Music

Episode 291: Meredith Monk

This composer and musician admires the Dalai Lama but got a little anxious when asked to sing for him: “They locked me in my dressing room…then there was a monk that was sitting next to me kind of glaring.” A conversation at the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Music: Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Carmen Rockwell. Continue reading »

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 »