Pierre Colombet (violin), Gabriel Le Magadure (violin),
Mathieu Herzog (alto), Raphael Merlin (violoncello)
“April 4, 2011
It’s a rare ensemble that can play Haydn and Debussy with complete command and then shift gears to offer a jazz set of Miles Davis and Chick Corea with equal authority.
The Ebène Quartet, from Paris, has made that its trademark, adding spice to a traditionally fusty corner of classical music. Yet in doing so, it hasn’t been shunted to a dubious corner of the crossover market, but instead catapulted into major venues, including Carnegie Hall, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Vienna’s Konzerthaus and London’s Wigmore Hall.
The Ebène’s fluency in styles is born out of firsthand experience. At one point, all of the members played in non-classical bands: The cellist was a pianist in a jazz quartet, the first violin was a bass player, the second violin a drummer and the violist a funk guitarist….”
Visit the web page to see the whole article and stream the concert.
NPR Music and Q2 want your help in programming a special eight-hour music stream featuring composers under 40. Send us the names of your favorite composers, and, if you have specific albums or pieces in mind, let us know by including them in the comments section below. We will tally the results over the next two weeks and program this entirely crowd-sourced stream.
Here are some definitions to help you choose.
* Special = something temporal, fleeting, but with large impact and coherent design.
* Music = to paraphrase the Late, Great Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court Potter Stewart: “I know it when I hear it.”
* Stream = a way to deliver on-demand music to fans worldwide via the Internet.
* Composer = a self-designated (or applied by consensus) term that denotes those who create music, whether notated, improvised, solo, ensemble, instrumental, vocal, however you like it!
* Under = that which is not over.
* 40 = a totally arbitrary, but round, numerical delineation consisting of 40 units, or in this case, years.
To get you started, here’s a list of a few notable composers under 40: Timothy Andres, Sufjan Stevens, Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton and Shara Worden.
The special stream will launch Monday, April 18 on NPR Music and Q2, so leave us your suggestions in the comments section below while you still can!
Send @Q2Music your suggestions over Twitter with #under40 “
” ‘I don’t like the title ‘The Father of MP3,’ says Karlheinz Brandenburg. But he kinda is. ‘Certainly I was involved all the time from basic research [to] getting it into the market.’
Brandenburg was part of the group that gave the MP3 its name. The Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) lent its name to the process of digital encoding by which audio and video is compressed into a file small enough to be transferred easily. That process — MPEG Audio Layer III — and the resulting file — the MP3 — is ubiquitous today. But the development wasn’t simple, and its outcome wasn’t inevitable.
The story of the MP3 is the story of how intellectual property became the commodity over which the Internet’s greatest wars would be fought, and also how the work that goes into innovating can be forgotten in the face of a technology’s rapid spread.”
See the full article here.
“The composer Billy Strayhorn was responsible for some of the most exquisite melodies in the history of jazz. You’ve surely heard some of his tunes, if not necessarily his name: He mostly wrote them for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Jazz musicians know of his genius, though. The trumpeter Terell Stafford certainly does; his upcoming album This Side of Strayhorn interprets nine Strayhorn tunes as straight-ahead jazz, circa 2011. He and his quintet will celebrate the release of this recording live at the Village Vanguard in New York, and WBGO and NPR Music will be on hand on opening night for a live audio/video broadcast and webcast on Tuesday, March 15 at 9 p.m. ET.”
See the full article here.
Here is just a taste:
“A recent wave of classical new music festivals have led me to believe there is a quiet revolution taking place. The Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall, Tune-In Music Festival at the extraordinary Park Avenue Armory and Tully Scope at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall all have offered listeners the most bracing combinations of adventurous, fulfilling music in recent memory. And did I mention the eight-hour marathon of all living composers at Symphony Space?
Things have changed. I vividly remember how cold, uninviting and hidebound the classical world seemed to me as a teenager in the ’70s. Babbitt’s famous adage, “I only write for my colleagues,” had not lost its sway. Writing new music that involved jazz or rock or “world” music — or for that matter any sort of overt emotion — was very rare. This is one reason that I turned to jazz. At the Aspen Music School, I recall the look on fellow composers’ faces when I said that I favored tonal music. Shock! When I declaimed that jazz and progressive rock music were just as important as Schoenberg, I was regarded as a simpleton.”
I do have one objection to Mr. Harrison’s thesis: there is a wide gulf between what we think of as “Classical Music” and what the writer describes, which is normally described as “New Music”. So, maybe the title is not quite accurate. And then in the essay we see the expression “classical new music” which is a bit confused. But the essay is extremely accurate and well-informed.
