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Posts tagged “WNYC




“An Evening of Piano Improvisations
Wednesday, January 25, 2012 – 8:00 PM

Stern Auditorium/Perelman Stage

Keith Jarrett returns to New York’s Carnegie Hall on Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 8:00 PM to perform one his rare solo piano concerts. The concert will feature an entire evening of solo piano improvisations.”

See the full post here.

While you are at it, check out these wonderful interviews of Keith Jarrett at WNYC.

An Hour With Keith Jarrett – Produced and hosted by Sara Fishko May 29, 2003

A Conversation with Keith Jarrett – John Schaefer, New Sounds PGM 56 April 13, 1987
Recorded at Keith’s home in New Jersey

From Soundcheck at WNYC: “Thirty Years of John” Schaefer

On Friday, December 2, 2011, New York Public Radio celebrated JS-30, 30 years of John Schaefer at WNYC. It was 30 years ago that John’s New Sounds program got going. In 2002, WNYC, moving away from daytime music programming to talk, called on John to keep music as a subject in the afternoon with Soundcheck.

You can view the video, just under 2 hours, here at the Soundcheck page for December 15, 2011. I hope you enjoy it.

From ALLAN KOZINN in The New York Times: “Club Kids Are Storming Music Museums”

As New Composers Flourish, Where Will They Be Heard?

This article is copyright protected, so just a couple of notes.

“…the world of young, inventive and often populist composers is exploding…These young composers may hold the key to classical music’s future, and the future they create might not be what you expect. Increasingly they have come to consider the machinations of the big-ticket musical organizations — and debates about how to get them to accommodate new music — as beside the point….”

This article is an in depth look at the new serious music universe. This universe includes the new composers themselves, their record labels (or the lack of them) and the venues which they find amenable to their musical pursuits. Among the labels mentioned are “…New Amsterdam, Cantaloupe and Tzadik, all composer run and stylistically freewheeling….” To this list, I might add Innova, from American Composers Forum, St Paul, MN.

Among the venues we find Le Poisson Rouge, Cornelia Street Café, Galapagos, The Stone, Issue Project Room, Roulette, all in New York City. Composers noted in the article include Nico Muhly, Missy Mazzoli, Du Yun, Judd Greenstein, Caleb Burhans, and Bryce Dessner. The only groups I saw noted were ETHEL and Victoire. But others which might have been included are ACME, ICE, yMusic, eighth blackbird, and itsnotyouitsme.

Not at all mentioned in the article (if I missed it, I hope that someone will correct me), is New York Public Radio’s 24/7 New Music web stream Q2. This stream takes these and other composers and musicians out to a wide world, with an international listenership. A stand-out at Q2 is the work of Nadia Sirota. She hosts a four hour program which includes several themes, e.g, Hope Springs Atonal. Her program streams at noon and midnight. Two other standout focused programs are Hammered! which is concerned with keyboard music, and The New Canon.Also important to the success of what has been called “New Music” are two programs on WNYC, New York Public Radio’s original outlet service. For thirty years, John Schaefer has been bringing new composer to the public on the nightly program New Sounds. For a somewhat shorter time, we have been able to hear them on John’s other program, Soundcheck.

Something that I personally would like to see added into the mix for New Music would be the advent of long form music videocast. The best examples I can cite for this are three videos produced by and for ICE, which were made available at Q2. Just to give one example, the music of Steve Lehman in a 46 minute video can be found here. I just actually searched this up also at Google Video here. Both of these examples are free to the public.But, I would personally like to see these videos made available at the music groups’ web sites, based upon a membership fee for a user id and password, and then some sort of fee, maybe $5 or $10 as a “ticket” price. This would greatly universalize the availability of musical experience to populations living no where near to actual concert events. To whit: ICE just did a heavily promoted concert in Chicago. But, I am in New Jersey. I might be very interested in that musical experience. So, if it were made available from a videocast archive, and if I was registered with ICE, I could pay a small “ticket” price and have that experience.

This is a huge and important article. The items I note as missing from the article do not in any way diminish its thesis or importance. See the full article here.

John Schaefer’s “New Sounds” – 30 Years and Still Relevant

Composer Ben Frost, Brian Eno, & host John Schaefer ((WNYC/Caryn Havlik))

You cannot get more “today” than Ben Frost, member of Bedroom Community. What? You don’t know Bedroom Community? Check them out with the supplied link.

If Brian Eno is your guy, you are in good company.

Thanks, John, for 30 great years. I just caught PGM 2067, the 20th anniversary show, on my Zune. It used to be a lot of work to get those shows, recording them. Now, with RSS feeds to tell us what is going on, and downloads, it is a snap.

