NPR Music

A Blog Supreme
3:08 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Remembering Armando Peraza, An Afro-Cuban Percussion Giant

It's hard to imagine a musical career that included musicians as varied as Charlie Parker, Peggy Lee, George Shearing and Carlos Santana. But such was hand percussionist Armando Peraza's resumé after almost 70 years making music.

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The Record
3:05 am
Thu May 1, 2014

'Illmatic': The Making Of A Classic

Nas in 1994, the year Illmatic was released.
Danny Clinch Courtesy of Sony Legacy

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 7:53 am

This summer Nas is traveling the world performing his debut album, Illmatic, in full. The crowds coming out to see him — in Texas, Germany and California — are turning up because the 20-year-old record is an acknowledged classic.

In the early '90s hip-hop was just beginning its takeover of popular music. It was landing on the charts, but more often than not, the songs there were novelties (see: MC Hammer, Vanilla Ice).

For the people who took hip-hop seriously, and especially the fans in rap's hometown of New York City, this was a problem.

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The Record
2:59 am
Thu May 1, 2014

Minya Oh: 'I Was Never Gonna Not Want To Listen To This'

Minya Oh, who reviewed Illmatic in The Source in 1994 under the pen name Shortie and is now a radio personality on New York's Hot 97 who goes by Miss Info. Here she poses for a portrait backstage at a vitaminwater Fader uncapped event in 2012.
Roger Kisby Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 9:12 am

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The Thistle & Shamrock
4:20 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

The Thistle & Shamrock: Len Graham

Len Graham.
Courtesy of the artist

Fiona Ritchie meets Len Graham, the legendary singer and song collector from Northern Ireland, to chat about the connections between Scotland, Ireland and Appalachia, with plenty of time for a song or three.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Deceptive Cadence
3:26 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Coming Soon To Colorado: Wolfgang And Weed

The Colorado Symphony's Jerry Garcia Symphonic Celebration concert at Red Rocks Amphitheatre outside Denver last summer. If you squint, you can see a cloud of something that's probably not pot smoke.
Matt Korona Courtesy of the Colorado Symphony

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 3:34 pm

Colorado Symphony patrons — if they aren't already — are about to have the option of being Rocky Mountain high.

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A Blog Supreme
1:54 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

How Japan Came To Love Jazz

U.S. servicemen and their Japanese partners dance to jazz tunes in the newly opened Tokyo nightclub Oasis of the Ginza, circa 1945.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 2:04 pm

If you've witnessed a headlining performance from pianists Toshiko Akiyoshi or Hiromi, visited a "jazu kissa" cafe where records are spun and coffee poured, or read nearly any work by author Haruki Murakami, then you probably have a sense that Japan has taken well to jazz music.

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The Record
11:45 am
Wed April 30, 2014

Hear Four Musicians Talk About What Moves Them

NPR Music's Ann Powers (right) interviews musicians (from left) Mike McCready of Pearl Jam, Alynda Lee Segarra of Hurray for the Riff Raff, Sharon Jones and Meshell Ndegeocello at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle.
Brady Harvey

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 12:42 pm

  • Sharon Jones, Mike McCready, Meshell Ndegocello And Alynda Lee Segarra On Stage

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Tiny Desk Concerts
2:18 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

Johnnyswim: Tiny Desk Concert

Johnnyswim performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in April 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:00 am

Once you're able to see this three-song set by the band Johnnyswim, NPR Music will have published exactly 350 Tiny Desk Concerts — so we've developed a pretty good sense of when a set will stick in our memories for a while. We intuited, for example, that Adele was about to become a dominant force shortly after she breezed into our offices.

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The Record
9:36 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Innovative Chicago Producer DJ Rashad Dies At 34

DJ Rashad passed away on Saturday in Chicago at the age of 34.
Courtesy of Ashes 57

Rashad Hanif Harden, the Chicago DJ and producer known as DJ Rashad who helped establish a new style of dance music over a 15-year career, died on Saturday. He was 34.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
8:42 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Quilt: Tiny Desk Concert

Quilt performs at a Tiny Desk Concert in February 2014.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 11:00 am

It's right there in the band's name, but the music of Quilt is truly a tapestry. Its songs are made of small bits of verses and choruses that, heard individually, may not seem to fit. But in the hands and voices of this band, they stitch together beautifully. Interweaving harmonies and guitar lines from Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler set the tone for these tunes — soft and benevolent, dreamy and quivering, with poetry that's thoughtful and playful. The opening song at this Tiny Desk Concert, "Arctic Shark," questions and enchants.

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