Music

The Record
5:06 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

How The Organization Behind The Grammys Spends The Other 364 Days

Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow, host LL Cool J and Executive Vice President of Specials, Music and Live Events at CBS Entertainment Jack Sussman pose at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Jan. 23, a few days before the 2014 Grammy Awards.
Kevin Winter WireImage

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 7:29 pm

This Sunday's Grammy Awards ceremony is the annual big-ticket item for the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. More than 28 million people around the world tuned in to watch the concert show last year. And this year's telecast is once again being touted as the most complicated — and expensive — production on TV.

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World Cafe
3:31 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Unknown Mortal Orchestra On World Cafe

Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
Courtesy of the artist

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is the work of Ruban Nielson, a New Zealand-bred musician who moved to Portland, Ore., six years ago. While there, he started working with samples in his bedroom that would later become the first Unknown Mortal Orchestra album in 2011. He released another in 2013, called II, as well as an EP.

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Alt.Latino
3:20 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

With Guitars Like Machetes: Son Jarocho 101

Alec Dempster is a Mexican artist living in Toronto. Many of his pieces focus on Son Jarocho.
Alec Dempster courtesy of the artist.

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Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz
2:48 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Jim Hall On Piano Jazz

Jim Hall.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

Widely admired as a gifted and innovative player, jazz guitarist Jim Hall had a career that spanned more than five decades. In a session recorded in 2003, the NEA Jazz Master teamed up with host Marian McPartland and bassist Gary Mazzaroppi for "Blue Monk," and performed solo in "All the Things You Are."

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Song Travels
12:45 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Jitterbug Vipers On 'Song Travels'

Jitterbug Vipers.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 9:24 am

Jitterbug Vipers' members perform 1930s-style "viper jazz" with a rock 'n' roll twist. The Austin band's original music — crafted by singer Sarah Sharp, guitarist Slim Richey, bassist Francie Meaux Jeaux and drummer Masumi Jones — recalls swing classics by Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Cab Calloway.

On this installment of Song Travels, you can hear Jitterbug Vipers perform a set live in the studio. Host Michael Feinstein also sits down with Sharp to discuss the history of viper jazz and the inspiration behind the band's sizzling original music.

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All Songs Considered
12:44 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

The Good Listener: How Can I Conquer A Musical Blind Spot?

Devendra Banhart.
Courtesy of the artist

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First Listen
11:08 am
Fri January 24, 2014

First Listen: Actress, 'Ghettoville'

Actress' new album, Ghettoville, comes out Jan. 28.
Richard Eaton Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue January 28, 2014 10:11 pm

Actress' declarative 2008 debut Hazyville announced a new voice in underground British dubstep, at which point the electronic music producer (a.k.a. Darren Cunningham) began to push beyond the confines of that bass-heavy genre. By the time of 2010's Splazh, Actress was all but ignoring the tropes of dubstep, instead mincing modern R&B for a type of digital funk and Disclosure-esque vocal house (as in "Always Human") that delectably stayed just this side of abstraction.

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Monkey See
9:15 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Fix The Best New Artist Grammy: Dump It

If it's true that Lorde should be glad her Grammy nominations don't include Best New Artist, then the entire enterprise has become ridiculous.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 9:30 am

Each year's Grammy Awards offer their own questions and controversies based on how the nominations pan out, but there are a few points of contention that come up year after year. There's the difference between Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. How a song can be eligible for nomination this year when the album it came from was nominated last year (or vice versa). The precise eligibility requirements for Best New Artist, a category that can be (and has been) won by performers several albums into their careers.

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A Blog Supreme
8:49 am
Fri January 24, 2014

To Preserve 'America's Gift To The World,' A Jazz Elder Becomes A UCLA Professor

Kenny Burrell performs at his 80th birthday concert in 2011.
Reed Hutchinson UCLA

Originally published on Fri January 24, 2014 1:42 pm

Just before 11 o'clock on a crisp Monday night in Hollywood, 82-year-old Kenny Burrell put his Gibson guitar in its velvet-lined case and said goodnight to several members of the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited. He had just finished an intermission-free, two-hour-plus set with the large ensemble, as he has done once a month since the summer. Waiting patiently among the suits and smiles was a 21-year-old guitarist eager to meet his idol. When the room finally cleared, Burrell was amiable and inquisitive, talking to the young fan about music and Michigan, where he grew up.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:44 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Inspiration Or Embarrassment? Lang Lang And Metallica Teaming Up At Grammys

Guitarist Kirk Hammett (left) and his band Metallica will join classical pianist lang Lang on stage at the Grammy wards telecast Sunday night.
Getty Images/Courtesy of the artist

Odd musical mergers in the Grammy Awards telecast are nothing new — remember Paul McCartney, Linkin Park and Jay-Z singing "Yesterday?" Still, when thrash metal band Metallica and classical pianist Lang Lang take the stage together Sunday night, it may seem more like a head-scratcher than a clever match.

Or will it?

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