Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Alice Smith has managed to keep her music unique, despite pressure from music labels. She joins host Michel Martin for a special performance chat of her latest album She.
Originally published on Tue August 13, 2013 4:32 pm
In 2007, I was interviewed by a journalist over lunch a day before the premiere of my Violin Concerto. One of his first questions was, "So why do you write in these old forms, the symphony, the concerto ... ?" I told him that these were simply titles which imply nothing about the form, which was another thing entirely. But it led me to ask myself: What is a symphony these days? If it no longer comprises a four-movement structure with an energetic first movement, a slow movement, a scherzo, and some kind of quick rondo, then what exactly characterizes it?
Wayne Shorter is among the most influential jazz composers of all time. His performances are relatively scarce, but he's turning 80 this year and he's returned to Newport to celebrate. His quartet of more than a dozen years tears apart and reconstructs his tunes — and some other pieces — in a Mr. Potato Head style. It's thrilling and a little mystifying alike. And his old friend Herbie Hancock also swung through Rhode Island to mark the occasion.
One gets the sense that pianist Robert Glasper feels completely at ease with his Experiment band, running his right hand in circles, cracking jokes and switching directions on the fly. Along the way, he's cracked the mold of how jazz might approach the hip-hop and R&B of today. The breakout success of last year's album Black Radio, with its real-time boom-bap and myriad vocal cameos, has already led to a sequel, due out near Halloween. Here's a freewheeling set of vamps and vocoder from Glasper and company.
Guitarist Rez Abbasi's new electronics-enhanced trio is driven by what its leader calls "textural surprise." As heard on the 2012 album Continuous Beat, the Pakistani-born guitarist's newest repertoire was inspired by the late drummer Paul Motian. On wax, that's a point of departure to explore material as diverse as tunes by Motian's contemporaries, Indian ragas and "The Star-Spangled Banner." Abbasi returns to Newport with a set of original compositions — and one Keith Jarrett tune.