The Blind Boys of Alabama's members make their fourth appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.V. Singing quartet-style gospel music for more than 70 years, the group has played churches, concert halls and nightclubs. It's even performed for the past three American presidents.
DAVE DAVIES, BYLINE: This is FRESH AIR. Ted Rosenthal an early winter of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition has played George Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" solo and with symphonic and jazz orchestras. Now he's recorded a version for jazz trio as part of the problem. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Rosenthal has a real feel for the material.
The video begins with Collins thanking the school and band and just about everyone for their hospitality. Skip ahead about 2:20 if you just want the music. But it's pretty awesome. The band has a smoke machine and light show! And kudos to the young drummer for braving the kit for "In The Air Tonight's" iconic fill, with the guy who wrote it standing right in front of him.
The warmer weather brings out the air-drummer in me, which means I'm remembering and rediscovering some of my favorite fills, including the ones in this week's puzzler. I think most of these will sound familiar to anyone who's had commercial FM rock blasting with the windows down. So turn it up, pay attention, and good luck!
As always, if you have a drummer or a fill you'd like to see featured in these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday.
Though New York City-based Gabriel Kahane wasn't raised there, The Ambassador feels like a musical tour of Los Angeles. The album makes 10 stops in the city where the composer and singer-songwriter was born and only came to appreciate later in life, each with a specific address used as the song title.
British alt-rock band Elbow formed in 1997 near Manchester. Just over a decade later, the group's album The Seldom Seen Kid won the Mercury Prize, catapulting it into major arenas in the U.K. On this installment of World Cafe, Elbow plays an acoustic set of songs from its latest album, The Take Off and Landing of Everything, and host David Dye speaks with lead singer Guy Garvey and bassist Pete Turner about the evolution of the band.
Singer-songwriter John Fullbright's debut album catapulted him from obscurity to a Grammy nomination for best Americana artist. That was in 2012. Now Meredith Ochs has this review of his follow up album titled simply "Songs".
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HIGH ROAD")
JOHN FULLBRIGHT: Susie was a pearl of a woman. and Jack was a golden man. She told him she loved him forever. And he gave her a wedding band.
John Hammond appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. One of America's foremost acoustic blues artists, Hammond began his career more than 50 years ago.
Mannie Fresh, the legendary New Orleans producer and DJ, was our guest for the first live episode of Microphone Check. We taped at NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C. at the end of May, and the conversation was predictably warm, sharp and funny. Mannie regaled the crowd with stories about Cash Money Records, the making of Juvenile's 400 Degreez, Lil Wayne's career, Mantronix and his dad. And he played us a new song from what he's working on now: an album with Brooklyn rapper Mos Def.
From time to time, where Vikings once held sway, a piece of jewelry, a coin or a tool is unearthed somewhere in northern Scotland or eastern England. What would the Norsemen raiders who left these artifacts in their wake have made of our haul of Nordic music?
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In the middle of our live interview with Mannie Fresh at NPR's headquarters in D.C., Ali asked Mannie how he approaches DJing — does he play what he wants to hear? Or does he feed the crowd? "When I want you to understand something, I remix it," Mannie said. "If it's Earth Wind and Fire, and you not getting it, I'ma make you get it."
Norway's Thomas Dybdahl had spent the better part of his career in New York City, but for his latest release, What's Left Is Forever, he found himself spending more time in Los Angeles. In addition to the new surroundings, Dybdahl also experimented with different ways of recording, opting for a simpler approach than in the past. The result was a throwback sound layered with funky grooves, something you can surely hear in the song "This Love Is Here To Stay."
Blue Note Records has been many things over the course of its 75 years: a label responsible for blinding jazz innovations, a home for the titans of hard bop and soul jazz, a place for smart, sly, jazz-inflected pop creations.
One constant running throughout its history is improvisation. Its records have showcased jazz soloing in every possible mood and temperament. Its artists, both the jazz legends and those journeymen who are little regarded today, have helped shape the ever-evolving notion of what a solo is and what it can be.
Apple announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Beats Electronics, agreeing to pay $3 billion for the audio equipment and subscription streaming music service founded by Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine.
Blue Note Records is the kind of record label that people like to call "storied" — so celebrated and impactful that no one narrative can capture its essence. From swing to bebop and hard bop, through fusion and the avant-garde, Blue Note has been telling the story of jazz in the grooves of its records since 1939 — and for its 75th anniversary, it's releasing remastered vinyl editions of some gems from its catalog. But the real legacy of the label is too big to capture on disc.
During the 1960s, Wayne Shorter came to the fore not just for his talent on saxophone, but also for the compositions he created. Whether with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers or with Miles Davis' quintet, or on his own string of solo albums, Shorter's harmonic conception, sense of space and bending of music-theory rules destined many of his tunes to become jazz standards.
Norah Jones fans likely remember Come Away With Me — the 2002 recording which introduced her smoke-infused twang to the world. That album, like all of hers since, came out on Blue Note Records, merging her voice with those of major jazz artists of yesterday and the present.
In a stretch of Blue Note albums throughout the 1950s, '60s and even early '70s, alto saxophonist Lou Donaldson, now 87, emblematized the hard bop and soul jazz that we now consider "straight-ahead." The old dog has resisted certain new tricks in music — "no fusion, no confusion" is his motto — but he's certainly expanded his palette of dirty jokes to include, well, modern medicine. At the Blue Note at 75 concert, Donaldson warmed up the crowd and gave it some of his classic greasy polish. Sweet Poppa Lou was accompanied by organist Dr.
Pianist McCoy Tyner and vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson first connected on record in 1966, on Hutcherson's album Stick-Up! They must have realized they were musically simpatico — they've continued to work together for nearly five decades now. At the Blue Note at 75 concert, they didn't say a word, but locked into a miniature set of Tyner's classic compositions with ageless grace.
Formed in Dallas, Old 97's first got together more than 20 years ago. The band's latest album, Most Messed Up, hearkens back to the wild spirit of earlier albums like Too Far to Care; its sprawling opening track, "Longer Than You've Been Alive," recalls the group's history and has lead singer Rhett Miller fully embracing his rock 'n' roll lifestyle.
Arvo Pärt's devout, contemplative, seemingly timeless music speaks to modern listeners as almost no other composer's does. It has the purity and gravity of monastic chant, the clarity of minimalism and a profound spirituality. These qualities have helped it find a broad audience outside the confines of classical music.
Star mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato gave the 2014 commencement address at Juilliard Friday — and it's a memorable one, both for her words and by DiDonato's own example as someone whose own career began under low heat.
Ryan Lott, the beat genius behind Son Lux, loves to dismantle rhythms, crafting off-kilter synth and programmed patterns. It's an often disorienting form director Geoff Hoskinson recreated and realized beautifully in the video's jump-cut visuals.
Outside the concert hall at Occidental College, in Los Angeles' Eagle Rock neighborhood, children are invited to test out the instruments the Santa Cecilia Orchestra will play later. Alexa Media Rodriguez, 8, says she and her family have never before been to an orchestra concert. She heard about the orchestra when some of the musicians visited her school.
"I brought my dad, my stepmom," she says, "my sister, my brother and my sister's cousin ..."
That's the thing about this orchestra, says conductor Sonia Marie De Leon De Vega: The children are bringing the parents.