Music

News of the classical, jazz, and XPoNential worlds

Hear three sessions recorded during World Cafe's yearly visit to the Camp Stage at the Philadelphia Folk Festival. This year's event, the 55th annual installment of the festival, took place Aug. 18-21, 2016.

Liz Longley

Christopher Rouse's Symphony No. 3, which appears on his latest album, contains many levels of meaning. It's an homage to the Russian composer Sergey Prokofiev, whose Second Symphony serves as a structural model for the piece. It's an encoded musical portrait of Rouse's wife. And it's an engaging piece of music even for a listener who possesses none of this background knowledge.

In October 2014, World Cafe ventured to Lafayette, La., with a camera crew under the direction of filmmaker Robert Mugge, who would turn the trip into the documentary Zydeco Crossroads.

Tune in for the next All This Jazz, beginning at 9pm on Saturday the 24th, right here on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS-FM...and online by way of our "Listen Live" stream at PublicRadioTulsa.org.

ATJ delivers three hours of modern jazz -- across a wonderfully wide range of styles -- each and every Saturday night, from 9 o'clock till midnight. (We also offer a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday evenings, on Jazz 89.5-2, which is Public Radio Tulsa's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)

Bob Boilen, the host of NPR Music's All Songs Considered podcast, sits down with John Paul White, formerly half of the Civil Wars, to discuss songs that changed the songwriter's life. The conversation takes place at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, and is part of AmericanaFest 2016.

Rachael Yamagata On Mountain Stage

Sep 22, 2016

Rachael Yamagata returns to Mountain Stage, recorded live at the Culture Center Theater in Charleston, W.Va. Before doubling down on a career as a musician, Yamagata studied French at Northwestern University and Italian theater at Vassar College. Upon relocating to Illinois, she spent a half-decade as the vocalist for the popular Chicago funk-fusion band Bumpus.

Tomorrow, two final works from composer James Horner will reach American ears: a concert piece being released on CD, and his score for the remake of the Western adventure The Magnificent Seven. The composer died a little more than a year ago in a plane crash, after creating more than 100 film scores over nearly 40 years.

American composer Julia Wolfe has won one of the biggest windfalls in the arts world. She is one of this year's MacArthur Fellows, recipients of the so-called "genius grants" given to a wide range of talented figures from the arts, humanities, sciences and social services. The 2016 class of fellows was announced early Thursday morning.

Violence against women is no modern tragedy. Composer John Adams found that out when he saw an exhibition about the tales of the Arabian Nights — ancient stories in which Scheherazade tells her murderous husband a new tantalizing tale each night for 1001 nights, thus sparing her life a day at a time. The composer, writing in Scheherazade.2's booklet notes, says he was surprised by how many of the stories included women suffering brutality.

If there's one piece by Chopin that can truly be called "trippy," it's the Mazurka in A minor, Op. 17, No. 4 – especially in this spellbinding performance by pianist Pavel Kolesnikov. The young Russian has just released a new album of Chopin's Mazurkas, arranged not chronologically but by mood and texture, flowing like a mixtape.

Many jazz pianists play tunes from the Great American Songbook, that beloved canon of standards from the early 20th century. But pianist Edward Simon has chosen to focus on another great collection of American standards for his newest album, Latin American Songbook.

Growing up in Venezuela, near the northern edge of South America, was an advantage for Simon. His early listening encompassed music from the north — Cuba and Puerto Rico — and also extended southward to the music of Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

The Americana Music in Nashville is never quite what I think it will be. This week's All Songs starts with Yola Carter, a British singer of mixed race. Next is the white Australian C.W. Stoneking, sounding like blues legend Willie Dixon. The third song on the show is by Marlon Willams, a soulful young New Zealand singer. The common thread as we explore the newest and most promising voices at AmericanaFest is a love of folk, country, roots music, but how that gets interpreted varies, and that's where the fun is.

To the people that knew and played with him, the late guitarist Jack Rose was a towering example of virtuosity and dedication, interweaving ragtime, pre-war blues, raga and American primitivism. When he died of a heart attack in 2009, he left a huge gap in communities worldwide that almost seven years later no other player has been able to fill — as evidenced by a new wave of reissues that cement Rose's visionary status: On Sept.

The 2016 Americana Honors & Awards Ceremony

Sep 19, 2016

For the last 15 years, the Americana Music Association Honors & Awards has recognized instrumentalists and songwriters across the roots-music spectrum. But, really, it's a big party with loads of performances at the legendary Ryman Auditorium. On Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Margo Price has had an incredible year, but there's a long story to be told leading up to Midwest Farmer's Daughter. The country singer-songwriter will join NPR Music's Ann Powers during AmericanaFest, along with friends and collaborators who have made East Nashville such a thriving hub of roots music. Everyone will share songs and stories in-the-round, with a live webcast on this page on Sept. 21, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.

