music

Robert Ellis On World Cafe

Apr 23, 2014

Robert Ellis and his road band perform songs from his fine third album, The Lights From the Chemical Plant, in this World Cafe session. After his last record, 2011's Photographs, Ellis wanted to push his music in less of a country-oriented direction, so he worked on the new album with producer Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Kings Of Leon).

13 Jazz Artists Awarded Over $1.7 Million

Apr 23, 2014

Yesterday, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation announced the recipients of its 2014 Performing Artist Awards, including 13 jazz and improvising musicians, who will receive at least $1.7 million in unrestricted grants in total.

J. Barry O' Rourke / Ali Ryerson

“We’ve switched over to the dark side for real now.” No, that’s not an ominous utterance from Dick Cheney. It’s the celebrated flutist Ali Ryerson joking on the phone when discussing her touring quintet’s contemporary, plugged-in sound that marks a giant switch for her from the modern mainstream palette that has long been a hallmark of her acclaimed artistry.

End May Be Near For Hartford Cabaret Series

Apr 20, 2014
David Borawski

Dan Blow, the noted Hartford-based fashion designer who creatively refashioned himself into one of the city’s most industrious and illustrious concert producers, plans to pull up stakes in Hartford to live in the Bahamas; shutter his clothing business, sell his elegant Woodland Street condo, and in a severe blow to the local music scene, perhaps end his enormously popular Music@Japanalia series held primarily in his West End boutique.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last month, Hartford’s very own Asylum Quartet visited WNPR's Where We Live to talk about and perform some music. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

"Molly" is the nickname for MDMA, or ecstasy. It's short for "molecule," meaning you're getting the "real thing," chemically speaking. Except you almost never do.

This hour, we 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.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Photographer Chris Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for years. Despite being twins, there was a major difference between these two: Nick was born with cerebral palsy; Chris was not.

The photography of both brothers’ is featured in the book The Distance Between Us. The story it tells is about how both Capozziellos are living and coping with Nick’s condition. Both join us to talk about their project.

Sharon Farmer/sfphotoworks / sweethoneyintherock.org

Three members of the legendary a cappella group Sweet Honey in the Rock are finishing up a unique residency at Wesleyan University.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The ukulele was not always obscure. Two of the biggest stars of the 20th century used them as their principal instruments. One is a name you probably don't know, but George Formby was a enormous sensation in Great Britain on stage and in movies in the 1920s and '30s. He specialized in playing a banjo-shaped ukulele, and he trafficked in comical, mischievous songs full of double entendres. 

Marianne Solivan

Besides possessing a lovely instrument of a voice graced with rich, sensuous timbres, Marianne Solivan is a gifted, wise singer who never feels compelled to use her ample skills to push the envelope so hard that she murders the enclosed message in the song.

NPR Music has been nominated for many Webby Awards over the years (and even won a few), but we've rarely reached out and asked you to vote for us when we are. This year, the Webbys' eighteenth, we're particularly proud of our nominations.

5 Points Where Poetry Meets Jazz

Apr 11, 2014

Poetry and song were once the same: The first poems were recited to music played on the lyre. (It's the source of the word "lyric.") Today, poems are published in books and journals, while songs are heard but seldom read. The poet Robert Pinsky tells of a successful songwriter-singer who said, "A little poetry can really help a song, but too much poetry will sink a song."

First Listen: 'The Space Project'

Apr 11, 2014

As of last September — some 36 years after their launch on Sept. 5, 1977 — NASA's Voyager 1 & 2 space probes were some 12 billion miles from home, easily the farthest man-made objects from Earth. Voyager's primary mission ended back in 1980, when both satellites provided the closest, most detailed pictures taken of the gaseous planets of Jupiter and Saturn and their moons before continuing outward into space.

These Aren't The Rock Hall Inductees You're Looking For

Apr 10, 2014
Chion Wolf / WNPR

If you are a person of a certain age, you probably remember the moment when you were first seized by Karen Carpenter's voice. For me, it was getting into my mother's Pontiac LeMans after a commencement ceremony at Kingswood School in 1970. I was a sophomore at an all-boys school, and nobody wanted to be "Close To" me.