Read the full article here.
“How do you play somebody else’s songs and still sound like yourself? It’s a central challenge of jazz — so often an art of interpretation — and it’s especially difficult to answer with Charlie Parker’s compositions. Dense and virtuosic, they often sound as if they originated in his distinctive style of improvising.
But the saxophonist Joe Lovano has given it a shot. His current working band, the loose double-drummer unit Us Five, is about to issue Bird Songs, a new record of tunes from the Charlie Parker songbook. And it sounds very little like the way Parker played his music. The Joe Lovano Us Five plays selections from that record, as well as other surprises, in a live WBGO/NPR Music broadcast and online webcast from the Village Vanguard on Wednesday, Jan. 12, at 9 p.m. ET. Live audio, video and chat will be available at this page starting just before showtime.”
* Joe Lovano, saxophones
* James Weidman, piano
* Esperanza Spalding, bass
* Otis Brown III, drums
* Matt Wilson, drums
Read the full article here.
First Listen is a relatively new offering from NPR. We have the opportunity to hear new recordings in especially Classical, Jazz and Popular Music which we might then decide are worth our financial support.
Ms Dinnerstein is about as good as it gets. “American pianist Simone Dinnerstein has been called “a throwback to such high priestesses of music as Wanda Landowska and Myra Hess,” by Slate magazine, and praised by TIME for her “arresting freshness and subtlety.” The New York-based pianist gained an international following because of the remarkable success of her recording of Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which she raised the funds to record. Released in 2007 on Telarc, it ranked No. 1 on the US Billboard Classical Chart in its first week of sales and was named to many “Best of 2007″ lists including those of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The New Yorker. Her follow-up album, The Berlin Concert, also gained the No. 1 spot on the Chart. Ms. Dinnerstein has recently signed an exclusive agreement with Sony Classical, and her first album for that label — an all-Bach disc — will be released in January 2011.”
At the web page, you can listen to the album in its entirety (1hr 2min 5 sec), or you can listen to individual tracks.
I hope that you enjoy this music. Please support your Public Radio station.
by Patrick Jarenwattananon
January 2, 2011
“It’s been more than 55 years since Charlie Parker last took up an alto saxophone, and just about every jazz musician still grapples with his legacy. Here’s a man who was a central architect behind the revolution of bebop, the closest thing jazz has to a lingua franca today. What he improvised was often searingly fast but seemingly note-perfect; staggeringly intricate, yet filled with tenderness and beauty. In his prime, every recording he left behind was somewhere between a marvel and a definitive statement from the standpoint of playing, composing or some ineffable aesthetic something else.
The tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano is 58 now — not quite old enough to have meaningfully met Charlie Parker, but certainly old enough to have become one of the jazz world’s most celebrated musicians. Like his peers (and antecedents, and successors), Lovano grew up in jazz working out in Bird’s language. Hence Bird Songs, his new album of highly stylized takes on the Charlie Parker songbook.”
See the rest of Patrick’s article, and listen to the whole album or individual tracks here.
At “Toast Of The Nation Celebrates 2011“, you can listen to these great concerts:
The broadcast checked in with live music from five venues, from Boston to San Francisco, and counted down to midnight in four U.S. time zones. All the live performances have been recorded and archived at NPR Music. WBGO’s Rhonda Hamilton hosted the entire evening.”
Lionel Luke Trio in Boston 58 minutes
The Lionel Loueke Trio.
Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York in Concert 1:28
The Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York.
A Celebration In Swing With Cyrus Chestnut And Benny Green: Live In New York 1:13
Cyrus Chestnut (left) and Benny Green.
Von Freeman And Ed Petersen: Live In Chicago 58 minutes
Dianne Reeves: Live In San Francisco 1:28
Please support your Public Radio station. If you are a web listener, that counts, the stations count also on your support of their audio and video streaming
The Bad Plus (L-R): Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson, Dave King at the Village Vanguard New Years Eve 2010
We congratulate NPR for making more music available for download. This cannot help but get enthusiastic listeners to buy the music of their favorite artists.
The concert was originated by, of course, WBGO Jazz 88 Newark, NJ
“With all the talk of 2011, this show counts down to 2010 — to 10 years of The Bad Plus and 75 years of live music at the Village Vanguard in New York’s Greenwich Village. WBGO’s emcee Josh Jackson and stage manager Alex W. Rodriguez are ringside. Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass and Dave King at the drums are poised and ready to play from now until midnight and beyond.
