NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
11:14 am
Fri January 17, 2014

5 Donny Hathaway Covers By Jazz Musicians

Donny Hathaway remains widely admired in jazz, but much of his repertoire has yet to be tapped by improvisers.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

Donny Hathaway's repertoire occupies a peculiar space in jazz. Though not a jazz artist, he has influenced a variety of jazz musicians through his work as a singer, keyboardist and composer. Still, jazz musicians have only skimmed the surface of his small but remarkable catalog.

Read more
The Record
12:02 am
Fri January 17, 2014

Gimme The Beat (Box): The Journey Of The Drum Machine

The Oberheim DMX rose to popularity in the mid-1980s, one of the first commercial drum machines that came close to mimicking real drum sounds.
Courtesy of Get On Down Publishing

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 5:06 pm

About 10 years ago, a disgruntled pianist in Los Angeles named John Wood began a popular bumper sticker campaign with the slogan, "Drum Machines Have No Soul." Not everyone was convinced, including producer Eric Sadler.

"Drum machines don't run themselves," Sadler says. "It's the people who put into the drum machines that give the drum machines soul, to me. I've definitely given some drum machines some soul."

Read more
The Record
3:06 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

A Long Road To 'High Hopes': An Interview With Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen performing in November at Madison Square Garden.
Jemal Countess Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 4:48 pm

  • Listen To Ann Powers Interview Bruce Springsteen

Read more
Microphone Check
8:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Starlito And Don Trip: Writers First, Rappers Second

Starlito (left) and Don Trip, in their video for "Caesar & Brutus."
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Tue February 25, 2014 2:04 pm

  • Starlito And Don Trip With Ali Shaheed Muhammad And Frannie Kelley

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
9:41 am
Tue January 14, 2014

A Gramophone And Mozart, Or How I Fell For Opera

Conductor (and flutist) Nicholas McGegan fell in love with opera as a kid.
Courtesy of the artist

British conductor Nicholas McGegan celebrates his 'Beatle' birthday today (64, that is). To mark the occasion, he recalls how he first fell in love with opera. It came by way of a newfangled record player and one heavenly Mozart recording. Remember when the operatic light bulb first sparked for you?

Read more
Tiny Desk Concerts
2:02 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Afro Blue: Tiny Desk Concert

Afro Blue performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Nov. 11, 2013.
Abbey Oldham NPR

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 9:28 am

"Afro Blue" is a jazz standard written by Mongo Santamaria in 1959, with a lyric added later by Oscar Brown Jr. It's been performed countless times, by everyone from John Coltrane to Robert Glasper and Erykah Badu.

Read more
The Record
3:03 am
Mon January 13, 2014

A Big 'Frozen' Ballad Speaks To Tweens

YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 12:18 pm

Read more
The Record
3:22 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

An Under-The-Radar Albums Preview For 2014

Trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, whose album, the imagined savior is far easier to paint, will be released on March 11.
Emra Islek Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 3, 2014 9:40 am

Read more
A Blog Supreme
10:25 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Drummer Who Invented Jazz's Basic Beat

It doesn't take an expert to identify this sound as a jazz rhythm:

Musicians call it "spang-a-lang," for obvious phonetic reasons, and it's so synonymous with jazz, it no longer occurs to us that someone had to invent it. But someone did: a drummer named Kenny Clarke, who would have turned 100 today.

Read more
The Record
8:02 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Loving Morrissey The Way We Used To, Despite Lacerating 'Autobiography'

Morrissey performing in Seattle last March.
Mat Hayward FilmMagic

Originally published on Thu January 9, 2014 12:31 pm

"Loudly and wildly the music played, always pointing to the light, to the way out, or the way in, to individualism, and to the remarkable if unsettling notion that life could possibly be lived as you might wish it to be lived."

Read more

Pages