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Playlist: Music Station Picks for February

Compiled By: PRX Editors

 Credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/51035555243@N01/80528835/">Thomas Hawk</a>
Image by: Thomas Hawk 
Curated Playlist
Here are the February picks for music stations from PRX Format Curator David Srebnik.

PRX Format Curators are here to help stations quickly locate radio pieces that are more relevant to their local air. Format Curators are very good in their fields: they have proven content expertise and have worked at local stations. They get the challenges of programming to a specific format and a local sound.

David produces Virtuoso Voices, an interview clip and fundraising service heard on 115 stations. As an Associate Producer at NPR, he programmed the music heard on Performance Today, and directed news and music programming at stations in Texas, Michigan, Florida, New Orleans and North Carolina.

What David listens for in music programming:

"I look and listen for programming that puts the listener first, speaks listener language and answers 'yes' to questions like:

* Is it enjoyable, beautiful, entertaining or substantial?
* Will it be memorable?
* Will it advance understanding and enjoyment of the music?
* Will this contribute to making public radio indispensable?

"I'm not big on music education on the radio, especially in the form made infamous by the so-called 'old-school' of classical music announcing.

"Radio can, however, educate in a compelling and entertaining way. David Schulman's Musicians in their Own Words series and WNYC's Richard Wagner documentaries are good examples of music education without the academic shackles that have made that term deadly on the radio."

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Here are the February picks for music stations from PRX Format Curator David Srebnik.

PRX Format Curators are here to help stations quickly locate radio pieces that are more relevant to their local air. Format Curators are very good in their fields: they have proven content expertise and have worked at local stations. They get the challenges of programming to a specific format and a local sound.

David produces Virtuoso Voices, an interview clip and fundraising service heard on 115 stations. As an Associate Producer at NPR, he programmed the music heard on Performance Today, and directed news and music programming at stations in Texas, Michigan, Florida, New Orleans and North Carolina.

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Part 1: Black History Month Programming Recommendations (I would also recommended these for any month)

Black Classical Masters series: "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

From David Person | 19:53

(n.b. This is different feature and series than "Every Voice and Sing" reviewed below)

Part 3 (the third audio file below) of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is an excellent introduction and tribute (4:59) to what some call the Black National Anthem. Host and Producer David Person treats us to a brief history of the song and the resistance to it being acclaimed as a "National Anthem."

This tribute and celebration of a song that moves and inspires offers superb insight and context offered by NAACP Chairman Julian Bond Jubilee Singers Director Paul Kwami.

The rendition of "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is an especially moving and uplifting touch.

At the end of the segment, 3:57-4:12, the host promos part 4. Producer David Person has given stations permission to edit out that promo. Part 3 is highly recommended — and not just for BHM.

Classicmastercollage_small "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is known as the Black National Anthem or Hymn in the black community. It arguably is the most revered song in the community. This four-part series, part of the larger Black Classical Masters series, documents the history of this song and explores its cultural and political impact. It features interviews with Yale University Professor Willie Ruff, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond, Fisk Jubilee Singers Director Paul Kwami and gospel singer Kelli Williams as well as music by Imani Winds, the Oakwood College Aeolians, the Harmonizing Four and Kellie Williams. The Black Classical Masters series is an on-going examination of black history and culture that has not been relegated to one month out of the year. Black Classical Masters explores black culture and history by focusing on contributions made to classical music by people of African descent. The 5-minute programs combine music and interviews with artists and experts in music, history or culture. Black Classical Masters has been a long-running series on WLRH-FM in Huntsville, Alabama.

Max Roach--Drums Unlimited

From Ben Shapiro | 53:59

Producer Ben Shapiro found a way to give us the history, context, personality and innovations behind one of music's top players and thinkers without sacrificing a strong and rightful musical presence.

Host Kenny Washington and plenty of music.

Kenny Washington is clearly a Max Roach fan, but hosts without fawn. Equally impressive, Mr. Washington is also a drummer with an ability to avoid drum-speak when introducing and exalting Roach's innovations.

Highly recommended.

(A complete review is on the Max Roach-Drums Unlimited Piece Page.)

