music

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.

Pat Metheny

Pianist Bill Charlap and guitarist Pat Metheny, two consummate artists who can never wear out the welcome mat with their relatively frequent and invariably fine visits to the area, return once again to present their unique styles with their signature groups.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

The musician Christy Moore said Ireland could never have the equivalent of a folk revival because it never let its traditions lapse. And that's very true. The are probably other places in the world as deeply attached to their traditional music, but I don't know where they are.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Marty Ehrlich is a jazz composer who plays clarinet and saxophones. But he doesn't play much on his latest album. He conducts his large ensemble performing his compositions. It's his first album devoted to his orchestral music.

On Friday, March 14, Lady Gaga gave the keynote at SXSW 2014, a long interview conducted by John Norris that covered her career in pop, from her roots in the rock clubs of downtown New York to her decision to partner with a corporate sponsor for the concert she performed at Stubb's the night before. (You can see the complete video of the interview on this page.)

NPR Music's Ann Powers was in Austin for the keynote, and she filed this report.

Noah Baerman

With its heady mix of transcendence, activism, deep lyrical expression and soulful sense of swing, pianist/composer Noah Baerman’s triumphant new CD, Ripples, is one of the best and the brightest releases to grace our region in quite some time. It’s a bold, imaginative, inventive work that will, if there is any justice in the jazz world, have infinitely more than a rippling effect far beyond our borders along the Connecticut River.

Sylvanus Ensemble

Dissonant harmonies rattled the air of Hartford’s Charter Oak Cultural Center on Saturday evening as members of the Sylvanus Ensemble delivered a delightfully curated program of works by 20th- and 21st-century female composers. 

In 1969, I was a high school sophomore, and I fell completely -- and embarrassingly uncritically -- for the Paul Is Dead mania. My own interest was fueled by revelations from the previous academic year. Under the spell of a young teacher named Tyler C. Tingley, I had come to see that Beatles lyrics were stuffed with symbolism and multiple meaning.  

Tom Hearn

Part of The Elm City's rock and roll past will be on display in an exhibit opening Friday night at Cafe Nine in New Haven. It's called The Early Years of Punk in New Haven, and features the work of photographer Tom Hearn.

shadowslicer1 / Creative Commons

Life with bipolar disorder is not easy for anyone. For a prominent psychiatrist, it has provided a very important window into how to treat others. Dr. Kay Redfield Jamison from Johns Hopkins University joins us, author of the bestselling memoir about living with bipolar disorder, An Unquiet Mind. We talk to her in advance of her appearance at Friday night's Connecticut Forum.

Bass Wizard Makes Side Door Swing Open

Mar 5, 2014
Gulnara Khamatova / Dezron Douglas

A master of time, tone and fluent invention, bassist Dezron Douglas, one of Hartford’s great gifts to the jazz world, leads his quartet on consecutive nights on Friday, March 7, and Saturday, March 8, at the Side Door Jazz Club in Old Lyme.

His primetime quartet features the premier pianist Cyrus Chestnut—Douglas’s longtime boss—the drummer Victor Lewis, a consummate synthesizer of subtlety and swing; and the smart saxophonist Lummie Spann, another one of Hartford’s Young Lions making a name for himself both on and beyond the New York jazz scene.

Fats Waller Tribute Comes to Deep River

Feb 26, 2014
Jeff Barnhart

Countless musicians and band leaders over the decades have saluted Fats Waller, the legendary jazz pianist/composer/singer and comic showman whose exuberantly high-living lifestyle and robust artistry were cut short when he died from pneumonia at only 39 in 1943. 

C.P. Storm / Creative Commons

Last Sunday morning, I read with interest this essay by writer Beth Boyle Machlan on the joys of driving with her kids and listening to commercial radio -- the antithesis of the modern i-music experience which involves carefully choosing and curating one's own "playlists," and never subjecting oneself to anything as vulgar and top-down as listening to a whole bunch of songs picked out by other people. 

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last Sunday, we took a road trip into New York City, but before we left, I read Beth Boyle Machlan's New York Times essay about the joys she sometimes gets driving with her kids, and surrendering their collective eardrums to the serendipities of commercial radio. She learns some of their songs, they learn some of hers... Everybody gives up some of the fierce control we all maintain these days over what we call our "playlists."

Chion Wolf / WNPR

This hour, we check back in with two musical acts that we’ve featured on the program before. Goodnight Blue Moon’s Elm City roots are evident in their music. Their new EP, A Girl I Never Met, features a song that’s based on a poem found in a Fair Haven history book. Goodnight Blue Moon join us in studio to talk about the new release and to play some music.

Scott Friedlander

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, The Magic Triangle Jazz Series at the University of Massachusetts resonates with myth, magic and improvisational prestidigitation at 8:30 pm on Thursday, February 20, as the acclaimed saxophonist/composer/scholar Jason Robinson and his Janus Ensemble explore three of his new works and adventurous pieces from his latest, celebrated recording, Tiresian Symmetry.

The basic story behind drummer Rudy Royston's first album sounds like that of many sidemen in jazz. He moved to the New York area. His talent got him into bands led by higher-profile artists like Bill Frisell, JD Allen, Ben Allison and Dave Douglas. And when it came time to document his own composing and arranging, he could rely on the network he had tapped into. Douglas issued Royston's album 303 earlier this month on his own record label, Greenleaf Music.

Crooner Wade Visits Hartford

Feb 12, 2014
Adam Wade/Orbit Records

Besides being the first African-American to host a network TV game show, the versatile crooner/actor Adam Wade has enjoyed a more than half-century career crowned by countless appearances on stage, screen, and television, and a glorious, too brief flurry of chart-busting recordings in the 1960s. Among his hit singles was his tuneful trifecta of romantic ballads in 1961, "Take Good Care of Her," "As If I Didn’t Know," and "The Writing on the Wall." 

The Worst Songs Of All Time?

Feb 11, 2014

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