The Jazz Institute of Chicago and the city's Park District teamed up in December 2012 to present this free family concert with Dee Alexander. As we air it on JazzSet a year later,Alexander is just back from performing the show in Poland where, she writes, "everyone was on their feet."
Jennifer Holliday won fame by turning a Broadway show tune into an anthem. With her performance of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" in the musical Dreamgirls, she became a star on Broadway. But Holliday's life and career offstage slipped out of control as she battled obesity and depression. After years out of the recording studio, Holliday is back with the album The Song is You. It's due out in January.
Originally published on Thu January 23, 2014 11:15 am
This audio is no longer available.
Our friends in the public radio system are some of the most open-minded listeners we know. Each month, our Heavy Rotation series brings you free downloads of what our fellow programmers and producers are experiencing on repeat.
World Cafe revisits a 2002 studio session with Rusted Root as Sense of Place: Pittsburgh continues. The energetic, percussion-heavy band has become synonymous with the sound of the city. Formed in 1990, Rusted Root is a sextet featuring many instruments and styles; the group is known for blending acoustic rock with world music. Its percussion style is heavily influenced by the music of Africa, Latin America and Native America, while its lyrical content often touches on Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
World Cafe's day trip to Pittsburgh for Sense of Place kicks off with a session by the pop-rock trio Donora. Donora, made up of brother and sister Jake and Casey Hanner and bassist Jake Churton, is a second-generation band. The Hanner siblings are the offspring of Dave Hanner, from the country band Corbin/Hanner. As kids, they spent time in their father's studio, which influenced them to pursue music careers of their own; Casey sings and plays guitar and keyboards, while her brother plays drums. Eventually, their dad convinced them to perform together.
To find out about up-and-coming local bands for our Sense of Place stop in Pittsburgh, we went straight to one of the city's best-known sources: Cindy Howes, host of Morning Mix on NPR member station WYEP.
A close observer of Pittsburgh's music scene, Howes couldn't pick just five bands to feature on Wednesday's episode, so she gave us six. She also gives listeners insight into the wide variety of music playing at any given night in the clubs of Pittsburgh's East End.
Hear some of today's most innovative and inspirational Celtic music in recordings of its most ancient instrument. William Jackson, Wendy Stewart, Maire Brennan, Grainne Hambly, Savourna Stevenson and Alan Stivell all feature in an hour dedicated to small harps.
Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
For those drawn to doom and gloom, the most affecting music sometimes takes a while to reveal itself. In 2008, the happily named duo Have a Nice Life released Deathconsciousness, a messy yet fascinating double-album fixated on the darker side of life and endowed with a gauzy, shoegaze-drenched underbelly. As time went on, I'd continue to see Deathconsciousness pop up in RSS and Twitter feeds from those just discovering an album too weird and too bleak for its time — or any time, for that matter. I should know; I was one of them a few years ago.
Drummer Chick Webb's 1930s orchestra terrorized competitors in band battles and sent dancers into orbit at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. They could be similarly explosive on record, but only rarely. Early on, they did have some hot Edgar Sampson arrangements that Benny Goodman would soon turn into hits, like "Blue Lou" and "Don't Be That Way." But the Webb band also had an old-school crooner, Charles Linton, with pre-jazz-age enunciation.