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

A Beautiful Evening with Flamenco Legend Tomatito

Posted October 26, 2016 by | 0 Comments
Photo by Sari Makki Phillips

Flamenco guitarist Tomatito and his group performed for the first time in Los Angeles last Friday night at the Wilshire Ebell Theater as part of the LA Flamenco Festival. I was thrilled to have been there to enjoy this passionate, intense, and beautiful concert.
Tomatito has the singular distinction of being the late singer Camarón de la Isla‘s guitarist. He said of his time with Camarón, “The divine imprint of …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, French, Middle East, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Artists You Should Know: Thierry “Titi” Robin

Posted October 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Thierry “Titi” Robin is a French musician and composer. Mostly, however, he is an intrepid musical traveler. He plays guitar, Arabic oud, Turkish buzuq and other instruments of both European and Moorish origin. He has collaborated with Rajasthani gypsy, Indian, flamenco, and Pakistani musicians. He is a musical polymath equally at home in a variety of musical environments and cultures.
I discovered his work years ago on …

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Show #180: John Beasley’s “Monk’estra” Celebrates Thelonious Monk Classics

Posted October 14, 2016 by | 0 Comments

This week, I had pleasure of welcoming John Beasley to KCRW’s studios to talk about his cool new project, Monk’estra Vol. 1, which celebrates the music of Thelonious Sphere Monk. Monk, like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, was a proto-beatnik. As house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem beginning in 1942, he helped launch the bebop revolution in modern jazz. Their take on music inspired beat poets like Jack …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz »

Artists You Should Know: Erroll Garner (and His Song “Misty”)

Posted October 12, 2016 by | 0 Comments

I heard the jazz standard “Misty” on FIP radio the other day, and it made me think about the song’s composer, American pianist Erroll Garner (1921-1977). Garner conceived of “Misty” — his most famous song — while on a DC-3 lumbering over Chicago in 1954. The clouds were beautiful and misty on that flight, and a classic was born.
I say “conceived” because Garner played by ear …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, MBE Archive, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #179: Michel Petrucciani: Amazing Virtuosity Despite All Odds

Posted October 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments

In the summer of 1981, I went to Paris on vacation. I squeezed in a few visits to record labels as part of my job as KCRW’s Music Director. The station was known in Paris and other French cities because we always sent various record companies our playlists, and I frequently sent my interviews to Jazz Magazine and other music publications there.
One of the labels I …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Featured, Music History, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

The Modern and Edgy Music of Bartok and Hindemith

Posted October 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Just as Dave Brubeck or Chet Baker are considered “gateway” (aka accessible) artists for an introduction to jazz, so are Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy for classical newbies who are searching for something other than Bach or Mozart. But if you’re ready to move beyond classical music’s greatest hits, I recommend exploring the music of Béla Bartók and Paul Hindemith. I find their music modern and edgy.
I was introduced …

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Buckwheat Zydeco’s Stanley Dural, Jr., RIP

Posted September 28, 2016 by | 2 Comments

Accordionist Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr., leader and founder of the funky New Orleans band Buckwheat Zydeco, passed away Saturday, September 24, in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana at the age of 68.
Zydeco is cajun-creole funk music. It’s about as funky as you can get, a blended musical analog for gumbo and other spicy cajun cuisine. The word Zydeco is believed to be a creolized version of …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Performances & Events »

Kraftwerk Electrifies at the Hollywood Bowl

Posted September 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments

I was lucky enough to attend Kraftwerk’s spectacular 3-D show this past Sunday at the Hollywood Bowl. The group looked just like their album covers: 4 guys standing in front of small pedestal platforms with keyboards on them. They wore identical form-fitting jumpsuits with a glowing grid pattern, which seemed to change colors as the videos changed. (Did anyone else think that they could have stepped out of …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Interviews, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Gil Scott-Heron: Speed Kills….Crack Enslaves

Posted September 12, 2016 by | 2 Comments

My ears always perk up when I hear a Gil Scott-Heron song. His early poetry was so poignant, and his Flying Dutchman albums like Pieces of a Man are still so moving.
Gil Scott-Heron was already a published author with a master’s degree in creative writing when he started making records. He had a keen sense of history, both musical and generalized, which he alluded to …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Latin, Performances & Events, world music »

Looking Ahead: Two Music Events to Check Out

Posted September 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments
Tomatito. Photo by Errol Putigna (CC BY-ND-NC 2.0) via Flickr.

There are always tons of music shows in and around Los Angeles, but two upcoming events in particular stand out as unusual, and ones that probably won’t happen again for a long time. Mark your calendars!
The first program is a jazz flute summit with three amazing tropical Latin flute players: Justo Almario (Colombia/LA), Art Webb (NYC/LA), and Orlando “Maraca” Valle (Cuba). They are exceptional …

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