Artist Spotlight, reggae, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #172: Jamaican D.J. Junor Francis Does Reggae Proud in L.A.

Posted August 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Jamaica has been in the news lately because of Usain Bolt and the great Jamaican track and field athletes. To celebrate Jamaica, know that there’s a reggae oasis here on Saturday night and his name is Junor Francis. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and delivers the goods with verve and authentic Jamaican flavor. Junior arrived to the U.S. from the island in …

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Artist Spotlight, Asia, Classical, Middle East, Performances & Events, world music »

A Joyous Evening with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Posted August 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I feel honored to have hosted the fabulous show last night of Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl, part of the KCRW World Festival Series this summer. The performance exceeded my highest expectations. The Silk Road Ensemble is a musical United Nations, with the renowned cellist working with musicians from China, India, Japan, Syria, Iran, Russia, Spain, Central Asia and …

Artist Spotlight, reggae, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #172: Jamaican D.J. Junor Francis Does Reggae Proud in L.A.

Posted August 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments
14079689_10155179367954148_2303110837400666526_n

Jamaica has been in the news lately because of Usain Bolt and the great Jamaican track and field athletes. To celebrate Jamaica, know that there’s a reggae oasis here on Saturday night and his name is Junor Francis. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and delivers the goods with verve and authentic Jamaican flavor. Junior arrived to the U.S. from the island in …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, RIP »

Jazz Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, 1941-2016, RIP

Posted August 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Bobby Hutcherson, a superb vibes and marimba player and star of the Blue Note roster, passed away on Monday, August 15, at his home in California. He was 75, and had suffered from emphysema since 2007.
Saxophonist Dexter Gordon once said, “Bobby’s the baddest,” referring to the edge and modern style that characterized Hutcherson’s compositions and improvisations. Bobby fell in love with the vibes after hearing the music …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vernon Duke: Dual (Composer) Personalities

Posted August 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I was at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night for the big “An Olympic Carnival – Sergio Mendes & 50 Years of Brasil ’66” show, which opened with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra playing Brazilian classics. It was a great program–beautifully conducted by Thomas Wilkins, with fantastic guest dancers and singers, plus a spectacular fireworks finale.
The show started with “Aquarela do Brasil,” Ary Barroso‘s 1939 classic, a Brazilian musical …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #171: Stan Kenton & Tito Rodriguez: Anatomy of an Orchestra

Posted August 12, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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In 1952, Stan Kenton recorded a piece called “Prologue: This is An Orchestra.” In the 10 minute work he introduces all the members of his jazz orchestra: the drummer, bassist, saxophonists, trumpet player, trombone, and bass trombone player. In the bass trombone part he tells George Roberts to go lower, to the bottom of the instrument’s capability, which he does. Kenton also talks about …

brazilian music, Latin »

Songs Celebrating Brazil and Rio

Posted August 10, 2016 by | 0 Comments
View of Rio de Janeiro. Photo by sandeepachetan.com (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) via Flickr

With the summer Olympics in full swing, I wanted to highlight two great songs about the country as well as the carioca city of Rio (Rio de Janeiro, “River of January”).
The first song is archetypically Brazil. Written by Ary Barroso over half a century ago, this classic samba was featured in the opening ceremony and in the famous Disney cartoon. Though it has been recorded …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Performances & Events, world music »

Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Perform at the Hollywood Bowl on August 21st

Posted August 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma are performing on Sunday, August 21, at the Hollywood Bowl as part of KCRW’s long-running World Festival series. I’m definitely going. In fact, I’ll be hosting the show that evening! Hope to see you there.
I first got to know Yo-Yo Ma from his exquisite recordings of Bach’s six solo cello suites. His tone, articulation, and fluid expression brought out the beauty …

African, brazilian music, Classical, French, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #170: Music About Water & Oceans

Posted August 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week’s show celebrates water. Given climate change, rising oceans, and the horrible drought in California, I thought it would be timely and maybe even refreshing in some odd way. We begin with the sounds of surf on a coastline in Tonga in the South Pacific from a new collection of Pacific Islander music from Arc Music. A fun cut from years back …

brazilian music, Latin, Music History »

Musings on Brazil as the Olympics Near

Posted August 3, 2016 by | 0 Comments
View of Corcovado. Photo by Pedro Vasquez Colmenares (CC BY-NC 2.0) via Flickr

With the Summer Olympics in Rio just two days away, I’m thinking about our great southern neighbor. Caetano Veloso once told me that Brazil is “the great other.” The largest Latin American country but the only Lusophone nation, separated by Pope Julius II in the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas so that Spain and Portugal would not fight over dominion of newly-discovered lands. Caetano implied that this …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Clementina de Jesus: A Legendary Brazilian Singer

Posted August 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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With the world’s attention focussed on the upcoming summer Olympics in Rio, I thought I’d shine a spotlight on a lesser-known Brazilian singer, Clementina de Jesus (1901-1987). She was an unlikely diva: Born south of Rio in Carambita in 1901, she worked as a maid for decades before being discovered in 1963 by a record producer and composer named Herminio Bello de Carvalho. How many singers …

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