For Dave Samuels, the love of his first two instruments — the drums and then the piano — naturally led him to the vibraphone. Samuels' gift for evocative melody and his rhythmic versatility make him one of the leading mallet players of his generation, empowering him to swing from the classic-cool sounds of Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan to the contemporary rhythms of The Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra and his Caribbean Jazz Project.
On July 20, 1958, at Tanglewood — the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra — pianist Leon Fleisher played an electrifying Brahms First Piano Concerto with the orchestra under its former music director, Pierre Monteux. This remarkable teaming has not been heard since then.
I rarely feel nervous before in-studio performances, but the June visit to KEXP by Will Oldham, a.k.a. Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, was an exception. Since emerging in his various "Palace" incarnations in the early 1990s, Oldham has been responsible for a dauntingly huge, rich, influential catalog of music. Yet Oldham acted so utterly at-home in our studio that I immediately relaxed and got lost in his playing.
Originally published on Thu August 16, 2012 11:53 am
Chicago-based music journalist Catalina Maria Johnson curates this 14th installment of World Cafe's "Latin Roots" music series. The bilingual and bicultural journalist is of half-Swedish and half-Mexican descent, and grew up in two different cities with the name St. Louis — one in Missouri, and the other, in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. She writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, RevistaContratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music.
Los Angeles-based Mariachi El Bronx started out as a punk band called The Bronx, but that was before its members discovered a collective love for Mexican folk music. The group fell hard for mariachi, and when faced with playing an acoustic punk rock set for a TV show, they decided to fully embrace that new direction and start a Mexican-flavored side project.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:15 pm
A week ago, Oliver Jones — the greatest living jazz musician in Canada — played his hometown Montreal International Jazz Festival, one of the world's largest. "Oliver Jones Plays Oliver Jones," read the bill. It was the first time, he said in a conversation earlier last week, that the pianist, now 77, would be playing strictly his own tunes for an entire set.
With the July Fourth holiday behind us, now is the time to map out a musical adventure. Below is a sampling of just a few of the dozens of summer classical music festivals around the country, grouped by region. From outdoor extravaganzas and picturesque locales to intimate indoor settings, live music thrives in the summertime. Been to a good summer fest not listed here? Tell us all about it.