JS30 – Celebrating 30 Years of John Schaefer at WNYC

Friday, December 2 at 8 PM

Come celebrate Soundcheck and New Sounds host John Schaefer, as he marks 30 years on the air at WNYC.
Join us for an evening of live music with special guests and heartfelt memories, emceed by Grammy Award-winning singer Angelique Kidjo. With special guests Laurie Anderson, ETHEL String Quartet, Simone Dinnerstein and others.

The Greene Space at WNYC
44 Charlton St. (at Varick)

A more recent photo

Tickets: $30 at
Includes access to the after-party

From New Sounds Live and Q2: “Live Webcast: Mos Def and The Brooklyn Philharmonic”


On October 12 at 7 p.m., Q2 Music presents a live audio Webcast of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center performing music by Mos Def, Frederic Rzewski, Lev Zhurbin, David T. Little and Corey Dargel. The concert, a co-presentation of WNYC’s New Sounds Live with John Schaefer, features a preview of the orchestra’s upcoming season, the first under the energized stewardship of their new conductor, Alan Pierson.

John Schaefer

The program features a fresh, multi-dimensional approach to vocal repertoire with the versatile hip hop-icon Mos Def joining the Brooklyn Philharmonic on stage for arrangements of his songs by composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel; Rzewski’s provocative setting of letters from Sam Melville, an inmate at the infamous Attica State Prison; 19th Century shape note singing; and the pop-art songs of singer-songwriter Corey Dargel. Additional performers include new-music stalwart Mellissa Hughes and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

Mos Def (arr. Derek Bermel): Life in Marvelous Times (2008) and other songs
David T. Little: excerpt from Am I Born (2011)
Lev Zhurbin: excerpt from Only Love (2008)
Frederic Rzewski: Coming Together (1972)
Corey Dargel: What Might Have Been (2010)

Q2 is the 24/7 New Music Stream from New York Public Radio

From Q2 Music and New Sounds Live


Q2 is the 24/7 New Music Stream from New York Public Radio

“On October 12 at 7 p.m., Q2 Music presents a live audio Webcast of the Brooklyn Philharmonic from the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center performing music by Mos Def, Frederic Rzewski, Lev Zhurbin, David T. Little and Corey Dargel. The concert, a co-presentation of WNYC’s New Sounds Live with John Schaefer, features a preview of the orchestra’s upcoming season, the first under the energized stewardship of their new conductor, Alan Pierson.

John Schaefer

The program features a fresh, multi-dimensional approach to vocal repertoire with the versatile hip hop-icon Mos Def joining the Brooklyn Philharmonic on stage for arrangements of his songs by composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel; Rzewski’s provocative setting of letters from Sam Melville, an inmate at the infamous Attica State Prison; 19th Century shape note singing; and the pop-art songs of singer-songwriter Corey Dargel. Additional performers include new-music stalwart Melissa Hughes and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus.

See the full article here.

My Music Sources

These are my sources for music and information. If you have any suggestions for me, I would appreciate seeing them in Comments.

All About Jazz – For all of the news of the Jazz world

American Mavericks – A history of serious music in America from Minnesota Public Radio

American Composers Forum – Fostering artistic and professional development

Bang On A Can – At the heart of the Downtown New York New Music scene

Blue Note Records – an iconic Jazz label still putting out great recordings

Cantaloupe Music – the recording arm of Bang On a Can

Classical Discoveries – Marvin Rosen’s Wednesday survey of great new music and the avantgarde on WPRB, Princeton, NJ

Cuneiform Records – great taste in new music

ECM – possibly the finest recording company in the world

The GreeneSpace, the live presentation space of New York Public Radio with programming from WNYC, WQXR, and Q2

Hearts of Space – Stephen Hill’s great weekly mix of music for relaxation, contemplation, mediation, and…
This is a paid service.

Innova – creating an environment for new compostion and musical maturation.
The recording arm of American Composers Forum

Live365 – niche audio streaming – any genre or sub-genre you want. This is a paid service.

New Amsterdam Records – “…a non-profit-model record label and artists’ service organization that supports the public’s engagement with new music by composers and performers whose work grows from the fertile ground between genres….”

