John Lennon loved word play; he wrote songs that have not only become standards, but also milestones, like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and "Strawberry Fields," which he wrote with the Beatles, and "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance," which he wrote on his own. For most of his life, he also composed letters to friends and family; then lovers, as he grew up; and strangers, as he grew famous. His notes, letters and postcards often contained small, funny drawings and self portraits.
Placido Domingo is one of the most influential people in classical music. During a 50-year career, he's played more than 140 roles, conducted more than 450 operas, and won just about every award that a human being can win in opera and life.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:43 pm
"James Moody is the most beloved jazz musician in the world," reedman Paquito D'Rivera says.
These may be strong words, but D'Rivera is far from alone in his appreciation of the tenor saxophonist, who died in 2010. On the bandstand, Moody was universally admired for his musicality, his generosity — he gave away mouthpieces, saxophones and, once, even the coat off his back — and his ability to illuminate any room with his personal warmth.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 5:46 pm
Grizzly Bear began in 2004 as a bedroom project for Ed Droste. By 2006, Droste had a full band alongside him: Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear and Chris Taylor. They released Yellow House the same year, but it was 2009's Veckatimest that propelled the group to worldwide fame.
Billed as "all-ages folk and children's music from East Asia," Rabbit Days and Dumplings collects mostly traditional songs from China, Tibet, Taiwan, Japan and Korea. The album is the creation of Elena Moon Park. She's spent six years playing family music with Dan Zanes, who has a fanatically devoted following among the smaller set. For this project, she brought in dozens of other musicians from around New York City.
Contemporary folksinger Tracy Grammer began her journey in music with her partner Dave Carter in 1998. The duo made three albums before Carter died in 2002 — less than a year before this performance was recorded in April 2003. She has also released three Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer albums in the years since his death, one of which came out earlier this year.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm
The spread of formal jazz education has created a new breed of global musician: one who uses improvisation, and other devices associated with jazz, to transform folk and traditional music. The Albanian singer Elina Duni is part of this rising class. Her latest release, Matane Malit ("Beyond the Mountain"), offers a transfixing balance of old and new.
This week, Piano Jazz digs deep into the archives with a session featuring James Herbert "Eubie" Blake. He was the last of the known living original ragtime pianists when he appeared on the program in 1980 with host Marian McPartland.