Music

Music

A Band Apart

Jun 19, 2017

The CMA Music Festival, put on annually by the Country Music Association, took place June 8-11 this year. For those who weren't lucky enough to be in Nashville to experience it, World Cafe's Nashville correspondents — Ann Powers and Jewly Hight — were there in person to take it all in.

Trumpet virtuoso Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah is stretching modern jazz music to include the flavors of hip-hop, trap and West African percussion. His latest release, Ruler Rebel, is his first in series of three albums marking the 100th anniversary of the first commercially recorded jazz music. As Adjuah tells it, that recording, made by the Original Dixieland Jass Band in New Orleans in 1917, was originally conceived as satire with a racially-charged subtext.

For the past several years, Beth Ditto was known as the dynamic frontwoman of the dance-punk band Gossip. She established herself as a singer with a helluva voice who embraced being queer, feminist and fat.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

How does a scientist become a principal timpanist at the Met?

Jason Haaheim gets that question all the time. The 38-year-old is a former nanotechnology researcher, with a master's degree in electrical engineering. But four years ago, he made a major life pivot: to play professionally with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra.

Nate Kramer was a tall, quiet college swimmer when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His dad, Vince, says it was the beginning of four difficult years.

Nate battled through chemotherapy, a fungal infection of the sinuses, 30 operations, bone marrow transplants, a lung infection and the removal of his spleen. Vince says his son kept rallying back.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And now to music news. For the past 48 hours, one topic has dominated social media. And I mean, it's not technically news. It's kind of about waiting for news. NPR music senior editor Jacob Ganz is here to bring us up to speed. What's going on, Jacob?

Jay Z: The Fresh Air Interview

Jun 16, 2017

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The music of Penguin Cafe is like no other. Its origins date back to the early '70s, within fever dreams Simon Jeffes had that were brought on by food poisoning. In those dreams he imagined a dispassionate world "where everyone lived in big concrete blocks and spent their lives looking into screens. In one room, there was a couple making love lovelessly. In another there was a musician sat at a vast array of equipment, but with headphones on, so there was no actual music in the room." Eerily accurate.

LeeAnn Ledgerwood On Piano Jazz

Jun 16, 2017

Pianist LeeAnn Ledgerwood studied at the Berklee College of Music alongside Branford Marsalis and Terence Blanchard. She became a protégée of Marian McPartland, who encouraged her to pursue a career in jazz. She was McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz in 1990.

"[Bob] Seger's absence from digital services, combined with the gradual disappearance of even physical copies of half his catalog, suggest a rare level of indifference to his legacy," Tim Quirk wrote for NPR Music in late March in his feature, "Where Have All The Bob Seger Albums Gone?"

The French indie-pop band Phoenix joined us on the release date for Ti Amo, which has been described as its most romantic record yet. The band sings in four languages, and many of the songs were inspired by a fantasized version of Italy. Its live performances are as engaging as ever, as you'll see in this studio performance of "Fior Di Latte."

SET LIST

  • "Fior Di Latte"

Photo: Larry Hirshowitz/KCRW.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

So 30 years ago this summer, video games made their orchestral debut. It was a performance in Tokyo. It was the first time that music from a videogame was performed live, was from the Japanese game "Dragon Quest." And this trend has carried on ever since.

You're in a New York apartment, alone on a warm night, hearing the sounds of the city drift up from the streets. Or you're in Paris and part of the noise, moving through the crowded streets and sidewalks, both feeling the weight of the world and a being a part of that weight. Or maybe you've never even seen a large city, and mistake the glowing lights from afar for a mysterious fire.

A Look Back At Monterey Pop, 50 Years Later

Jun 15, 2017

In the 21st century, destination music festivals seem like a dime a dozen. But just 50 years ago, there was only one: the Monterey International Pop Festival, which featured more than 30 artists and bands playing over the course of three days in the summer of 1967.

Monterey Pop set the template for all the huge rock festivals that would follow — Woodstock, Coachella, Bonnaroo and all the rest — and its influence would spread even further via a documentary, Monterey Pop, that was helmed by D.A. Pennebaker and would set a gold standard for concert films.

For more than half a decade Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have been an inseparable creative duo, racking up record sales and Grammy awards. But the premiere of "Glorious" — the first single from Macklemore's new, unnamed album — comes today with news that the Seattle rapper's next release will be a solo effort.

This week, Alt.Latino brings you a summer music magazine featuring three young Latinx artists whose work reflects the reality and joy of life through music and the visual arts.

What does an artist do to follow up a critically and commercially successful album? The short-sighted might go for more of the same. But the truly innovative and visionary shed that success like a snake's skin and do something completely different.

That is the story behind Mexican vocalist Natalia Lafourcade's new album Musas. Music writer and Alt.Latino contributor Marisa Arbona-Ruiz had a heart-to-heart with the singer to talk about the motivations behind her new sound.

Writer Gabby Rivera Is A True Superhero

Jun 15, 2017

When writer Gabby Rivera read an email from Marvel Comics asking her to write for them, she was convinced it was spam at first.

But it turned out to be legit: Marvel wanted Rivera to put words to a new comic series featuring the queer, Latinx superhero America Chavez. The next thing she knew, Rivera was deep in research on superheroes from Marvel's vast archive.

Many musicians spend some of their time offstage passing on their knowledge to young, budding artists via music lessons. For their part, the members of the band Making Movies have dedicated themselves to working with youth in underprivileged areas of Kansas City, Mo. They say it keeps them grounded and connected to their roots — while at the same time providing inspiration for songwriting.

Hear Vicky Diaz-Camacho tell Making Movies' story at the audio link.

Around the NPR Music office we all swear like a twee version of Veep — but on-air and on-website we receive a tiny electric shock every time we try to spell out our favorite dirty words. (That's not true, but it's funny to think about.)

Everyone in the East Nashville band Cordovas is a lead vocalist. The country-rock group is committed to the sound of brotherhood — a few voices sharing a feeling. Nowhere is that clearer than on the tender ballad "I'm The One Who Needs You Tonight," off the band's upcoming record That Santa Fe Channel.

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