The late Stephane Grappelli is perhaps the best-known jazz violinist in history. His collaborations with guitarist Django Reinhardt have influenced countless musicians. A comparison to Grappelli is one of the highest honors a young, rising violinist can receive.
Double bassist Renaud Garcia-Fons was destined to create music that spans genres and borders: He was born in France to a family with roots in the Catalonia region of Spain, and he's fluent in French, Spanish and English. Classical, jazz and flamenco represent equal parts of his musical DNA, and his technique reflects the delicate arco stylings of concert halls, the deep groove of jazz and the raw vitality of flamenco.
In 2009, The Avett Brothers became one of the surprise hits of the year. Paste Magazine considered their I and Love and You the best album of that year, calling it "an overpowering acoustic album brimming with sadness and soul."
That sadness took on new meaning recently. Bassist Bob Crawford took a temporary leave from the band to tend to his infant daughter, Hallie, after she developed a brain tumor.
Next month, The Avett Brothers release a new album, The Carpenter, which explores the delicate balance between life and death.
With the voice of a classic country crooner, singer-songwriter Doug Paisley writes lyrics to which everyone can relate. While fiddles sound off in the background, Paisley takes a break from Oregon's Pickathon Music Festival to perform a new acoustic song for opbmusic.org.
Sean Rowe has a voice and a style that stands out in popular music. His voice is deep — really, truly deep — fine, and often doleful. He's a baritone troubadour who sings of roads not taken, regrets and the dreams that shake you awake at 3 in the morning.
After years of working bars, road houses and more bars, Rowe is playing concert stages and winning over critics for his story-songs and that remarkable voice. But, as he tells NPR's Scott Simon, he wasn't always so proud to be a singer.
Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 11:05 am
This episode of Piano Jazz features the unique music of soprano saxophonist Paul Winter. He joins host Marian McPartland, along with bassist Gary Mazzaroppi and drummer Glenn Davis, for a set of ballads and originals. The set also features an additional special soloist — a humpback whale.
"It was very impressive," remembers McPartland. "And we don't often do a show so full of ballads. It was a different sort of show."
Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 7:03 am
Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson is a modern-day troubadour whose crooning voice and acoustic folk songs often get him compared to Bob Dylan. Matsson recently released his third full-length solo album, There's No Leaving Now, under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 12:27 pm
In the aftermath of Marvin Hamlisch's death, Michael Feinstein is taking the reins at the Pasadena Pops in California as the group's lead conductor. Here's the twist: Feinstein has never conducted before. "He's a musician's musician, and that's what our orchestra responds to and respects," says Paul Jan Zdunek, the CEO of the Pasadena Symphony Association.