The Disco Biscuits' members call their sound "trance-fusion" — a mixture of jam-band and electronic music with bits of Frank Zappa, rock, techno, jazz, soul, blues and classical. It's no surprise that the band writes its music for live shows and then records it, instead of the other way around.
Disco Biscuits in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/29/2006
Composer, conductor and arranger John Williams gives a jazz twist to Lerner and Loewe's classic Broadway score for My Fair Lady. Featuring singers Dianne Reeves and Brian Stokes Mitchell, the Steve Houghton Quintet and a big band, songs like "The Rain in Spain" have never swung so much.
The Godfather of Soul digs into his vast catalog of hit songs for a night of music, recorded live in concert from the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. This program was originally webcast on NPR.org Dec. 28, 2005, as part of NPR Music's live online concert series with All Songs Considered.
At first, Cold War Kids' music seems almost haphazard, but a closer listen reveals the intricacy that gives the California band its distinctive sound. The piano and guitars set each song's mood, ranging from mellow to reckless, and the bass jacks up the intensity at just the right moments.
Cold War Kids in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/22/2006
McPartland celebrates the holidays with a special hour of her favorite Christmas music and memories. McPartland and several of her Piano Jazz guests perform traditional Christmas songs, as well as more modern works that celebrate the season.
Recorded at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, New Orleans keyboard legend Allen Toussaint headlines another stellar program. Jazz Piano Christmas mixes established jazz stars with promising newcomers to offer original and unique jazz interpretations of holiday favorites.
At once spare and elegant, with an equal flair for whisper-quiet simplicity and orchestral bombast, Rice's music conveys emotional intensity and straightforward beauty at the same time. Rice performs a noon concert from WXPN and World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Damien Rice in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/15/2006
Acclaimed choral master Philip Brunelle presents a varied history of American choral music with his own VocalEssence ensemble. Various members of the Washington, D.C. choral community join to celebrate colonial anthems, the African-American choral tradition, barbershop quartets, and the music of Leonard Bernstein.
Singer, songwriter and guitarist Ray LaMontagne makes mellow, sometimes dark, poetry songs with delicate string arrangements and warmly textured atmospherics. He brings his music to Washington, DC's 9:30 Club for a full concert.
Once described as "beautiful, heart-wrenching and soulful," as well as "dark, rocking and dangerous," Harford's songs have a way of getting under the skin. With The Band of Changes — backed by members of Ween, Particle and the Adrian Belew Band — Harford gives a live performance in Philadelphia.
Chris Harford in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/08/2006
The music of The Slip seems at first like straightforward indie-rock, but its subtle and intricate layers reveal themselves over time. After meeting and graduating from college, the trio went on an intense touring schedule that's seen it at Bonnaroo, South by Southwest and Bumbershoot.
The Slip in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 12/01/2006
Marc Broussard is a self-proclaimed "white boy singing soul music," but that playfully dismissive tag doesn't do him justice. His music radiates soulful Louisiana blues, but his songs blend those influences with raucous rock 'n' roll to create unique and infectious music.
Marc Broussard in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 11/24/2007
Riding a wave of popularity for its playfully choreographed videos, wit and hyper-catchy pop hooks, OK Go has generated the kind of cult following and buzz most bands could only dream of. The group brings its wildly animated live show to Washington, D.C.
Alice Smith's soulful four-octave vocal range helps make her music instantly addictive. Growing up, she split her time between D.C. and her grandmother's Georgia farm, and eventually she moved to New York City to pursue a music career. Smith works from a variety of influences that include Patti LaBelle, Billie Holiday and Fiona Apple.
Alice Smith in concert on XPN Live Fridays - 11/17/2006