Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:36 am
Few classical musicians these days are serious improvisers — aside from organists and early-music practitioners. But pianist Gabriela Montero is absolutely fearless when it comes to creating a new piece, right out of the air, right on the spot. At her concerts she takes requests from audience members. They can suggest a song for her to improvise on, or simply a topic of interest.
When catastrophe strikes, when lives and livelihoods are lost, we hold tight to family, friends and our deepest beliefs for consolation. We also sometimes turn to music. With its inexpressible power, music can help channel memories, soothe the loss and salve the pain. And it can uplift, reminding us of our resiliency.
Lianne La Havas was pretty much unknown until she appeared on the influential TV show in Britain called Later with Jools Holland. It was just her, singing and playing guitar. Her voice was clear, pure and soulful. The song she performed — called "Age" — was both jazzy and sassy.
"Time seemed to stand still," wrote one critic of La Havas' live performance. There were much more established artists on the music show that day, but Alison Howe, the producer, says La Havas was the standout.
They were there in the 1970s,through the '80s and on into the '90s. Aerosmith has managed to become one of the most enduring bands in American rock history. Now, the group is releasing its first studio album in 11 years. It's called Music from Another Dimension!, and it's out this week.
The album is a labor of love, one that lead singer Steven Tyler says almost didn't happen. Speaking with NPR's Rachel Martin, Tyler points to a particularly rough experience in the time between albums: the day in 2009 when he fell off the stage during a live performance.