Music

Jazz
11:59 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Time is on their side: Ageless jazz drumming

"Killer" Ray Appleton, a veteran drummer with the wisdom of experience and ageless swing.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 11:59 am

I've been listening to two very good new albums led by drummers. After learning that both men are in their early 70s, I can't help but wonder how I process that fact in what I hear.

"Killer" Ray Appleton (b. 1941) and Barry Altschul (b. 1943) practice different styles. But they both came of musical age in the hard-bop era, spent many years living in Europe and eventually returned to New York. In other words, they've each got a lot of experience.

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The Science of Music
10:53 pm
Tue February 19, 2013

Can you learn to like music you hate?

Harmony — it's in the ear of the beholder, Australian researchers say.
iStock

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 4:23 pm

You hear some music you hate. That's fair. We all do on occasion. But can you learn to love — or at least not loathe — that music? Can you intentionally transform the visceral response you have to certain pieces and styles, or does that happen at some more incalculable, subtle level?

Researchers at Australia's University of Melbourne say that the more dissonance (which they describe as "perceived roughness, harshness, unpleasantness, or difficulty in listening to the sound") that we hear in music, the less we enjoy said music. Seems obvious enough, right?

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Seattle Music
10:45 am
Fri February 8, 2013

How Seattle rapper Macklemore got 'Thrift Shop' to number one

The number one song in the country right now is "Thrift Shop" by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, a rap group out of Seattle.

Their claim to fame: They got the song to the top of the chart by themselves, without being signed by a major label.

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Jazz
7:25 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

SFJAZZ Center star-studded opening concert

Thirty years after presenting its first concerts in San Francisco, the organization SFJAZZ has built a permanent home and performance venue. The SFJAZZ Center, conceived as the first stand-alone building for jazz in the U.S., opened with a star-studded concert on Jan. 23.

Listen to the concert. Video will be available in the following days. 

Business
5:01 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Easy Street bows out, but are local record stores really dying?

Easy Street will close its Queen Anne location after 12 years.
Gabriel Spitzer KPLU

This is the last week for a fixture in Seattle’s independent music culture, as Easy Street Records’ lower Queen Anne store prepares to shut its doors Friday. But the move may not signal, as some fear, a death spiral for local independent music stores.

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Artscape
5:03 am
Sun July 15, 2012

John Cage: a great of the musical avant-garde, with Seattle roots

The prepared piano in the lobby of the Cologne Philharmonic - an installation honoring John Cage's centennial as part of the Acht Bruecken festival of new music. Cage invented the prepared piano while in Seattle.
Photo by Bellamy Pailthorp KPLU News

Many experts call him the greatest iconoclast of 20th-century music.

The avant-garde composer John Cage is perhaps best known for his pioneering use of silence in music. He also broke ground with the use of everyday objects as instruments, electronics and chance in composition.

He was born in California and died in New York. But some of his most formative years took place in Seattle.

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Music
1:11 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Why do people hate rap and opera?

Opera and rap seem to hit a nerve with many music lovers.
Morozova Tatiana iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 22, 2012 8:47 am

So what's wrong with rap and opera? Not much, really. Except that last week when we asked readers to name their musical blind spots (genres or bands they ignored, either by choice or neglect) a distinct refrain emerged within the responses. Two examples:

"Oh, and by the way, rap is not music. It is mostly a bunch of meaningless drivel by people with no real talent and who certainly should not get paid."

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Jazz & Blues
9:30 am
Fri January 20, 2012

Remembering Etta James: Songs on YouTube

Singer Etta James performs at the Vine St. Bar & Grill in Hollywood on April 6, 1987.
Alison Wise AP Photo

The "Matriarch of the Blues" has died. Music legend Etta James died at Riverside Community Hospital in California from complications of leukemia. She was 73. In tribute, here are five songs from James.

Music News
8:51 am
Sun January 8, 2012

Frampton's dream guitar, recovered decades later

Frampton poses with the guitar he thought he'd lost forever.
Courtesy Gregg Roth

Originally published on Sun January 8, 2012 6:03 am

Peter Frampton sold millions of records with the help of a customized Gibson guitar. Three decades ago, that guitar was destroyed in a plane crash ... or so he thought.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
10:20 am
Thu April 21, 2011

In the studio with Kurt Elling - The complete jazz singer

Kurt Elling performing live in the KPLU Seattle studios on April 15, 2011.

Some jazz singers excel at singing standards. Others excel at scat-singing or vocalese (writing lyrics for instrumental improvisations and singing them). However, Grammy award-winning vocalist Kurt Elling can do it all.

He easily proved it in front of a small studio audience of Leadership Circle members on April 15th with along with two long-time musical colleagues; pianist, Laurence Hobgood, and guitarist, John McLean.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
7:35 am
Wed March 30, 2011

Jake Shimabukuro: Defying genres to bring the ukulele mainland and mainstream

KPLU was pleased to welcome ukulele virtuoso, Jake Shimabukuro, into our studios on March 29, 2011. Jake played before not only a record number of KPLU Leadership Circle members, but four young ukulele players from Foster High School we recently featured in an installment of Artscape, which explored the rising popularity of the ukulele in local schools.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
3:02 pm
Mon March 14, 2011

John Pizzarelli: Always ‘on’, always John

We've said it before and we'll say it again: Having guitarist/vocalist/storyteller, John Pizzarelli, as a guest in the KPLU studios is always great fun. He loves making music, he loves telling stories and he loves entertaining his fans.

When he visited us recently for this performance/interview with Abe Beeson, several members of the KPLU Leadership Circle attended the event, and John Pizzarelli played to this small group the same way he'd play to a full house at Lincoln Center.

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KPLU Studio Sessions
9:56 am
Wed February 16, 2011

Benny Green — Remembering Monk … and Shearing

Benny Green joined us in the KPLU Seattle studios on February 15, 2011 for an amazing performance & interview, hosted by Abe Beeson.

When pianist Benny Green agreed to come to KPLU’s Seattle studios for a solo piano performance he was on tour with his band doing a tribute to the music of Thelonious Monk so it seemed logical to have his studio session consist of Monk compositions. 

That was the plan, anyway ...

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KPLU Studio Sessions
5:21 am
Fri February 11, 2011

The Vijay Iyer Trio live at KPLU

2011 Grammy nominee, Vijay Iyer stopped by the KPLU studios with his trio on February 8, 2011 for a live in-studio performance.

The Vijay Iyer Trio’s latest release, Historicity, won a number of "Album Of The Year" awards in 2010 and has been nominated for a 2011 Grammy as "Best Jazz Instrumental Album."

Pianist, Vijay Iyer, seems pleased by this recognition but not really fazed by it. In fact, during his trio’s visit to the KPLU performance studios on February 8, they only played one piece of music from Historicity—"Smoke Stack" by one of Iyer’s mentors, Andrew Hill.

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