Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Classical, Music History »

Reflections on Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”

Posted March 4, 2015 by | 0 Comments
op. 27, 2 - Cappi, 879

A wonderful box set of all 32 of Beethoven’s Complete Piano Sonatas, performed by the veteran Italian virtuoso, Maurizio Pollini, has been issued on Deutsche Grammophon/ Universal Classics. His version of the Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor, Op. 26, more commonly referred to as the “Moonlight Sonata,” is nothing short of spectacular.
Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” has long been my favorite of all his piano sonatas. While …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History »

Mike Ledonne & the Hammond B-3 Organ

Posted March 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Michael LeDonne

The Hammond B-3 organ, with its Leslie speaker, is an odd beast, usually associated with the deep dish soul jazz of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff, Shirley Scott, Don Patterson, Johnny ‘Hammond’ Smith, and Freddie Roach. The B-3 was also common along what some once called ‘the chitlin circuit,’ and is still popular today with gospel music and church functions. Jimmy Smith was the most …

African, Artist Spotlight, French, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #96: Dance to the World Beat of DJ ‘Selecta’ Tom Schnabel

Posted February 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Ghanaian Dance

I would never claim to be a beat-matcher with a big Traktor controller rig. Rather, I’m an old school selector, deeply ensconced in old school vinyl, rare CDs, and classic 12″ sides. But I am also always on the lookout for new stuff, and that includes dance sides.
So what is a selector or, colloquially, a ‘selecta’? It’s a reggae dancehall term referring to the person who selects the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

How Jazz Trumpeter Clark Terry Kept On

Posted February 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Clark Terry

My first introduction to the musical genius of Clark Terry happened back in 1964 during a surfing trip to Oahu. I was 16 at the time. I had purchased the Oscar Peterson Trio + One LP at a record shop in the Ala Moana shopping center. The album featured jazz trumpeter Clark Terry doing a funny song called, “Mumbles,” which sounded exactly like the title implies: Terry mumbling—rather, scat singing …

Audiophiles, Classical, MBE Archive, Music History, New Releases, Performances & Events, RIP, Uncategorized »

The Other Yoko

Posted February 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Yoko Nagae Ceschina - thumbnail

(L–R) Nadezhda von Meck, Betty Freeman, and Nica von Koenigswarter with Thelonious Monk
Few musicians are fortunate enough to have patrons. Tchaikovsky had one, a female benefactor whom he never met. Nadezhda von Meck’s largesse stipulated that he devoted himself full-time to composing, and that they would never meet. Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Barry Harris had Nica von Koenigswarter, a scion of the powerful Rothschild …

African, Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #95: The LA Cumbia Festival Comes to Town

Posted February 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Betto Arcos 2

The vibrant, ubiquitous sound of cumbia is one that we Angelenos should all be familiar with. Born in the barrios of Colombia in the 1950s, the origins of cumbia can be traced back even further to the 17th century colonial slave trade from West Africa. The word cumbé in Guinean refers to a specific rhythm and/or a communal, ritual courtship dance. This hybrid style of music and dance is a …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, French, Music History, RIP »

Aldo Ciccolini and Erik Satie

Posted February 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 18.44.22

Back in the 1960s, composer Erik Satie’s limpid, odd, but wonderful solo piano music became known largely through the recordings of the late Aldo Ciccolini, who very recently passed away at the age of 89 in France, where he had lived for years.
Born in Naples in 1925, Ciccolini exhibited a natural gift for piano early on and was admitted to conservatory as a young boy. After …

Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Some Jazz Humor for You

Posted February 16, 2015 by | 3 Comments
A Great Day in Harlem - Latecomers

Jazz has its own type of humor. Tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd once told me that he was with a bunch of musicians in Thelonious Monk’s big early 1950s Buick with Monk at the wheel, when he almost crashed the car, spinning it around a full 360 degrees. Recovering from the shock, they heard him say, “Ain’t ya glad I’m driving.”
Pioneering jazz violinist Joe Venuti …

Holiday, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #94: The Sunny Side Of Love

Posted February 13, 2015 by | 0 Comments
valentines day

Last year, Rhythm Planet celebrated—or perhaps I should say observed—Valentine’s Day with a show, The Dark Side Of Love. I played songs about co-dependency, sleepless nights, waiting for texts and phone calls that won’t come, the gnashing of teeth and thrashing of souls. Utter misery.
This year, we counter all that suffering with songs that celebrate the joys and wonders of love: The Sunny Side Of …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Rubén Blades’ “El Padre Antonio y Su Monaguillo Andrés”

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Ruben Blades Archbishop Romero

Grammy Award-winning Rubén Blades is a wonderfully gifted Panamanian poet and songwriter whose works often take on a political tinge. Raised in a progressive family, his grand-uncle was a revolutionary during the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. His mother was an actress, his father a musician, and the girls in his family attended college. Ruben himself studied international law at Harvard on a full scholarship.
I knew Rubén back when he lived in …

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