Arvo Pärt was saved by the bell. The Estonian composer, who turns 80 in September, hit a creative roadblock in 1968. After a hiatus of eight years he returned with a new sound inspired by the simple triad (a stack of three notes, an essential building block of Western music) and by bells. He called his new style tintinnabuli (from the Latin for bells).
Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 9:26 pm
In our first 19 Jazz Night In America webcasts, we've presented over 150 musicians from 13 venues in six cities — with many more musicians and locations on the way. Whether in huge concert auditoriums like Jazz at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall to tiny basement salons like Mezzrow in New York, we've heard from living legends, rising stars and very, very talented artists somewhere in between.
Originally published on Thu March 26, 2015 12:37 am
The SFJAZZ Collective, an all-star octet representing the SFJAZZ institution in San Francisco, has an intriguing approach to repertoire. Each year, each member writes a new piece for the Collective, and also rearranges a composition by a modern jazz master. For the 2014-15 season, that master was tenor saxophone titan Joe Henderson, a longtime San Francisco resident.
"While Spring is in the world / my blood approves," as the poet once said, and quite so. Spring will arrive for those of us living north of the equator on March 20th...and its entrance, as usual, will occur none too soon.
Welcoming Artistic Director Constantine Kitsopoulos and Executive Director Randy Thompson in 2013, the 2014 Festival presented the Amici New York orchestra in a series of performances which included the Festival's Opening Concert featuring pianist Jon Kimura Parker and the Overture to The Marriage of Figaro and the Piano Concerto No. 20 in d minor, K 466 of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and the Symphony No 1 in D Major (Titan) by Gustav Mahler, the Mahler also featuring a side-by-side performance with the newly formed OK Mozart All-State Youth orchestra.
Spoiler alert: The Punch Brothers came to the Tiny Desk on Chris Thile's birthday. We made him a cake and gave him an NPR surprise! This wasn't the first time the brilliant mandolinist had brought a project to my desk, it was his fourth. The last time was with his longtime band Nickel Creek — and his new braces.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 1:31 pm
It was nearly 20 years ago, back in 1997, that the Buena Vista Social Club became an improbable worldwide sensation: a group of mainly elderly (and some younger) Cuban musicians, performing traditional son music for an album produced by Ry Cooder.
Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 1:29 pm
It's hard to believe Laura Marling is only 25 — not just because Short Movie is her fifth album, and not just because she's been singing with wise, almost impatiently weary authority since she was 16. What's especially striking is the way she's allowed her recordings and persona to evolve through so many decisively rendered, fully formed phases. Marling found her voice unusually early in life, but she's also never stopped refining it or discovering new ways to bare its teeth.