Music

[Update: Since this story aired, listeners have come forward with new information on the identity of "Prince" Nazaroff — including some members of the musician's family. Hear Jon Kalish's follow-up piece.]

Vermont musician Jamie Masefield has been improvising on the jazz mandolin for decades. He's recorded six albums, including one with Blue Note Records, and brings everything from folk and funk to the literature of Leo Tolstoy to the stage. But some years back, his eclectic creativity brought him to an unexpected second career.

When I meet Masefield at work, he's chipping away at some pinkish stone with a small hammer. "In the industry we call it 'rainbow stone,'" he offers. "It's very nice to work with."

To many, the life and career of Motörhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister personified heavy metal. Now his fans want his name on one of the four new "superheavy" elements on the periodic chart. An online petition has attracted more than 100,000 signatures in just a few days.

The title of Daniel Wohl's "Source" is something of a play on words. The actual sources of his captivating array of sounds are not completely clear. But it doesn't really matter. Just let the meticulously crafted, slightly surreal music from the Paris-born, Los Angeles-based composer soak in.

Chicago composer Olivia Block is happy enough writing for violins, but she really loves sounds that don't often count as music. That can include the urban ambience she hears walking around her hometown — the creaks and grunts of an elevated train, the whirr of machinery — or, in some cases, sounds most of the world was never meant to hear

Not all that long ago, conventional wisdom held that the music industry was fracturing so much, and so quickly, that there wouldn't be many monster hits anymore.

But perhaps you've heard of a singer named Adele.

Her album 25 -- which was only released on Nov. 20 — ruled the 2015 charts by far, according to Nielsen Music, which released its detailed year-end report on Wednesday.

Composer Olivia Block In Her Own Words

Jan 7, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Composer Olivia Block is happy enough writing for violins.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez was one of the most recognized figures in 20th century classical music. His outspoken advocacy for the music of his time earned him fans — and detractors. He died Tuesday at his home in Baden-Baden, Germany. He was 90 years old.

Just as the chaos of World War II was coming to an end, Pierre Boulez was emerging into his life as an artist.

Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor whose career spanned from the avant-garde post-World War II era to the computer age, has died, according to the French culture ministry. He was 90. Boulez famously challenged his peers and his audience to rethink their ideas of sound and harmony.

Paul Bley, a jazz pianist whose thoughtful but intuitive commitment to advanced improvisation became widely influential, died of natural causes Sunday. He was 83.

Bley was surrounded by family at his winter residence in Stuart, Fla., according to his daughter Vanessa Bley.

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