Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 9:23 am
Sometimes known as the Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, the New York band Antibalas — which means "bulletproof" in Spanish — is a large group of talented musicians who play rhythm-intensive Afrobeat music. In a seven-year stretch, Antibalas has released four albums and withstood a five-year hiatus in which several members worked on the Broadway musical FELA!
Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 8:38 am
As far as single-disc compendiums of Camille Saint-Saëns' shorter orchestral works go, this new release on the Chandos label buries the competition. Neeme Järvi may have been 74 when he made these recordings with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, but he conducts with the zest of a Gustavo Dudamel, setting a new standard for everything on this consummately programmed disc.
The new quartet album by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Laurent Coq is called Rayuela, which means "hopscotch." It's named for Julio Cortázar's novel, the fragmented tale of a wandering bohemian and his social circles in Parisian exile, as well as back home in Buenos Aires.
Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:12 pm
There's something about the melodies of the great hard bop tunes — they unfurl with a certain sonic poetry. They're taut and neat, the ledgers of ragged syncopations all balanced out. Every repetition feels necessary, every variation opens up a new universe of possibilities, every chord change is the exact right movement.
Weekend Edition's series on the sounds of street music winds down with a classical guitarist: Philip Rosheger, who performs on the corner of Vine and Walnut in Berkeley, Calif. Rosheger says he was keen on music from an extremely young age — which didn't sit well with his father, a bandleader in the U.S. Air Force.
Art Garfunkel is best known as half of the legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel. The harmonies he created with Paul Simon left an indelible mark on American music, but less remembered is his string of Top 40 hits as a solo artist.
Despers USA practices on a big parking lot off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. Band members start wandering in around 6 or 7 p.m. and slowly take their places behind racks of steel drums. Like a symphony orchestra, they're organized by section — the thin tenors ringed around the outside; the big, deep, oil-drum basses toward the center; the midrange "guitars," as they're called, nearby.
Their section leader counts them in. He stops them, and then stops them again, saying the opening needs to be stronger. Eventually, they get it.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 6:38 pm
Brazilian singer Luciana Souza has worked in many genres, from jazz and bossa nova to classical music and even, as a small child, commercial jingles. A graduate of Berklee and the New England Conservatory of Music, Souza has been nominated for four Grammys and worked at a prolific pace. In fact, she's just released two albums of covers, Duos III and The Book of Chet; the latter finds her covering the works of Chet Baker.
A pioneer who muddies the waters separating jazz, blues, country, soul and rock, Cassandra Wilson possesses a beautiful voice and more than three decades of musical experience. The two-time Grammy winner began her career with the M-base collective, but found success as a solo jazz singer.