.

Singer Percy Sledge, perhaps best known for his hit "When A Man Loves A Woman," has died, Artists International Management Inc., his talent agency, said.

Sledge died of natural causes a little after midnight at a hospice in East Baton Rouge, La., according to a coroner. The coroner said Sledge was 74, though the Encyclopedia of Music as well as his talent agency says Sledge was 73.

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If you've ever wondered how a group of French musicians might play the music of The Ramones, you are in luck. Direct from Toulouse, France: Los Jamones, a Ramones tribute band, performs this Saturday night, April 18, at Cafe Nine in New Haven with Elm City punk rockers The Hulls.

Lydia Brown / WNPR

Since the 1970s, musicians Paul Howard, Tom Hagymasi, and Phil Zimmerman have been performing together as Last Fair Deal. They’re a local trio whose music puts an original twist on the old-style sound of American roots music. 

Musicians are always searching for inspiration, and sometimes they find it in some unlikely places.

Take Brian Friedland, a prolific Boston composer and jazz pianist who’s discovered a creative goldmine in his cupboards. He takes words on packaging for products such as granola, mouthwash and tea, then sets them to some pretty sophisticated music. Friedland calls the funny-but-serious project “Household Items” and he has a new CD.

[Youtube]

James Vaughan / Creative Commons

Maybe you caught the four-hour, two-part HBO documentary on Frank Sinatra last week.

Or maybe you have downloaded the new Sinatra smartphone app.

Or poured a couple of fingers of the recently unveiled “Sinatra Select” edition of Jack Daniels’ fabled Tennessee whiskey.

Frank would have turned 100 this year, so everybody’s weighing in.

Liron Joseph / Jovan Alexandre

At just over six-foot-five, the modest but immodestly talented musician Jovan Alexandre speaks softly but carries a big-toned tenor saxophone that speaks with a deeply expressive personal sound full of towering promise.

A Story for the Ages

Apr 2, 2015
Courtesy of mellopix.com, Berkeley Rep, and Hartford Stage

If you’re the parent of a kid who’s taking music lessons, or one who's  just generally interested in music, you should be aware of the remarkable one-person show that just opened at Hartford Stage.

The show is “The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” and it’s been out making the rounds in various cities for a couple of years, but this is the first time it’s been seen in Hartford.

Steven Sussman

Like Lewis Carroll’s Alice climbing through the looking glass, Cyrille Aimee, a future jazz princess, was instantly transfixed after scrambling through her bedroom window as a child in France. Quite magically, the little girl found herself in a fantastical cultural kingdom of Gypsies from all over Europe happily encamped nearby at a festival celebrating the legacy of the legendary Gypsy jazz guitar genius, Django Reinhardt.

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.

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