The trumpeter and educator Donald Byrd, a top jazz practitioner in the '50s and '60s whose later work shaped black pop music through multiple generations, died Feb. 4 in Dover, Del. Haley Funeral Directors near Detroit confirmed the news, which was first circulated online last week. He was 80.
Sunday night's Grammys are an opportunity to rain accolades on pop music and perhaps witness the musical return of Justin Timberlake. But each year, the Recording Academy also honors recordings of "lasting significance" by inducting them into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One of them this year is Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp's performance of "Bonaparte's Retreat."
Frank Ocean is set to take a victory lap at this year's Grammys. He's up for six awards for his album Channel Orange, including best new artist, and he'll be performing as well. But just a few months ago, Frank Ocean's music wasn't the story — his sexuality was.
To review: After a listening party for Channel Orange last July, a BBC journalist pointed out that a few of the love songs referenced a "him" where you might have expected to hear "her."
In the hippest building on what has been called the coolest block in America, Venice Beach's Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Jeff Bhasker is wearing white jeans and a T-shirt, smoking an American Spirit cigarette. He's seated at his brand new piano in his brand new apartment.
The No. 1 song in the country right now is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a rap group out of Seattle. Their claim to fame: They got the song to the top of the chart by themselves, without being signed by a major label.
Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 12:31 pm
Pioneering American conductor, National Medal of Arts winner and poet James DePreist died early this morning in Scottsdale, Ariz. He was 76 years old. His death, his manager told Deceptive Cadence, stemmed from complications following a heart attack he suffered nearly a year ago.
Among the hundreds of musicians vying for Grammy Awards this year is Al Walser, a Los Angeles-based disc jockey and singer whose song "I Can't Live Without You" is nominated in the best dance single category. Walser is not a widely known name — many Grammy nominees aren't — but he's competing in a category against some of pop music's heaviest hitters.
Reg Presley, the founder and lead singer of The Troggs, the rock group best known for the performing the original version of the song "Wild Thing," has died. Presley was 71. He died of lung cancer yesterday at his home in England.
Originally published on Mon February 4, 2013 10:38 am
One of the Twitter hashtags devised by rabid Beyonce fans before last night's Super Bowl halftime show was religious in nature: #praisebeysus. Praise Beysus! This bit of hyperventilating resonated in interesting ways. Strutting into the very center of America's biggest television spectacle, the 31-year-old superstar intended to secure her place in the musical pantheon next to recent Super Bowl-approved legends Madonna, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and Prince.
Hugely good news for all you wandering minstrels: After years of pressure from groups like the American Federation of Musicians, the FAA has just passed a bill that (finally!) allows musicians to carry their instruments as carry-on luggage or, for larger instruments, to buy an extra seat. However, the federal agency has a year to implement the new standards.
The jazz musician Butch Morris was beloved by his fellow musicians and acclaimed by critics and fans for his ability to conduct improvisation. While that may sound like a contradiction, Morris pulled it off — with jazz musicians and symphony orchestras around the world.
A resident of New York City, he died yesterday in a Brooklyn hospital of cancer. He was 65 years old.
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 8:20 am
Lawrence D. "Butch" Morris, an improvising musician who pioneered a system of ensemble interaction he called Conduction, has died at a hospital in New York City, his publicist confirmed. He had lung cancer, which was diagnosed last August. He was 65.
Prices on mail sent through the U.S. Postal Service increased this week — the price of a first-class stamp now costs 46 cents, up a penny. But for small businesses that ship products overseas, like many independent record labels, the costs could be much larger.
Brian Lowit, who has worked at Washington, D.C.'s Dischord Records for 10 years, says that while a postage rate hike is a familiar bump in the road, "I've never seen one this drastic."
The longest-running Broadway musical ever, Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera, celebrated Saturday another milestone: its 25th anniversary.
When it all started Jan. 26, 1988, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States, a gallon of gas cost about 90 cents and a ticket to The Phantom of the Opera was a whopping $50. It was the hottest ticket in town.
Times have changed, prices have changed, but that disfigured, tortured genius who haunts the Paris Opera House, creating havoc and causing the chandelier to fall, has endured.
You've never heard of Jimmy Van Heusen? Well, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has. You certainly know many of his songs, says Brook Babcock, Van Heusen's grandnephew and president of his publishing company.
As a play, Doubt won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award. As a movie, it secured Oscar nominations for Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams. This weekend, Doubt gets its world premiere as an opera — which, according to the work's original playwright, provides the story's fullest telling.
Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 1:20 pm
Anne Akiko Meyers — the violinist who made news a year ago for an album recorded on her two Stradivarius instruments, including the then record price-breaking "Molitor" Strad, which she purchased for $3.6 million — announced yesterday that she's been given lifetime use of the 1741 "Vieuxtemps" Guarne