Weekend Edition continues its series on the sounds of music al fresco with a musical act founded on a very inconvenient choice. You'd think a street musician would want to travel light when selecting an instrument — say, a ukulele, a violin, maybe a guitar. But a piano?
"It's about 300 pounds," says Kirby Lee Hammel. "Only one pulled muscle in the last year and a half, I think."
If you ever listened to jazz vocalists and wondered if you could ever in your life scat like them, there's someone who's willing to teach you. The vocalist Rhiannon has long held the importance of improvisation as a personal credo, and in her career has blended that art form with jazz, world music and storytelling.
Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 4:15 pm
Based on their instruments, they seem like an old-time string band; based on their appearance, they seem like they might play punk music. The answer lies somewhere in between. Pete Bernhard (guitar) and Cooper McBean (banjo) grew up in New England to parents who liked ragtime and old blues. The two moved to Santa Cruz temporarily, where they met Lucia Turino (upright bass), and The Devil Makes Three was born. (For our session, Adam Chilenski fills in for Lucia, who had a broken arm.)
Kristian Matsson, the smallish Swede who performs under the moniker The Tallest Man on Earth, sings, plays guitar and occasionally takes a turn at the piano. That's all there is to his act: no backing band, no frills. Heck, he barely needs amplification, given the volume at which he performs. But that right there — the gigantic force of his delivery, the percussive hyper-dexterity of his playing — is part of what makes him so magnetic on stage. On paper, he's just another poet strumming a guitar.