John Schaefer appears in the following:
Monday, December 07, 2009
It’s a measure of Louis Armstrong's popularity that people who had no connection to jazz whatsoever knew who he was. His work on TV and film made sure of that.
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Occasionally, when I'm backstage at one of WNYC's long-running "New Sounds Live" concerts, a musician will ask, "Don't you get nervous before these shows?" And my honest answer is, "No, I don't anymore. And I kind of miss it."
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Are Radiohead true musical geniuses, or just a bunch of musical blowhards who think they're geniuses?
Monday, November 30, 2009
Just a couple of weeks ago, we looked back at the career of the late Robert Palmer, an important music critic and writer.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Austria's Haydn Trio Eisenstadt perform two of their namesake's works on WNYC's Soundcheck.
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Pacifica Quartet joins WNYC's John Schaefer for a live performance on Soundcheck.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Pipa virtuoso Wu Man along with qin player Zhao Jiazhen perform live on WNYC's Soundcheck with John Schaefer, sharing the traditional music of her native China.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
The enterprising pianist Jenny Lin joins WNYC's John Schaefer to perform live on Soundcheck.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Iggy Pop, who defined the role of the crazed rock frontman as far back as 1969, has now recorded an album that features French and Brazilian standards, some ballads, a tune lovingly ripped off from Louis Armstrong's early years, and only one real rocker. People are surprised
Monday, June 22, 2009
The idea that musicians might be somehow more attuned to the emotions of others really isn't all that surprising. Ever have that feeling where a piece of music strikes you in a way you can't articulate but can certainly feel? So you know that a musician can, at times at least, reach you on an emotional level.
Friday, June 19, 2009
I've been listening to the songs at the top of the charts, trying to see if I can figure out which one will be the song we can't escape this summer - assuming the rain stops and summer does in fact come at some point. Unlike prior years, where I thought there were standout tracks (Rihanna's "Umbrella" and Katy Perry's "I Kissed A Girl"), this summer's entries seem to be a middling bunch.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
President Obama's Arts & Humanities team is now complete, as Iowa Republican Jim Leach joins the previously announced Rocco Landesman; Leach will run the NEH and Landesman the NEA. Of the two, the NEA is the one that's had the bigger bullseye on its back, a lingering aftershock of the culture wars of the early 90s, when the NEA funded a series of controversial art projects (the Robert Mapplethorpe photos, for example) that had conservatives in Congress threatening to kill the agency entirely.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Elijah Wald is a good writer. And like most good writers, he knows a good title when he sees one; a good title will grab you and make you eager to open the book and start finding out where that title came from. So when he titled his new book How The Beatles Destroyed Rock'n'Roll, he knew just what he was doing
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I guess you can find someone to argue about virtually anything. On the face of it, who would have any problem with opera houses and orchestras trying to lure in young listeners, or with parents taking their kids to the opera or the concert hall? Worst case scenario, the kids hate it, fidget, whine that they're bored, and complain bitterly if you ever try to do that again. Best case scenario, you find kids who really respond to great music, beautifully played, and who will be the next generation of classical music players and listeners.
Monday, June 15, 2009
'Baby baby don't get hooked on me/'cause I'll just use you then I'll set you free...' Doesn't exactly sound the right romantic note for a newly-married couple, does it? And yet that was the first dance at a wedding I went to some years ago. I remember wondering, who thought that was a good idea? It was probably the strangest choice for a first dance I've ever heard, both because of its inappropriate lyrical imagery and the incontrovertible fact that the song, by any objective measure, sucks.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Far from being the Province of the Eggheads, neuroscience has turned into a wild frontier of discovery - and music plays a surprisingly large role in the neuroscientific discussion. Prior to around 1980, the field was still in its infancy. Monty Python, as far back as their Matching Tie And Handkerchief album in the mid 70s, explained that "the human brain is like an enormous fish: it's fat and slimy, and has gills through which it can see." Recent advances in neuroscience show that at least parts of that statement are inaccurate, and as our knowledge of the brain increases, so do the questions about music, and how it might come to have its undeniable, demonstrable, but still inexplicable effect on our minds.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The idea of the "Gateway" album - the album that turns you on to an artist or even a whole genre that you didn't expect to like - is a little misleading. At some point, almost every album you listen to is a gateway, if only to more albums by those artists. Still, most of us can identify a couple of albums that led us down some paths we might not have otherwise gone.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Theater critics and audience members alike are complaining about a rise in boorish behavi...
Sorry. Bored myself to sleep for a moment there. Yeah, yeah, people are ignorant, rude, loud, and uncouth. I'm afraid that's not the theater, people. That's just people. We've covered the same complaints on past shows from opera houses, concert halls, jazz clubs, even movie theaters and rock venues, where a certain amount of noise is expected, and sometimes even encouraged.
Monday, June 08, 2009
I wonder when the first song about cars was written. I'm guessing about half an hour after Henry Ford's pre-dawn test of his horseless carriage on the streets of Detroit in 1896. I mean, cars have become such a symbol of America - a complex symbol involving freedom of movement, exploration, masculinity, status, sex - that it was inevitable that we'd end up writing and singing about them.
Friday, June 05, 2009
Prince's global hit, Purple Rain, turns 25 this summer. There will be the usual gushing about the album's impact on pop culture - and really, how can you argue the point, since almost every song on it became a single, and the album came with a movie that did quite well even if critics weren't as kind to it as they were to the album.