Kiefer: Tiny Desk Concert

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Bobby Carter | May 13, 2024
For Tiny Desk concerts without a lead vocalist, I usually try to detect musicians' nonverbal conversations with each other as they perform. For Kiefer’s set, there’s a bonus show within the show. He plays with a sense of joy that I haven’t seen in a while and when his eyes connect with a fellow player, it’s as if he’s thanking them each time. With decades clocked behind the piano and a strong catalog, Kiefer Shackelford is primed for the moment.

The Los Angeles pianist and producer’s early instrumental projects were heavily hip-hop-based, playing the keys over drum loops and samples. His 2021 project, When There’s Love Around, leaped into full-on jazz, but his latest, It’s Ok, B U, finds that sweet middle ground. Between albums, he’s made a name for himself in the independent scene and among the majors, booking work with Drake, Anderson .Paak and SiR. For his Tiny Desk, Kiefer brought two ensembles to highlight the best of his work. The Kiefer Trio, comprised of drummer Luke Titus and bassist Pera Krstajic, played a medley of “Why Not?” and “Cute.” For “Superhero” and “Socially Awkward,” Kiefer then invited Nate Smith, Carrtoons, Theo Croker and guitarist Charlie Hunter who, shockingly, is the only musician in this combo who hasn’t played at the Desk.

“Why Not?”
“Socially Awkward”

Kiefer: Rhodes piano, synth
Luke Titus: drums
Pera Krstajic: bass
Nate Smith: drums
Carrtoons: bass
Charlie Hunter: guitar
Theo Croker: trumpet

Producer: Bobby Carter
Director/Editor: Kara Frame
Audio Technical Director: Kwesi Lee
Host/Series Producer: Bobby Carter
Videographers: Kara Frame, Joshua Bryant, Maia Stern, Christina Shaman
Audio Engineer: Neil Tevault
Production Assistant: Elle Mannion
Photographer: Elizabeth Gillis
Tiny Desk Team: Ashley Pointer, Hazel Cills
Executive Producer: Suraya Mohamed
Series Creators: Bob Boilen, Stephen Thompson
VP, Visuals and Music: Keith Jenkins

#kiefer #tinydesk #nprmusic
Live Concert
NPR, NPR Music, National Public Radio

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