At first, the inconspicuous facade of the El Segundo-based South Bay Customs motorcycle shop doesn't seem like the most compelling setting for one of our Field Recordings. But once we walked past the front doors, we quickly realized that this wasn't your everyday L.A. bike shop. South Bay's walls are lined with eccentric oddities, and the facility also houses an art gallery and a performance space for local musicians.
Originally published on Fri September 27, 2013 5:15 pm
U.K. singer Laura Mvula has been well-served by her conservatory training, which helped her uncover her own unique sound: Mvula's first full-length album, Sing to the Moon, blends classic pop, jazz and soul.
With help from producer Steve Brown, Mvula's choral-like arrangements are wonderfully layered and complex. In this installment of World Cafe, the singer performs live with her band and talks to host David Dye about how she separates her roles as a songwriter and a performer.
At the keys, Duke Ellington abstracted from stride piano, which modernized ragtime. Ellington's own spare percussive style then refracted through Thelonious Monk and Cecil Taylor, as well as a generation of freewheeling pianists active in Europe, like Aki Takase. Her new solo piano album is My Ellington, on which she plays some stride bass herself, as in "In a Mellow Tone."
Summer is heating up and so are dozens of classical music festivals all around the country. We couldn't possibly list them all, but here's a sampling of some of the best events, from open-air venues and seaside spots to historic concert halls. Been to a great summer festival we've missed? Feel free to pass along your own reviews in the comments section.
On their second collaboration, One True Vine, Mavis Staples and Jeff Tweedy assemble a story using songs written by various artists, dotted by frequent lyrical references to The Staple Singers. The album follows a narrative arc of struggle, acceptance and salvation that's mirrored in the crescendo and decrescendo of the music, starting out low and slow.
Originally published on Wed September 25, 2013 5:43 pm
He's best known as the tall, hat-wearing member of The Monkees, but Michael Nesmith has worn many other hats in the last few decades. Nesmith recently finished up his first solo tour in 21 years, playing songs from both his original country-rock group (The First National Band) and his solo albums.
Some believe that there are only four Rolling Stones, but then some say there's a fifth: keyboardist Chuck Leavell. He's been on tours with the band for more than 30 years — but that hasn't been his only gig. At 20, he was asked to join The Allman Brothers Band.