It was a magical experience having reggae legend Jimmy Cliff here at KCRW for the first time, as the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer played a set of timeless classics and fantastic cuts off his new album, Rebirth. In an intimate, soul-stirring set — he sang and played acoustic guitar, with just one other musician accompanying him — Cliff's voice sounds as strong as ever, and his spirit is truly inspiring.
With the sesquicentennial of Claude Debussy's birth coming up fast on Aug. 22, you'd think there would be a small blizzard of new Debussy releases. This year, not so much; maybe it's a sign of the economic times and industry reality that there's no great rush to add the zillionth recording of such incredibly loved repertoire to the catalog. But every so often, a project comes along that demands a revisiting of music you think you know inside and out. This two-disc set of Debussy headed by Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov is just such a release.
Originally published on Sun December 2, 2012 11:06 am
Pink Martini had already been together for 11 years when it appeared on this Mountain Stage show in June 2005. Formed in Portland, Ore., by pianist Thomas Lauderdale, Pink Martini functions as a "little orchestra" with many international influences. Any given set features a wide range of musical styles from all over the world and songs in many languages.
Trumpeter Terence Blanchard (center) is known as one of jazz's great cultivators of young talent, whether as an educator or leading bands with younger musicians like saxophonist Walter Smith III or pianist Fabian Almazan.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:14 pm
One of the great things about jazz is that it bridges generations. Because it relies on interactive improvisation and live performance, and thus can't be completely taught in a classroom or with a book, aspiring younger musicians seek the direct guidance of older, wiser ones. And more experienced musicians have plenty of reasons to take fresh talent under their wings, like gaining new bandmates with fresh skill sets, or helping future torch-bearers to thrive.
If I may, a quick recommendation, live-music-wise, for tomorrow night (Tuesday the 24th) here in Tulsa. In the final 2012 Starlight Concert performance of the summer, the Starlight Jazz Orchestra will present a "Frank Sinatra Tribute." The program begins at 8pm and is, as ever, free to the public.
Grab a friend or two, a blanket or some lawn chairs, and --- if nothing else --- a cooler loaded with cold drinks, and then head over to the River West Festival Park (on the west bank of the Arkansas River).
Nickel Creek was perhaps the best-known acoustic music group of the late '90s and early 2000s. The band formed in 1989 in Carlsbad, Calif., when its three principal members — Chris Thile and siblings Sean and Sara Watkins — were still children.
Whistling polymath Andrew Bird has become a perennial favorite of folk-pop aficionados and classical fans alike. As a trained violinist and a longtime touring musician, he has a way of expertly melding many genres and influences into his own unique brand of baroque pop. Showcasing his impressive skills with the violin, guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel and vocals, Bird is a picture of versatility.
With still another triple-digit high in today's local forecast (are we there yet?), I have started a shortlist of hot-weather jazz cuts --- tunes to set spinning, perhaps, whilst pouring that umpteenth lemonade o'er ice on a Sunday afternoon and staring out at one's sun-bleached and scorching backyard.
Janet Feder came to NPR with an infant guitar, the curiosity of a child and a wild imagination. The guitar was just a couple of months old — hand made for her by Los Angeles-based guitarist and teacher Miroslav Tadic. It's a nylon-string baritone electric! Its player is diminutive — barely taking up any space behind Bob Boilen's desk. Yet, if you look closely, you'll see the products of her immense curiosity and imagination. A small split ring (like the kind you put your keys on) holds a metal bead in place on the top E string near the sound hole.