Music

Music

Gregg Allman On World Cafe

May 28, 2017

Editor's Note: Gregg Allman died May 27, 2017, at the age of 69. He's remembered by the music world as a founding member of the Allman Brothers Band and one of the pioneers of Southern rock. We revisit Allman's last visit to World Cafe in 2011, when he performed songs from his seventh solo studio album, Low Country Blues.

Fifty years ago, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It's acknowledged nearly universally as one of the most well-known and influential rock albums of all time — and critic Colin Fleming argues that the artwork on the cover is just as important as the music.

For many people, New Orleans is practically synonymous with jazz; it's the birthplace of both the music and many of its leading lights, from Louis Armstrong to Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. But now, one organization is working to draw attention to the city's history of opera music.

Are you still trying to understand that intense first love? Are you grounded from messing up your mom's car? Are you passionate about music that makes it all worthwhile? If so, then maybe you're a teenager looking for an anthem.

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Southern Rocker Gregg Allman Dies At 69

May 27, 2017

Gregg Allman, founding member of the Allman Brothers Band, has died at the age of 69.

Allman's manager, Michael Lehman, told NPR News Allman had suffered a recurrruence of liver cancer five years ago, and died from complications of the disease.

A statement on the southern rock musician's website reads,

"Gregory LeNoir Allman

December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017

John Prine was once known as the Singing Mailman, because that's exactly what he was as a young man. Since he quit his route, he's put out more than 20 albums, and has now published a book of lyrics, photographs and memories called Beyond Words.

We've invited Prine to play a game called: "The Singing Mailman Delivers ... My New Toner Cartridge From Amazon!" Three questions about Amazon Prime — a service that offers super fast shipping for all the stuff you don't actually need.

Known for his work with Weather Report, Joni Mitchell and Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius was one of the most inventive bass players in music history. He is the only electric bassist in DownBeat magazine's Jazz Hall of Fame.

On Monday night, a bombing timed to coincide with the end of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester killed 22 people, many children, and injured dozens more. Today, Grande responded at length to the tragedy in a letter to her fans that she posted on social media.

In the letter, Grande says she will return to Manchester "to spend time with my fans and to have a benefit concert in honor of and to raise money for the victims and their families." No date was given for the concert, which the singer writes is still being finalized.

Terence Blanchard On Piano Jazz

May 26, 2017

Grammy award-winning trumpeter and composer Terence Blanchard carries the torch of New Orleans jazz in the tradition of the great Louis Armstrong, who shares his hometown. In 2004, Blanchard was Marian McPartland's guest on Piano Jazz.

Pokey LaFarge joins World Cafe to perform new songs from his latest album, Manic Revelations. LaFarge lives in St. Louis, right near Ferguson, Mo., which he says inspired his song "Riot In The Streets." He puts it this way:

When the Texas band Bedhead got the box-set treatment in 2014, the reissue provided an excellent chance to revisit the recorded legacy of Matt and Bubba Kadane, who've spent the last quarter-century experimenting within a precise, deliberately paced sound.

Carly Rae Jepsen, the pop star of our hearts, voices Odette in the animated film Leap!, which will see U.S. distribution in September. Her character is a caretaker who coaches a young girl (voiced by Elle Fanning) to become a ballerina in Paris. I sense whimsy and heartfelt speeches are in my future.

I was, admittedly, thrown for a loop when Gabriel Garzón-Montano told me that he wanted to perform unaccompanied, just him and a piano. The meticulousness of his work is clear on his debut album, Jardin, a three-year creative process in which Gabriel plays most of the instruments, tracking them to two-inch tape, layering its overall sound. Jardin takes its title as an umbrella; fruits, bugs and other plants are the driving metaphors tying together this dense work, which blooms over successive listens.

Two decades after his death, Tupac Shakur is still the headline-generating, record-selling, contentious figure that he was in life. From DJ Funkmaster Flex's recent tearful Tupac rant to the fresh diss tracks it generated in response, our obsession with the legend continues to grow. And it's bigger than hip-hop.

A year ago today, Gucci Mane emerged from an Indiana federal penitentiary a slimmer, sober, reformed version of his old self. Though still confined to house arrest, the Atlanta rapper quickly began picking up the pieces of a career left in limbo when he received a 39-month sentence on gun and drug charges in 2014.

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Krystle Warren has been compared to artists like Tracy Chapman and Nina Simone. The latter comparison is particularly intriguing: Not only does Warren share that icon's talent for evocative storytelling, but she also lives in France, as Simone once did.

By night, they play gigs. By day, they sample ramen in cities across America.

Listening to Pinegrove's music gives you that warm feeling of spending time with old friends — familiar, nostalgic and endearingly rough around the edges. And although its 2016 album Cardinal got a lot of love from critics, Pinegrove is a young band that still practices in the basement of one member's parents' house in Montclair, N.J.

How is this for a first day on the job: Maurice Murphy, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO)'s late principal trumpet player, spent his very first day with the orchestra recording Star Wars' iconic opening theme, with its incredible brass fanfare — and Murphy leading the trumpets.

Singer José James has been best known as a modern-day jazz singer, but his latest album, Love In A Time Of Madness, sets him on the path to become a powerful force in contemporary R&B. "Closer" is a perfect example of his new direction.

Set List

  • "Closer"

Photo: Davis Bell/KCRW.

This week's show celebrates the concept of collaboration in two very important ways. First, it is the story of the Puerto Rican band ÌFÉ and its innovative, collective approach to the spiritual side of Yoruba culture. Bandleader Otura Mun has assembled a group of musicians steeped in the Afro-Caribbean culture of the drum, and together they have created a sound that is both familiar and completely new.

Absolutely Not are absolutely fab. After a few promising EPs of glammed-up garage-punk, the Chicago band is set to release Errors, its spastic and ridiculously fun debut full-length. This is a punk record dialed into an alien frequency with a heavy production that makes the spare instrumentation (guitar, keyboards, drums) sound like a spaceship crashing into Earth.

Nick Lowe has always been something of a prankster. The guy who called his first album Jesus Of Cool and once notoriously rhymed "Rick Astley" with "ghastly" always loved to give people's expectations a bit of a tweak. So in retrospect it's not surprising that his 1984 album Nick Lowe And His Cowboy Outfit featured only one actual country tune, a cover of the Faron Young hit "Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young," buried at the end of the LP's second side.

If the word "aura" is defined as a pervasive atmosphere, then it's a perfect title for this piece by Anna Thorvaldsdottir, who has a knack for creating vivid sonic environments.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify or Apple Music playlist at the bottom of the page.

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