If you stop by the Cuban restaurant Guantanamera in midtown Manhattan on a weeknight you're apt to hear one of the great Cuban bands of our time. The Pedrito Martinez Group is a four-piece powerhouse. Since they formed in 2007, they've earned a fanatical following in Latin music circles.
The group's self-titled debut CD is just out and Banning Eyre has this review.
Originally published on Mon October 28, 2013 12:22 pm
As the pallbearers carried the casket through the streets of New Orleans, a brass band led the procession with the slow dirge "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." But this was no jazz funeral, this was a brass band blowout, and painted on the coffin were the names of competing bands: New Breed, New Generation and To Be Continued.
We're listening now to some of the music of Lou Reed. He died over the weekend at the age of 71. He was in his mid-20s in 1967 when he released this song called "Sunday Morning" on the album "The Velvet Underground and Nico."
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNDAY MORNING")
LOU REED: (Singing) Early dawnin', Sunday mornin'...
Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 4:09 pm
How much does any musician's outtakes, sanctioned for release years after the fact, enlarge our understanding of their canonical work? Depends on the artist; depends on the work. Sometimes they serve a shadow function — unissued songs that, had they come out the first time around, would have fundamentally rewritten the artist's story. Sometimes they simply present alternate routes to the same basic end-point. And sometimes they should have stayed in the damn vault.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 8:08 am
The Slants, a six-member band from Portland, Ore., calls their sound "Chinatown Dance Rock" — a little bit New Order, a little bit Depeche Mode. They describe themselves as one of the first Asian-American rock bands. Their music caters to an Asian-American crowd, they've spoken at various Asian-American events, and they're proud of all of it.
If you were listening to NPR 10 years ago this week, you might have heard this enthusiastic proclamation: "The wait is finally over for architect Frank Gehry, for the musicians and staff of the LA Philharmonic, and for all of Los Angeles. Tonight, for the first time in public, the orchestra plays its magnificent new instrument: Walt Disney Concert Hall."
Today, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its annual class of nominees. In total, there are 16 bands and artists up for induction and we're going to tick through a few in a not-so-veiled attempt to play some rock on our airways, starting with a 1990s mainstay, Nirvana. We'll take our teenage angst in flannel please.
(SOUNDBITE FROM SONG, 'SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT')
NIRVANA: (Singing) Well the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us...
Rapper Pitbull (Armando Christian Pérez) is the latest in a long list of celebrities lending their star power to the flourishing charter school movement. Alicia Keyes, Denzel Washington, Shakira, Oprah — all support or sponsor charter schools.
In New Orleans, it's cool to be in the high school band — especially when Trombone Shorty shows up in the band room.
The brass player and bandleader recently paid a visit to New Orleans' Warren Easton High School to work with band members. It's part of his work with the Trombone Shorty Foundation, a music education initiative.
"[Trombone Shorty] is, without a doubt, the role model for the next generation right now," says Bill Taylor, the foundation's executive director.
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:36 am
Close your eyes, and you may think that this is 1913. In the past few days, the classical music community has been set aflame by recent comments from three prominent male conductors who are — steel yourself — actually saying that women are not capable of standing on the podium.
Last week the ninth edition of the A3C Hip-Hop Festival went down in Atlanta, Ga. A3C, which stands for All Three Coasts, began as a three-day event at one venue in Atlanta's Midtown neighborhood and this year spread over five days and dozens of venues all over the city.
This morning the New York City Opera announced that it was declaring bankruptcy and ceasing operations. Dubbed "The People's Opera" by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia when it was founded 70 years ago, the company was meant as an alternative to the richer Metropolitan Opera. It's the place where exciting young singers like Beverly Sills and Placido Domingo made their New York debuts and where innovative productions of new operas premiered.