February 11, 2008 Last night, the Album of the Year Grammy went to an underdog — Herbie Hancock's River: The Joni Letters. Though the Joni Mitchell tribute doesn't rank among Hancock's best work, Tom Moon says that for those who know the pianist, the unlikely honor isn't really so unlikely.
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January 29, 2008 When The Mars Volta purchased a ouija board in a Jerusalem curio shop and began to use it, the band had no idea how much it would affect its recording. Listening to The Bedlam in Goliath, the paranormal talk might not seem like such a publicity stunt.
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December 20, 2007 All Things Considered Reviewer Tom Moon offers his picks for the year's best albums. For Mooon 2007 was about nice chord sequences, tunes that modulate into different keys, and honest-to-goodness "bridge" sections where big sunshine comes through the clouds. He says it's been a while since we've had such interesting progressions.
October 10, 2007 Even without all the fanfare about the download-only delivery, the release of Radiohead's In Rainbows is an event. It's new music from one of the most creative rock bands of the last decade. Even after just a day's listen, there's already astounding music here.
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September 25, 2007 By a quirk of fate, two of the biggest new artists to emerge in recent years — James Blunt and KT Tunstall — deliver their long awaited second albums this week. Blunt, the British singer and keyboardist, returns with a 10-song set entitled All The Lost Souls. Tunstall, born in Scotland, calls her 11-song collection Drastic Fantastic.
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September 13, 2007 Two years ago, jazz guitarist Bill Frisell and drummer Matt Chamberlain spent a few days free-associating in the recording studio. Their extemporaneous jams were then sampled, cut up and mixed together to create an unusual album project called Floratone.
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July 3, 2007 Veteran Cuban singer and member of the Buena Vista Social Club, Ibrahim Ferrer, finished recording a solo album just before he died.
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June 29, 2007 Israeli-born pianist and composer Anat Fort spent the last seven years in New York, much of it working on her first album for ECM Records. She says that though some of the music was written quickly, it took time to discover how to perform it.
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June 27, 2007 Mitchell's work took an unexpected turn with Mingus, her streaky and often brilliant 1979 collaboration with jazz bassist Charles Mingus. After it, she sounded wiser and hipper, a jazz sophisticate whose melodies came bunched in waves and bursts of scat-singing capriciousness.
June 20, 2007 Booker T. & The MGs recorded some of most enduring riffs and backbeats of the '60s. Because organist Booker T. Jones, guitarist Steve Cropper, bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn and drummer Al Jackson Jr. recorded together constantly, they developed a signature sound.
June 13, 2007 Zumpano may forever be known mostly as the answer to, "What band was A.C. Newman in before The New Pornographers?" The Vancouver group made two records for Sub Pop before Newman began his more lucrative New Pornographers pursuits.
June 6, 2007 It took a renegade of modern film, Dennis Hopper, to engineer one of the great had-to-happen musical summits of modern times. To provide the music for The Hot Spot, the director hired greats from different musical worlds: bluesman John Lee Hooker and jazz trumpeter Miles Davis.
May 30, 2007 The diversity of songs and styles makes Dale Hawkins' LA, Memphis & Tyler, Texas an odd artifact: It's part Southern boogie and part sun-kissed psychedelic rock, yet it feels like an original stew rather than a patchwork.
May 23, 2007 On From the Jungles of Paraguay, Australian guitarist John Williams celebrates Paraguayan composer Augustin Barrios-Mangore, an entrancing songwriter whose music went largely neglected by modern interpreters until the 1980s and '90s.
May 16, 2007 Even a ubiquitous figure like Chuck Berry has neglected gems gathering spiderwebs in remote corners of his catalog. Blues helps fill in a bit of his legend, showing how he transferred devices used by generations of blues guitarists into the then-new rebellion of rock.
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