Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Show #173: Potpourri

Posted August 26, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week I’ll mostly feature new releases, but I’ll also play a little Cuban son and remember two musicians, Toots Thielemans and Irving Fields.
We start with a wonderful guitarist based in Los Angeles, Wolfgang Schalk. He has a new album I keep returning too, and it’s on CD and vinyl. After that, a track from busy Bronx bass player Carlos Henriquez, …

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

Rudy Van Gelder, Legendary Jazz Engineer (1924-2016) RIP

Posted August 25, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I have been dreading the day I would hear this news. But it’s true, Rudy Van Gelder (RVG) has died at the age of 91. He became legendary, but started out recording late-night sessions in his parents’ living room in the early 1950′s while attending optometry school by day. Thank goodness he didn’t pursue an optometry career!
The other day I pulled out his 1953 recording for Prestige, Bag’s …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, RIP »

Toots Thielemans and Irving Fields, RIP

Posted August 24, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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Two musicians I like passed away recently. Harmonica legend Toots Thielemans died on Monday, August 22 at 94; composer and pianist Irving Fields died Saturday, August 20 at the age of 101. Their longevity aside, they couldn’t have been more different.
Toots Thielemans (1922-2016)
Thielemans was by far the better known musician of the two. Born in Brussels in 1922, over his long life he worked with …

Artist Spotlight, Asia, Classical, Middle East, Performances & Events, world music »

A Joyous Evening with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble

Posted August 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I feel honored to have hosted the fabulous show last night of Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble at the Hollywood Bowl, part of the KCRW World Festival Series this summer. The performance exceeded my highest expectations. The Silk Road Ensemble is a musical United Nations, with the renowned cellist working with musicians from China, India, Japan, Syria, Iran, Russia, Spain, Central Asia and …

Artist Spotlight, reggae, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #172: Jamaican D.J. Junor Francis Does Reggae Proud in L.A.

Posted August 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Jamaica has been in the news lately because of Usain Bolt and the great Jamaican track and field athletes. To celebrate Jamaica, know that there’s a reggae oasis here on Saturday night and his name is Junor Francis. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the genre and delivers the goods with verve and authentic Jamaican flavor. Junior arrived to the U.S. from the island in …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, RIP »

Jazz Vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, 1941-2016, RIP

Posted August 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Bobby Hutcherson, a superb vibes and marimba player and star of the Blue Note roster, passed away on Monday, August 15, at his home in California. He was 75, and had suffered from emphysema since 2007.
Saxophonist Dexter Gordon once said, “Bobby’s the baddest,” referring to the edge and modern style that characterized Hutcherson’s compositions and improvisations. Bobby fell in love with the vibes after hearing the music …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vernon Duke: Dual (Composer) Personalities

Posted August 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I was at the Hollywood Bowl last Saturday night for the big “An Olympic Carnival – Sergio Mendes & 50 Years of Brasil ’66” show, which opened with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra playing Brazilian classics. It was a great program–beautifully conducted by Thomas Wilkins, with fantastic guest dancers and singers, plus a spectacular fireworks finale.
The show started with “Aquarela do Brasil,” Ary Barroso‘s 1939 classic, a Brazilian musical …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #171: Stan Kenton & Tito Rodriguez: Anatomy of an Orchestra

Posted August 12, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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In 1952, Stan Kenton recorded a piece called “Prologue: This is An Orchestra.” In the 10 minute work he introduces all the members of his jazz orchestra: the drummer, bassist, saxophonists, trumpet player, trombone, and bass trombone player. In the bass trombone part he tells George Roberts to go lower, to the bottom of the instrument’s capability, which he does. Kenton also talks about …

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

Yo-Yo Ma & the Silk Road Ensemble Perform at the Hollywood Bowl on August 21st

Posted August 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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The Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma are performing on Sunday, August 21, at the Hollywood Bowl as part of KCRW’s long-running World Festival series. I’m definitely going. In fact, I’ll be hosting the show that evening! Hope to see you there.
I first got to know Yo-Yo Ma from his exquisite recordings of Bach’s six solo cello suites. His tone, articulation, and fluid expression brought out the beauty …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Clementina de Jesus: A Legendary Brazilian Singer

Posted August 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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With the world’s attention focussed on the upcoming summer Olympics in Rio, I thought I’d shine a spotlight on a lesser-known Brazilian singer, Clementina de Jesus (1901-1987). She was an unlikely diva: Born south of Rio in Carambita in 1901, she worked as a maid for decades before being discovered in 1963 by a record producer and composer named Herminio Bello de Carvalho. How many singers …

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