Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 1:55 pm
The history of jazz is often told as a sequence of epic heroes, legends whose careers proceed from one great accomplishment to another. Coincidentally, the saxophonist Chris Potter, bright-toned and gymnastically powerful, has been reading Homer lately. That's inspired his latest suite of compositions, a collection of tuneful numbers based on The Odyssey. The Sirens is geared largely around a quartet of widely admired musicians, not least of whom is Potter himself.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 1:12 pm
Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.
"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.
The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.
A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.
Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 10:50 am
On this week's episode, hosts Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton are back with their latest mix, including a hard-to-find track from Thom Yorke's latest project, Atoms For Peace. The song "What The Eyeballs Did," doesn't appear on the band's upcoming album, Amok. But if you do some digging on the group's website, you'll find a hidden link to download it.
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 2:08 pm
Hailing from Beavertown, Ore., singer-guitarist Brandon Summers and drummer-keyboardist Benjamin Weikel started playing together in 1996. Three years later, the duo self-produced its first EP and officially formed The Helio Sequence.
In culling through albums released late last year that I still play with pleasure, Paloma Faith's Fall to Grace was a real keeper. In contrast to my joy, Faith was singing about her agony: her broken heart, her wracked sobs about ruined affairs, her choked goodbyes to lovers who'd left her. She made all this sound tremendously intense and exciting. Not for nothing did she title her previous album Do You Want the Truth or Something Beautiful?