Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.
The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.
Vocalist and poet Kurt Elling brings his rich baritone to Piano Jazz for a set of tunes and spoken improvisations with host Marian McPartland. As a child, Elling sang regularly in church and discovered jazz while studying at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He began sitting in at the city's jazz clubs, where his unique ability to improvise vocally led him in a new career direction.
Singer and actor Eric Benét charges his old-school soul songwriting with healthy doses of modern funk and hip-hop. His winning formula has been recognized with multiple Grammy and NAACP Image Award nominations. He also has a busy acting career in film and television, and starred in the 2011 feature film Trinity Goodheart.
Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 4:19 pm
David Bowie released a new single this week. The song may be new, but it sounds old. It sounds familiar. Like a David Bowie song. It sounds new and familiar at the same time. This is what makes it so good, I think. (It also has the wonderful lyric: "The moment we know we know we know.")
This got me thinking about the fact that music has a history. This is puzzling. Why should music have a history?
Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 6:26 pm
In a concert and ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized its 2013 class of Jazz Masters on Monday, Jan. 14, 2013.
The honor is the highest federally supported award for jazz artistry; those recognized receive a $25,000 grant and a tribute performance. The event was broadcast live at XM Satellite Radio, WBGO-FM and online — with a live video stream — at this page on NPR Music.
Unpredictability is the active ingredient of New York's annual Winter Jazzfest. This year, fans will meander around six nearby clubs and take their pick of simultaneous shows. Choosing from among so many acts will be difficult.
Many of the bands are new, paced in rapid succession and often cryptically named. If you only have 45 minutes to spare, do you check out Breeding Ground? Hazmat Modine? Merger? 40Twenty? 10^32K?
Grant Green, The Holy Barbarian, St. Louis, 1959 could be the name of a fine stage play, perhaps based on the actual circumstances of the recording. One musician on the way up, another past his moment in the limelight and one more who had his chance but never quite made it all convene on Christmas night, part of their week-long stand at the Holy Barbarian, a beatnik hangout replete with chess players and a local artist painting portraits.
Singer, songwriter and fiddler Amanda Shires makes her first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.V. Shires got her start in Texas, where as a teenager she performed with the Texas Playboys, the backing band for the legendary Bob Wills.