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

Show #78: Remembering Tim Hauser Through the Songs He Loved

Posted October 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I was both surprised and saddened by the recent passing of Tim Hauser just a week ago. He was not only the guy who founded the famous vocal group The Manhattan Transfer; he was a friend and did a weekly vocal music show on KCRW back when I was Music Director. His show was called Sunday Sings Jazz on Sundays and was on from noon till 2 PM. …

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

Brian Eno on Dick & DeeDee’s 1961 classic, “The Mountain’s High”

Posted October 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Dick & Dee Dee - The Mountain's High

Dick & DeeDee perform “The Mountain’s High” on American Bandstand.
A few weeks ago, I visited my brother in Templeton, California, where he owns a beautiful house and a vineyard. Before I left, he handed me a bag of his old 7-inch, 45 rpm’s. Inside were some original Capitol Records singles by The Beatles, a few old R&B hits, and late ’50s and early ’60s b-sides …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

RIP: Nati Cano of Mariachi Los Camperos

Posted October 15, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Natividad “Nati” Cano, the violinist-leader of the legendary, Los Angeles-based Mariachi Los Camperos, has passed on October 3rd. He was 81.
Although I’m not a huge fan of mariachi music, the first time I heard Mariachi Los Camperos perform, I remember being struck by the beauty of Nati’s sound. His was full and sweet, the equivalent of a Mexican Jascha Heifetz. I was also knocked …

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

Old Man Bebo: Amazing Documentary on Cuban Musical Giant

Posted October 5, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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Bebo Valdes (1918-2013) is a giant of Cuban music, but an artist that isn’t appreciated enough or even known at all. Maybe because he was forced to leave Cuba by a young and repressive Castro regime, leaving to reside permanently in Sweden. There, he worked as an Arctic Circle hotel pianist playing old fisherman songs for the patrons. It was only because of his 2004 …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Interviews, Jazz, Music History »

Michael Cuscuna: Jazz Spelunker

Posted October 1, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Michael Cuscuna

Michael Cuscuna is a jazz curator and archivist, and a man you can trust. Today, vinyl is enjoying a resurgence of popularity, but many vinyl albums turn out not to analog at all: they’re mastered from digital files. You’re losing a generation of sound. The best companies: Analogue Productions, Impex, Mobile Fidelity, and Cuscuna’s Mosaic Records all go straight into record company archives and …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz »

Keeping the Michael Brecker Spirit Alive

Posted September 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Michael-Brecker

There are as many styles of tenor sax playing as there are disciples and influences: Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Stan Getz. The late Joe Henderson was pretty unique and though he influenced a lot of tenor players, his style of improvising was so different that I really can’t think of anybody who quite sounded like him.
Michael Brecker studied with a famous New York …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, New Releases »

Robert Plant’s New Album: Lullaby and… The Ceaseless Roar

Posted September 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I once asked Malian bluesman Ali Farka Toure if he was influenced by the great John Lee Hooker. He gave me a sharp look and said it was the other way around. And he was right. The blues came to America from slaves from the Sahel, the part of Africa between the Sahara and Forest Africa (principally Mali, Senegal, Niger, Mauretania, and Gambia).
Robert Plant‘s …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz »

Shirley Horn’s Lyrics for “Come Back To Me”

Posted September 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Shirley Horn has long been a favorite jazz singer and pianist of mine. I’m not alone: Miles Davis was a big fan as well. That’s probably why he made a cameo appearance on her 1989 Verve album You Won’t Forget Me. He plays on the title track. Shirley puts lots of space into her chords and piano runs, also lots of pauses and space in …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Performances & Events »

The Boy from Ipanema: Caetano Veloso

Posted September 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Brazilian superstar Caetano Veloso was actually born in the small Bahian town of Santo Amaro da Purificaçao. His mother died there a few years back at the age of 105. Hopefully Caetano and his kid sister Maria Bethânia will inherit her genes for longevity.
I reviewed his autobiography Verdade Tropical (Tropical Truth) for the LA Times Book Review when the English version came out in 2002 (click …

Artist Spotlight, Latin »

Timbalero Against All Odds: José Papo de Leon

Posted September 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments
el tuco

I’ve written about pianists who transcended physical disabilities and you can read about here. I want to add to this with a musician who plays the timbales: José Papo de Leon. His nickname is “El Tuco” which translates to “the maimed one”. I saw him play timbales with the great New York charanga outfit Tipica Novel at the Museum of Latin American Art this Summer and he …

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