Originally published on Thu December 6, 2012 12:28 pm
A saxophonist, a pianist and a bass player walk into a bar. But the bar happens to be one of the world's preeminent jazz clubs, where they're regularly sighted on stage. And they're working as a new collective band: no drummer, no hierarchy. So much for that joke.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 6:48 pm
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — Jon Spencer, drummer Russell Simins and bassist Judah Baer — has kicked out the jams for more than 20 years. Formed in 1991, the band draws on punk, blues and rockabilly, and has collaborated with artists ranging from Elliott Smith to Solomon Burke to Martina Topley-Bird to Steve Albini and even Ad-Rock of The Beastie Boys.
The Ghetto Brothers functioned as one of many youth gangs that formed in the 1960s as economic woes and governmental neglect began to transform New York City's South Bronx for the worse. Led by Benjamin "Benjy" Melendez, the gang was originally, literally, just him and his brothers. As kids, they had called themselves Los Junior Beatles, and that Fab Four influence never left.
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale are singer-songwriters who've each written hits for country and rock acts, and have enjoyed extensive solo careers as performers and producers. Buddy and Jim is their first collaboration, a mixture of original songs and covers from earlier decades of country, rock, folk and soul music.
Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 5:26 am
In an episode from the fifth season of Mad Men the show's main character, advertising executive Don Draper, is asked by his client, the cologne company Chevalier Blanc, to supply a Beatles song for a television commercial. The year is 1966, and the 40-year-old Draper doesn't have his finger on the rapidly rising pulse of popular music. So he calls in a team of younger, hipper copy writers, including his wife Megan.
"When did music become so important?" he asks her.
Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 2:33 pm
Few jazz bandleaders are as active — and as actively acclaimed — as saxophonist Joe Lovano and trumpeter Dave Douglas. But while they've met from time to time on the bandstand, their brief overlap in the SFJAZZ collective — during a season when the compositions of Wayne Shorter were featured — got them to lead a band together. It's a quintet in which they share compositional duties and top billing. And it's a band featuring two up-and-coming musicians in pianist Lawrence Fields and bassist Linda Oh, as well as Joey Baron, a drummer with whom they've grown up in music.
Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 10:14 am
Along with Moby, The Prodigy, Underworld and The Chemical Brothers, Orbital was influential in establishing a blueprint for today's thriving electronic dance-music scene. After an extended hiatus, Phil and Paul Hartnoll recently reunited for select live dates, including a performance in KCRW's studios. It's a treat to hear electronic classics like "Chime" sound as captivating and innovative as they did two decades ago.
Sometimes it pays to be somebody's little brother. Were it not for his fraternal ties, singer and multi-instrumentalist Asa Taccone probably wouldn't have been able to get acclaimed songwriter and producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) to produce his band's debut album. Taccone's older brother, a friend of Burton's, asked the producer to listen to the songs his little brother had been working on and give some constructive criticism.