African, French, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #165: Haitian Music Classics Revisited

Posted July 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
Radio Metropole

This week we check out 10 cuts of great Haitian music, mostly from collections and especially from Tanbou Toujou Lou, a new, truly inspiring one. Haiti — next door to the Dominican Republic and part of the Hispaniola landmass that Columbus landed on in 1492, thinking he had reached India — a country once great, now poor, is the epicenter of this …

Artist Spotlight, Asia, RIP, world music »

Amjad Sabri, Qawwali Great, RIP

Posted June 29, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I am saddened by the murder of Amjad Sabri, who was part of the Sabri Brothers qawwali family in Pakistan. Qawwals are singers and performers of qawwali music (the word ‘qawwali’ means ‘utterance’ in Urdu), sufi devotional music by a mystical sect of Islam. The band was founded in 1958 by the late Ghulam Farid Sabri, whose periodic repeat use of “Allah” during songs was …

Artist Spotlight, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

Ludovico Einaudi & Greenpeace Team Up for Arctic Concert: Amazing!

Posted June 27, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I’ve been a fan of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi ever since I first heard his stunning album Divenire in 2008.  Actually, I liked his kora-piano duet album Diario Mali with kora player Ballaké Sissoko, which came out before that in 2006. He is a big star now, with fans around the world, and is busy scoring movie soundtracks and commercials as well.
Einaudi comes from a prominent Italian family. His …

Blues, brazilian music, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #164: Music to Be Cool, Stay Cool

Posted June 24, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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With Palm Springs the same temperature as Saudi Arabia or Rajasthan, here are eleven songs to help keep your cool.
We begin with a cool blues by Charlie Parker called…what else, “Cool Blues.” Then the great singer/humorist Oscar Brown, Jr. tries to stay cool as calamity hems him in. We follow it with a stoner song by Rasputin’s Stash from …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Artists You Should Know: Drummer Tony Williams

Posted June 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Drummer Tony Williams (1945-1997) isn’t exactly a household name; probably only jazz fans of Miles Davis‘s quintet from the 1960′s know about him. He joined Miles’s group at the age of 16, and Miles always held him in high esteem. So did Herbie Hancock, who learned a lot from him. In his autobiography, Possibilities, Herbie praised Tony Williams for his musical inventiveness, openness, and curiosity about all forms …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, French, Music History »

Hector Berlioz: Fame Started with Defenestration

Posted June 20, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I recently saw a bottle of red wine with the name “Fenestra.” It made me think of one of Russian musicologist/lexicographer Nicolas Slonimsky’s favorite oddball words, “defenestrate,” which means to jump out of or throw something or someone out of a window. “Fenestra” is Italian for window; in French it’s “fenêtre.” (The English word “window” has a Norse origin).  According to Wikipedia:  the term was coined around …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #163: The Soprano Sax – Unpopular Instrument Brought to Greatness by 3 Jazz Titans

Posted June 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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The soprano saxophone, unlike the clarinet or tenor sax, was never popular in jazz until Sidney Bechet, who was the first jazz musician to use it exclusively. A contemporary of Louis Armstrong and like Satchmo a New Orleans native, Bechet moved to Paris and became a famous exile. He recorded, among other things, the first instrumental cover of Gershwin’s classic “Summertime.”
The soprano sax …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

How a Teenage Astor Piazzolla Escaped the Tragic Fate of Tango Giant Carlos Gardel, and So Tango Was Saved, Too

Posted June 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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When I was working on my second book, Rhythm Planet: The Great World Music Makers (Rizzoli, 1998) and started to listen to my interview with tango giant Astor Piazzolla, I thought I was going to have to translate it from the Spanish. To my surprise, he spoke in perfect, unaccented American English. I then recalled that Piazzolla spent his first ten or so years …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, music phenomena »

The Saudade of Frederic Chopin, Alexander Scriabin, and Baden Powell

Posted June 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I find it interesting when other languages have words denoting or describing things that the English language has no equivalent for. Saudade is a Portuguese-language word difficult to translate adequately, one which describes a deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It may have come from the Portuguese musical form of fado; that word …

Cape Verde, Classical, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #162: New Releases: A Mixed Bag

Posted June 10, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week we sample some more new jazz, world, and classical jams. We begin with an improbable labor of love, a Lollywood (Pakistan’s version of Bollywood) group called The Sachal Ensemble that was mostly out of work due to the political situation in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s movie industry. The group members recall a visit to Lahore by Dizzy Gillespie (think jazz diplomacy …

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