BabyJaneDexter.com

Baby Jane Dexter, a consummate and passionate cabaret performer who can wring every torrid ounce of emotion out of classic romantic ballads or edgy original songs with searing social messages, returns for another one of her perpetually power-packed performances at 7:30 pm on Saturday, April 12, at the Music@Japanalia series at Japanalia Eiko, 11 Whitney Street in Hartford.

Wayne Henderson, Jazz Crusaders Co-Founder, Dies

Apr 8, 2014

Wayne Henderson, trombonist and co-founding member of the popular jazz-funk band The Jazz Crusaders (later known as The Crusaders), died Friday, April 4, in Culver City, Calif. The cause of death was heart failure, according to The Crusaders' manager. Henderson was 74.

Singer-songwriters Aimee Mann and Ted Leo are often at opposite ends of the volume knob. But what started as separate sets during a mutual tour, then a few walk-ons during Leo's solo set, is now an adventure in collaboration and mutual songwriting — and the birth of The Both. Months after this Tiny Desk Concert, which we recorded in February, there's an album.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

When I say "hip hop," do you think about an art form the exalts bling, consumption, excess, decadence, and vulgarity? What about all the other hip hop artists, exploring other kinds of truths?

Milt Hinton / The Milton J. Hinton Photographic Collection, milthinton.com

More eloquently than the written word—including even the prose of the great Ralph Ellison or the poetry of the legendary Langston Hughes—poetically expressive black-and-white photographs taken by gifted jazz photographers can capture the elusive but soulful essence of the music and its cradle-to-the-grave love affair with life.

Frankie Knuckles, a legend in the world of dance music and one of the inventors of house music, a steady, beat-driven style played in nightclubs all over the world, died unexpectedly at his Chicago home on Monday. He was 59.

Petra, Rachel and Tanya Haden are three sisters in love with the art of singing. Born in 1971 to a famous musical father (Charlie Haden is a world-class upright jazz bassist), they've separately taken on vastly different music projects. You may have heard Petra with The Decemberists or tackling the music of The Who a cappella. Tanya plays in Let's Go Sailing, while Rachel sometimes turns up with The Rentals and other projects.

Dr. Steven Sussman

Exuding sophistication, swing, and hip maturity far beyond her mere 24 years, Cecile McLorin Salvant, a vocalist with pitch-perfect intonation, unerring enunciation, and a rainbow array of rich timbres, is dazzling the jazz world and beyond with her Grammy-nominated, widely and wildly acclaimed American debut album, WomanChild.

Singer Cécile McLorin Salvant was born in Miami to French and Haitian parents, and started singing jazz while living in Paris. Back in the U.S., she won the Thelonious Monk vocal competition in 2010. The 23-year-old's first album, WomanChild, is now out — and few jazz debuts by singers or instrumentalists make this big a splash.

Niels van Eck / Creative Commons

The Hartford Symphony Orchestra has entered into a major partnership with the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts. It is called a "management services contractm" and it ushers in a new era for the HSO.

This week, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day, even if we aren’t Irish.

But sadly, this holiday meant to celebrate a heritage doesn’t really go too much deeper than green beer and shamrocks in the public consciousness.

Hartford Symphony Orchestra

British born conductor Michael Lankester was the music director of the Hartford Symphony from 1985 to 2000. During his tenure the orchestra flourished with a combination of exciting guest artists, like Yo Yo Ma and Marvin Hamlisch, and programs that mixed traditional works with more challenging avant-garde pieces. 

South Kent School

Taking his seat on the stage of Hastings’ White Rock Theatre, Taek Gi Lee prayed to God. It was the final round of the Tenth Annual Hastings International Piano Concerto Competition, which was held in England earlier this month, and the 17-year-old piano virtuoso was nervous. To his right, nearly 600 sets of eyes watched him with fervor. To his left, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra -- armed with bows, mallets, reeds, and brass -- awaited their cue to begin.

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