Music

Tiny Desk Concerts
2:06 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

The Dismemberment Plan: Tiny Desk Concert

The Dismemberment Plan performs a Tiny Desk concert in October 2013.
Meredith Rizzo Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:26 pm

When NPR Music started inviting musicians to perform at Bob Boilen's desk back in 2008, we never could have expected that we'd one day host The Dismemberment Plan. For one, the D.C.-area group had long since disbanded; for another, its fleshed-out and periodically funky sound wouldn't seem to lend itself to vastly stripped-down arrangements.

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Deceptive Cadence
2:57 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Yuja Wang: Rooted In Diligence, Inspired By Improvisation

Yuja Wang at NPR's studio in Washington, D.C.
Denise DeBelius NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:56 am

Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 3 — "Rach 3," as fans fondly call it — is one of the most famously difficult pieces of music there is. The sheet music goes on and on, with notes so dense the pages start to look like modern art. The piece is so challenging that some noted pianists have declined to perform it — but Yuja Wang has recorded it for her newest album.

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Music Interviews
5:45 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Ben Allison: Leading A Stellar Band Far Beyond The World

The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Music Interviews
8:17 am
Sun December 1, 2013

Bringing Jazz On Walkabout: Jon Batiste And Stay Human

Jon Batiste (second from left) and the Stay Human band.
Peter Lueders Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 2:25 pm

Pianist Jonathan Batiste was born and raised in New Orleans as part of the Batiste jazz family dynasty there. He was playing with the family band by age 8. Eventually he took his talents to Julliard, and that's where he met the rest of Stay Human: Joe Saylor on the drums, Ibanda Ruhumbika on tuba and Eddie Barbash on alto sax.

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Music Interviews
7:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Tony Joe White's Steamy 'Hoodoo' Rock

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 10:54 am

Even if you haven't heard of Tony Joe White, you've probably heard his music. His songs have been performed by Elvis, Ray Charles and Tina Turner. He's even been sampled by Kanye West. Host Scott Simon talks with White about his distinctive swamp rock sound, and his new album, Hoodoo.

Music Interviews
7:31 am
Sat November 30, 2013

Herb Alpert Steps Out With A Little Latin, A Little Piaf

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 10:37 am

Jazz legend Herb Alpert and his wife, Lani Hall, are both Grammy winners, and Alpert, who co-founded A&M Records, has sold over 75 million albums in a career that dates back to the late 1950s. They join host Scott Simon to talk about their new album, Steppin' Out.

Music
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

The Electric Bassist With An In-House Composer

Steve Swallow switched from acoustic bass to bass guitar in 1970, and hasn't looked back.
Klaus Muempfer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:15 pm

Steve Swallow started playing jazz as a teenager. While a student at Yale University, he played mostly in with Dixieland bands. And then the 20-year-old bassist got a gig with the avant-garde-leaning pianist Paul Bley at a nearby college, went home, went to bed — and dropped out.

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Music Interviews
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

'It's Hard To Stay Patient': A Conversation With John Mayer

John Mayer in Studio 1 at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Amy Ta NPR

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 4:35 pm

John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus — but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.

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Music Interviews
4:24 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

John Mayer On Getting His Voice Back

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Tomorrow on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, Grammy Award-winning musician John Mayer brings his guitar and his quick wit to our studios.

JOHN MAYER: It's like guitar tuning and paper medical records are like the two things that you look at and you're like, how is this still happening?

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Music Interviews
12:20 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

John Legend On Marriage, Music And 'Genius' Kanye West

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 12:27 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. My next guest needs little introduction because John Legend is, at a young age, already an R&B legend. His musicianship, impeccable phrasing, versatility and buttery sound have earned him nine Grammy awards. But it's been a while since he's delivered a solo. But now he's back with a new disc of original material titled "Love in the Future."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALL OF ME")

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