Music and Recording Features

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Art Dudley  |  Oct 30, 2005  |  0 comments
What is best in music is not to be found in the notes.—Gustav Mahler
Art Dudley  |  Oct 01, 2006  |  First Published: Sep 01, 2006  |  0 comments
"The public will put up with anything except boredom."—Giuseppe Verdi
Art Dudley  |  Aug 20, 2008  |  0 comments
Snobbery is a disease of the imagination.—Peter Straub, "Little Red's Tango"
Art Dudley  |  Oct 17, 2008  |  0 comments
Stereo Review, the world's most popular audio magazine during most of its time on Earth, was a common target of derision from the hobby's so-called high-end press, not least of all from me. We criticized its nerdy, boring prose, its uniformly positive reviews, and, most of all, its shameless pimping of the notions that measurements reveal all there is to know about a component, and that all competently engineered components sound equally fine.
Art Dudley  |  Sep 29, 2009  |  1 comments
For an artform in which sound is everything, popular music has been blessed with strangely little poetry: There may be no other genre where high-mindedness falls with such a thud. Leonard Cohen remains the most striking exception, not just for the genuine seriousness of his music or the adulation of his audience, but for the ability of the former to survive the latter.
Art Dudley  |  Sep 21, 2003  |  0 comments
In the town where I grew up there were two places to buy records: a family-owned department store and the local Woolworth's, both long gone. The first record I ever bought, the 45rpm single of Roger Miller's "King of the Road," came from the former in 1965. I was 11 years old.
John Swenson  |  Dec 10, 2020  |  6 comments
I've just recently finished reading guitarist/vocalist Walter Lure's autobiography, To Hell and Back. Walter has a great story about his days in Johnny Thunders's Heartbreakers and his own Waldos. Until he died in late August, you could still hear him playing with the Waldos and running periodic tributes to Johnny. But he also took some space to write about his first band, a hard-rock dance band called Bloodbath that pounded the risers in the North Bronx at the dawn of the 1970s.
Steve Guttenberg  |  May 03, 2012  |  0 comments
Photo: Aiyana Elliott

Even when Loudon Wainwright III (left in photo with Ramblin' Jack Elliot) was a young man he was writing autobiographical songs, and his old themes of family, sex, and death resonate more deeply on his new record, Older Than My Old Man Now. He usually performs solo, armed with just an acoustic guitar or a banjo, but most of his recordings present more heavily produced versions of LWIII's music. When I chatted with LWIII in late April I wanted to explore that dichotomy and how those transformations take place.

Robert Baird  |  Sep 03, 2014  |  1 comments
He was a victim of his own success. From 1925 to 1929, when he was in his mid-20s, Louis Armstrong changed the world of jazz music forever with his Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings, and his solos in tunes like "Cornet Chop Suey," "Potato Head Blues," and "West End Blues." Almost immediately, however, he was faced with a question: Now what?
Fred Kaplan  |  Oct 31, 2019  |  12 comments
There has never been a record producer like Manfred Eicher, founder and sole proprietor of ECM records, the German-based jazz (and sometimes classical) label that celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.

Eicher doesn't quite win the all-time prize for longevity. Edward Lewis started Decca (UK) in 1929 and owned it until 1980. David Sarnoff controlled RCA from 1919–1970. William Paley did the same at Columbia from 1938-1988. But unlike those other, financially heftier titans, who deferred to department heads and studio producers, Eicher has supervised every single one of ECM's albums—more than 1600 of them.

Robert Baird  |  Nov 21, 2010  |  1 comments
At a time when the heads of most record labels barely know how to play a record, let alone make one, Manfred Eicher—owner, founder, and inspiration of ECM Records, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2010—has been intimately involved in the making of nearly 1200 of them. How many, though, can he actually remember working on?

"When I listen back to them, I know the story of every record," he says without a smile or a moment's hesitation. "There is never an easy record. Every record needs a lot of input and concentration and dedication and passion to be made, that's clear. Create an atmosphere that is a productive search for music, and when this is the case, you have very memorable records."

Corey Greenberg  |  Mar 17, 2014  |  First Published: Jun 01, 1991  |  8 comments
Today is the 60th anniversary of the iconic Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, the instrument that in the hands of Buddy Holly, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Mark Knopfler, Buddy Guy, Hank B. Marvin, and many other virtuosi, shaped and guided rock music ever since. To celebrate the day, we are reprinting the tribute by Corey Greenberg, himself a Strat player, to the guitar's inventor, the late Leo Fender, that was published in our June 1991 issue.—Ed.
Ken Micallef  |  Oct 08, 2020  |  3 comments
"The data lords are gathering data and giving it to organizations that then manipulate us with the things they know about us, things that we don't even know about ourselves," says five-time Grammy Award–winning composer, conductor, producer, and band leader Maria Schneider. "They give our data to any company that'll pay for it to manipulate you, specifically targeting your vulnerabilities. It takes away freedom of thought, a true discourse where people are thinking for themselves. Count me out."
Ken Micallef  |  May 05, 2021  |  4 comments
In her reworking of the Beatles' "With a Little Help from my Friends," on the 2018 tribute album, A Day In The Life: Impressions Of Pepper (impulse records), Brooklyn guitarist and composer Mary Halvorson reinvents both her instrument and the song.

Most baby boomers can hum the tune of the Beatles' classic, from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in a handful of notes. It might take longer to recognize Halvorson's joyous, angular version. A master of jazz phrasing, guitar technique, avant-garde discourse, and effects pedals, Halvorson bends the Beatles song to her 21st century will.

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