Music and Recording Features

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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?
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.

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.

Sasha Matson  |  May 28, 2020  |  2 comments
"What happens in college stays in college" might be the best policy for most undergrad-formed bands, but Snarky Puppy is an exception to that rule (and a number of others). Bassist/composer Michael League found fertile musical ground in the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas when he formed Snarky Puppy in 2003.
Art Dudley  |  Nov 29, 2018  |  12 comments
The stars lined up.

According to biographer Charles Reid, the British conductor Sir John Barbirolli "burned with Elgarian zeal," attributable in part to Barbirolli's participation, as a young cellist in the London Symphony Orchestra of 1919, in the premiere performance of Edward Elgar's Cello Concerto. That performance, conducted by the composer and with Felix Salmond as soloist, was a disaster—Elgar's rehearsal time had been cut short by a lack of cooperation from another conductor on the bill, a slight the composer never forgave—yet from then on, the 19-year-old Barbirolli regarded Elgar's music with reverence.

Robert Baird  |  Mar 27, 2018  |  14 comments
The loudness wars are over. The valiant but hopelessly outnumbered forces that stood against squashing the dynamics and life out of recordings, all in the name of almighty loudness, have been vanquished. Scattered across the smoking battlefield are the lifeless bodies of thousands of disappointed listeners, many so young they will never now know what it's like to hear a natural, uncompressed recording.
Robert Baird  |  Oct 05, 2017  |  0 comments
Seeing your album in a record store's cutout bin meant one thing. Despite the label execs' wide smiles, warm handshakes, and earnest promises to the contrary, once the record jacket had a hole punched in it, or its corner clipped, it meant your record label had lost faith and moved on.

Record collectors felt differently. The prices of cutouts were right—usually, from 99õ to a penny under two bucks. And cutouts were better than digging through crates because the records were still sealed . . . even if the jackets were a bit mangled. The beauty of cutouts was that they were so cheap, you could afford to be lavish, and go home with anything that caught your fancy.

Wes Phillips  |  Mar 03, 1998  |  0 comments
ARTURO DELMONI & NATHANIEL ROSEN: Music for a Glass Bead Game
J.S. Bach: Two-Part Inventions 1, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13. Kodály: Duo for Violin & Cello. Giordani: Duetto II. Martinu: Duo for Violin & Cello. Handel: Passacaglia
Arturo Delmoni, violin; Nathaniel Rosen, cello
John Marks Records JMR 15 (CD). John Marks, prod.; Jerry Bruck, eng. DDD. TT: 62:34
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 29, 2004  |  First Published: Nov 27, 2004  |  0 comments
For months now, I've been beating the drum for full-range center-channel speakers, to reproduce recordings with a true center-channel signal. There are many reasons for this.

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