NPR/music – Jazz, Classical, interviews, news, concerts, “first listens”, artist profiles

Q2 on the internet, “for the new music we crave” the home of New Music

WBGO bringing Jazz from Newark, NJ to the world

WNYC – the home of John Schaefer’s Soundcheck and New Sounds programs

WPRB, Community Radio, Princeton, NJ
For the most serious presentation of Classical music and the most erudite presentations of Jazz

From NPR/music and WNYC’s New Sounds: “The Unsound Music Festival – Hear A Mix Of Modern Composers From This Year’s Concert Series”

by John Schaefer


“There is music, and there is noise. That statement, uninteresting in itself, becomes less so when you try to determine the boundary between the two. Sound exists as a spectrum, and the bar between music and noise exists in very different places along that spectrum for each listener. At one extreme, you can still find, say, a diehard Bach fan who says that all rock music sounds like noise. This may not be just a dismissive opinion, but a genuine experience of amplified music as being disorganized and grating. In other words, noise. At the other end, you have someone like the late John Cage, who famously said that everything we do is music, and who loved to listen to the sounds of the world coming through the window of his Sixth Avenue apartment in Manhattan. Even Cage, though, was initially repulsed by the dense blocks of sound created by Glenn Branca in his symphonies for electric guitars. The point is, “music” and “noise” are in the ear of the beholder, and the ways we divide and organize the sounds around us are as unpredictable as we are.

This kind of thinking seems to reside at the heart of the Unsound Festival. It has certainly been a part of my thinking in programming New Sounds, the long-running WNYC new-music show that was distributed by NPR for much of the 1980s and ’90s. Sounds that may not seem musical at first can become musical in context, and sounds that some people have deep emotional and physical responses to may not be recognizable as “music” to many others. Examples: Train whistles and spoken voices become not just musical, but melodic in Steve Reich’s Different Trains. Listening to Ben Frost’s By the Throat can be genuinely unsettling, and nowhere more so than in the moments where the recognizable instruments fall away, leaving the whistling Arctic wind, wolf howls and blocks of distorted sound. These are the types of artists who have appeared, both on recordings and in person, on New Sounds over the years, and both will be represented in the Unsound Festival this year, as well.

Brian Eno (right) and his protege, composer Ben Frost, are featured at this year’s Unsound Festival in New York City.

See John’s full article here. And take a lokk at “New Sounds’ “Unsound” Playlist” at the end of the page. Wow!

Blue Note Records Points to Soundcheck and Amos Lee

Blue Note Records

Amos Lee in performance

Streaming from a visit to Soundcheck, “…Philadelphia-born singer-songwriter Amos Lee topped the Billboard 200 chart in January with his album Mission Bell. We hear some of the smoky soul and folk songs from the record when Lee joins us to perform live in our studio.”

When you visit the web page you can stream or download the program.

Thanks, John.

The New Sounds Archive at WNYC

One of the best things to ever happen for Music in the USA was the 1982 birth on WNYC of John Schaefer’s program New Sounds.


During its long time on the air, New Sounds has brought forward all sorts of music, musicians and composers. While there are sometimes guests in the studio, this program sticks pretty much to the presentation of the music.

So, guess what? If you visit the show page at the WNYC web site, and scroll down, on the right you will see a calendar which can lead you to probably every New Sounds program ever broadcast. This is the current incarnation of the New Sounds Archive, long may it live.

Give yourself a treat. Access the archive, dig around and find what you might enjoy hearing.

You can also hunt stuff up by just doing a search on the WNYC web site. Just search on the name of the composer, musician, genre, group, whatever.

From New Sounds: “New Music Youngsters”

If you are interested in the New York City New Music scene, visit this program, New Music Youngsters at WNYC’s New Sounds. Host John Schaefer explores the music of composers like Caleb Burhans, Matt McBane, Sara Kirkland Snider, and Missy Mazzoli.

John Schaefer

The groups whose performances are presented are yMusic, ACME, Newspeak, Victoire, eighth blackbird, and Signal.

The home for New Music, every day, 24/7, is the Q2 internet only audio stream from WQXR.

And, the person within who all of this is tied together is Ms Nadia Sirota, the gifted violist. She performs with ACME and with yMusic. At Q2, she has a twice a day four hour program, Nadia Sirota on Q2.

This is a wonderful program. If you visit the web page, there is an audio track archive for your listening pleasure. The only things missing from John’s production of this program is any mention of Ms Sirota, who did indeed deserve mention; and possibly the presence of Ms Sirota in the program. She is an extremely well educated and articulate young woman, her life is inextricably bound in this art. She could well have added to the presentation.

Nadia Sirota

Please visit the web page and take a listen.

