Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 1:59 am
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For the last 14 years, WXPN host and producer Robert Drake has programmed and hosted a 24-hour holiday-music marathon called The Night Before, aired from midnight to midnight on Dec. 24. We decided this year to put more jingle in the jangle and create Jingle Jams on XPN2, a 24/7 stream of holiday music.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 2:57 pm
When two of my favorite musicians, Britt Daniel of Spoon and Dan Boeckner of Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade, joined forces and, along with powerhouse drummer Sam Brown of New Bomb Turks, created Divine Fits, I thought it was a dream, as if someone had hand-crafted a band just for me! Divine Fits brings the prodigious songwriting and performing talents of Boeckner and Daniel together to create a captivating and energetic collection of songs that will delight fans both new and old.
Dave Douglas has been an important player in the jazz world for more than two decades, producing a broad body of work as both a trumpet player and a composer. His newest album, Be Still, has a bittersweet backstory: It contains his arrangements of several hymns that his dying mother asked him to perform at her funeral service.
On a list of the world's highest-grossing tours of last year, you'll find a lot of familiar names: U2, Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga. And then, at No. 9, is an outlier: Andre Rieu, Dutch violinist and conductor of the Johann Strauss Orchestra.
You know the old joke: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." Myrlie Evers-Williams took a different route.
Her late husband, Medgar Evers, was the Mississippi head of the NAACP; he was assassinated for his work in 1963. Evers-Williams wound up moving to Southern California, where she became an educational, corporate and political leader and, in the 1990s, chairwoman of the NAACP.
The One Voice Choir is not officially part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the ensemble is invited to perform this weekend at an LDS church-sponsored event intended to reach out to the LGBT community.
Credit Andrea Smardon / KUER
The choir's musical director, Bryan Horn, leads the ensemble in rehearsal.
The world mourned the death this week of Indian maestro Ravi Shankar, whose name became synonymous with the sitar. Tributes eulogized Shankar as the great connector of the East and West who'd hobnobbed with The Beatles and collaborated with violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin. Less has been said about the roots of the music he spent a lifetime perfecting and innovating.
Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 4:58 pm
Gary Clark Jr.'s new album Blak and Blue is his major-label debut, but the blues guitarist is hardly a newcomer. Clark made his first album at 17, and by then he'd already spent several years hanging out in the blues clubs of Austin, Texas.
There's a certain intensity of spirit in jazz and improvised music, to the point where it occasionally aligns with religious worship. You especially see it around Christmastime, when certain musicians who happen to be Christians purpose their craft in observance of the season.
Of course, sometimes jazz musicians just like playing familiar songs.
Here are five records, all from 2012, which run the gamut of Christmas jazz. From deep meditations on the holiday's narrative to more offbeat ways to get into the spirit, inventiveness isn't a scarce resource this winter.