Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 9:17 am
The Ryan Montbleau Band makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Based in Boston, the group spends much of its time on the road, playing hundreds of dates every year.
It was one of his final live performances. On Jan. 29, 1971, 69-year-old Louis Armstrong walked onto the stage at the National Press Club to accept an award. He'd planned to perform a couple of numbers and was under doctor's orders not to break out his trumpet, but Armstrong couldn't resist putting on a memorable show. He sang in a voice more gravelly than ever, blew his horn and played a few of his classics, starting with his rendition of "Hello Dolly."
Garth Knox was born to play the viola. As a youngster, he already had two sisters who played violin and a brother who played cello. "So for the family string quartet," Knox says, "it was very clear from the start which instrument I would play."
Music can be a beautiful conversation — rarely is that more evident than in this Tiny Desk Concert performance with the father-son duo of Pedro Soler and Gaspar Claus. Soler plays a delicate, intimate version of flamenco guitar, while his son turns the cello into an exquisitely expressive voice. Though 45 years separate them, pay attention to how they communicate. Music as a living language, and an invisible emotional exchange, is clearly apparent in these improvisational compositions.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:01 pm
In a recent Huffington Post submission, pianist and composer Kurt Ellenberger writes about what he calls "the education fallacy": the premise that an increase in music education will lead to increased audiences. He's writing here about classical music, but draws a parallel with jazz:
Cuban trumpeter Arturo Sandoval first met Dizzy Gillespie in Havana in 1977, when the American jazzman came to Cuba to play a concert. Sandoval showed him around the city, where the two men listened to the sounds of rumba music echoing through Havana's black neighborhoods. That night, Sandoval managed to play his trumpet for Gillespie — and blew him away.
[Roman Totenberg was a child prodigy who became a violin virtuoso, as well as a master teacher who passed along his command of craft and his love of music — and life — to thousands. He was also the man you wanted to sit next to at the table because he was so funny. Totenberg died this week at the age of 101, surrounded by loving family, friends and students. We asked his daughter, Nina Totenberg, for this remembrance. — Scott Simon]