Max_small Imagine a musician single-handedly redefining what an instrument can do, elevating it to a whole other level. That's what the late Max Roach did for the drums. Whether its Jazz or rock or funk, there isn't a drummer today who isn't somehow influenced by what Roach played. But that's only a part of Max Roach's story, which spanned the Harlem Renaissance, the development of modern jazz, right up to hip hop and multi-media. Over a fifty-year career he blazed his way across genres as percussionist, bandleader and composer. Max Roach tells his story with frankness and a characteristic sharp wit, supported by "special guests" including Dizzy Gillespie, and noted drummers Paul Motion and Art Taylor. Max Roach--Drums Unlimited is narrated by Kenny Washington, a host of shows on public radio and Sirius, and himself a well-known jazz drummer. Washington brings his own drum-knowledge to the table, as well as a friendship with Max Roach. Max Roach passed away in August, 2007, and this original special pegs to either end-of-year "obit", or to his birth date, January 10. Despite its timeliness now with his recent passing, the show is evergreen for any future use.


Part 2: Non-Black History Month Programming Recommendations

The Accordion Files

From Amber Edwards | 05:49

One of my favorite bumper stickers from many years ago: Use an accordion...go to jail.

In Amber Edwards' feature, "The Accordion Files," we convincingly learn "the paradigm has changed significantly in the last five years."

But there's still plenty of material and fodder for joking, grimacing and ultimately respect in this 5:49 audio walk through of the American Accordion Musicological Society Convention in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

Wonderfully sound rich, while not scoring too high on the "grating-accordion-music" scale, the feature also contains one of the greatest script lines in the history of music features. I can't give it away, but it has something to do with brush fires.

A good news-music feature for your arts-magazine or local magazine program. Highly recommended for air and also for staff training.

Accordion_small Evergreen audio postcard from the annual American Accordion Musicological Society convention in Wayne, PA. STUDIO LEAD: As musical instruments go, the accordion may well be the Rodney Dangerfield of the orchestra–call it the "Lady of Spain" syndrome. But don't tell that to the hundreds of accordion enthusiasts who, er, squeezed into the annual gathering of the American Accordion Musicological Society Convention in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Amid a cacophony of tangos, zydeco, Bach fugues, Klezmer, jazz, ethnic folk tunes and, yes, polkas, Amber Edwards discovered that the accordion may be so "out", that, in its own way, it's actually very "in". ... NOTE to Programmers: There may be an upcoming accordion festival in your area...here are a few I know of: June 5,2005 - San Francisco Accordion Festival, www.ladyofspain.com June 23 - 25, 2005 - Leavenworth, WA International Accordion Celebration, www.accordioncelebration.com August 27 - 28, 2005 - 15th Annual Cotati, CA Accordion Festival, www.cotatifest.com September 16-18, 2005 - The Button Box Northeast Squeezin’ 2005, Washington, MA www.buttonbox.com October 14-16, 2005, San Antonio, TX International Accordion Festival, www.internationalaccordionfestival.org

WNYC's Fishko Files: Recorded Live

From WNYC | Part of the WNYC's Fishko Files series | 06:43

I love it when a musician, radio producer or expert of any kind can take a nerdy-insider rant, likely of no life changing relevance in the real world, and give it a fresh non-nerd take.

In "Recorded Live," Sarah Fishko makes a fresh, thoughtful and especially musical case for the live, unedited recording — untouched by a record producer, music manager or "censor" in search of the perfect recording-performance.

In Fishko's own quest for authenticity before accuracy, she questions our need to correct and fiddle and raises nonthreatening points about our willingness to manipulate and, therefore be manipulated, inside and beyond the recorded music listening world.

Not the same old rant, "Recorded Live" is thoughtful, inventive and convincing essay deserves consideration for your local news or arts mag show, and beyond for its enjoyment-entertainment values and its stunning music mix.

Saraflat_small Sara Fishko shares her thoughts on her OWN recent music-listening-habits. With live recordings by Richter, Marik, Barere and Horowitz in this edition of the Fishko Files. The Fishko Files, produced by WNYC's Sara Fishko, are personal, sound-rich radio essays on music, art, culture and media.