Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 5:46 pm
It's 4:30 in the morning in Washington, D.C., and dank pools of sweat are collecting on the dance floor beneath a dripping basement ceiling. I can see Sonny Moore's heart beating through his shirt. The 24-year-old DJ, whose producing alias, Skrillex, is a major keyword for the new wave of American dance music, just wrapped up an intimate surprise show at U Street Music Hall (my local gateway to electronic music and a place where I also DJ from time to time).
Former British rock star Gary Glitter, whose real name is Paul Gadd, returns home in central London on Sunday after he was arrested earlier in the day by British police as they investigate the mountain of sexual abuse allegations against the late TV star Jimmy Savile.
There's a new development in the British investigation into the allegations of child sex abuse against a late BBC television host: U.K. media, including the BBC, are reporting that police Sunday arrested rocker and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter on suspicion of sex offenses.
An announcement: The end-of-the-week recap, formerly "Around The Jazz Internet" or "The Friday Link Dump," has a new name. Musicians will know that a "lead sheet" is a melodic sketch with chord changes, a reference guide for when you don't know the tune by heart. Here's what you ought to read from this week:
Uff da: Along with the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra has also locked out its musicians, leaving the Twin Cities bereft for now. "Players at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra did not vote on an offer from management, and the board of directors shut the doors and canceled concerts through Nov. 4 ... So for the first time since the SPCO launched in 1959, neither orchestra will be playing for at least the next two weeks."
Originally published on Sun October 28, 2012 9:47 am
Nina Simone haunts. Meshell Ndegeocello hypnotizes. This difference is as subtle as it is crucial and is on full display in Ndegeocello's latest album, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone, which came out earlier this month. In the past few weeks, she's been performing songs from Simone's vast repertoire during a small and intimate tour.
Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 9:49 am
This week, we've been watching reports from the CMJ Music Marathon spill out of clubs in New York and onto the Internet, wondering who the next big band will be, even as we kept our eye on news that Beyonce would be performing on a much bigger stage in February and mourned the death of saxophonist David S.
While Radio Liberty struggles to reinvent itself, this week brought a big announcement from a group that has dominated the radio for half a century.
SIR MICK JAGGER: Soon we'll be back on stage playing for you in two cities that know how to rock and roll.
SIEGEL: That's the Rolling Stones announcing a new concert tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. They've scheduled four shows so far, starting next month, two in Newark, New Jersey and two in their hometown of London.
Everywhere you look right now, it seems like American symphony orchestras are fighting for their lives — strikes, lockouts, bankruptcy. Perhaps the biggest example is the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, which is just coming out of its own bankruptcy. Tonight, its new 37-year-old music director takes the podium as the venerable orchestra begins a reboot.
Jason Lytle is the man behind the Modesto, Calif., band Grandaddy. The band released its debut in 1997, but it was Grandaddy's second album — The Sophtware Slump — that broke through with critics and fans. Even David Bowie called himself a fan when he approached the band members after seeing them play.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 2:53 pm
New York Philharmonic Music Director Emeritus Kurt Masur, 85, has announced that he has been living with Parkinson's disease for several years: "I have had the fortune of receiving great medical care since the diagnosis, enabling me to continue my conducting activities. These recent events have served as a good opportunity to make a return to the podium with a greater sense of purpose and awareness."
<strong>The Hardware:</strong> The Rio, a portable MP3 player introduced by Diamond Multimedia in 1998, had 32MB of internal memory, just about enough to hold one 35-minute album of MP3s encoded at 128 kBps.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 5:31 am
Last week, Joel Rose wrote about the compact disc on its 30th anniversary, but it could have been an obituary. In the last decade, CD sales in the United States have dropped by more than two thirds, fulfilling a cycle that dates back to wax cylinders and 78 rpm discs: the 20 to 30 year lifespan of a format, followed by the rise of a new technology. So we decided to look at the format that usurped the CD's place in music listener's ears and hard drives, if not always hearts.
It's been a tumultuous time for American orchestras. Labor disputes have shut down the Minnesota Orchestra and Indianapolis Symphony, and strikes and lockouts have affected orchestras in Chicago, Atlanta and Louisville in the past year.
Though it's been around for three decades, 3-D printing has finally started to take off for manufacturing and even for regular consumers. It's being used for making airplane parts on demand and letting kids make their own toys. One designer is pushing the limits of 3-D printing by using it to make an acoustic guitar.
Whither smooth jazz? Though straight-ahead and experimental fans might assume their, uh, less bumpy cousin is weathering the storm, the loss of many radio stations is affecting the field a lot. David Adler talks to many musicians and industry insiders for JazzTimes. That includes Kenny G, who is identified on subsequent reference as "G," in a sidebar.
Pakistani pop singer Shehzad Roy (right) sings for teenage prisoners at a prison in Karachi, Pakistan, in 2008. Known originally for fluffy pop songs, Roy's music has taken a harder, more political edge, protesting injustice in Pakistan.
Credit Shakeel Adil / AP
Roy is shown here at the Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi, a poor public school being refurbished by his education nonprofit, Zindagi Trust.
Credit Lauren Frayer / NPR
Handmade decorations adorn the refurbished Fatima Jinnah girls school, where stray dogs once roamed the classrooms.
Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 1:26 pm
When listening to Diana Krall's fun, smart new recording Glad Rag Doll, it's helpful to consider a question recently posed by Gyp Rosetti, the sensitive psychopath lending sparks to this season of HBO's Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire.
Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 12:25 pm
Last Friday two things changed. The shifts weren't seismic, or unexpected, but now Brooklyn is different and hip-hop is different. It's because of Jay-Z, who, despite owning only 0.067% of the Nets and less than 0.2% of the Barclays Center, has become the public face of Brooklyn – not the team, the town.
Known for his gritty baritone, Waylon Jennings embodied the outlaw side of country music. He was 64 when he died of complications from diabetes, leaving behind a collection of vocal tracks that remained unfinished until now.
"It was almost shocking when I first heard it," says the singer Jessi Colter, who was married to Jennings for more than 30 years. "It took me several times to be able to listen to it. It sounded like he was there, that he's opening his heart to you, and he's telling you how he feels."
Today marks the 30th anniversary of a musical format many of us grew up with: the compact disc. It's been three decades since the first CD went on sale in Japan. The shiny discs came to dominate music industry sales, but their popularity has faded in the digital age they helped unleash. The CD is just the latest musical format to rise and fall in roughly the same 30-year cycle.
Compact discs had been pressed before 1982, but the first CD to officially go on sale was Billy Joel's 52nd Street.