Ninety years ago near the village of Katonah, N.Y., art lovers Walter and Lucie Rosen bought Caramoor, a wooded estate, and built a home for their collection of painting and sculpture. Every room was a gallery, including their favorite, the Music Room; after they lost their only son in World War II, they presented a small concert series there to honor him. So began the transformation of Caramoor from a private home to an arts center and treasure for Westchester County, north of New York City.
When tenor saxophonist John Coltrane recorded his composition "Giant Steps" in 1959, he created something that changed the way musicians thought about improvisation and harmony. Decades earlier, the man who took the first leaps and bounds with the tenor sax in jazz was Coleman Hawkins.
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 5:16 pm
By Patrick Jarenwattananon
The drummer Pete La Roca, a top freelance drummer during New York's post-bop heyday in the 1950s and '60s, died early this morning in New York. The cause was lung cancer, according to Randa Kirshbaum, a former girlfriend. He was 74 years old.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:34 am
Our November edition of "Heavy Rotation" includes new favorite songs from public-radio stations across the country. Starting out west, Colorado Public Radio's OpenAir channel highlights one of Denver's most promising young voices, Esme Patterson. Kansas Public Radio's "Trail Mix" show is obsessed with folksinger Rayna Gellert. WEMU in Ypsilanti, Mich., is feeling blues belter Mary Bridget Davies. WXPN in Philadelphia recently added the wonderfully named Foxygen. And Vermont Public Radio is getting ready for winter with bassist Marcus Miller.
The rumors that had been around for a couple of years have finally been confirmed: At long last, there's a film in the works about the turbulent life of Nina Simone, otherwise known as the "High Priestess of Soul."
Simone was famous from the 1950s through the '70s for her music and her civil rights activism. And although she died in 2003, her voice remains popular on TV, movie soundtracks and commercials.
Nearly three seasons in, the character Davis still puzzles many of us who watch the show Treme.
He certainly cares. Whether leading historical tours or launching R&B operas for royalty-abuse awareness, or throwing himself into various protests, he has a winning drive to do right by his hometown. Davis lives to participate in the New Orleans music community, and the earnest charm of his homerism isn't lost on other characters around him.
It's no wonder that pianist Bill Charlap loves the music that has come to be called The Great American Songbook — the songs of great Tin Pan Alley composers such as Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Irving Berlin. He grew up with it. Charlap was born and raised in New York, the son of Moose Charlap (a Broadway composer) and Sandy Stern, a self-described "popular singer with jazz overtones."
Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 10:33 am
It's New Year's Eve at The Blue Whale, a "live jazz + art space" in the Little Tokyo section of downtown Los Angeles. Founded in 2009 by singer Joon Lee, this is a listening room. There's food at the bar, poetry (Rumi!) on the ceiling, and wall-to-wall people. The Blue Whale has been sold out for days, and the phone keeps ringing off the hook because everybody wants to be on the air, cheering for Billy Childs live on NPR's Toast of the Nation.