Lisa Hannigan's song "Funeral Suit," from her latest album, At Swim, displays her knack for showcasing beauty in the ordinary. The Irish singer-songwriter says the song is autobiographical, and it's all about drawing out the complexity and significance of a moment in time.

Singer-songwriter Richard Shindell has been making records for almost 25 years and has risen to the top of the folk-music world. For this year's Careless, Shindell is back with a new collection of original songs — a project that stretched out over three years, between his work on The Pine Hill Project with Lucy Kaplansky and his life in Buenos Aires (where he lives with his family).

Listen for the next All This Jazz, beginning at 9pm on Saturday the 17th, right here on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS-FM...and online by way of our "Listen Live" stream at PublicRadioTulsa.org. ATJ delivers three hours of modern jazz -- across a wonderfully wide range of styles -- each and every Saturday night, from 9 o'clock till midnight. (We also offer a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday evenings, on Jazz 89.5-2, which is Public Radio Tulsa's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)

Leonard Feather On Piano Jazz

Sep 16, 2016

Leonard Feather (1914–1994) was hailed as the "Dean of Jazz Journalists." He critiqued artists for Downbeat, Melody Maker, Wire and his own weekly syndicated column in the Los Angeles Times. He authored works including The Jazz Years: Earwitness To An Era and The Encyclopedia Of Jazz.

Tim Page is no longer afraid of death. That's the one positive takeaway for him after surviving a traumatic brain injury.

Last year, the University of Southern California music and journalism professor — who was also a child prodigy filmmaker, Pulitzer-winning critic, person with Asperger's and father of three — collapsed at a train station. He woke up in an ambulance speeding to the hospital. He's still recovering, still fumbling a bit with the jigsaw pieces of a life a now a little more puzzling, a little more amazing.

Talk to nearly any classical music critic about heroes of the trade and one name usually comes up: Virgil Thomson. Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times advises: "Every practicing and aspiring critic today should read Thomson's exhilarating writings."

Just reading about the Japanese film Nagasaki: Memories Of My Son is enough to get you choked up. Directed last year by 84-year-old legend Yoji Yamada, it stars longtime actor Sayuri Yoshinaga as a mother whose son dies in the 1945 bombing of Nagasaki and visits her as a ghost until she herself passes on. It's a heavy, heartbreaking tale, for which veteran composer Ryuichi Sakamoto was tasked with creating appropriately poignant music. Making things even heavier, this would be Sakomoto's first score since recovering from throat cancer last year.

River Whyless On World Cafe

Sep 14, 2016

The North Carolina band River Whyless is made up of four virtuoso musicians: Ryan O'Keefe, Halli Anderson, Alex McWalters and Daniel Shearin. What makes them — and their new album, We All The Light -- so special is how the four talents work together. For instance, in making the new album, they say they'd often write separate sections of music individually and craft them into one new song together.

When you think of an orchestra, you're probably picturing refined woodwoods, brass, and strings. But one ensemble I recently met is made up mostly of kids who play instruments made out of literal trash. This is the Recycled Orchestra from Cateura, Paraguay, and their group is the subject of a new documentary film.

Billy Bragg And Joe Henry On World Cafe

Sep 13, 2016

Billy Bragg and Joe Henry recorded much of their new album, Shine A Light: Field Recordings From The Great American Railroad, during a four-day rail trip, stopping to use the natural acoustics at train stations across the country.

The story goes that when he was 16 years old, Bob Weir met Jerry Garcia, and the Grateful Dead's long, strange trip began. Now, with the forthcoming release of Blue Mountain, Weir's first new solo album since 1978's Heaven Helps The Fool, comes a little pre-Dead history.

Derek Gripper was a musician with a problem. He'd been playing classical music since he was 6 years old — violin, then piano and finally guitar. He was poised for an international career as a classical guitarist. But he remembers going to the homeland of one of his favorite composers, Johann Sebastian Bach.

"It felt kind of strange," he says. "It felt strange to be in Germany playing Bach to them."

Tune in for the next All This Jazz, beginning at 9pm on Saturday the 10th, right here on Public Radio 89.5 KWGS-FM...and online by way of our "Listen Live" stream at PublicRadioTulsa.org. Our program delivers three hours of modern jazz -- across a wonderfully wide range of styles -- each and every Saturday night, from 9 o'clock till midnight. (We also offer a 7pm re-airing of ATJ on Sunday evenings, on Jazz 89.5-2, which is Public Radio Tulsa's all-jazz HD Radio channel.)

Robert Glasper is always making music. Solo or with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, he's released 9 albums and collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Kendrick Lamar, investigating the sounds and rhythms of jazz and hip-hop in equal measure,

Oliver Jones On Piano Jazz

Sep 9, 2016

Oliver Jones is one of Canada's premier pianists and a winner of the prestigious Oscar Peterson Award. As a child, he took lessons with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, Oscar Peterson's sister. With a long career as a performer, composer and educator, Jones is an important player in the international jazz piano scene.

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