Music

All Songs Considered
5:04 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

The Good Listener: When Playing Music At Work, Can You Please Everyone?

Can you please keep your Geto Boys down? I'm looking for my stapler.
20th Century Fox

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 9:23 pm

We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the helpful slips from FedEx reminding us that we have to be at home to receive their package even though most people work during the day, for pete's sake is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for ideas for how to play music in the office without irritating people.

Read more
JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
4:29 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSet

Terence Blanchard plays the role of Miles Davis' trumpet with commitment and emotion at Monterey.
Cole Thompson

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 1:26 pm

Gil Evans was born on May 13, 1912. In three collaborations in the late 1950s, he and his friend and Miles Davis steered their projects into a new era for jazz.

Their first album was Miles Ahead. This Monterey Jazz Festival concert is called "Still Ahead," with music from the pair's second and third records, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.

Read more
World Cafe
4:27 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Latin Roots: Joe Arroyo

Colombian singer Joe Arroyo (left) arrives at the Latin Grammy awards in 2008.
Michael Buckner Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 12:35 pm

  • Latin Roots On World Cafe

In this installment of our Latin Roots series, The Latin Alternative co-host Ernesto Lechner discusses his favorite singer, an influential Colombian musician named Joe Arroyo.

Arroyo began singing at age 10 in the whorehouses of Cartagena. He was discovered by Fruko (a.k.a. Julio Ernesto Estrada) when he was a teenager and soon joined the salsa player's band, Fruko Y Sus Tesos.

Read more
World Cafe
3:08 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

James Cotton On World Cafe

James Cotton
Christopher Durst Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:30 pm

Harmonica master James Cotton is a giant of the blues. Born in 1935 on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Miss., he learned the instrument from Sonny Boy Williamson, who had a radio program right across the river in West Helena, Ark. After listening to the show and imitating him on a harmonica, Cotton met Williamson, who took him under his wing.

At 15, Cotton met and played with Howlin' Wolf, who took him to record at Sun Studios in Memphis. Later, while on tour, Muddy Waters asked Cotton to replace Junior Wells in his band; Cotton stayed on the road with Waters for a dozen years.

Read more
The Record
2:56 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Innovation And Time-Honored Ways Meet On Nashville Stages

Eddie Stubbs (left), DJ at Nashville's WSM, and Alan Jackson onstage at The Station Inn last Tuesday.
Bill Thorup Courtesy of Universal Nashville

Onstage at Nashville's tiny Station Inn, the multiplatinum-selling country veteran Alan Jackson announced that he was nervous. He had reason to be, considering that the music-bizzers who'd scored one of the night's 150 tickets were sitting cheek-to-jowl with regulars, all diehard bluegrass fans. He was there to celebrate his first-ever bluegrass album (out September 24), and right away he made a point of proclaiming that he's really not very fond of dirt roads.

Read more
Music Reviews
1:54 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

On Its New Album, Superchunk Makes The Downtrodden Sound Upbeat

Superchunk's new album is titled I Hate Music.
Jason Arthurs Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 1:53 pm

"I hate music, what is it worth? / Can't bring anyone back to this earth," the band Superchunk sings. It's the kind of sentiment you'd imagine someone blurting out with bitter spontaneity, but it's not really music the band hates; it's the despair and grief to which their music bears witness. Superchunk's new downbeat-but-upbeat album, I Hate Music, is dedicated to a close friend who died last year.

Read more
All Songs Considered
1:45 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Dancing Vegetables, Singing Ground Beef: TMBG's Old-School Video

Courtesy of the artist

They Might Be Giants' John Flansburgh and John Linnell have just delivered an old-school video — think "early days of MTV" — and it's a pleasure to see. Over the course of 16 albums, the two Johns (first as a duo and later as bandleaders) have always kept humor at the core of their sound and general attitude. They continue the tradition with "You're On Fire," the first single from their 25-song, 45-minute album Nanobots.

Read more
Music
11:56 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Pfister Sisters Bring Fun To Old Jazz Standard

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And we are moving into fall, so we are leaving you today with one final summer song. For the last several weeks, Gwen Thompkins has been bringing us wonderful musical nuggets from guests on her program, Music Inside Out. That's heard on WWNO in New Orleans. They're current artists who're bringing back old classics. Today, Gwen joins us for a listen to the Pfister Sisters.

GWEN THOMPKINS, BYLINE: The Pfister Sisters are a girl group that's been around for 30 years, so I don't know if it really is fair to call them a girl group.

Read more
Parallels
11:49 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Dancing With The Dictators: Kanye West Joins The Club

Kanye West reportedly performed at a wedding last Saturday for the grandson of Kazakhstan's authoritarian President Nursultan Nazarbayev.
Francois Mori AP

Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 1:04 pm

Rapper Kanye West got paid a reported $3 million to perform at the wedding of the grandson of Kazakhstan's autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Video of last Saturday's performance was posted on Instagram — and resulted in a flood of criticism.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:49 am
Thu September 5, 2013

Watch A Late Composer's Parting Statement, Through The Eyes Of A Child

A still from the video for New York Polyphony's performance of Richard Rodney Bennett's "A Colloquy with God."
Courtesy of Mark DeChiazza

Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 9:20 am

The vocal quartet New York Polyphony delights in surprises — whether it's a matter of singing some rather raunchy Italian madrigals or making a video to introduce their album Times Go By Turns (released on BIS Aug. 27).

Read more

Pages