Music News

Music News
2:12 pm
Thu June 19, 2014

Can't Follow The Beat? Just Add Butter

Drummer LaFrae Sci (seen here in a photo shoot for Tom Tom Magazine) says that even nonmusicians can benefit from learning to hear two rhythms at once.
Meg Wachter Tom Tom Magazine

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 1:14 pm

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.

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Music News
1:00 am
Thu June 19, 2014

Stromae, Global Star In The Making, Set To Touch Down In The U.S.

Paul Van Haver, better known as Stromae, has already captured the European music market. Now, he's setting his sights on the U.S.
Dati Bendo Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 9:30 am

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A Blog Supreme
3:18 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Legendary Pianist Horace Silver Dies At 85

Originally published on Thu June 19, 2014 9:22 am

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.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Jazz Pianist, Composer Horace Silver Dies At 85

American jazz pianist Horace Silver performs at the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Netherlands, in 1988.
Frans Schellekens Redferns/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 3:43 pm

This post was updated at 5:40 p.m. ET.

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.

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All Songs Considered
12:38 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

Song Premiere: alt-J, 'Hunger Of The Pine'

alt-J, from left: Thom Green, Joe Newman, Gus Unger-Hamilton.
Gabriel Green Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 2:21 pm

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 returned with 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.

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Music News
5:09 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Release 'A Long Way To The Beginning'

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:27 am

Seun Kuti, who is the son of Afrobeat star Fela, leads his late father's band. With their 3rd album, A Long Way to the Beginning, Kuti says he and the band have finally perfected their Afrobeat sound.

The Record
12:03 pm
Sun June 15, 2014

Who Can I Be Now? How David Bowie Spent 1974

David Bowie in September of 1974 onstage in Los Angeles.
Terry O'Neill Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 16, 2014 9:58 am

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.

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The Record
9:17 am
Sun June 15, 2014

Casey Kasem, An Iconic Voice Of American Radio

Casey Kasem, in 1975.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 10:56 am

Casey Kasem, the countdown king of music radio and the voice of Scooby-Doo's Shaggy, has died at 82, his publicist confirmed Sunday.

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Education
5:26 am
Sun June 15, 2014

Transcending Music In A Special High School Band

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:18 am

Transcript

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.

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Music News
12:00 pm
Sat June 14, 2014

STATE OF THE ARTS: El Paso Society for Musicians of the Future

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.

Information:
www.epsmf.org

Music News
6:04 am
Sat June 14, 2014

Jazz Balladeer Influenced Better-Known Singers

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:18 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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.

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A Blog Supreme
3:11 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

Ethereal Jazz Singer Jimmy Scott Dies

Jimmy Scott performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 2001.
Leon Morris Redferns

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.

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Code Switch
2:28 pm
Fri June 13, 2014

An Opera Remembers The Tragedy Of An Asian-American Soldier

Andrew Stenson plays Pvt. Danny Chen in An American Soldier, a new opera about the hazing and death of the Chinese-American soldier from New York City.
Sarah Tilotta NPR

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.

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Music
3:02 am
Fri June 13, 2014

Just In Time For Father's Day: Bad Dads In Opera

Originally published on Tue June 17, 2014 6:19 am

Renee Montagne talks to music commentator Miles Hoffman, who says his candidate for opera's most evil father is the character of Alberich from Richard Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung.

The Record
1:31 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

A Gentle Buzz At The CMA Music Festival

During the CMA Festival in downtown Nashville, Miranda Lambert (left) welcomed Carrie Underwood for a duet on their hit "Somethin' Bad."
John Russell CMA

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.

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Deceptive Cadence
10:14 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Rafael Fruhbeck De Burgos, Versatile Spanish Conductor, Dies At 80

The versatile Spanish conductor Rafael Frübeck de Burgos.
Morten Abrahamsen

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 10:44 am

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Music News
2:16 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Apple Jacks The Headphone Port

What do you mean Apple is getting rid of the headphone jack? Where's it going?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 8:54 am

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 Lightning port. 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.

