In 1876, Tchaikovsky composed musical snapshots of each month of the calendar year for publication in a St. Petersburg magazine. Pianist Wu Han performs the entire cycle, and discusses the music with Performance Today host Fred Child in NPR's studio.
Growing up in Wales, neo-soul singer Duffy didn't have the luxury of record stores, or even possess the notion of trendy pop music. As she tells Rita Houston in a session from WFUV, this allowed her to fully enjoy the classic songs she heard on the radio.
The new jazz supergroup, featuring B3 organ master Dr. Lonnie Smith, brings the music of the Crescent City to the New York-based Latin soul music called boogaloo. In a session from Jazz24, the band is paired down to a trio with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison and guitarist Peter Bernstein.
Dr. Lonnie Smith's Crescent Boogaloo in Studio on KPLU 5/30/08
Led by an acoustic guitar and a grand piano, Death Cab for Cutie plays a stripped-down session at The Current. Drawing from a decade's worth of material, the band pulls out an old favorite and plays two songs from its new album, Narrow Stairs.
Death Cab for Cutie in Studio on The Current 6/2/08
Carter Tanton, of the band Tulsa, sat in the middle of a room with only his guitar, but his powerful voice filled every inch of it. In a session recorded by KEXP, he flew through three covers by The Carter Family, The Kinks, and Townes Van Zandt, and talked about singing in subways.
Much has been made of the relationship between brothers Chris and Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes. When the two arrived separately, it didn't dispel the rumors, but it turns out they just needed to go different places afterward. In a session from WFUV, the duo performs acoustic versions of new songs.
Swiss-born pianist Leo Tardin has jazz training and a stage name: Grand Pianoramax. In a performance from WBGO, the winner of the Montreux Jazz Festival's inaugural solo piano competition mixes motif and improvisation with spoken word and breakbeat.
Performing with Brian Blade, one of jazz's most accomplished and remarkable drummers, Daniel Lanois brought plenty of gravitas to KUT's small vintage studio. His gentle relationship with the pedal-steel guitar astounded a small group that gathered to watch his interview and performance.
Daniel Lanois and Brian Blade in Studio on KUT 3/15/08
Just as Thao and her band The Get Down Stay Down were about to go on the air and play their new songs, all four of them began swearing like longshoremen. Turns out they needed get it out of their system before hitting the radio and playing new songs.
Thao with the Get Down Stay Down in Studio on KEXP 3/8/08
Despite his high profile and popularity in the industry, the former Jayhawks singer-songwriter has a low-key, almost shy demeanor. The alt-country pioneer performs songs from his first solo CD, Vagabonds, in an interview and performance on WFUV.
Bonneville's songs are full of characters who stumble their way through a rough-and-tumble world of violence, hope, and despair. In four videos from Folk Alley, Bonneville stomps his cowboy boots on a piece of wood and tells his stories.
It's been called "repellent," "joyous," and "the most advanced piece of music anyone could think of." Hear Beethoven's Grosse Fuge played by the adventurous Borromeo String Quartet in the studios of WGBH in Boston.
The Avett Brothers' members aren't all brothers, but it's hard to tell from their close musical kinship. In a session on KEXP, the band talks about breaking out on its seventh album and growing up in punk and hardcore bands. It also performs two new songs.
Julian is cleverly disguised as a sensitive singer-songwriter: He's a white guy with an acoustic guitar. In fact, he's a true soul singer and an astonishing storyteller in the vein of Randy Newman or Paul Simon. Hear an interview and performance from WFUV.
Cuadrado is a member of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, a musicians' collective determined to make the pieces of a fragmented industry fit together. In an interview and performance from WBGO, Cuadrado and his Puzzles Quartet play music from a new independent release.