From Cuneiform Records: The Microscopic Septet in NYC

From Cuneiform Records

“one of the most beloved & widely acclaimed jazz groups in the history of NYC jazz
THE MICROSCOPIC SEPTET reunites for several live club and radio performances in NEW YORK CITY

December 2010


The Micros’ live performances are legendary. Be at the Micros’ BIRDLAND and THE HOTEL GERSHWIN concerts to see the Micros in action. And turn on your radio or go online to also hear them perform two radio concerts in the studios of WNYC & WBGO.

The Microscopic Septet’s December 2010 NYC performances will celebrate
Friday the 13th: The Micros Play Monk, their new album on Cuneiform, as well as featuring the band’s other material.


on-air & online

Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010:
WNYC Sound Check with John Schaefer
December 1, 2010 @ 2PM (Rebroadcast @ 10PM)
The Microscopic Septet will be performing live on WNYC-FM’s ‘Sound Check’ with John Schaefer tomorrow, Wednesday at 2PM (and rebroadcast at 10PM) on 93.9FM. It will also be archived online.

Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010:
WBGO The Checkout with Joshua Jackson
December 7, 2010 @ 6:30PM
Josh Jackson invites the Microscopic Septet to join him “The Checkout”. This show will be aired on Tuesday, December 7th at 6:30pm. Listen in the NYC area on 88.3FM or online at
An archive of the show will be available on

WNYC Wins 2010 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award

We recently noted that Q2′s programming had won the 2010 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award. Nadia Sirota on Q2 and Q2 With Terrance McKnight were both winners of the Radio Broadcast Award .

Now comes news that WNYC programming has also won the award.
Winners of the Multimedia Award “…were three inter-related undertakings: the book The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957-1965, Written by Sam Stephenson, Published by Alfred A. Knopf; a radio program, The Jazz Loft Project Radio Series: Produced at WNYC Radio (in association with the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University) by Sara Fishko with Dean Cappello, Julie Burstein and Edward Haber; and a website,, produced at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University by Sam Stephenson, Lauren Hart and Dan Partridge.”


Kudos (props?) to WNYC and the other award recipients.

Who Is Nico Muhly And Why Should I Care?

On May 14, 2010, at the great New Music blog Sequenza 21, the question was raised: Is Nico Muhly really all that great? To be exact, “…Is Nico Overrated? ” The site Comments showed that there were 67 responses.

Nico Muhly

First, I need to state that I am not am musician. I am not a critic. I have zero musical background, not even any appreciation courses in college. I am simply a passionate listener and a Public Radio zealot.

At the time that I saw the Sequenza 21 piece, I had only heard a bit of Nico Muhly. I mostly knew his name from his connection to the violist Nadia Sirota.

So, just a bit on Ms. Sirota. I knew of Ms Sirota from her work as a commentator first on WNYC and now as the host of “Nadia Sirota on Q2”, the 24 hour New Music stream from WQXR. I believe that Nadia was pulling the over night air shift for WNYC, and did the same at WQXR when that station became part of the Megalith New York Public Radio. Since I am not up in the middle of the night, I first became aware of Nadia when she served as a commentator on documentary projects at WNYC and then WQXR. I do believe that she did a lot of work on the WNYC John Cage Project 24’33”, a 24 hour John Cage marathon documentary and music lesson. The name is based on the John Cage piece 4’33’, a silent piece. But, I cannot point you to the programming. I just cannot find it. I also remember Nadia as being a big part of the WNYC “Remembering Lenny” project, which celebrated the legacy of Leonard Bernstein. I wish that I could give links to these various sources, but I cannot. The WNYC and WQXR web sites have become such a massive jumble and jungle that I simply cannot ferret them out. Suffice it to say that I was smitten with a great desire just to hear Nadia speak about music. She is Juilliard trained. She is bright, witty, simply brilliant. So, anyone with whom she is associated I needed to know more about. Nadia is a member of ACME, the American Contemporary Music Ensemble. She also is one of the “satellite” players who augment the work of the Bedroom Community group described below.

Nadia Sirota

Nico Muhly with Nadia Sirota

At WQXR, I watched the video Keep In Touch, a duet with Nico on piano and Nadia on viola. That was my first experience at seeing and hearing Nico Muhly.
I purchased Nadia’s album First Things First; and Nico’s albums, Mothertongue, Speaks Volumes, and The Reader (music for the film of the same name). But, I still knew very little about him.

The next thing that happened was that I learned about The Whale Watching Tour for 2009. This takes a bit of explanation. Nico is part of a group associated with the Icelandic music production company called Bedroom Community with Valgeir Sigurðsson, Sam Amidon, and Ben Frost. I sort of got wind of this tour and watched some of their videos. The tour included the four major players just noted, plus four other musicians including Nadia Sirota. Now, I was hooked. These four guys and their associates just blew the doors off the place. I got on Bedroom Community’s mailing list. When Nico’s album I Drink The Air Before Me was available in .mp3, I bought it at the Bedroom Community web site. I normally buy music at Amazon in .mp3. But, this album I wanted to buy from the source, if I paid more for it, I did not care.

