WRTI Picks from NPR Music

WRTI Picks from NPR Music
9:38 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Oppression To Opera: Could A Woman's Courage Change Pakistan?

Left to right: Kamala Sankaram as Mukhtar Mai, Steve Gokool, Theodora Hanslowe, Leela Subramaniam, Kannan Vasudevan, Manu Narayan.
Prototype Opera Festival

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 12:53 pm

Mukhtar Mai is from a small tribal village in Pakistan. In 2002, her brother was accused of sexually molesting a woman from a wealthy land-owning clan. What happened next was horrifying, says singer and composer Kamala Sankaram.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
5:24 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Sax Great Jimmy Heath 'Walked With Giants,' And He's Still Here

Jimmy Heath and friends at a session at New York's WOR Studios in 1953. Left to right: Miles Davis, Kenny Drew, Art Blakey, Jimmy Heath.
Temple University Press / Jimmy Heath collection

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 11:31 am

In the room he uses as a practice space and office in his apartment in Corona, Queens, Jimmy Heath recalls a hit record from long ago.

"It's a song Bill Farrell, a popular singer, had years ago," he says, and then sings: "You've changed, you're not the angel I once knew / No need to tell me that we're through / It's all over now, you've changed." Then the 5'3" musician with the big sound picks up his tenor saxophone and blows.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
10:25 am
Thu January 9, 2014

The Drummer Who Invented Jazz's Basic Beat

It doesn't take an expert to identify this sound as a jazz rhythm:

Musicians call it "spang-a-lang," for obvious phonetic reasons, and it's so synonymous with jazz, it no longer occurs to us that someone had to invent it. But someone did: a drummer named Kenny Clarke, who would have turned 100 today.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
12:31 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

The Jazz Men And Women We Lost In 2013

The late documentary filmmaker Jean Bach stands next to an enlarged 1958 photograph of many jazz musicians titled "A Great Day in Harlem." Her documentary about the photo shoot was nominated for an Academy Award in 1995.
Thomas Monaster/New York Daily News Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:21 pm

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
8:58 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Destroyed By Customs? Or Stolen? Whatever Happened, Flutes Are Gone

Flutist Boujemaa Razgui and his colleagues from the ensemble Al Andalus.
Courtesy of the artists

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 2:28 pm

A case stirring intense outrage in the classical music community and starting to gain steam in the mainstream press is getting more mysterious by the day.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
7:57 am
Mon December 30, 2013

As The Year Closes, A Concert Hall Remains Empty

Because of a bitter labor dispute, the Minnesota Orchestra has not played a single performance in its concert hall this year. The orchestra's music director, Osmo Vanska (pictured here), resigned in October.
Greg Helgeson Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 6:54 pm

Three hundred sixty-five. That's the number of days the Minnesota Orchestra will have gone without playing in its concert hall in 2013. The orchestra became the unwitting poster child for labor strife in the classical music world — and, to some extent, an emblem of the problems facing non-profit arts institutions across the country.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
2:03 am
Sat December 28, 2013

Chopin's Favorite Piano Factory Plays Its Final Chord

The Pleyel piano factory, which once supplied instruments to Frederic Chopin, will close its doors at the end of the year.
Francois Guillot AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 28, 2013 3:47 pm

One of the world's oldest and most iconic piano makers, Pleyel, will close its factory doors in Paris at the end of 2013.

The French press characterized the bankruptcy as inevitable in the face of cheaper competition from China. But many disagree: They say Pleyel could have survived by adapting better to the times.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
3:08 am
Thu December 19, 2013

From Duke's 'Nutcracker' To A Cynical Carol, Jazz For Christmas

Duke Ellington & Billy Strayhorn collaborated to release The Nutcracker Suite in 1960.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 9:35 am

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Music Reviews
3:57 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

Michele Rosewoman Goes Back To Afro-Cuban Jazz's Future

Michele Rosewoman (bottom right) is joined by batá percussionists in performance with her New Yor-Uba Ensemble in 2013.
Tom Ehrlich Courtesy of the artist

When Michele Rosewoman was growing up in the Bay Area, she played piano from childhood and congas from her teens. After moving to New York in the late 1970s, she began making music in two areas: modern jazz and traditional Cuban music. Before long, she started combining the two in her New Yor-Uba band.

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WRTI Picks from NPR Music
11:05 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Wayne Shorter And The Year's Other Passing Scenery

Wayne Shorter, who turned 80 in 2013, won the NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll by a large margin.
Robert Ashcroft Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 7:00 pm

It says a lot about his enduring hold on jazz listeners that over a half century into his career, the descriptive phrases most commonly put in front of Wayne Shorter's name — along with "the great saxophonist and composer" — remain "the elusive" and "the enigmatic." The inside tray card to Shorter's Without a Net, the runaway Best Album winner in this year's NPR Music Jazz Critics P

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