From the monthly archives:

December 2010

Tift Merritt’s Broadening Horizons

December 24, 2010

On the surface, the Raleigh-raised musician Tift Merritt’s collaboration with classical pianist Simone Dinnerstein—they perform together at Reynolds Industries Theater Jan. 21-22—seems a significant stretch for a singer whose career has been centered on country-tinged pop songwriting. Dig a little deeper, though, and you’ll find that Merritt has expended no small effort in recent years expanding her horizons

A Purist’s Worst Nightmare

December 23, 2010

From a firm grounding in jazz, the Bad Plus have playfully forayed into rock, classical, and pop—they’re a purist’s worst nightmare. On the jazz end, the trio has staked out a relatively un-hip territory that begins with the mid-70s fusion veers all over the place from there. On the pop end, they’ve become known in

The Intelligence of Sound (Part 2)

December 22, 2010

Read Part 1.
In the mid-1960s, Steve Reich created It’s Gonna Rain and Come Out, both of which are currently available on the album Early Works. In these definitive experimental tape pieces, Reich played the same spoken phrase (from a black preacher and a victim of police brutality, respectively) on multiple tracks, slowing one so the voices went

The Intelligence of Sound (Part 1)

December 21, 2010

I’ve been playing Steve Reich’s music in the car recently, anticipating the upcoming Bang on a Can All-Stars/Glenn Kotche and Kronos Quartet Duke Performances shows, so my daughters have been listening to it too. My younger daughter (age 4) is not keen on it; she instantly sighs and says, “No, I want some rock and roll music.”

No Category: Building Drama with Wayne Shorter

December 20, 2010

There’s a moment on Wayne Shorter’s 1965 recording of Gil Evans’ “Barracudas (General Assembly),” almost 5 minutes in, where his tenor sax solo cools way down, and he plays these long notes that smear across the bars, even as Cecil McBee hammers away on his bass and Paul Chambers works his drums into a machine

The Black Mountain Archive

December 17, 2010

Yesterday, Alexis Mastromichalis wrote about dance, music, and visual art at Black Mountain College, in a post summarizing the Merce Cunningham Dance Company’s beginnings and endings. But those are only a few facets of the impactful artistic activities that went on at the College in its brief lifespan. The Black Mountain poets, also known, in