The Fisk Jubilee Singers are known worldwide for their flawless voices and stellar performances of Negro spirituals. They're from Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn., but they travel around the world to perform their music. Negro spirituals were originally sung by slaves and remain tightly linked to African-American culture. Paul Kwami, the choir's musical director, said singing these spirituals was a way for slaves to lament their servitude, along with the hope of being free one day.
Pianist Paul Lewis came to Boston to make his recital debut on Jan. 12. The evening before, at this performance he gave at WGBH's Fraser Performance Studio, he told the audience he suddenly realized there was a certain magic in that date. It had been exactly 20 years earlier — Jan. 12, 1993 — when the great pianist Alfred Brendel came to London's Guildhall School of Music & Drama to do a master class. "I thought he'd tell me to do something else with my life," Lewis remembered with a laugh.
This set takes us to the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival for trombonist Ray Anderson and his Pocket Brass Band as they perform Anderson's Sweet Chicago Suite. To open: a high-energy chorus of "76 Trombones" by Pocket Brass at the 1997 Iowa City Jazz Festival, as originally heard on our long-running, go-where-the-music-is series, JazzSet.
The psychedelic Austin rock band White Denim recently released its fourth album, Corsicana Lemonade, which cuts back on the shifting time signatures and guitar virtuosity the group had so often employed in the past. While those elements remain, they're subtler in a way that better serves the overall sound.
Drew Kennedy makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the north shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn. A native of the Gettysburg area, Kennedy attended law school but was drawn to a life of music, which he's lived full-time since the mid-2000s. The singer-songwriter now makes his home in Texas, where his musicianship often draws comparison to Lone Star State heavyweights like Guy Clark.
Lori McKenna headlines this episode of Mountain Stage, recorded live on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Grand Marais, Minn. One of Nashville's most in-demand songwriters — her songs have been covered by Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and Keith Urban — McKenna didn't play her first show until she was 27. Here, she's backed on stage by Mark Erelli on electric guitar.
When the down-and-dirty Austin rock band White Denim stopped by the KCRW studios on the day of its album release, its members had one goal in mind: Put as much pressure on our studio equipment as possible before total collapse. They nothing held back, even sweating through their shirts on a crisp fall morning. From blues to prog-rock, soul and psychedelia, there's plenty to like about White Denim's album Corsicana Lemonade — including this song, "Cheer Up/Blues Ending."