It's true — opera is totally over the top. Plots can strain even the barest semblance of credulity (too many cases of ghosts and mistaken identities to count), with characters that could get you thrown out of an introductory writing course, down to the blushing ingenues and the evil connivers who might as well be twirling waxed mustaches.
<em>Burning Bridge</em> personnel, left to right: Jason Kao Hwang (violin), Wang Guowei (erhu), Sun Li (pipa), Ken Filiano (string bass), Andrew Drury (drum set), Joseph Daley (tuba), Steve Swell (trombone), Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet/flugelhorn).
Jazz reflects who we are as a people — democracy in action and all that. But a jazz tune or solo is also a portrait of the musician who makes it; the music reflects the particular background and training that influences how composers compose and improvisers improvise. Jason Kao Hwang makes that autobiographical component explicit throughout his extended composition for eight pieces, Burning Bridge. His parents made the move from China around the end of WWII, and he grew up attending Presbyterian services in suburban Chicago.
You can't tell the story of Martha Wainwright without talking about family. Her father is Loudon Wainwright III, her mother, Kate McGarrigle — both legends of the 1970's folk scene. Along with her brother, Rufus, she followed her parents into the music world.
Based in Lancaster County, Penn., The Stray Birds is one of the most promising bands on the folk music circuit these days. With three-part harmonies which fall somewhere in the sonic spectrum between Gillian Welch and Crooked Still, their songs are at once resonant and emotional, dreamy and sad.
Missy Mazzoli, a 32-year-old composer from Brooklyn, says she never wanted to write an opera until she read the journals of Isabelle Eberhardt, a Swiss adventurer from the turn of the 20th century. Oddly enough, Mazzoli first learned about Eberhardt while listening to NPR. Years later, she stumbled upon the explorer's journals in a bookstore.
Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 11:01 am
On this Piano Jazz session from 2004, Tony Bennett brings his effortlessly swinging singing to an impeccable set of tunes from the Great American Songbook, including music from Johnny Mercer, Jimmy Van Heusen, Ted Koehler, Alec Wilder and more.
Originally published on Fri November 30, 2012 8:48 pm
Logan Venderlic makes his first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. A native of the small West Virginia town called Saint Marys, Venderlic's first collection of tunes prompted Yahoo Music to name him one of the top artists during the first half of 2012.