More than half a century ago this week, on Aug. 12, 1958, some of the greatest jazz musicians of the day assembled in Harlem at what was, for them, the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. Fifty-seven players came to East 126th Street to have their picture taken for Esquire magazine.
Even the strongest among us get the blues: You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to a single other humanoid, and you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The songs you choose for those miseries have to be just right.
Adam Brent Houghtaling is something of a connoisseur of the melancholy moment. Perhaps to cheer himself up, he's put that expertise to use by producing a kind of encyclopedia of the best soundtracks for lonely days and nights. It's called This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 12:02 pm
All summer long, Weekend Edition has been sampling the sounds of America's street musicians. The latest to catch our ear is Alexis Dawdy, a young violinist who returned to her hometown of Lansing, Mich., to study at Michigan State University — and do a little busking on the side.
"I'm actually not a music major. This is really a hobby that accidentally became a profession," Dawdy says. "I'm studying linguistics, and I'm 17 credits out from graduation. My goal is to do it debt-free, and this helps a lot. This pays for books and this pays for food."
Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 11:45 am
Best Coast is known for simple, beachy pop songs, but the L.A. duo's new album The Only Place steps up the production quality significantly. Singer Bethany Cosentino and multi-instrumentalist Bobb Bruno are driven by shared appreciation: Crazy For You and the new record both showcase the pair's infectious love of California.
Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 9:03 am
This week's quiz comes from Sean Carey, the drummer for Bon Iver and a fantastic solo artist (who records and performs as S. Carey). We featured his stunningly beautiful debut album, All We Grow in our First Listen series back in 2010. Earlier this summer he released the EP Hoyas.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 9:11 am
The up-tempo string band Scythian makes its first appearance on Mountain Stage, recorded live on the campus of West Virginia University in Morgantown. Featuring twin fiddles and energy to spare, Scythian sets itself apart from other traditional bands by blending Celtic music and bluegrass with touches of French Canadian, zydeco and gypsy styles, a product of founder Alexander Fedoryka's Ukrainian ancestry.
Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 12:34 pm
Broadway and film legend Marvin Hamlisch died Monday in Los Angeles at age 68. Also the pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, he began studying at Juilliard at age 7 — and at the time, he was the youngest student to be accepted at there. "My big thing at Juilliard — because I hadn't taken that many piano lessons at that point — was not that I could play Bach or Beethoven, but that I could play 'Goodnight Irene' in any key," Hamlisch told NPR's Scott Simon in 1987.