On a new box set collecting the first four albums of Jack DeJohnette and his band Special Edition, two discs are gems and the other two have their moments. DeJohnette's quartet-slash-quintet was fronted by smoking saxophonists on the way up, set loose on catchy riffs and melodies. The springy rhythm section could tweak the tempos like no one this side of '60s goddess Laura Nyro.
Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 9:45 am
The members of How To Destroy Angels, a collective featuring Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor, his wife and singer Mariqueen Maandig, art director Rob Sheridan and the brilliant composer Atticus Ross, have an unambiguously grim view of where civilization is headed. In a new video for the song "How Long," from the band's upcoming album Welcome Oblivion, man hunts man in (surprise) a terrifying, dystopian future.
Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw keeps good company. He tours with Roy Haynes, the living legend of jazz drums. He grew up in the Philadelphia music community, where new creative ferment in black pop music abutted multiple generations of jazz elders. He knows the music of Charles Mingus quite well from playing in the Mingus Big Band.
The history of jazz is often told as a sequence of epic heroes, legends whose careers proceed from one great accomplishment to another. Coincidentally, the saxophonist Chris Potter, bright-toned and gymnastically powerful, has been reading Homer lately. That's inspired his latest suite of compositions, a collection of tuneful numbers based on The Odyssey. The Sirens is geared largely around a quartet of widely admired musicians, not least of whom is Potter himself.
Originally published on Thu January 31, 2013 12:12 pm
Ben Harper grew up roaming the aisles and restoring guitars at his family's music store, the Claremont Folk Music Center. Going on its 60th year of business, the storefront in Southern California is where Harper first discovered the harmonica playing of blues legend Charlie Musselwhite.
"We had Charlie's records stacked high at my family's store and at my house," Harper tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.