Music

Music

You can hear Harold Lopez-Nussa's training when he plays. The 33-year-old pianist is reluctant to admit the classical influence on his jazz playing, but he's quick to acknowledge that he, like many other great Cuban pianists, was classically trained. "This is the school that we have to learn music in Cuba; it's classical," he says. "I did all my stuff there from 8 years old to 25."

Each week KSUT plays a set of new and back-catalog songs from a featured artist at 11:06 AM, and gives listeners a chance to win lunch from Zia Taqueria for answering a music trivia question.

On December 2, we'll focus on Dr. John and take a listen to some tracks from the new CD Musical Mojo of Dr. John: A Celebration of Mac and his Music.

The bowed electric guitar droned as Thao & The Get Down Stay Down revved up a mighty sound. This set, recorded live this past August as part of the Lincoln Center Out Of Doors series in New York's Damrosch Park, was the fiercest set I've seen from this San Francisco group. Singer Thao Nguyen has been a bandleader for the past dozen years or so, and these three songs — from Thao & The Get Down Stay Down's fourth studio album, A Man Alive — more than capture her quirkiness and angular power.

On the cover of Aaron Lee Tasjan's new record Silver Tears, he almost looks the perfect picture of an Americana star. He's wearing a cowboy hat, he's got a brooding expression and he's walking thoughtfully under a cloudy sky. And then there's the Bonanza-meets-disco-ball suit. Bejeweled with hand-glued pieces of mirror, it's a fitting outfit for an artist whose avant-garde and often irreverent approach reflects Americana back at itself.

This week, all the songs I play ended up being about the ways people, particularly women, empower themselves in the face of difficult times. Singer Sam Phillips offers a feast of sound in less than two and a half minutes with "World On Sticks," a song about the indomitable human spirit.

Katie Melua has become one of the U.K.'s most popular young musicians, with six studio albums already to her name. She began her life in the ex-Soviet Union country of Georgia, on the coast of the Black Sea.

When you see Mary Halvorson on stage, she doesn't look like much of a trailblazer. She plays sitting down. She's small, and mostly hidden behind her hollow-body guitar and glasses. But then she starts to play. And the sounds coming out of her amp are anything but conventional.

Music Of Mali: Rokia Traore

Nov 27, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Aretha Franklin performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Thanksgiving Day football game between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings Thursday afternoon. And, as, the Queen of Soul usually does, she stole the show.

Before there was Dark Side Of The MoonPink Floyd's magnum opus, which stayed on the charts for years and years and has come to define progressive rock — there were years of albums and experimentation for the band. That included ballets, film scores and even live accompaniment to the moon landing. All this material, which also includes outtakes, BBC recordings and more, has been gathered into a 27-disc box set of music and video called The Early Years 1965-1972.

For the second year in a row, the annual All Things Considered Thanksgiving music chat is a multi-part conversation. Host Ari Shapiro welcomes four musicians, each of whom was named by one of his or her fellow guests as an artist to be thankful for.

The last few years have been a bit tumultuous for Scottish singer KT Tunstall. She relocated to Los Angeles and considered giving up music entirely — until her new surroundings prompted a wave of creativity that jolted her back. The result is her latest album, KIN, and one of her best songs yet, "It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am."

SET LIST

  • "It Took Me So Long To Get Here, But Here I Am"

Photo: Brian Lowe/KCRW.

The first song the artist Cat Stevens released back in 1966 was titled, "I Love My Dog." He'd be the first to admit that it's a strange title, and subject, for someone nicknamed Cat. Now, 50 years later Yusuf / Cat Stevens has done a unique remake of this song; a direct-to-acetate recording at Jack White's renowned Third Man Records Blue Room. The single will also include Cat Stevens second U.K.

Big Thief On World Cafe

Nov 23, 2016

Singer and guitarist Adrianne Lenker is the main songwriter in the Brooklyn band Big Thief. Originally from Minneapolis, she found a songwriting partner in Texas artist Buck Meek. After making two EPs together, they decided to form Big Thief and worked up the songs that have become the debut album Masterpiece, whose title is certainly a little tongue-in-cheek. The band, now a four-piece, recorded the album in upstate New York, bonding over meals as they worked long hours.

OK Go's latest (and astonishing) video, for the song "The One Moment," took only 4.2 seconds to film. But the whole thing — a series of rapid-fire explosions — was slowed down to fill the four-plus minutes it takes the band to sing the song. Remarkably, like OK Go's previous videos, the group manages to sync the whole thing using... I don't know, math?

Bob Boilen and I, along with the rest of the NPR Music team, have been prepping for our year-end coverage by listening to hundreds of songs and albums in one big shared playlist. Along the way, we've all discovered stuff we hadn't heard before — and even fallen in love with some of it.

BADBADNOTGOOD knows its name is a little strange. The jazz group's bassist, Chester Hansen, says it invites jokes from nearly everyone the band meets. "It's probably the most punned name I have ever heard," he says.

A Queen Among Kings

Nov 21, 2016

The first time I ever saw Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings perform was circa 2002 at the Elbo Room, a tiny venue in San Francisco's Mission District. If you've ever been there, you know the Elbo Room doesn't need many bodies to pack the floor, and with the Dap-Kings crowding the diminutive stage, the full intensity of their act filled the space from practically the first note. I was already familiar with the group through its early records, but hadn't fully appreciated how much power Jones could pack into her stout, 5-foot frame as she sang, sweated, stamped, strutted, slayed.

A Tribe Called Red is a group of three indigenous DJs from Canada: Bear Witness, 2oolman and DJ NDN. The trio has produced three full-length albums now, and its latest is called We Are the Halluci Nation.

Pages