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Chappottin: Legendary Cuban Band Plays LA

Posted July 29, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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It’s an embarrassment of riches–of a good thing I mean!
Two weeks ago, the New York group Tipica Novel wove its Cuban charanga magic at the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach. The group is celebrating their 50th birthday this year. Now we have another legendary Cuban group who is also celebrating its 50th birthday, Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas coming to Skirball Cultural Center this Thursday on …

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The Song of the Bed

Posted July 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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As we kick off our week, there are those of us who wish we could stay in bed a little longer. I’ve actually been on a mission to buy a new bed of late. I’ve been researching beds and there are several interesting types to chose from: Japanese cotton-batting beds, tempurpedic with cooling pillow tops, and expensive European models like Hasten and Duxiana. Duxiana’s current …

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Moorish Grooves Come to LA

Posted July 22, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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It’s not every day, week, month or year that you get a concert of deep Mauritanian blues in Los Angeles. But that very thing happens Thursday at the Skirball Cultural Center at 8pm. For more details, click here. I remember another compelling Mauritanian singer, Dimi Mint Abba, was booked by the World Music Institute in New York City. That was around 20 years ago. …

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Show #61: Remembering Charlie Haden

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 3 Comments
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Charlie Haden died last Friday at 77. He had contracted polio as a teenager in Springfield, Missouri and the dreaded disease had returned in 2011 like Faust from Hell.
Charlie was a great friend of KCRW. He probably visited both myself and Chris Douridas 30 times on Morning Becomes Eclectic. But he didn’t want us just to play his music; he loved being guest deejay, …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

Billie Holiday’s Saddest Song

Posted July 13, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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The other night I heard an instrumental version of “You’ve Changed”, which is unusual; you don’t hear very many versions of this most sad of songs, either vocal or instrumental. The most famous version is Billie Holiday‘s version from her swan song album, Lady in Satin.

She was dying in the hospital when that record was released in 1958. She has the sad distinction of …

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Tharanga Goonetilleke: Sri Lankan Opera Star

Posted July 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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There aren’t many Sri Lankans who turn to Western classical music. One guy is named Dinuk Wijeratne, a pianist and Juilliard graduate who does amazing work on a visionary album with Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh called Complex Stories, Simple Sounds.
Another artist was well-known lyric soprano named Danielle de Niesse, whose parents came from Sri Lanka, rose to fame first in Australia, then in Los …

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La Sonora Matancera: Cuba’s Immortal Group

Posted July 7, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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It was 90 years ago that Valentin Cane and Pablo Vazquez Gobim founded one of the greatest of all Cuban groups, La Sonora Matancera (The Sound of Matanzas). As the group’s name would suggest, it all started in Matanzas–the word means “slaughterhouse”. Probably because this was the bay and port where the slaves arrived after the miserable “middle passage” across the Atlantic. It’s also …

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RIP: David Weiss, Master of the Musical Saw

Posted July 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Another musical friend has passed: David Weiss. What makes it more poignant is that he performed on his $7.00 Stanley Handyman Saw on Morning Becomes Eclectic with me on December 5, 1983, but also that he was born 3 days after me. Tragically, David Weiss dropped dead in Pacific Palisades while surfing on May 24th. One would think that if you’re healthy enough to go surfing …

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Reissued: The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal

Posted June 30, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The German audiophile label Speakers Corner had just reissued, on LP–in glorious mono too–a classic album, The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal. This LP was originally issued by Epic Records in 1959.  There may have been a stereo version, but the original master tape is lost–or worse, it may have been reprocessed for stereo which is the kiss of death for any recording. On the …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Performances & Events »

Stromae: Belgian Singer Takes Europe by Storm

Posted June 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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A few months ago, my old friend Redha Hazourli sent me a video of a new Belgian musician named Stromae–an anagram for Maestro–singing a song, “Formidable” (translates to “great” in French) out on the streets during the early morning commute. He pretends to be drunk as he tells everybody, “Tu etait formidable,” (“You are wonderful”).  All this started when he observed a clochard (French …

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