It started as a bongo beat — a nod to James Brown, just after his death in late 2006. Then came a few signature riffs. And an ecstatic response from the crowd. Before long, the Godfather of Soul was permanently embedded in the Evolution Ensemble's repertoire. For leader Dee Alexander, a powerful and versatile vocalist, it was all part of the same continuum — as was the music of Jimi Hendrix, whose music carried the same revolutionary weight.
Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 5:03 pm
The composer/arranger Gordon Goodwin, leader of the Big Phat Band, says he had the opportunity to play the Monterey Jazz Festival some "three or two or four decades ago." In 2012, Goodwin, who plays keyboards and reeds, returned with his large jazz orchestra.
<a href="http://apps.npr.org/bob-boilens-wristbands-2012/"><strong>INTERACTIVE: BOB BOILEN'S WRISTBANDS 2012</strong></a> - Wristbands, ticket stubs and badges from a few of the hundreds of shows Bob Boilen saw in 2012.
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Credit Shantel Mitchell / For NPR
Debo Band performs during globalFEST at New York City's Webster Hall on Jan. 8.
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The Alabama Shakes' lead singer, Brittany Howard, onstage at NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's Wednesday night.
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Patrick Watson performs live in concert at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
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Ralf Hutter (left) and the other members of Kraftwerk in performance at the Museum of Modern Art in New York on Tuesday.
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Death Grips at Le Poisson Rouge.
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Lost In The Trees perform at Le Poisson Rouge in New York City on April 11, 2012.
Originally published on Sat January 5, 2013 9:43 am
What a brilliant year for live music 2012 was. And I saw an awful lot of it: 462 performances, by my count. I know that sounds insane — more concerts than days in a year. Many of those were full concerts, but sometimes at music festivals I'd run from club to club or stage to stage just to catch a song or two. It's all part of a quest to find new music and hear new talent. Even a short taste helps me know whether I need to pay attention to a burgeoning band or whether a classic act seems to give a damn anymore.
Irish-American supergroup Solas makes its seventh appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. Bandleader Seamus Egan, who founded the group in 1996, was a teen prodigy; he recorded his first album at 16 and toured with Ralph Stanley and Peter, Paul & Mary.
There's not much about Ben Sollee's career that could be described as conventional. The singer-songwriter's primary instrument is the cello, and his work ranges from traditional classical music to Asian folk tunes. Even his preferred method of transportation on tour deviates from the norm; he's been known to travel from one show to the next on a bicycle with his cello strapped to the back.
Vicki Yohe may look like a country western singer with her blond hair and blue eyes. But she's an urban gospel star. Yohe's latest album is titled, I'm at Peace: A Praise and Worship Experience. For Tell Me More's In Your Ear series, Yohe shares the songs that lift her up in tough times.