Once you're able to see this three-song set by the band Johnnyswim, NPR Music will have published exactly 350 Tiny Desk Concerts — so we've developed a pretty good sense of when a set will stick in our memories for a while. We intuited, for example, that Adele was about to become a dominant force shortly after she breezed into our offices.
Drummer Brian Blade's rhythm has propelled the music of everyone from Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell to Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock. But he's also a composer with his own group. "Landmarks" is the new album from Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band.
(SOUNDBITE OF ALBUM, "LANDMARKS")
MARTIN: Blade records in his brother Brady's studio in Shreveport, Louisiana. And he joins us from there today. Welcome to the program, Brian.
You're listening to the Stone Roses. Their debut album came out of Manchester, England 25 years ago. It's an LP that writer and critic Colin Fleming maintains is one of the best of the last quarter-century. He's not alone. Many have hailed it as one of Britain's greatest. So this seems like a big statement, Colin, especially for a band that never really got their due in this country, right?
It's right there in the band's name, but the music of Quilt is truly a tapestry. Its songs are made of small bits of verses and choruses that, heard individually, may not seem to fit. But in the hands and voices of this band, they stitch together beautifully. Interweaving harmonies and guitar lines from Anna Fox Rochinski and Shane Butler set the tone for these tunes — soft and benevolent, dreamy and quivering, with poetry that's thoughtful and playful. The opening song at this Tiny Desk Concert, "Arctic Shark," questions and enchants.
As the conflict in Syria rages, a pianist named Malek Jandali has turned to composing to express his sorrow. He was one of the first Syrian artists living abroad to openly criticize the Assad regime, not long after an uprising swept across his homeland. Jessica Jones from North Carolina Public Radio shares how he found his voice through music.
Pianist, composer, improviser and 2013 MacArthur Fellow Vijay Iyer has built a career of making musical connections. Increasingly recognized as one of the most inventive musicians working today, he received an interdisciplinary Ph.D.