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

Ibrahim Ferrer: “The Older Chicken Makes a Better Soup”

Posted January 18, 2017 by | 0 Comments

I’ve been poking around my interview archives and thought it would be nice to select a few to share again. The first one, apropos of the recent focus on Cuba, is an interview with the late Ibrahim Ferrer (1927-2005), who finally won fame late in life when he joined the all-star Buena Vista Social Club. I first heard about the now-celebrated Buena Vista Social Club (BVSC) …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Featured, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Not To Be Forgotten: The Outrageous Esquerita!

Posted January 11, 2017 by | 1 Comment

We lost some colorful and influential musical artists in 2016–David Bowie, Prince, George Michael. On the other hand, Boy George & Culture Club are still performing, and they blew a lot of minds at their Hollywood Bowl shows this past summer. Little Richard is also still around, but we haven’t heard much from him lately. All these artists have been both genre and gender-bending. Then there …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Three New Jazz Gems

Posted December 28, 2016 by | 4 Comments

I haven’t had a chance to feature new releases in a while and want to sing the praises of three new albums before the year ends. The first is guitarist Yotam Silberstein‘s The Village. The Tel Aviv native moved to New York in 2005 after receiving a scholarship to the New School. His latest album features a great rhythm section: Aaron Goldberg on piano, Reuben Rogers plays …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP, world music »

Artists We Lost in 2016

Posted December 26, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Top row: Buckwheat Zydeco, Papa Wemba, Bobby Hutcherson; bottom row: Rudy Van Gelder, Prince Buster, Amjad Sabri (photo by SohailKhanzada)
The pop music world lost some prominent stars in 2016, starting with David Bowie in January, then Prince in April, and now George Michael. There was also Glenn Frey of the Eagles, bluesman Otis Clay, and Natalie Cole. Classical music also lost a titan …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, music phenomena, RIP, world music »

Esma Redzepova, Queen of the Gypsies, 1943-2016 RIP

Posted December 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments

The great Romani singer Esma Redzepova passed away earlier this month at the age of 73. She began her career at the age of nine, and eventually sang in ten languages and recorded over 500 songs through her long career. The voice of the Romani (also spelled Romany), Redzepova was a powerful performer who captured the joys and sorrows of her people. As the …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Middle East, New Releases, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #189: Showcase: Lebanese Oud Master Marcel Khalife

Posted December 16, 2016 by | 0 Comments

I first heard the music of Marcel Khalife, the Lebanese-born oud virtuoso, when a guest host on Morning Becomes Eclectic brought in a bunch of Arab LP’s, including a beguiling song for oud and voice. I had it on a cassette air check for years, but didn’t know what exactly it was until recently. The song was “Land of the South,” from an album called Al Mayadine: Of All the …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Middle East, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP, world music »

Remembering Samir Hachem and His Gift of Arabic Music

Posted December 14, 2016 by | 0 Comments

During my “Morning Becomes Eclectic” days, I used to invite many guest hosts to come in and share their musical knowledge. Charlie Haden was the most frequent visitor, bringing in sweeping classical albums as well as old-timey mountain music that he grew up with in Missouri. Don Cohen, a busy attorney and passionate fadista–follower of Portugal’s great fado music–turned me onto Amalia Rodrigues, Carlos do …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Music History, music phenomena »

Sarah Vaughan: How Different Lyrics Were in the 50’s

Posted December 12, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I recently pulled out my copy of a classic 1950’s Emarcy recording of Sarah Vaughan‘s called Sassy. Most of the 12 songs portray true love as hopeless, women as doormats, and romance as fantasy and idealizing. Of course, this was before our more enlightened–and also cynical–age, pre-dating the feminist movement.
In the 1950’s, colleges offered majors in homemaking, and there were young women going to school for a …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Featured, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Miles Davis’s Landmark LP “Miles Ahead”: Enduring Fascination & Beauty

Posted December 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments

I recently pulled out my new-ish audiophile copy of Miles Davis‘s great 1957 LP with the Gil Evans orchestra, Miles Ahead. I’ve listened to this album a zillion times, yet I hear something new almost each and every time I put it on the turntable. I’ve worn out an older copy of the LP, and now enjoy a great mono recording.
I know the work well, and have …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, New Releases, world music »

The Musical Elixir of Singer and Oud Diviner Dhafer Youssef

Posted November 28, 2016 by | 0 Comments

I first heard Tunisian singer and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef’s music on his 2010 release, Abu Nawas Rhapsody. It spurred me to buy an earlier record, Divine Shadows (2006), on which he works with a string quartet. Youssef’s vocal training is evident on both albums—his impressive voice has religious power, similar to that of great gospel singers, Pakistani sufi singers (think qawwali singer Nusrat …

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