It takes a while to orient yourself when you're listening to the band Dawn of Midi. The new album Dysnomia is a 47-minute-long composition by what looks like a jazz trio — drums, bass and piano. But it sounds like something completely different — looping, minimal electronic music. And there's no improvisation here: It's performed the same way, note for note, every time.
Originally published on Sun August 4, 2013 10:02 am
If you didn't manage to fly in, drive up or sneak your way aboard a yacht bound for coastal Rhode Island — well, we can't help you get to the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival. But if you're not near Aquidneck Island this weekend, you can still catch a lot of the festival from our live NPR Music webcast, presented with WBGO and WGBH.
Major jazz gatherings such as the Newport Jazz Festival — which dates back to 1954 — have always relied on big names to attract visitors. The 2013 edition is no different, with headliners such as Wayne Shorter (with Herbie Hancock), Marcus Miller, Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri and Esperanza Spalding.
In jazz, the clarinet went into eclipse for awhile, drowned out by louder trumpets and saxes. The instrument has long since made a comeback, and the modern clarinet thrives in settings where it doesn't have to shout to be heard.
Take "Spindleshanks," a little out-of-sync boogie-woogie for Darryl Harper's clarinet and Kevin Harris' piano. It's from Harper's The Edenfred Files. In his long-running Onus Trio, the spare unit Darryl Harper features on most of his new album, he can sing softly as an owl in the night.
It is not easy to play both jazz drum set and Afro-Caribbean percussion. Lots of drummers do it, but few have mastered it in a way that makes their sound in either style unmistakable from the first beat.
The music community lost one of those true innovators Wednesday with the death of percussionist Steve Berrios in New York at age 68. Berrios could move seamlessly from jazz to Afro-Cuban rhythms in a way that perfectly reflected his bicultural roots.
It's been too long since we simply sat up and pointed out a few of the many new releases worth a set of ears. Luckily, the staff on weekends at All Things Considered thought the same. They invited me to sit down with host Jacki Lyden and play a few cuts for them.
Here's music from an elder statesman of piano, a trumpeter who understands creole music personally, a drummer who writes tunes with a payoff, and a singer in her early 20s with maturity and kick.
The year 1963 saw the March on Washington, the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Medgar Evers, the bombing of the Birmingham church that resulted in the deaths of four black girls and the passing of W.E.B. Du Bois. That same year, LeRoi Jones — a twentysomething, Newark, N.J.-born, African-American, Lower East Side-based Beat poet — published a book titled Blues People: a panoramic sociocultural history of African-American music.
Session musician Stephen Bruner has played bass in other people's bands for more than a decade. He can play metal, R&B, hip-hop, jazz. And he's been folding all that into his own music, which he puts out under the name Thundercat.
Now, with his second album, he's stepping to the front of the stage.
Composer, arranger, conductor and pianist Lalo Schifrin has written some of the most famous music in ﬁlm and TV history. His works include the original Mission: Impossible theme and the scores to Cool Hand Luke and the DirtyHarry ﬁlms. On this page, Schifrin performs his tune "Down Here on the Ground" and joins host Marian McPartland for a duet of "Woody'n You."