Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Classical, Jazz »

Herbie Hancock on Possibilities

Posted December 17, 2014 by | 1 Comment
Young Herbie

Herbie Hancock’s memoir, Possibilities, has just been published, painting a revealing picture of one of the most influential jazz pianists ever. I recently read the book while on vacation and just could not put it down.
Along with fellow jazz pianist, McCoy Tyner, Herbie rewrote the book on modern jazz piano stylings. He eschewed the 2-5-1 harmonic changes characteristic of bebop (think Charlie Parker & Bud Powell), introducing …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Blues, Holiday, Jazz, New Releases »

5 Holiday Gift Book Ideas

Posted December 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments
rcrumbheroes

Some of you have asked me about suggestions for holiday gift ideas for the music lover. It’s a matter of musical preference, of course, but if it were all about me, below are several book ideas that would definitely make it onto my wish list for Santa.
Blue Note: Uncompromising Expression. This is the story of the iconic jazz label, Blue Note. It’s a fascinating read, spanning the label’s 1939 …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Interviews, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Show #84: Nicolas Slonimsky, Amazing Musical Iconoclast (1894–1995)

Posted December 5, 2014 by | 1 Comment
Slonimsky Autographed 1988

This week, Rhythm Planet reprises the 100th birthday tribute I did back in 1994 for one of the most extraordinary men I’ve ever met: Nicolas Slonimsky, the Russian composer, conductor, musicologist, and lexicographer. Born in 1894 in czarist St. Petersburg to a family of intellectuals, he was singled out as a boy “genius,” who would, indeed, be destined for greatness.
Slonimsky learned music theory, composition, and …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Middle East »

Maalouf Masters of the Quarter-Tone Trumpet

Posted December 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Ibrahim Maalouf

Lebanese-born father Nassim Maalouf and son Ibrahim Maalouf are two unusual trumpet players, who play quarter-tone trumpets to achieve the “notes between the notes”—half-sharps and half-flats—characteristic of Arabic melodies. The classical Arabic maqamat is comprised of 55 different melodic scales and modes that utilize both quarter- and three-quarter tone intervals, which standard trumpets are unable to reach.
Take a look at this quarter-tone trumpet, and you’ll notice four valves …

Artist Spotlight, Holiday, Jazz, New Releases, Performances & Events »

Lady Gaga: Jazz Singer?

Posted November 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Cheek to Cheek

Pop diva, Lady Gaga, and the great Tony Bennett have been making headlines together touring their recent collaborative album, Cheek to Cheek. Who would have thought that the woman in the meat dress with the flashy, stage shows was a closet jazz vocalist…?
The pair made their first debut together singing “Lady is a Tramp” on Tony’s Duets II album, which was awarded a Grammy for Best Traditional Pop …

Artist Spotlight, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #82: Artists You Should Know, Jessica Fichot

Posted November 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Jessica Fichot has a new album, an EP of 7 songs called Dear Shanghai, that celebrates her Chinese parentage and background. Her past 2 albums, Le Chemin (The Path) and Le Secret (The Secret), demonstrate her talent at French chanson-style and writing, complete with bal musette (think French cafe à la Robert Doisneau) accordion, gypsy swing, folk, pop, and other French popular styles. The new album, Dear Shanghai, brings …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Interviews, Performances & Events »

Audiophile Alert: Me & Henry Rollins

Posted November 19, 2014 by | 3 Comments
Henry - Outside

Awhile back, Henry Rollins wrote a feature for Stereophile, a monthly rag for hi-fi enthusiasts and nerds. Henry is hardly a nerd, to wit this statement, he wrote in his article entitled “I Am an Audiophile”: “People can hurl any epithet they want about the snobbishness they think audiophiles retain. Let them drink their wine from boxes. The sound of my Bob Ludwig-mastered pressing of Led Zeppelin’s …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Performances & Events »

Don’t Miss: Ana Moura—This Friday, November 14

Posted November 11, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Ana Moura

I am a huge fan of fado, and I am particularly fond of Ana Moura. Fado, like the blues, jazz, and tango, originated in the lower rungs of Portuguese society, in Lisbon’s working class areas like the Mouraria, Alfama, and Bairro Alto port areas in the 1820s. With boats docking in at these ports from all over the world, early fado took its influences from both Arabic modes …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My Late Friend, Joe Zawinul

Posted November 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Joe Zawinul

Joe Zawinul first became known when he replaced Victor Feldman as pianist of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, a fantastic band with music director Charles Lloyd on sax and flute. David Axelrod was the svengali who produced those timeless Cannonball Adderly sessions from 1964–75.
I remember buying Joe’s new Zawinul LP in 1971 and going over to a friend’s who had a good stereo system, and lying on the floor enjoying …

African, Artist Spotlight, Blues, Music History, New Releases, Performances & Events »

Tinariwen, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer

Posted November 3, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Tinariwen - Joshua Tree 2

Tinariwen, The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer sounds like a gruesome scene from the Kel Tamashek uprising of 1963 in northern Mali that saw the death of messianic Tinarwen frontman Ibrahim Ag Alhabib’s parents when he was a small boy. But in fact, it’s actually the group’s playbill for the North America tour for their latest album, Emmaar.
When The Harpoonist (Shawn Hall) and the …

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