What is it with trumpeter Avishai Cohen and triples lately? He recently recorded a pair of albums with his band Triveni, a free-swinging trio which showcases his fervent imagination. He's also one of three Cohen siblings in jazz's top echelon; Avishai invited his big sister Anat, the celebrated clarinet specialist, to join him here.
For the past 15 years, Fink has been a solo project for Berlin-based songwriter Fin Greenall. But with his album, Hard Believer, he enlisted the help of longtime friends Guy Whittaker and Tim Thornton to help him develop his new material. In part because each participant has a different musical background, the new songs sound especially varied and dynamic. As Greenall says, "They even taught me how to play live" — as you can see for yourself in this performance of "Looking Too Closely."
English electro-pop musician Dan Croll released his debut album earlier this year; it's titled Sweet Disarray, an apt name for such a stylistically rich record.
Croll went to school for music at the Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts, which was founded by Paul McCartney. Croll was even chosen by his classmates to meet Sir Paul; we'll hear that story and a live set in the studio today.
If you're going to be downbeat, glum, or morose, it's best to do it the way Timothy Showalter does it. Which is, with an energy and purpose that doesn't contradict the melancholy, but rather frames it as various stories — studies in seriousness. He records under the name Strand of Oaks, he writes and performs nearly all of the music on this new album himself. It's titled Heal as in "healing a wound," something Strand of Oaks frequently seems in need of.
Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 10:20 am
The new video from composer Christina Vantzou, for the moody ambient piece "Strange Symptoms," will take you away. Vantzou's nirvana-inducing sounds emerge, bloom and fade away in less than a minute-and-a-half, as a figure stands motionless behind a curtain of slowly cascading water, her face distorted by the sun-dappled ripples.
We at NPR Music leave a lot of variables out in the wild when we make Field Recordings. That's especially true when we commission new music for the annual Make Music New York festival, as we have for three years.
Since we're not using a traditional stage and people are roaming around, we don't know exactly what the performance will sound like (though we're lucky to work with fantastic engineering colleagues). It's always held outdoors, and we can't be sure what the weather will be.
The year is half over and that means NPR Music and our public radio partners have been obsessing over our favorite songs of the year so far. The full list of 50 songs makes a potent stew ranging from power pop and brash hip-hop to electro-fueled dance music and intimate portraits from jazz vocalists, classical guitarists and folk troubadours.