What is it about the rhythm of a song that grabs your ear? Odds are, it has something to do with your ability to tap your foot or move your body to the beat. But if you've ever heard a song whose beat you couldn't quite follow, you may have been hearing what's called a polyrhythm — the musical equivalent of patting your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time.
Pianist Horace Silver, whose potent and catchy combination of blues, funk and Latin sounds shifted the jazz landscape in the 1950s and '60s, died Wednesday morning at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He died of natural causes, according to his son, Gregory Silver. He was 85.
As a bandleader, Horace Silver mentored some of the hottest musicians of his era. As a composer, he devised numerous jazz standards still played today.
Pianist and composer Horace Silver, who created a rhythmic jazz known as "hard bop" that combined R&B and gospel to go along with his eclectic style of piano playing, has died at age 85, his son confirms.
In 2012, alt-J made its debut with An Awesome Wave, and every one of those 13 songs would slay me.Now the band has returnedwith another shifting and intrepid sonic adventure, "Hunger of the Pine," which will appear on alt-J's second album, This Is All Yours, out on Sept. 22.
To say that 1974 was a year of change and challenge for David Bowie and his fans is an understatement as extreme as the lurid outfits he'd worn as his just-abandoned alter ego, Ziggy Stardust. The incubator for the evolution was Bowie's U.S. tour that year, which began in Montreal on June 14 — 40 years ago this weekend.
SCOTT SIMON, BYLINE: I'm Scott Simon. Our next story comes from the NPR Ed team. Reporter Eric Westervelt visited a special high school in New York City for students with cognitive and physical disabilities. And he saw how the music curriculum there has transformed at least one young life.
TOBI LAKES: My name is Tobi Lakes. I'm 15 years old. I listen to I Heart Radio and radio.com - two apps. I practice my piano every night.
The El Paso Summer Music Festival made great strides in its first 9 years…and now it’s launching its 10th anniversary year as the El Paso Society for Musicians of the Future. President, Lynn Provenzano explains.
Jimmy Scott died this week. The jazz balladeer died of natural causes at his home in Las Vegas. He was 88. His ethereal contralto influenced countless singers, men and women. But his career was a series of up, downs and finally, ups, as NPR's Mandalit del Barco explains.
Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 11:59 am
Singer Jimmy Scott died of natural causes Thursday morning at his home in Las Vegas at age 88, according to his booking agent, Jean-Pierre Leduc.
Scott suffered from Kallmann's syndrome, a lifelong affliction that prevented his body from maturing through puberty. The condition slowed his growth, leaving his stature at 4 feet 11 inches until his late 30s. It also affected his vocal cords, giving him a high voice that was often misidentified as a woman's.
Originally published on Sat June 14, 2014 10:34 am
About two years ago, playwright David Henry Hwang turned down an offer to write a play about the brief life and suicide of Army Pvt. Danny Chen.
But an opera? He couldn't refuse.
"This is a story with big emotions, big primary colors in a way, and big plot events," says Hwang, who wrote the libretto for An American Soldier, a new hourlong opera commissioned by Washington National Opera.
American music festivals used to be mostly a summer thing, but in many ways they now frame the concert experience all year round. In these temporary hot spots for pleasure and cultural conversation, new artists emerge as sensations and established ones do special things with fans. Culture watchers note fashion trends and predict whose careers will rise and fall by observing what emerges from festivals' impromptu communities.
Apple may be set to end its use of the standard 3.5mm headphone connector — the mini plug — in favor of its proprietary connector, the Lightningport. If it was to do that, new iPhones, iPads and iPods wouldn't work with old headphones. It's had more than a few industry folks and Apple fanatics upset, to say the least.
Violinists were nodding their heads to a different beat this weekend, as Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Seattle Symphony presented what the rapper called "Orchestral Movements from the Hood Night." Their version of the hit "Baby Got Back" drew a large crowd of dancers to the stage.
Before 1909, American pop songs could be romantic and even coy about sex. But none were so explicit about adultery as "I Love My Wife — But Oh! You Kid!" about a married man named Jonesy and the young lass who catches his eye.
Today is June 3, a date marked by the song "Ode to Billie Joe." In 1967, it was a No. 1 hit for Bobbie Gentry, a singer-songwriter from Chickasaw County, Miss. For two weeks, Gentry was bigger than the Beatles, as her album bumped Sgt. Pepper off the top of the charts.
Pop stars are the ideal companions of their fans' daydreams, speaking their most romantic hopes and defiant declarations through the songs on the Top 40. Miranda Lambert, however, is the kind of friend who's not going to take anybody's bull. As country's most lauded million-selling artist, beloved by everyday listeners and critics alike, Lambert has crafted a body of work grounded in the realism of muscle, flesh and heart.
Apple announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Beats Electronics, agreeing to pay $3 billion for the audio equipment and subscription streaming music service founded by Dr. Dre and producer Jimmy Iovine.
Blue Note Records is the kind of record label that people like to call "storied" — so celebrated and impactful that no one narrative can capture its essence. From swing to bebop and hard bop, through fusion and the avant-garde, Blue Note has been telling the story of jazz in the grooves of its records since 1939 — and for its 75th anniversary, it's releasing remastered vinyl editions of some gems from its catalog. But the real legacy of the label is too big to capture on disc.