Originally published on Mon March 18, 2013 4:37 pm
Pianist Cyrus Chestnut took his time making a name for himself on the jazz scene: For a decade starting in the mid-1980s, he apprenticed as pianist for Jon Hendricks, Betty Carter, Donald Harrison and Wynton Marsalis. But since then, he's toured the world and recorded 15 albums as a bandleader.
In this performance and interview, Cyrus describes his gospel roots and his discovery of jazz, and discusses how he approaches interpreting other composers' music.
The 007 theme is one of the most famous themes in movie history. The infamous guitar riff that gives the theme its secret agent feel was performed by Vic Flick, who spoke to Morning Edition about the day he played it, 50 years ago.
In 1962, Flick was a 25-year-old studio guitarist who was asked to help give the James Bond theme more of a punch. Composer Monty Norman, who wrote the theme, was scrambling to complete the score for the first Bond movie, Dr. No. He'd scratched out a rough draft of the theme, but Flick says it fell a little flat.
Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.
"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 10:01 am
Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent was born the youngest child of a large Pentecostal family in rural Arkansas, and later moved to Southern California. DeMent grew up listening to traditional country and gospel music, which influenced her roots-folk sound, though she was 25 when she wrote her first song. It would take another five years for her to release her first album, Infamous Angel.
The string-laden indie-folk band Horse Feathers makes its second appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Centering on the soft vocals and guitar of Justin Ringle, Horse Feathers' "chamber folk" sound is crafted with the assistance of cellist Lauren Vidal, violinist Angie Kuzma, Dustin Dybvig on drums and piano, and Nathan Crockett on violin, mandolin and the musical saw.
For all the plot development in the series' infancy, last Sunday's episode of Treme was unusually saturated in live performances. The second half of the episode, especially, seemed like one concert after another. Here with me to recap the musical goings-on is WBGO's Josh Jackson.
Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:07 pm
Most would agree that Vagn Holmboe (1909-1996) was Denmark's greatest symphonist after Carl Nielsen and Rued Langgaard. So it's something of an occasion that the three chamber symphonies from the latter half of his career finally see the light of day on this new release on the Dacapo label.
Without a wasted note, this is rigorously compact, sinewy music that grows on you with each listening. The composer's principle of thematic metamorphosis is evident throughout these world premiere recordings.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:04 pm
I was beyond excited and just a little nervous as I made the 30-second walk from the booth to the live room for this session in the KEXP studios. Usually, these things happen with one artist, but tonight I'd corral a round-robin of five MCs, a couple of whom were behind some of my favorite hip-hop of all time. Between the MCs, the DJs, the hype men and the keyboardists (not to mention KEXP's photographers and videographers), there were a dozen people waiting at the end of the hall.