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Music News
1:47 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Reach For The Sky, YouTube: Music Service In Standoff

A still from Vampire Weekend's "Diane Young" music video, which has received more than 3 million views on YouTube.
YouTube

Originally published on Tue June 10, 2014 9:41 am

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The Two-Way
9:30 am
Mon June 9, 2014

Ladies And Gentlemen, Silence Please, For Sir Mix-A-Lot

Sir Mix-a-Lot and the Seattle Symphony performed his hit "Baby Got Back" amid energetic audience participation Saturday night.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed June 11, 2014 7:29 am

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.

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Music Articles
12:03 am
Sat June 7, 2014

A Catalan Singer With Many Brave And Treacherous Stories To Tell

"She has like a complete vision of music," Fernandez Miró (left) says of Silvia Perez Cruz. "She's not thinking just about vocals, about the voice. She's thinking about everything."
Raul Fndz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat June 7, 2014 10:41 am

For Spanish singer Silvia Perez Cruz, stories are everything.

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Music News
3:49 pm
Fri June 6, 2014

Nobody Panic! It's Only A Pop Song About Sex

Like the song says, his wife's gone to the country and, well, you fill in the blanks.
Courtesy of Jody Rosen

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 9:36 am

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.

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Europe
3:18 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Stopped By 'No One,' A Nun Wins Italy's 'The Voice'

After winning Italy's version of The Voice, Sister Cristina Scuccia thanks God on stage in Milan alongside her coach, Italian rapper J-Ax.
Marco Bertorello Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 6, 2014 9:49 am

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Music
12:01 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Chart-Topping 'Chapel Of Love' Turns 50

The Dixie Cups in New York City in 1964, the year the group's song "Chapel of Love" hit No. 1 on the charts.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Thu June 5, 2014 4:49 pm

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Music News
1:21 pm
Wed June 4, 2014

Well, All Right, Starchild, The Mothership Is Back

George Clinton emerges from Parliament-Funkadelic's Mothership on June 4, 1977, at the Coliseum in Los Angeles.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 4, 2014 5:18 pm

"Do y'all want to fly this evening? Do you want to ride on the Mothership?"

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Music News
11:02 am
Tue June 3, 2014

The Confounding, Enigmatic 'Ode To Billie Joe'

Bobbie Gentry rarely gave interviews and disappeared from public life in the mid-1970s.
NBC Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:03 pm

"It was the third of June ..."

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.

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The Record
6:30 am
Tue June 3, 2014

A Rational Conversation: Album Trailers, Really?

A still from the album trailer for Daft Punk's Random Access Memories.
Courtesy of Columbia Records

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All Songs Considered
5:03 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Miranda Lambert's 'Priscilla,' An Ode To 'Being Queen Of A King'

Miranda Lambert's album, Platinum, comes out on June 3.
Randee St. Nicholas Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue June 3, 2014 6:56 am

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.

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Shots - Health News
1:01 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Anatomy Of A Dance Hit: Why We Love To Boogie With Pharrell

YouTube

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 6:32 am

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The Two-Way
3:34 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Apple Buys Dr. Dre's Beats Electronics For $3 Billion

Apple announced Wednesday that it is acquiring Beats Electronics for $3 billion. Beats, the headphone and music streaming specialist, also brings the swagger of rapper Dr. Dre and recording impresario Jimmy Iovine.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 5:41 pm

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.

While it is relatively small in comparison with major acquisitions made by other tech companies, the deal represents the largest-ever for 38-year-old Apple.

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Music Articles
2:49 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Cause For Celebration: The Iconic Blue Note Records At 75

Drummer Art Blakey, who recorded for Blue Note from 1954 to 1965, in the studio.
Francis Wolff Blue Note Records

Originally published on Wed May 28, 2014 9:48 pm

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.

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