So, that was pretty much it, until yesterday. Some alert I had set on the computer, WQXR or WNYC, popped up a 2008 New Yorker piece by Rebecca Mead, Eerily Composed – Nico Muhly’s sonic magic . Eight pages of dense prose. Now a fan, I read every word. There is a huge amount of material here about Nico Muhly’s background.

[Message to Nico: I went looking for some "public domain" information about you. Naturally, I went to Wikipedia. There is an article; but it is sparce, mostly taken up with lists of your prodigious output. You should go to Wikipedia, read Ms Mead's article, and flesh out the Wikipedia entry. Ms Mead probably knows more about you than know about yourself. You can do it. All you need do is register. I am registered and I even wrote an article, The Sourland Mountain Preserve, a place where I go hiking. So, give it a shot.]

If you are able to access the article via the internet, I recommend it. I do not know what the rules are at the New Yorker web site. I am a subscriber to the print and digital editions, so when I visit one or the other, I am automatically “logged in”. I see the whole of any article I find. Material in The New Yorker is protected by copyright, or I would reproduce the whole article here for those who are unable to see it. But, I think it is O.K. to just give a couple of snippets. I think that these comments will well answer the question raised back in May at Sequenza 21.

Philip Glass, for whom Muhly has worked since his sophomore year of college, at Columbia, says that he finds in Muhly ‘a curious ear, a restless listening, and a maker of works. He’s doing his own
thing.’ ”

“Muhly formed alliances with a number of musicians who have become regular collaborators, including Nadia Sirota, a violist. Sirota says of Muhly, ‘He is different from a lot of composers his age in that he prefers a kind of old-school way of approaching string playing, from the style of the forties and fifties, with lots of vibrato, and very romantic. ‘ ”

At Juilliard, where he was studying with the composers Christopher Rouse and John Corigliano, Muhly was unusually productive. ‘He would bring in thirty or forty pages of music a week, and if twenty-five of them didn’t work out he would have no problem with that,’ Corigliano says. ‘We worked on structure, but the skill of writing virtuosically for winds, brass, percussion, strings—he came in the door with that.’ ”

Philip Glass told me, ‘The great anxiety among young composers is, when are you going to hear your own voice? But the real problem is, how do you get rid of it, how do you develop? Nico hasn’t got to that yet. There is a lot of rapid growth in one’s twenties, but the big challenge is to keep that alive over the long stretch, for the next forty years, and not let it get stifled by the meanness of the world we live in. ‘”

John Adams, who curated the Zankel Hall series in which Muhly’s work appeared last year, says that Muhly’s music is ‘eclectic, nondenominational in the world of contemporary classical music, which tends to split off into lots of different orthodoxies. He obviously shows influences from the minimalist composers, but his music is not nearly as rigorously designed. It is very much like him: it is open, it is attractive, it is pleasing.’ Adams says that he hears his own influence on Muhly’s work—‘It’s like meeting a twenty-year-old who looks strangely familiar, only to discover he’s your long-lost son’—but adds that he finds it oddly untroubled. ‘I could use a little more edge, or a little more violence,’ Adams says. ‘At times, there is a surfeit of prettiness in Nico’s music, and I am not sure it is a good thing for someone so young to be so concerned with attractiveness.’ ”

Neal Goren, the artistic director of Gotham Chamber Opera, which plans to commission a work from Muhly, says, ‘Nico is not one of those composers who writes music to hide who he is.’ “

Now, these are just quotes. They do not begin to flesh out the story told by Ms Mead. So, I hope that anyone interested – and, you should be interested – will try to get Ms. Mead’s article.

But, look who the people are who are quoted: Philip Glass, John Corigliano, John Adams. While I am most often not brave enough for Mr. Corigliano’s music, I certainly am aware of the respect he is shown. Regarding Philip Glass and John Adams, I have large libraries of their music. Just in case I do not get enough of them on Q2.

I have been enjoying Nico Muhly’s music for some time now. Even so, the thing at Sequenza 21 nagged at me. My own comment had been: “Nico is very important. It is widely accepted that he is a gifted composer. Beyond that, what he is doing is showing that it is still possible for a young musician/composer to make a difference in all of the noise that is around the New Music world today. That is especially important for other younger talented people to see.”

