NPR Music

Music Reviews
12:27 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bicultural Jazz, Ever Shifting

Rudresh Mahanthappa.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 4:47 pm

Saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa's quartet can sound like it's cross-pollinating Indian classical music and vintage Captain Beefheart. That befits a bicultural saxophonist who grew up in Boulder, where his Hindu family had a Christmas tree. For a long time, Mahanthappa resisted combining jazz and Indian music — it was almost too obvious a trajectory. But then he got serious about it.

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Heavy Rotation
9:56 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Brooklyn songwriter Katie Mullins has a fan in WNYC's John Schaefer.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 8:36 pm

Every so often, we ask a panel of public radio's music experts to share their favorite new songs.

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The Record
8:17 am
Wed February 13, 2013

Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Adjusts His Crown

Bonnie "Prince" Billy performing onstage at Lincoln Center's Allen Room February 7.
Kevin Yatarola Lincoln Center

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 9:31 am

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A Blog Supreme
4:55 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Remembering Donald Byrd, Jazz Trumpeter Who Spanned Generations

Donald Byrd onstage, in an image circulated by his record label at the time, Blue Note Records.
Echoes/Redferns Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 11:23 am

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:03 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

The xx: Tiny Desk Concert

The xx performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Jan. 29, 2013.
Gabriella Demczuk NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:42 pm

It's easy to think of The xx as a fashionable band: Its members have a sleek all-in-black look, its typography and cover art is coolly and distinctively styled, and the group itself has been showered with validation, including Britain's 2010 Mercury Prize. But beneath all that tightly controlled image-making lays music that's raw and vulnerable; shy, worried tentativeness is wired into a sound that shimmers powerfully, but remains as fragile and delicate as a soap bubble.

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Deceptive Cadence
12:23 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Classical Grammys 2013: Same Old Winners, Bold New Music

Members of eighth blackbird performing at the pre-telecast Grammy Awards Sunday.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Ah, the joys of Monday morning quarterbacking, classical style.

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Music
3:35 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Hollywood's 'Hooray': Hardly A Happy Hymn

Doris Day's somber 1958 version of "Hooray for Hollywood," which was included on an album of the same name, better reflects the song's creatively complicated lyrics.
Sony Picture Archives

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:41 am

When the Oscars are handed out later this month, the ceremony will most likely be punctuated by music that has pretty much come to stand for movies and Movieland. Ironically, the composer grew up in Detroit, and the lyricist came from Savannah, Ga. — yet together they wrote the quintessential Tinseltown anthem.

"Hooray for Hollywood" was written for the Warner Brothers film Hollywood Hotel. It was a corny little "let's-go-to-Hollywood-and become-stars" movie from 1937, with some cute dialogue.

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The Record
3:06 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Mumford & Sons Take Home Album Of The Year Grammy

Mumford & Sons (from left: Ben Lovett, Marcus Mumford, Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall) accept the award for album of the year at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 12:25 pm

Listen to Mandalit del Barco's radio report from the Grammys at the audio link.

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The Record
4:55 am
Sun February 10, 2013

High School Marching Bands Lay Down The Beat Of Mardi Gras

The McDonogh 35 High School band marches in a parade to usher in the Carnival Season.
Keith O'Brien for NPR

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 9:18 am

In less than an hour, the McDonogh 35 High School marching band — including the flag girls, the dance team, the majorettes, the color guard and the actual band — needs to be on the parade route five miles away. It's the peak of Carnival season in New Orleans, and high school marching bands form the backbeat of Mardi Gras.

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Music News
2:03 am
Sun February 10, 2013

The Kentucky Fiddler Who Inspired Aaron Copland's 'Rodeo'

Fiddler Bill Stepp in Kentucky's Magoffin County in the 1930s.
Courtesy of Elsie Risner and Becky Arnett

Originally published on Wed February 13, 2013 8:29 pm

Sunday night's Grammys are an opportunity to rain accolades on pop music and perhaps witness the musical return of Justin Timberlake. But each year, the Recording Academy also honors recordings of "lasting significance" by inducting them into the Grammy Hall of Fame. One of them this year is Kentucky fiddler Bill Stepp's performance of "Bonaparte's Retreat."

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