Streams

John Schaefer

John Schaefer appears in the following:

Arts Czar: Yes or No?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

When composer/musician/producer Quincy Jones joined us on November 14’s Soundcheck, he said the next conversation he had with the newly elected president, Barack Obama, would be to plead for a Secretary of the Arts. (There are no six degrees of separation with Quincy Jones – he knows everybody.) It ...

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Birth of Britpop

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Beatles and the Stones were always about more than the music. Maybe that’s not how they intended it, but that’s how society made it. Parents – including my own – in the 60s and 70s may have objected to the music on purely aesthetic grounds, but I suspect it ...

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Music and the Economy

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Times are tough. But you know what? Times are always tough for someone. If we start using that as an excuse to stop supporting the arts, if we allow orchestras, opera houses, jazz clubs, dance programs and the like to fold up their tents, we pay for that down the ...

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Music and the Left Hand

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I don’t play pool a lot; but occasionally I’ll find myself in a bar with a pool table and might attempt a game or two. A few years ago, a friend and I went to the local brewpub in Park ...

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Stax vs. Motown

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Motown and Stax. The two great labels of American soul and R&B. There is really no good way to prove that one label was better than the other – but that won’t stop us from asking the question. After all, this is the fun part of being a fan. Sports ...

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Has the place of composers, songwriters, and singers changed?

Monday, January 12, 2009

In Mozart’s day, his place at the banquet table was between the valet and the cook – because while Mozart may have been a composer of singular genius, he was also essentially a servant, part of the household staff of the Archbishop of Salzburg. Author Tim Blanning, in his book ...

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The Birth of Afropop

Friday, January 09, 2009

This weekend, we have dueling world music festivals happening here in NYC. The Mondo Mundo event at the Hiro Ballroom on Saturday and SOBs on Monday; and the GlobalFest, which takes place on three different stages at Webster Hall on Sunday. (And which we’re webcasting ...

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New Year, New Music

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Today we ask a couple of our critic-friends what they’re looking forward to in 2009 in the worlds of pop, rock, and classical music. This might just be the best time of the year, because looking forward to something is often better than actually getting it. This can be true ...
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D.R.M: R.I.P

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

There has been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about the state of the music industry – much of it, I should say, coming from inside the music industry. But even casual observers have to worry – if only to wonder whether their favorite musicians will have to ...

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Kids Music and the "100th Listen" Test

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


If you have kids, you know why the idea of kids music makes otherwise reasonable people start screaming like lunatics. Whether your kid listens to Barney, Raffi, or Mozart, you will end up listening to it too - over ...

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Bailout for the Arts

Monday, January 05, 2009

The new year opens with some pretty dour economic news, and as often happens, the arts become something of a canary in the coal mine. When times are tough, it seems to affect arts organizations early, and disproportionately. Especially smaller organizations. Here in NY, I think immediately of the New ...

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Smackdown: Christmas Music

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I think we were all surprised yesterday at the strong reactions provoked by our segment on Auto-Tune, the little software program that corrects pitch but which, when used as a “special effect,” produces that weird, warbling, almost robotic sound ...

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The Auto-Tune Question

Monday, December 22, 2008

During our annual Critics Week last week, at least two or three of our guests alluded to Auto-Tune, with one, Jody Rosen of Slate.com, referring to 2008 as The Year of Auto-Tune. You may not know what Auto-Tune is, but you have heard it. A lot. Auto-Tune is essentially a ...

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Critics Week: The Worst of It

Friday, December 19, 2008


Wow, talk about shooting fish in a barrel. The WORST music of the year? Where does one start? At least Jim DeRogatis, our favorite critical crank, is restricting his list to things that have had some public exposure ...

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Critics Week: A List for Listmakers

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Debashish Bhattacharya

Debashish Bhattacharya

So remember on Tuesday when we were asking whether critics were irrelevant or irreplaceable? And I said that there were a few old-fashioned print critics, like Jon Pareles of the Times, that I still found important and useful? ...

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Critics Week: Classical and Jazz

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today Anne Midgette gives us her take on the best Classical music releases of 2008. Now, I’m not a particular fan of year-end lists – wait, that’s not right; I enjoy seeing other people’s, but I hate doing my own. And here’s why – say I compile the list ...

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Critics Week: Smackdown!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our annual critics week on Soundcheck is always a popular series of shows. Critics weigh in on the best pop, hip hop, classical, jazz, and world music of the year, as well as the worst music of the year, and these always provoke a lot of comments from our listeners, ...

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Critics Week Begins!

Monday, December 15, 2008

It’s that time of year again, Critics Week here at Soundcheck. We’ve got expert analysis of the year’s best music in various genres, and today, we have Jody Rosen talking about pop and Jake Paine talking about hip-hop. Later this week we’ll look at classical, jazz, world, and ...

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The Gift of Music

Friday, December 12, 2008

Even though I grew up with records, and then CDs, I have to say I love the convenience, the portability, and the space-saving quality of digital music. As a gift, though, it leaves something to be desired. My daughters are ...

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Jewish Revival of Vinyl

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Irving Fields Trio, "Bagels and Bongos" (click for larger)

Irving Fields Trio, 'Bagels and Bongos' (click for larger)

I have lived in New York City for my whole life – except for 9 months spent working for a commercial classical music radio ...

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