The Bad Plus was born in the Twin Cities a decade ago. By their estimate, these guys have played around 160 shows a year for many years. They make the trio a priority, and no one sends a sub to a Bad Plus gig.
Reid Anderson’s big bass sound grounds the group, and his melodic compositions give it wings. Anderson’s first love was progressive rock. Later he discovered jazz.
In March 2010, The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis staged a Dave King celebration, called King for Two Days. On the first day, The Bad Plus and another of Dave’s bands, Happy Apple, came together as The Bad Apple.
And Ethan Iverson, born in Menomonie, Wis., is simply one of the best jazz pianists of his generation. Prior to The Bad Plus, he was the musical director of the acclaimed Mark Morris Dance Group. There is fascinating stuff on Iverson’s blog, Do The Math.”
In his intro, Jackson looks forward to a harmolodic piece, a 20th-century classical piece, and “a Scottish folk melody at midnight.” (Ornette Coleman’s “Song X” into Gyorgy Ligeti’s “Metal” are available as web extras.) And the full set puts the pieces in the context of TBP originals -– strong pieces on the short side, anthem-like at times or enigmatic, with a quasi-mythical twist. I’ve become attached to “Bill Hickman at Home,” named for a Hollywood stuntman, and seeming to imply that at home Hickman takes life easy.
The Bad Plus’ latest album is titled Never Stop. Christmas week, they play the Dakota in Minneapolis, followed by New Year’s at the Vanguard and the first week of January at the Jazz Bistro in St. Louis. That’s two gigs on the Mississippi and one near the Hudson. It’s an annual early-winter pilgrimage.
Support your local Public Radio station. If they do not regularly schedule Jazz, start a riot. Well, not a riot, maybe an email campaign.
You should check this page regularly. The concerts are monthly. There are always audio streams available.
Take advantage of these powerful resources. And, remember, WBGO is Public Radio and deserves your financial support.
Robert Glasper Trio: Live At The Village Vanguard
Blue Note says, “Tune in to NPR Music’s live webcast of The Robert Glasper – Live at the Village Vanguard – TONIGHT AT 9PM ET!”
NPR says, “He works with top hip-hop and soul artists, but he’s also a supple, simmering pianist with no shortage of jazz cred. Glasper’s flexible band will be embraced at the New York jazz bastion in a live concert broadcast starting at 9 p.m. tonight.”
Check it out at either WBGO or NPR/music
Don’t miss “Sir Elton John and Leon Russell perform at the Beacon Theatre in New York City,” streaming at npr.org/music. Over two and one half hours.
Leon these days
Don’t miss this concert.
From Blue Note,, “On January 11, 2011, Joe Lovano Us Five will release Bird Songs, an exploration of the Charlie Parker songbook and the Grammy-winning saxophonist’s 22nd album for EMI’s Blue Note Records (the release of which will mark his 20th year on the label). Lovano will launch the album with a week-long engagement at the Village Vanguard in New York City (January 11-16), and an NPR Live At The Village Vangaurd session that will be webcast on the NPR Music website and broadcast on WBGO at 9:00pm ET on January 12.”
See the full article from Blue Note here.
Hear The Concert Live On Wednesday, Dec. 8 At 9 p.m. ET
“The line on Robert Glasper recently is that he’s a jazz musician who also works intensely with top hip-hop and R&B artists: Maxwell, Q-Tip, Mos Def and so forth. That narrative came to the fore around the time of his 2009 album Double Booked, which showcased his ability to fuse his distinct aesthetics. But he’s still very much a jazz pianist, committed to the improvising community. Glasper is a fount of supple, flowing lines, and his piano trio is a shape-shifting, communicative unit.
His group certainly passes muster at the Village Vanguard, the New York jazz bastion where the band begins a weeklong run soon. WBGO and NPR Music will be there to record the Robert Glasper trio in concert, in a live radio broadcast and simultaneous webcast on Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 9 p.m. ET.”
Read the rest of the article here. And revisit this page for the audio archive.
The Bad Plus
See the full article here.
Well, this is a new one on me. But, anyone who will follow Alex Ross belongs in my RSS feeds. This blog has been added. And, thank you Jacob Ganz.
“Get To Know A Critic: Alex Ross”
“…As a critic, Ross has already written at length about how he came into his own taste. But we wanted to know, in his own words, what his job entails in terms of a personal philosophy as well as day-to-day routine. So we sent him a list of questions….” Read Jacob’s article
Patrick Jarenwattananon brings us to the interview of Randy Weston by Neal Conan on NPR’s Talk Of The Nation.
