I haven't been able to listen to Vic Chesnutt's music much since he took his own life on Christmas Day, 2009. It's just been too heartbreaking. But on a recent, chilly Spring night in D.C. I had my iPod on random and Vic's song "Aunt Avis" came up. It was one of those seemingly innocuous moments when you're off in your own little world and something hits you out of the blue.
There's a new superstar pianist on the horizon: Behzod Abduraimov. Haven't heard of him yet? That's not surprising — at just 21, this native of Tashkent, Uzbekistan has kept a very low profile so far. He's spent the past five years in the U.S., but not at a big-name school like the Curtis Institute (like Lang Lang or Yuja Wang, for example) or at Juilliard, where he was accepted as a student. Instead, he went to study with Stanislav Ioudenitch Park University in Salt Lake City Parkville, Missouri, where he's still enrolled.
It's been nearly two years since soldier Bradley Manning was arrested under suspicion of obtaining and distributing classified military documents to WikiLeaks. The 24-year old Oklahoma native now faces 22 different charges, including aiding the enemy — a charge that, if he is found guilty, would result in possible life imprisonment.
As a general rule, if it's in The Fader, it's new. There's a good chance that you've never heard of many of the musicians who fill the magazine, which is based in New York and flaunts that city's bustling diversity and also its celebration of the cutting edge. But part of that celebration, every year, is the magazine's Icon issue, which takes a step back from the relentless forward motion to anoint an influential, already-celebrated figure.
When pianist Lynne Arriale released her first album, The Eyes Have It, in 1994, KPLU started playing music from it right away. It was clear to us that Arriale had that "something extra" that separates good musicians from great ones. Over the course of her career, she's continued to build on that quality, so we were especially pleased to finally welcome her as a guest artist in our Seattle performance studio.
Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 4:03 pm
Today is International Jazz Day, as decreed by Herbie Hancock and UNESCO. The centerpiece events are two all-star concerts, held at sunrise and sunset. The sunrise show was held in Congo Square in New Orleans, seemingly a nod to the dawn of jazz. Tonight's evening program takes the "international" part of International Jazz Day quite literally:
Some of the world's most renowned musicians recently gathered in Paris and New Orleans to celebrate the first annual International Jazz Day. UNESCO, the U.N.'s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has set April 30 as a day to raise awareness of jazz music's significance and potential as a unifying voice across cultures.
In spite of the celebrations, though, in the U.S. the jazz audience continues to shrink and grow older, and the music has struggled to connect with younger generations.
I have to hand it to the Putumayo label. Since it started as a soundtrack-provider to a clothing store in the early '90s, the operation has placed racks of CDs with friendly-primitivist art by Nicola Heindl into Starbucks and Whole Foods everywhere. Putumayo is as responsible as anything for making music buyers ask "Where's the world music section?" in shops or online.
Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 2:43 pm
Natural bedfellows and squatters, punk and folk music are born out of rebellion and struggle, even if they don't always stay that way. The past three decades have seen Billy Bragg, Violent Femmes, World/Inferno Friendship Society and the fiercely DIY Plan-It-X label smash together folk and punk like contra dancers in a circle pit.