At the time I wrote this, I knew really very little of Nico’s background. Now, with the benefit of Ms. Mead’s piece, I have a much better understanding of Nico as a composer. The answer is no, no and emphatically no, Nico is not overrated. I am sure that I will be acquiring a lot more of his work as it becomes available.

Thank you Nico. And, thank you Nadia for giving me Nico.

For Lovers of Good Music: Videos At The GreeneSpace

The GreeneSpace, is a part of the WNYC/WQXR mega PubRadio organization, known as New York Public Radio.

Slowly but surely, the masters of The GreeneSpace are awakening to the possibility of long form music program videos at their site. And, it is about time. In the past, the best place in this megalith to find video was at WQXR. Strangely believe it, at least for the moment, the link for a group of videos at WQXR is not working. They might at least have put a re-direct on it. Turns out, some are at something called WQXR Features, which I cannot even find on the WQXR web site. I found it by searching for a video.

But, go to The GreeneSpace and look to the right, you will see a column headed “Video”.

Most recently, you will find an hour plus video, Leonard Lopate hosting Elvis Costello and a band, another fairly long video with Elliott Forrest hosting Jazz genius George Wein with clarinet specialist Anat Cohen and bassist Esperanza Spalding, and the brilliant Cubano piano master Chucho Valdez. From the past, you will find David Lang’s Pulitzer Prize winning Little Match Girl Passion, and John Schaefer hosting Phil Collins and David Byrne.

One which should be included with The GreeneSpace videos but is not is Polygraph Lounge, at something called WQXR Features, which does not even show up anywhere on the WQXR web site. This wonderful video features Mark Stewart of the Bang on A Can All Stars with pianist Rob Schwimmer giving us a history of music. There is a brief appearance by Elliot Sharp on a large reed, not easily identified by this amateur. In The GreeneSpace. There is tons of stuff at WQXR Features; but it is a hodgepodge, even great things from WNYC like The Ring and I: The Passion, The Myth, The Mania from March of 2004. On about Page 6 is David Lang Explains Bach Connection, a video with John Schaefer. In The GreeneSpace. Buried on Page 8 is Nico Muhly’s Keep In Touch which is a duet with the Maestro and WQXR’s own Nadia Sirota on viola. In The GreenSpace. Page 8 is also where you will find Polygraph Lounge. For those interested, you will also find a video of John Zorn. In The GreeneSpace.

So, folks, it is getting better. Maybe one of these days all of the GreeneSpace stuff will be put together in a logical archive.

Jazz Listeners: On “Soundcheck” Today, a Miles Davis “Smackdown”

I have been eagerly awaiting this program at John Schaefer’s Soundcheck on WNYC

John Schaefer

The debate is Kind of Blue vs Bitches Brew
Kind of Blue Columbia (1959)

Bitches Brew Columbia (1970)

John welcomes Ashley Kahn, a music historian and author (Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece), and Will Layman, a Jazz critic, writer, and teacher.

You can listen to the approximately 25 minute segment; you can download the piece; you can look at the always interesting Comments page right on the main page, just scroll down.
One thing you cannot be is bored by this discussion.

Miles will always be important. These two albums will always be important. Check it out.

For more on Miles Dewey Davis, visit Steve Rowland’s Artistowned web site and download the Miles Davis Radio Project .

Congrats, Kudos, Props to the Jazz Loft Project

The Jazz Loft Project “has been awarded the annual award for Innovative Use of Archives, by the Archivist Roundtable of Metropolitan New York, Inc.

If you do not know about the JLP, and it appears many do not, then do yourself a favor, visit the web site and then buy the book.

And, visit WNYC’s Jazz Loft Project Radio Series.

There is so much you simply do not know.

Today at Q2 – Elizabeth & the Catapult, Gabriel Kahane and Ed Pastorini

Today at Q2Elizabeth & the Catapult, Gabriel Kahane and Ed Pastorini

Q2 tells us, “On Sunday, August 22 at 2 p.m., Cued Up on Q2 presents Elizabeth & the Catapult, Ed Pastorini and Gabriel Kahane: musicians who are exploring the art song in the 21st century. This engaging and insightful performance was part of New Sounds Live hosted by WNYC’s John Schaefer and was originally webcast live from Merkin Hall on May 20.