Patrick introduces the subject:
“The great jazz pianist and composer Randy Weston, 84, has a new album out called The Storyteller. It’s an appropriate title: If you’ve glanced at any of his new autobiography, African Rhythms, you know he’s full of vivid, incredible tales.
Motema Music (2010)
“Weston’s parents raised him to be immensely proud of his African heritage. His journey in life took him from Brooklyn to Japan during World War II, to 52nd Street during the height of Swing Street, to Western Massachusetts summer resort towns when he needed to clean up his life, to 18 countries in Africa — he lived in Morocco for years. In all that, he became an imposing piano stylist and creative visionary. And he documents it all in his new book.
Weston spoke with host Neal Conan on NPR’s Talk Of The Nation today. Here’s the audio archive of that conversation. This morning, I caught his autobiography’s “arranger,” Willard Jenkins, on the phone to talk about Randy Weston records, traveling to Morocco and shaping African Rhythms over the course of the last decade.”
Read the full article and read or listen to the interview here.
NPR has a very important new music project, First Listen.
Two albums presented today are really important.
Bob Dylan, The Witmark Demos 1962-1964 is a collection of 23 demos made for Witmark. Here is part of waht NPR tells us
“Most of the recordings on The Witmark Demos 1962-1964 were made for the M. Witmark & Sons publishing company. Artists would record their songs for publishing companies so they might be heard by other artists wishing to cover their songs, or maybe for TV or movie use.
Witmark had a small 6×8-foot studio, and it’s there that these songs were recorded and then transcribed into sheet music. So what you get is a fairly relaxed and young Bob Dylan playing his newest songs at the time. You hear flubs, forgotten verses, inspired playing and brilliant songs. Many of these tunes you already know, even if you’re just a casual Dylan fan. But you’ve probably never heard “Mr. Tambourine Man” on piano, or the roughly 15 songs never released in any official form.
You can read the rest and listen to the album here.
The second album is from Elton John and Leon Russell, ‘The Union’
Part of what NPR tells us:
“John and Russell team up seamlessly on The Union, with the aid of guests such as Neil Young, Brian Wilson and Booker T. Jones, not to mention songwriter Bernie Taupin and the producer synonymous with pedigreed collaborations of this nature, T-Bone Burnett.”
Again, you can read more at the web site, and also listen to these great artists in performance.
After you listen, if you like what you hear, make NPR a hero by buying the music. That’s what it is all about, folks, supporting the art form of Music.
First Listen at NPR/music is simply put, almost terrific.
I listened to two albums, track by track. The “almost” is that after several tracks in each album on two different computers, the next track would not start at the click, I had to re-launch the web page. They will get that fixed.
Steve Reich Double Sextet/2X5
The Bad Plus Never Stop
On the one hand, I liked both albums and will probably buy them both in .mp3 at Amazon.
But, that is not the point here. The points here are that 1) NPR’s First Listen is a first rate destination for serious composers to get their music out to the public; and 2) the listening public would be well served to check in with this site to see what is new.
Arvo Part “Cantique” September 14, 2010
You can hear this album right now at NPR. I listened to the whole thing, in bliss.
Q2 in the Next WQXR Pledge Drive
(Originally posted this date at Whither Public radio and serious music)
The question being raised here is what will WQXR do in its next pledge drive, on its FM broadcast and the 105.9 web stream, to raise the visibility and bring to its listeners Q2, its web based New Music service? I am posting this here at “Whither…” because it is a large topic. But because this blog has been rather dormant, I will be posting it also at the more active MusicSprings. That’s a lot of work, folks, I hope someone reads it somewhere.
Before that, a bit of a preamble about another PubRadio service in the New York Metropolitan area which has absolutely failed to do anything with its web assets.
WBGO, Jazz 88, Newark, New Jersey, has tremendous web assets which are never pitched during pledge drives. I have called them incessantly during pledge drives and excoriated them for this failure. They have a 96k web stream for the broadcast. They produce wonderful concerts from the Village Vanguard and J&R Music which are then made available for listening and the occasional download by National Public Radio. Many of the concerts are available as videocasts. There is a huge treasure trove of video archives. WBGO originates broadcasts from jazz concerts around the country and Canada. None of this has been pitched in their pledge drives. WBGO seems to aim their pitches to downtown Newark.
