Music News

The Two-Way
1:09 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Bobby Keys, Who Played Saxophone For The Rolling Stones, Dies At 70

Saxophonist Bobby Keys of The Rolling Stones performs at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, N.Y., on Sept. 7, 2012.
Taylor Hill FilmMagic/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 1:44 pm

Updated at 3:44 p.m.

Bobby Keys, the legendary saxophonist most associated with The Rolling Stones, has died. He was 70 years old.

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All Songs Considered
8:30 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Introducing Our Tiny Desk Concert Contest

Introducing our Tiny Desk Concert Contest.
NPR

Want to play a Tiny Desk Concert? Now's your chance: NPR Music and Lagunitas are holding a contest, and the winner gets to perform at my desk here at NPR headquarters in Washington, D.C.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:03 am
Mon December 1, 2014

What's Your Top 100 Of The Last 100 Years?

Composer Steve Reich, whose Music for 18 Musicians pulled out ahead of Gershwin, Shostakovich, Bartok, Ives, Berg and all others in last year's Q2 poll.
Wonge Bergmann Courtesy of the artist

For the past few years, member station Q2 in New York City has been enlisting listeners in a thought-provoking year-end poll. Forget the best music of the last year — what are the very best compositions of the last century?

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Music News
3:08 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

Billboard Music Chart Marks First Major Change In 20 Years

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:43 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

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Business
3:49 pm
Sat November 29, 2014

Vinyl, Once Thought Dead, Makes A Comeback In The Digital Age

An employee demonstrates how a mother is checked for sound quality before it is duplicated during production at the Rainbo Records factory in Canoga Park, Calif. The vinyl record industry has seen an uptick in sales in recent years, keeping manufacturers like Rainbo busy.
Patrick T. Fallon Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 12:27 am

In the '90s, Rainbo Records owner Steve Sheldon wanted to keep his vinyl presses going.

Everyone thought he was crazy; they told him it was a dead format. But Sheldon was adamant.

"I actually said, many times, 'I think it will be around longer than CDs,' " Sheldon says.

Today, his Canoga Park, Calif., operation is massive. There are sound testing rooms, large printers for making labels and rows of workers stuffing sleeves. And then there are the actual presses themselves — 14 of them — giving off smoke and smelling of burnt rubber.

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Remembrances
3:53 am
Fri November 28, 2014

Iconic Lebanese Singer Sabah Dies At 87

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 5:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music News
3:04 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Mendelssohn And Other Classic Composers Offer Musical Thanks

Originally published on Thu November 27, 2014 1:50 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There are lots of ways to say thank you today that don't include turkey or cranberry sauce. For example, there is music.

(SOUNDBITE OF FELIX MENDELSSOHN ORATORIO, "ELIJAH")

CHORUS: (Singing in German).

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Music News
1:02 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Remembering Sabah, An Iconic And Thoroughly Unconventional Arab Star

Lebanese singer Sabah in a 2008 photo from Lebanon.
Anwar Amro AFP/Getty Images

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Music News
3:13 am
Wed November 26, 2014

Pandora's New Deal: Different Pay, Different Play

David Lowery, of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, says he's wary of the way Pandora pays for music.
Cooper Neill Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 10:18 am

The Internet radio service Pandora made its name by creating personalized stations using tools such as "like" and "dislike" buttons for listeners. But a deal between Pandora and a group of record labels has raised concerns that the company is favoring certain songs over others because it's paying the musicians behind those songs a smaller royalty.

When Pandora emerged a decade ago, its big selling point over traditional radio was that it created a station just for you, as the company's Eric Bieschke told NPR last year.

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The Record
9:50 am
Tue November 25, 2014

Commerce Vs. Consumption: A Revolutionary Rethink Of Billboard's Album Chart

Taylor Swift, whose 1989 is currently the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 and whose song "Blank Space" is at the top of the Hot 100, even though her music is not available on Spotify.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 4:32 pm

Imagine you're in a Tower Records in the late '90s. You head for the cash register with a credit card and two compact discs in your hand. Let's say one CD is by OutKast, the other by Smash Mouth (remember, it's the late '90s). The following week on the Billboard 200, America's premier album chart, both of the CDs you bought have been tallied.

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The Record
1:28 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Paramore Feat. Joy Williams, 'Hate To See Your Heart Break'

Hayley Williams (left) of Paramore and Joy Williams, formerly of The Civil Wars, perform together on a version of the song "Hate To See Your Heart Break" from the deluxe version of Paramore's self-titled album.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on

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Music News
10:03 am
Sat November 22, 2014

In Bowling Alleys And In Rock Clubs, The Dude Abides

Jeff Bridges and his band The Abiders perform in concert at the Paramount in Huntington, N.Y.
Debby Wong Corbis

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 3:41 pm

Actor Jeff Bridges may have revealed his musical talent in a movie — as Bad Blake, the fading country singer in Crazy Heart — but music is more than just a side gig for him.

Bridges says he's always strumming his guitar, even when he's on a movie set.

"Whenever I'm working, I'll have my guitar with me," he says. "And if there's a nice tree to sit by, or a little creek or something, I'll go out there. Anywhere is a good place to play music."

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Music News
3:54 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

'Only The Truth' Gets At Reality Through Legend

Gabriela Ortiz is the composer of Unicamente la verdad.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:22 pm

Gilberto Reyes is a musician who grew up to Mexican parents in Southern Texas. He says as a kid he was not afraid of El Cucuy, or the boogeyman. He was more concerned about Camelia La Tejana, or Camelia of Texas.

"I remember when I was a kid listening to the songs, thinking, 'Wow. Una bandida,' " Reyes says. "This incredible woman with power to make men do whatever she wants at her will, you know."

