Music News

A Blog Supreme
3:04 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Remembering Donald Byrd, Jazz Trumpeter Who Spanned Generations

Donald Byrd onstage, in an image circulated by his record label at the time, Blue Note Records.
Echoes/Redferns Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 9:23 am

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.

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The Record
1:06 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Mumford & Sons Take Home Album Of The Year Grammy

Mumford & Sons (from left: Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall) accept the award for album of the year at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 10:25 am

Listen to Mandalit del Barco's radio report from the Grammys at the audio link.

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Music News
12:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

The Kentucky Fiddler Who Inspired Aaron Copland's 'Rodeo'

Fiddler Bill Stepp in Kentucky's Magoffin County in the 1930s.
Courtesy of Elsie Risner and Becky Arnett

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 6:29 pm

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."

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Music News
3:45 am
Sat February 9, 2013

Frank Ocean's Big Year, And What Hasn't Changed In Hip-Hop

Frank Ocean performs at the MTV Video Music Awards in September 2012.
Kevin Mazur WireImage

Originally published on Sat February 9, 2013 10:11 am

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."

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The Record
3:16 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Famous Behind The Scenes, A Hitmaker Covets The Spotlight

Producer and songwriter Jeff Bhasker is nominated for four Grammy Awards this weekend, including producer of the year, non-classical division.
Ninelle Efremova Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:09 pm

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.

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Planet Money
11:13 am
Fri February 8, 2013

The Real Story Of How Macklemore Got 'Thrift Shop' To No. 1

Twitter

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 5:09 pm

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.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:59 am
Fri February 8, 2013

Remembering Pioneering American Conductor, Poet And Anime Inspiration James DePreist

The late American conductor James DePreist.
Wendy Leher courtesy of the artist

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.

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The Record
1:17 am
Fri February 8, 2013

In A Diverse World, Grammy Sticks To Its Values

Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys performs in England last August. Along with five nominations for his band, Auerbach is nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical division.
Simone Joyner Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 2:48 pm

If you took one song each from the artists likely to walk away with Grammy awards on Sunday night, you'd have a pretty decent playlist.

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A Blog Supreme
2:12 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

Why J Dilla May Be Jazz's Latest Great Innovator

J Dilla in the studio of fellow producer Madlib.
Roger Erickson Courtesy of the artist

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The Record
1:29 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Why Al Walser Got A Grammy Nomination And Justin Bieber Didn't

Justin Bieber on stage in December. Bieber's 2012 album Believe, despite selling over 1,000,000 copies, wasn't nominated for a single Grammy Award.
Michael Kovac Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 8, 2013 2:49 pm

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.

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Music News
2:19 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

The 'Ancient Vibration' Of Parlor Music, Revived By Two Generations

Lena Hughes recorded one album of Southern parlor music before her death in 1998.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 7, 2013 7:29 am

Sometime in the mid-1960s — no one's really sure when — Lena Hughes walked into a recording studio, probably in Arkansas. What we do know is that she recorded 11 tunes on the guitar.

"It's kind of like listening to 1880," folklorist Howard Marshall says. "You kind of get a wonderful, ancient vibration."

Marshall wrote a book about traditional music in Missouri, called Play Me Something Quick and Devilish.

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The Record
2:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Reg Presley, The Voice Of 'Wild Thing,' Dies

Reg Presley in Hamburg, circa 1965.
Petra Niemeier — K & K Redferns

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 4:36 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
10:34 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Reg Presley, Who Sang 'Wild Thing' With The Troggs, Dies

Reg Presley of The Troggs in 1967.
PA Photos /Landov

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 12:07 pm

  • From the NPR Newscast: A little 'Wild Thing' and Neda Ulaby's report on Reg Presley

Grab a guitar, hit those three chords (A, D, E) and take three minutes to pay your respects:

Reg Presley, who sang Wild Thing with The Troggs in 1966, is dead. He was 71 and had suffered a series of strokes recently.

The band's website says Presley "died peacefully" on Monday, "surrounded by all of his family."

NPR's Neda Ulaby tells our Newscast Desk that:

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Music News
2:09 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Remembering Karen Carpenter, 30 Years Later

Karen Carpenter, of The Carpenters, performs in London in 1974.
Tim Graham Getty Images

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 2:38 pm

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The Record
8:41 am
Mon February 4, 2013

The Roots Of Beyonce's Super Bowl Spectacular

Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night.
Ezra Shaw Getty Images

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.

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The Record
6:28 am
Sun February 3, 2013

A Small-Time Wordsmith Hits It Big In Nashville

Once a poet and an English teacher, Jim McCormick has become a powerhouse Nashville songwriter.
Scott Saltzman Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 4:21 pm

In March, country music star Jason Aldean is playing Madison Square Garden. Tickets sold out in 10 minutes. Fans want to hear his latest No. 1 song, "Take a Little Ride."