Public Radio, so much of it now available on the internet, needs to take advantage of its newly emerged global presence. Recently, the The Daily Trojan, from the University of Southern California, let us know that KUSC, Classical Public Radio in Los Angeles, has members in 38 states and 11 countires. That’s not exactly chopped liver.
So, Q2 from WQXR has been with us now for what? Nine or ten months. Q2 is the on line 24/7/365 service devoted essentially to New Music, Classical and Avantgarde music of the late 20th century, and, as the mottos say, “500 years of new music”, and the “fearless music we crave”. It is the successor to wnyc2, a similar service of WNYC prior to the takeover of WQXR from the New York Times.
It is safe to say that the people running Q2 have done an outstanding job of bringing us not only great music; but also a wonderful and ongoing series of special projects devoted to composers, musical styles, and the New York New Music scene. We have had “Eight Days of Steve”, devoted to the music of Steve Reich; the choral premier of David Lang’s Little Match Girl Passion for which there is an accompanying video ; Homophony, a celebration of the music of Gay and Lesbian Composers, with special guests Nico Muhly and Pauline Oliveros; the Look and Listen 2010 project from the Festival of the same name; Hammered, devoted to music for keyboards – of all kinds; Hope Springs Atonal a special segment “devoted to the high octane world of post-tonal music; Contact!, a series curated by Alan Gilbert and Composer- in Residence Magnus Lindberg with the New York Philharmonic “featuring world premiers from seven composers on the international contemporary music scene. Did I get them all? Whoops, no, I missed Cued Up on Q2, a Summer festival of New Music concerts recorded live in New york City, a whole series of audios of great performances. Boy, that’s like when George Harrison almost forgot to introduce Billy Preston at the Concert for Bangladesh.
A super important component of all of this Q2 activity has been Nadia Sirota on Q2, a four hour segmented and quite modular production which has included a great deal of the above mentioned special programming. Nadia’s gig runs for four hours every weekday and night at noon and midnight.
In fact, Nadia is, in my estimation, the Joe Namath/Derek Jeter/David Wright of Q2. She is Juilliard trained and a great teacher, along with being a rising force in her own right on the New Music scene as a violist. If I remember correctly, she was the rock of the John Cage project that ran some time ago on WNYC. Nadia is a founding member of ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. She has performed with The Meredith Monk Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Continuum., and the Icelandic based Bedroom Community. You can read the rest of her accomplishments at her MySpace page, see About Nadia.
I am a Q2 addict and fanboy. Q2 is saved as a bookmark on all of my computers in my own player Winamp.
So, WQXR, what are you going to do on the radio to raise the visibility of this incredible resource in your future pledge drives. Are you going to fail, like WBGO, to spread the word? Does anyone at WQXR think I am off base or out of bounds? I hope that some person or people at WQXR will respond with comments.
Nancy Wilson Comes To The Blue Note 5/10
From BroadwayWorld.com, “Nancy Wilson returns to the Blue Note for the first time in ten years for a rare one night only concert. With a career spanning over fifty years, Ms. Wilson has won three Grammy Awards, received an Emmy for her variety show The Nancy Wilson Show, was named an NEA Jazz Master in 2004, and has recorded over 70 albums. From 1996 – 2005, Ms. Wilson hosted Jazz Profiles, NPR’s first and only jazz documentary series. The 8:00pm show at the Blue Note show is sold out. There are still tickets available for her 10:30pm set at the Blue Note and her Mother’s Day performance at BB King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square on Sunday, May 9 at 8:00pm.
WHEN: Monday, May 10, 2010; First set is sold out. Sets @ 8:00pm & 10:30pm
WITH: Nancy Wilson, vocals; Other musicians, TBA
COST: $75 @ table /$50 @ bar
WHERE: The Blue Note; 131 W 3rd. St, New York, NY 10012
MORE: Doors open at 6pm. Set times are 8pm and 10:30pm
Jazz Profiles is a fabulous resource that is still available at npr.org/music
Sam Yahel on the Organ and Piano
Sam is a terrific pianist, and his sidemen are also really choice.
I immediately bought three albums in .mp3 at Amazon
Truth and Beauty Sam Yahel Hammond B3, Joshua Redman tenor, Brian Blade drums
Hometown Sam Yahel piano, Matt Penman bass, Jochen Rückert drums
Trio Sam Yahel organ, Peter Bernstein guitar, Brian Blade drums
If you like “modern” jazz in the styles of pianists Bill Evans and Vice Guaraldi, and/or organists Rhoda Scott and Jimmy Smith, you will really enjoy Sam Yahel.