John Schaefer

The concert opens with a set from composer/pianist Ed Pastorini before moving to Gabriel Kahane, an the eclectic troubador known for mixing his classical training and upbringing with modern folk-pop sensibilities. In addition to writing his own song-cycles and musicals, he collaborates with a number of singer-songwriters and musicians, including Sufjan Stevens and Rufus Wainwright.
Ed Pastorini ( sorry, everyone else, this was all I could find)
Gabriel Kahane

The second half of the evening features Elizabeth & the Catapult, an ensemble comprised of Elizabeth Ziman, Dan Molad and Pete Lalish. The New York-based trio is regarded for their unique blend of pop playfulness and grown-up introspection. Their set includes songs from their debut album Verve Forecast as well as a newly-commissioned work for this event.
Elizabeth and The Catapult

Visit the site and have a listen.

John Meets Marvin – I’d Love to Be A Fly On The Wall

John Meets Marvin – I’d Love to Be A Fly On The Wall

I have some of my best – or worst – ideas while out on my exercise walks. Here is my latest:

I would love to be present when John Schaefer of WNYC’s New Sounds and Soundcheck and Marvin Rosen of WPRB’s Classical Discoveries and Classical Discoveries Goes Avantgarde might meet.

John Schaefer is the absolute impresario of New Music in New York City, maybe now, with the internet, the whole wide world. I have been listening to John it seems forever. New Sounds took me from my father’s world of Beethoven through Copland to the heights of the late 20th century with Arvo Pärt, Sir John Tavener, the Turtle Island Quartet, Steve Reich, Philip Glass and oh so many more great artists and composers. These days, Soundcheck is the key destination for artists and composers both new and not so new. It was on John’s Soundcheck celebration of New Sounds’ 20th anniversary that the Turtle Island guys said and I paraphrase, no New Sounds, no Turtle Island. I still have a copy of the 1985 interview with Steve Reich from the broadcast premier of the Desert Music.

John Schaefer

Marvin Rosen is the impresario of the Classical Discoveries web site. His two programs Classical Discoveries and Classical Discoveries Goes Avantgarde are a constant education. One of Marvin’s mottos, identical with mine, is “support living composers”. On Marvin’s longer programs this Summer, he has hosted extended interviews with Maya Beiser, Jennifer Castellano, Piffaro – The Rennaisance Band, Ethel, guitarist and Princeton University Professor Steve Mackey, Innova’s Philip Blackburn, and Barbara Harbach. What? You don’t know who some of them are? Tune in every Wednesday from about 6:00AM-3:00PM during the rest of this Summer and you will surely learn who they are and get a fuller education. Marvin is Dr Marvin Rosen, member of the Arts Faculty at Westminster Conservatory.


If I had to thank John for one composer, it would be Arvo Pärt. When I went all digital, I had to rip 16 CD’s to .mp3 .
From Marvin, it would be Alan Hovhaness. By this time, I was buying albums in .mp3 from Amazon. Right now, the number is nine, but we are still counting.

There is no way to thank these guys for the abundance of educational material they present to the listener each and every week.

Bang On A Can Celebrates John Schaefer

Bang On A Can Celebrates John Schaefer

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 at Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, NYC
Honoring John Schaefer, host of WNYC’s New Sounds and Soundcheck

Bang On A Can Tells us,

“…Why John is so important to us:

“…For so many years we knew the voice, but not the person – the deep resonant voice that brought us the wildest, most beautiful, mind bending, spectacular, strangest music that we could imagine. It was a voice that said “aren’t these musicians amazing” and “aren’t we lucky to have them.” This is the voice of John Schaefer, the fearless radio host new music lover who has shared with zillions of listeners his fascination for the music of our time. We are very fortunate to have known the voice – and now in more recent years to have known and loved the man.

John’s brilliance, generosity, and great humor work in person as well as on the air and we are fortunate to have developed a wonderful friendship with him over the past two decades. He has fearlessly advocated for noncommercial creative music – hosting the most listened-to radio show for contemporary music today. Just hearing the name of it – NEW SOUNDS – tells listeners about the broad-minded openness of both the programming and the programmer. His voice has traveled beyond the air waves to the concert hall – hosting live concerts, giving commissions to exciting innovative composers, and befriending audiences both live and on the air. We have learned so much from John and are indebted to him for bringing new music to the world.

Specifically with Bang on a Can, John Schaefer and WNYC have been huge supporters from day one. They actually decided to come and record our very first marathon in 1987 at Exit Art in Soho – this was before we even existed and before he knew who we were. Since that time John and WNYC have recorded and broadcast marathons, hosted and broadcast the People’s Commissioning Fund concert, commissioned new work with us, and presented countless interviews and in-studio performances with the Bang family of musicians. With a beautiful down-to-earth manner John has managed to bring insight and humor, appreciation and passion to his very thought-provoking and ear-opening programs. We feel the love and we love him back. Here’s to the voice. Here’s to John.”

Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe
co-founders and co-artistic directors….”

I personally consider John the greatest music teacher I have ever had.

Manfred Eicher Wins Downbeat Lifetime Achievement Award

Manfred Eicher Wins Downbeat Lifetime Achievement Award

I stole this photo from AAJ, where it is credited to Marek Vogel.

That’s the headline at All About Jazz. Manfred Eicher heads ECM .

Here is a bit of what AAJ has to say, “…ECM producer Manfred Eicher is the recipient of the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from venerable US jazz magazine DownBeat. The award was established in 1981, as a counterpart to the DownBeat Hall of Fame, “to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of the jazz pioneers, entrepreneurs and clarion callers who work tirelessly to connect jazz artists with audiences around the world.

“…The award follows two consecutive wins for Eicher as Producer of the Year in the DownBeat Critics Polls of 2008 and 2009….”

I first learned of Manfred Eicher through Keith Jarrett’s celebrated Koln Concert.

Then I began listening to Arvo Part, especially albums like Tabula Rasa,
Tabula Rasa

and Jan Garbarek, who I first heard with Keith Jarrett’s European Quartet.

I did most of this early listening at WNYC-FM, New York City. Today I listen to the on excellent web streams from Q2 at WQXR; WBGO; and WPRB

How did Manfred Eicher get to produce the best musicians in the world? He made them understand that he cared about them and their work.

Visit the ECM web site and read about excellence.

The Jazz Loft Project

The Jazz Loft Project

From 1954 to 1965, there was a very special place for Jazz in New York City. It was the Jazz Loft at 821 Sixth Avenue between 28th and 29th Streets.

Inside the loft
Inside the loft (Monk and orchestra rehearsing for the Town Hall concert [arranger Hall Overton is standing by the door], ).

Above is the cover for the book which came out of the Jazz Loft Project of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

The loft was the brain child of W. Eugene Smith, an award winning photographer for Life Magazine
W Eugene Smith

I cannot possibly tell the story here. My hope is that readers – especially Jazz lovers – will be motivated to drill deeper and and learn about this extraordinary place and what happened here.
Sam Stephenson, the director of the project, was apparently exploring the archives of Smith’s photography (40,000 pictures) when he came upon boxes and boxes containing reels and reels (1740) of audio tape. Smith and others had gotten some pianos up into this space in the Flower District in Manhattan. Smith wired the place with all sorts of tape recorders and audio systems. For literally years, he recorded everything and anything that happened in the loft. The Flower District is a commercial hub that goes empty in the early afternoon. The commercial interests do not open up again until about 4:00AM.

So, for over 12 hours a day the loudest music around would be heard by no one except the players. No one would call the cops.

Probably the single most important Jazz event spawned in the loft was Thelonious Monk’s 1959 Town Hall concert (picture of rehearsal above). All of the orchestration and arrangements for the concert were done at the loft. Monk had the help of one Hall Overton, a member of the (Classical) faculty at The Juilliard School by day and a Jazz guy at night.This concert was recently re-created. NPR tells us
“…Fifty years later, nearly to the day, trumpeter Charles Tolliver presented an evening-length re-creation of Monk’s Town Hall concert, with new note-for-note scoring of the big-band portion, as well as arrangements of the little-known quartet show which opened the night’s program. Tolliver had obviously studied Monk’s music intently, leading a precise performance which replicated the layered beauty and driving swing of the original — even down to the encore of “Little Rootie Tootie,” played at a faster tempo than the version which appeared in the body of the concert, just like in Monk’s show…..”

You can hear the re-created concert any time. At least for now.

Hall Overton

The list of musicians who frequested the loft – some actually lived there – is a veritable who’s who of the Jazz world. The paper cover of the book notes CHarlie Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk, Roy Haynes, Sonny Rollins, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Alice Coltrane and others. Photographers who knew Smith would show up: like Diane Arbus, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

However, we are fortunate that WNYC produced a ten part radio documentary, The Jazz Loft Radio Project under the guidance of Sara Fishko.


Please: take a look and then take a listen. What a great testament to a place and its people.

John Schaefer’s New Sounds and Soundcheck Programs on WNYC

John Schaefer’s New Sounds and Soundcheck Programs on WNYC

I would like to bring forward two radio programs which have both been around now for a very long time.

New Sounds and Soundcheck each deserve their own posts. But the real subject is John Schaefer.


John Schaefer has cost me probably thousands of dollars. On his two programs John has brought to his audience the best of new music, musicians and composers. I have purchased a lot of music about which I first heard on one or the other of John’s two programs.

You can read about New Sounds here, and Soundcheck here.


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