Episode 258: Tommy James
Music

Episode 258: Tommy James

In the 1960s, he had a string of hits with the Shondells: “Hanky Panky,” “Crimson and Clover,” “I Think We’re Alone Now” – 23 gold singles, 9 platinum albums, 100 million records sold. Yet his record company simply declined to pay his royalties: $40 million. Tales of music and the mob. Continue reading »

Music

Episode 249: Ethel

This quartet performs in concert halls around the globe but still works the Balcony Bar at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “We’re a bar band,” say artistic directors Ralph Ferris (viola) and Dorothy Lawson (cello). What a band! What a bar! Plus a performance with Face The Music, all at the Kaufman Music Center. Continue reading »

Music

Episode 231: Sam Reider

  This accordion virtuoso has brought American roots music across the globe. He sees the accordion as a symbol of immigrant triumph – Zydeco! Tex-Mex! – and as the instrument of 19th century colonialism. Paradox and polkas. And no darn Lawrence Welk.  PERSON: David Amram  PLACE:a synagogue in Azerbaijan  THING:his accordion  RANDY’S THING: The Impossible … Continue reading »

Music

Episode 215: Randy Weston

  This great jazz pianist has been making modern music for most of his 92 years, but he denies it, quoting Duke Ellington: “There’s no such thing as modern music.” He reconciled this paradox in our conversation at the piano at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center. We spoke, he played, and then: birthday cake! … Continue reading »

Music

Episode 172: Kenny Vance

  DJ Alan Freed, who might have coined the term “rock’n’roll,” was destroyed in the payola scandals of the fifties, but he was no more corrupt than his colleagues, says Kenny Vance. And Freed staged some of the first integrated rock shows. Does this mitigate his conduct? Sharp ideas about radio, rock, and the invention … Continue reading »