There are two war-related anniversaries this week that make today's album review all the more timely. Yesterday was Memorial Day here in the U.S.; tomorrow, May 30, marks 50 years since the world premiere of English composer Benjamin Britten's War Requiem at Coventry Cathedral. The War Requiem was commissioned for the cathedral's reconsecration after it had been destroyed by a Nazi bombing raid in 1940.
The death of a great musician ripples through the jazz community. It's a special loss to those improvisers we might call immediate survivors: working partners who'll miss that special interaction with a singular musician.
It's taken a decade, but Trampled by Turtles' music has officially crossed over into the mainstream. The Minnesota band's most recent albums, Palomino and the new Stars and Satellites, have helped Trampled by Turtles make the transition from club favorite to the sort of cult sensation that draws enormous festival crowds.
Some of the best recent classical music stories have come from Venezuela, that country's youth orchestra program El Sistema and its most popular graduate, Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Gustavo Dudamel.
When the Canadian Brass came to NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert, the group kicked off the show with a piece its members say has been central to its repertoire for more than 40 years. It's a transcription of an organ work, Johann Sebastian Bach's "Little" Fugue in G Minor.
If you drive about an hour and a half north of Santa Fe, N.M., into a place called the Chama Canyon, you might hear the clanging of church bells in the distance. The Monastery of Christ in the Desert was founded there in 1964 and is home to a community of Benedictine monks. They spend their days in prayer, work, meditation — and music.
The Denver folk group The Lumineers was founded in 2002 by Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites, who grew up together in the New Jersey suburb of Ramsey. In its early days, the band had its sights on nearby New York as the gateway to success.
The Puerto Rican drummer Henry Cole is probably best known in the U.S. as a stellar jazz accompanist, with bands led by compatriots and saxophonists David Sánchez and Miguel Zenón. Back in San Juan, Cole also works with poets and rappers, bomba musicians and pleneros, rockers and salsa ringleaders. He found they could all get down to Fela Kuti-style Afrobeat, and many jam sessions later, he found a way to record that sound for the 2012 album Roots Before Branches, with top New York jazz soloists coursing through it.