Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

What I Learned From Oliver Sacks (1933–2015)

Posted September 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Oliver Sacks - Headphones

I was deeply saddened to learn that Oliver Sacks (b. 1933–2015) had succumbed to the cancer that he announced this past February. He was 82-years young.
The sheer number of obituaries penned over the past few days remembering this gifted author and neurologist for his immense contribution to the field made me recall how differently I learned to understand the situations of people suffering with neurological …

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

Izzy Sanabria: Latin Music’s Renaissance Man

Posted August 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Izzy Sanabria - headshot

I recently dropped some dough on a vintage mono LP (used) by the Alegre All-Stars called Way Out (Vol. 4). They spawned the immortal mambo DNA of groups like Tico All-Stars, Cesta All-Stars, and the final incarnation, the Fania All-Stars. The band changed its name every time the core group recorded for new labels (i.e. Tico, Alegre, Cesta, Fania). The LP I just bought was released …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Amália Rodrigues’ Fado Classic, “Barco Negro”

Posted August 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, en route to Cape Verde, I flew to Zurich on Swiss Air, then transferred to a TAP plane (Portugal’s national airline). I was about to board the plane when I was stopped at the gate and told that I would have to check my bag. I didn’t want to; I had another connection to make in Lisbon to get to Praia, Cape …

Artist Spotlight, Performances & Events »

Saturday, Aug 22: Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwali & DJ Neil Sparkes at Grand Performances

Posted August 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments
RMQ

I used to tell my listeners that Qawwali music was not music made by cute little furry Australian arboreal creatures, but rather, sufi gospel music from Pakistan.
A few weeks ago I wrote about my discovery and experience with the late Qawwali master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. When Nusrat passed away in 1997,  he left a musical vacuum, which his then-teenage nephews committed themselves to filling. …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Latin, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Buena Vista Social Club’s Ibrahim Ferrer & the Havana Sugar Kings

Posted August 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments
BVSC - Ibrahim Ferrer

 
I first heard about the Buena Vista Social Club back in the mid-1990s, probably through Ry Cooder. The minute the album went on sale at Rhino Records in Westwood, I bought my import copy for $27.00 and fell in love with them from the very first notes. I was the first to air them on the radio.
Five years later in 2000, I was lucky to be …

Artist Spotlight, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #120: New August Mix

Posted August 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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This week on Rhythm Planet, I’ve got ten superb new albums to share with you.
We begin with a lovely, heartfelt version of the John Lennon classic, “Imagine,” sung by Filipina-American jazz-world vocalist, Charmaine Clamor. It’s a track from her new album of songs that were inspired by a Filipino festival she once attended that she told me “brought out the best in people.” Her …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Charlie Parker’s First Recording

Posted August 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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For the past month, I’ve been learning (slowly and with difficulty) Charlie Parker’s “Anthropology” solo from a track which appeared on a Columbia LP that was recorded live from Birdland, a now defunct New York City jazz spot that was named after Charlie Parker himself. The recording was probably made by the mysterious Bird follower and recording maverick, Dean Benedetti. Captured in lo-fi mono, it’s an amazing performance. …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #119 Musical DNA: Influence, Inspiration & Cross-Pollination

Posted August 7, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Milticolored sine waves.

This week’s Rhythm Planet show is about cross-pollination, musically speaking. To paraphrase the English poet, John Donne, no musician is an island, apart from the main.
We begin with jazz composer/pianist Ahmad Jamal and his 1956 song, “New Rhumba,” which Miles Davis loved enough to include in his first big band collaboration with composer/arranger, Gil Evans and his orchestra. The 1959 version by these two follows. Miles loved Ahmad’s style, …

African, Artist Spotlight, Performances & Events »

Skirball Concert Review: Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba = Ngoni Power!!

Posted August 5, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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The ngoni is the Malian ancestor of the banjo (the word banjo itself being of Congolese origin). In the Malian Manding language, ‘Ba’ means ‘power.’ Bassekou Kouyaté and his band, Ngoni ba, deliver exactly that: massive musical power—organic and acoustic. It’s African power at its greatest.
Malian ngoni virtuoso Bassekou Kouyaté’s concert last Thursday at the Skirball Cultural Center was—for me—not only the best concert of this summer …

Artist Spotlight »

Clarice Lispector & Caetano Veloso: Fascination with Language

Posted August 3, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Clarice Lispector - 160

There is a new book of complete stories by Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector  (1920–1977) that was recently featured in the New York Times Book Review. Most people don’t know about her, though they might have heard a song by Caetano Veloso called “Clarice.”    
At first I thought maybe this song was about Lispector;  as it turns out, however, Clarice is a common name and that there are many …

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