Recently, a friend handed me an Iranian music CD and said you have to hear this. My friend is an Iranian filmmaker and once, long ago, he took me to an underground jazz concert in Tehran. It was dramatic traveling through back alleys to get to the gig and I did a story on it for NPR then in 1997.
One of the musicians I met that night was a bass player named Marob(ph). Speaking through a translator, he mentioned the freedom music creates, even in an authoritarian society.
Juan-Carlos Formell participated in a multi-artist showcase at SOB's — home to Brazilian and Latin music in New York — a few years ago. Between a couple of amped-up bands, he took the stage alone (as I recall) and sang in Spanish, accompanying himself on guitar. His voice had urgency to it, and there was an irresistible engine inside that guitar. Ever since, I've wanted to hear and know more.
Saxophonist Jan Garbarek was a teenage protege of American composer George Russell in Norway in the 1960s and later played in Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. More recently, he has collaborated with the vocal quartet the Hilliard Ensemble, improvising as they sing medieval music.
Dhani Harrison formed thenewno2 as an arts collective during a very dark period. With the passing of his father, George Harrison, and the September 11 attacks fresh in our collective consciousness, he needed a fresh direction to help bring some clarity to the swirling chaos of emotions. Channeling these complicated feelings, and with the support of some enduring friendships, Dhani has delivered thefearofmissingout, a layered and confident album that brings his individual voice to the fore.
Full Audio: Dirty Projectors Live From The 9:30 Club
Few bands make music as strangely captivating - or make it as as fearlessly - as Dirty Projectors. The group's always unpredictable songs crisscross a mind-bending mix of genres and styles, with disjointed rhythms and structures, unusual melodies and harmonies that make it one of the most creative but polarizing groups of the past decade. For some it's an inspired form of high art, while others think it's just plain weird.
Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:01 am
I guess it's not that big of a surprise, but according to last week's poll, 67 percent of you haven't heard Big Star's #1 Record. One of the nice side benefits of doing this series is that it gives people a chance to discover great albums they've never heard before, so if you're part of the 67 percent that hasn't heard Big Star, take some time to listen. You'll love it.