Music and Recording Features

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Tony Scherman  |  Nov 30, 2022  |  0 comments
Tyler Chester was headed south on the I-5 to San Diego, where he would join indie-rock eminence Andrew Bird's road band for a brief tour. Touring is an activity Los Angeles–based Chester pursues with decreasing frequency, he told me in a recent phone chat. After years as a busy sideman and recording-session musician—he is equally proficient on bass, guitar, and keyboards—Chester finds himself spending less and less time as a player and more as a producer.
Thomas Conrad  |  Nov 10, 2022  |  0 comments
The first European jazz festival I ever attended was in 2006. It was the Umbria Jazz Festival in Perugia, Italy, one of the biggest. Tens of thousands of people overran the cobblestone streets and piazzas of Perugia's old town. The music began before noon and ended long after midnight. At the end of 10 days, I was delirious from joy and sleep deprivation.
Mike Mettler  |  Sep 09, 2022  |  1 comments
Steve Earle was born in 1967. Well, that's not exactly true. Earle was in fact born on January 17, 1955, in Fort Monroe, Virginia, but the singer, songwriter, and master interpreter's musical awakening came in 1967, when he was 12 years old, growing up in his acknowledged hometown of San Antonio, Texas.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Jul 06, 2022  |  3 comments
2022 is turning out to be a good year for Lyle Lovett, not least because he is, to use a cowboy metaphor, back in the saddle.

"I've been out of work for two years," he says archly. Normally, Lovett performs more than 100 concerts a year, regardless of whether he's released new work. But the pandemic pinned him down at home in Houston, with his wife and their now–four-year-old twins, in the house his grandfather built in 1911. Domesticity suits Lovett. "There was plenty to do every minute of every day. Absolutely no boredom!" He sounds like he means it; unselfconscious mentions of paternal tenderness bubbled up in our conversation from time to time.

Tom Fine  |  Jul 05, 2022  |  7 comments
My tastes coalesced around rock music, particularly the harder and faster kind, by the time I was in middle school. Earlier, they were oriented toward pop: The Beatles are my first and forever musical love.
Tony Scherman  |  Jun 07, 2022  |  7 comments
When an icon drops her first album in six years, you sit up and take notice. Bonnie Raitt made her earliest record a half-century and more ago, in August 1971. She was 21 and could easily have been carded; the face on the cover of Bonnie Raitt—that first album—has yet to shed all its baby fat.
Ken Micallef  |  Apr 14, 2022  |  27 comments
Celebrated New York City–based jazz drummer Billy Drummond recalls his first visit, with the group OTB ("Out of The Blue"), to the Mount Fuji Jazz Festival in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan. It was 1988. The Festival's elite drummers ranged in age from 69 (Art Blakey) to 26 (Ralph Peterson). In between were Roy Haynes, Tony Williams, Clifford Barbaro, Victor Lewis, Lewis Nash, Kenny Washington, Cindy Blackman—"and me," Drummond told me, by phone.
Anne E. Johnson  |  Apr 07, 2022  |  3 comments
Jonathan Ward, a historian of recorded sound, has some surprising news. Thousands of early 78rpm recordings were made not to preserve music but as disposable materials for selling gramophones. With manufacturers hoping to expand their sales globally, demo records featured regional music aimed at appealing to regional.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Mar 09, 2022  |  8 comments
It felt as though everyone had stopped breathing, so intent was their focus. I was in an exhibit room at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2018. I doubt that anyone present spoke German, but after soprano Sandrine Piau's recording, with pianist Susan Manoff, of Carl Loewe's "Ach Neige, Du Schmer-Zenreiche" (ah, incline, you who are laden with sorrows) began to fill the space, the silence was so deep that you could almost hear hearts beat. as Piau intoned words by Wolfgang von Goethe that spoke of a loss so painful that it pierced the heart and bore into one's bones, everyone present felt the emptiness and loss in Piau's voice and Lizst's setting.
Rogier van Bakel  |  Feb 11, 2022  |  3 comments
For all its ghastliness and heartbreak, the COVID-19 pandemic has been good to Keb' Mo'. When the virus hit the US, it forced the cancelation of a string of his concerts. "I was getting a little burned out on touring," he confesses.
Stereophile Staff  |  Jan 18, 2022  |  7 comments
So, what's this all about? Most of you already know—after all, we've been doing it since 1991, and it's one of our most popular features. But if you're new to Stereophile, here it is: Originally, the light-hearted conceit was, these are the records you'd be willing to lay down your life for. (This foie gras is to die for!) But, let's be real: That ain't gonna happen, or so I hope.
Jim Austin  |  Jan 06, 2022  |  6 comments
Jay Jay French has a book out, but it's not what you might think, or not exactly.

French earned fame in the 1980s as the lead guitarist for transvestite metal band Twisted Sister, which produced some of the most recognizable—and widely licensed—rock music in history: "We're Not Gonna Take It." "I Wanna Rock."

John Swenson  |  Dec 29, 2021  |  1 comments
R&B in D.C. 1940–1960 (Bear Family BCD 17052 16-CD, 2021) adds a new chapter to the Bear Family Records deep dive into American popular culture. Historian/collector Jay Bruder worked with a small army of researchers and editors to compile the beautifully designed book and its accompanying 16-CD discography.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Dec 10, 2021  |  7 comments
Rabbits figure frequently in chats with Tom Fine—not the little creatures per se but the holes they burrow into. Because when you question Fine about matters present and past, his encyclopedic memory and fascination with all things great and small take you down what he calls "rabbit holes."
Ken Micallef  |  Nov 10, 2021  |  4 comments
Over a long weekend in late August 2021, DJ, broadcaster, and contemporary music scholar Gilles Peterson and his Brownswood recordings label hosted the We Out Here (WOH) festival in Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, 80 miles north of London. 20 stages. 15,000 attendees. Peterson called it "the British Jazz Woodstock."

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