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Afghanistan
3:21 am
Sun February 3, 2013

From A Land Where Music Was Banned — To Carnegie Hall

Afghanistan's youth orchestra performs in Kabul on Jan. 31. The orchestra is coming to the U.S. and will appear at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.
Shah Marai AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 3, 2013 1:49 pm

In Afghanistan, there was no sound of music when the Taliban ruled from 1996 to 2001. The Islamist militants destroyed music CDs and instruments and even jailed musicians.

Today, there are music schools and young Afghans playing in public. And, this weekend, 48 Afghan boys and girls are traveling to the U.S. to perform at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center.

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Deceptive Cadence
8:03 am
Fri February 1, 2013

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

  • 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.
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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Beyoncé On Lip-Syncing: 'I Did Not Feel Comfortable Taking A Risk'

Pat Benic DPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 3:34 pm

The Grammy-award winning singer Beyoncé has finally put an end to all the talk surrounding her performance during President Obama's second inauguration.

And she did it in diva fashion, during a press conference to preview her Super Bowl performance.

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The Record
6:03 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Patty Andrews, Leader Of The Andrews Sisters, Dies

The Andrews Sisters (from left, Maxene, Patty and LaVerne) in the 1940s. Patty was the star of the sibling act.
GAB Archive/Redferns Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 11:40 am

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Music News
3:51 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Remembering Butch Morris, The Man Who Conducted Improvisation

Butch Morris leads a conduction at the 2007 Skopje Jazz Festival in Macedonia.
Samir Ljuma for NPR

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:18 pm

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.

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The Record
8:59 am
Wed January 30, 2013

All The Singular Ladies: 6 Women At The Cutting Edge Of R&B

The cover of Dawn Richard's Goldenheart.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:30 pm

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A Blog Supreme
4:41 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

Butch Morris, Jazz Bandleader And Conductor, Dies

Butch Morris in Amsterdam in 1986.
Frans Schellekens Redferns

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.

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The Record
1:40 am
Tue January 29, 2013

Rising Postal Rates Squeeze Small Record Labels

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 8:51 am

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."

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Theater
4:55 am
Sun January 27, 2013

25 Years Strong, 'Phantom Of The Opera' Kills And Kills Again

Hugh Panaro is The Phantom and Sierra Boggess is Christine in the 25th anniversary cast of The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.
Joan Marcus

Originally published on Sun January 27, 2013 11:31 am

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.

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Music News
12:03 am
Sat January 26, 2013

The Composer Who Tested Fighter Planes And Partied With Sinatra

Jimmy Van Heusen with Frank Sinatra in the 1950s. Van Heusen wrote dozens of songs for the crooner and became Sinatra's close friend and confidant.
Courtesy of Burns Media Productions

Originally published on Sat January 26, 2013 3:36 pm

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.

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Music
12:42 pm
Fri January 25, 2013

New Opera Gets Benefit Of The 'Doubt'

In the operatic version of Doubt, Father Flynn (Matthew Worth) must defend his name after a suspicious Sister Aloysius (Christine Brewer) accuses him of sexually abusing an altar boy.
Michal Daniel Minnesota Opera

Originally published on Fri January 25, 2013 5:25 pm

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.

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Europe
9:58 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Honoring 'Our Will To Live': The Lost Music Of The Holocaust

The Nazis imprisoned Czech composer Rudolf Karel (shown here in a sketch from 1945) for helping the resistance in Prague. He wrote his compositions down on toilet paper.
Courtesy of Francesco Lotoro

Originally published on Fri February 1, 2013 7:56 am

For the past two decades, in a small town in southern Italy, a pianist and music teacher has been hunting for and resurrecting the music of the dead.

Francesco Lotoro has found thousands of songs, symphonies and operas written in concentration, labor and POW camps in Germany and elsewhere before and during World War II.

By rescuing compositions written in imprisonment, Lotoro wants to fill the hole left in Europe's musical history and show how even the horrors of the Holocaust could not suppress artistic inspiration.

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Deceptive Cadence
7:03 am
Fri January 25, 2013

Classical Crib Sheet: Top 5 Stories This Week

Anne Akiko Meyers, holding the "Vieuxtemps" Guarneri del Gesu violin, which reportedly sold for a record price. She says the anonymous buyer has offered her use of the instrument for life.
courtesy of the artist

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
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The Record
9:12 am
Thu January 24, 2013

How Music Transforms The Silver Screen

On her new album, Petra Goes To The Movies, Petra Haden recreates movie themes using densely layered arrangements of her own voice.
Steven Perilloux Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 11:47 am

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