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The Record
11:20 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Nora Jane Struthers, 'The Same Road'

Courtesy of the artist

Nora Jane Struthers is guided by fire. Coming up within the tradition-minded bluegrass world, she spent her youth in a family band with her father, a good daughter learning tradition. But since she's been leading her own band, the Party Line, Struthers has poured more and more emotion into her songwriting, coming up with some of the most quietly powerful narratives within the new wave of Americana artists.

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All Songs Considered
10:59 am
Thu November 20, 2014

NPR Music Presents A Screening Of 'Wild Combination: A Portrait Of Arthur Russell'

Illustration by Tyler Boss

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Deceptive Cadence
6:03 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Flurry Of Premieres For American Orchestras

This weekend Leonard Slatkin leads the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in several premieres, webcast live.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra

How about some good — even great — news from American orchestras? Today and tomorrow, four of the country's biggest ensembles are playing world premieres by prominent composers.

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The Two-Way
4:14 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Motown's Jimmy Ruffin Dies; Sang 'What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted'

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 6:13 pm

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Music News
2:24 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Joyful Opera Performed In Nazi Concentration Camp Revived In Chicago

Ela Stein Weissberger joins the cast of Brundibár for a final song.
Cheryl Corley

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 5:53 pm

Brundibár, a children's opera that premiered during World War II, became both a symbol of hope and resistance and a Nazi propaganda tool. Now, Petite Opera, a small company in suburban Chicago, is reprising the opera, originally performed by Jewish children held in a concentration camp in occupied Czechoslovakia.

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A Blog Supreme
12:27 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

A Jazz Institution Moves Back Home To Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock and Pharrell Williams performed Williams' hit "Happy" at the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition.
Imeh Akpanudosen Getty Images for Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 1:38 pm

Last weekend, at a sold-out, star-studded gala concert in Hollywood, Pharrell Williams and Herbie Hancock remixed Williams' hit "Happy," Kevin Spacey served up a compelling Frank Sinatra imitation singing "Fly Me To The Moon" and former President Bill Clinton offered a heartfelt reminiscence about his early days as a John Coltrane wannabe. ("Sometimes frustrated jazz musicians end up in another line of work and it ends up pretty good," he joked.) The opener was a jazz concert: Three virtuosic young trumpet players — Adam O'Farrill, Billy Buss and Marquis Hill — deftly negotiated standards.

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Music News
3:29 am
Wed November 19, 2014

'Do They Know It's Christmas?' Raises Hackles As Well As Dollars

Originally published on Sun November 23, 2014 6:17 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Now let's hear the new generation of an aging song. It's a song produced 30 years ago to raise money for people in Africa.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DO THEY KNOW IT'S CHRISTMAS?")

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The Record
6:03 am
Tue November 18, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Can The Delayed Album Curse Be Lifted?

Azealia Banks.
Courtesy of the artist

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Deceptive Cadence
2:47 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Uncovering The Heart Of Chopin — Literally

Composer and pianist Frederic Chopin, who died in 1849.
General Photographic Agency Getty Images

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Music News
3:41 am
Sun November 16, 2014

'Twinkle' Sparks Fireworks As Fiddler Guts Violin Method

Shinichi Suzuki makes a rare visit to Britain in 1980 to demonstrate the method he developed for learning to play the violin.
Ian Tyas Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:37 pm

If you're a parent, the sound of a small child sawing away at the strains of the "Twinkle Variations" may be all too familiar.

It's Song One, of Book One, of the Suzuki method, a musical pedagogy developed by Shin'ichi Suzuki in the 1960s.

But lately there has been discord among music educators, a feud over methods and credentials and accusations of fraud.

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Music News
5:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

Brilliance In Bumps And Bruises, On Air And On Screen

Dave the Spazz does a weekly show on WFMU.
Courtesy of Ray Ray Sunshine Films

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 8:21 am

A new documentary about WFMU, the scrappy, chaotic and iconoclastic radio station in New Jersey, debuts today at the DOC NYC film festival. Sex and Broadcasting is described by the filmmakers as "an American tale of life, liberty and independent radio." In an opening scene, station manager Ken Freedman is on the air and delivers what amounts to a manifesto.

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The Record
11:04 am
Thu November 13, 2014

TV On The Radio And The Paradox Of The Midcareer Band

TV On The Radio's new album, its fifth, is titled Seeds.
JUCO Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 3:02 pm

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Music News
2:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

'Concert For Valor' Honors Veterans' Contributions

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 4:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Songs Considered
9:05 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Houndmouth, 'For No One'

Tyler Zoller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 9:20 am

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Music News
5:51 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Update: Tales About Led Zeppelin Reunion Tour Weren't True

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 11:09 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Music News
1:02 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Why The Caged Bird Raps

Maya Angelou's poetry and lyrics meet hip-hop beats on the new album Caged Bird Songs.
Chester Higgins Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 5:58 am

Maya Angelou: poet, singer, dancer, painter, Grammy winner — and now, hip-hop artist.

The new album Caged Bird Songs takes its title from Angelou's 1969 book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. One of the last projects Angelou worked on before her passing in May, it blends some of her most famous poems and lyrics with hip hop beats.

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Music News
3:22 pm
Sun November 9, 2014

In Berlin, A Beat That Bloomed From Rubble

Tacheles, a squat in the central district of Mitte, 1990. Spots like this one often became clubs or art spaces in the years following German reunification.
Ben de Biel

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 8:03 am

Just after 10 on a Saturday morning, at a defunct power station in central Berlin, revelers reluctantly leave a club buried in its basement. One of them asks, "Hey man, you there, you know a good place to party?" as he stumbles into the sunlight.

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