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

Kraftwerk Electrifies at the Hollywood Bowl

Posted September 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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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
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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 …

Artist Spotlight, Asia, Featured, Headline, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #174: Qawwali Music: The Mystical, Peaceful Side of Islam

Posted September 2, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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I first heard the Sufi devotional music called qawwali around 1982 on a WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) album. WOMAD was Peter Gabriel’s world music label and brainchild. This was right about the time when a bunch of Brit record executives coined the term “world music” as a category for retail sales purposes. The five-minute excerpt I heard was powerful, enthralling. I was transfixed. …

African, Artist Spotlight, Featured »

Sister Deborah and Ghana Jollof: Tasty Rice

Posted August 29, 2016 by | 4 Comments
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This is a culinary tale–or rather competition–West African style.
Last Sunday morning, I heard a story and song on NPR’s Weekend Edition about a rice rivalry in West Africa, particularly Ghana vs. Nigeria, surrounding a ubiquitous rice dish in the region (Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal) called Jollof. The tune’s nice grooves and rhymes caught my ear, as did the conversation between host Linda Wertheimer and …

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

Show #173: Potpourri

Posted August 26, 2016 by | 6 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, Featured, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

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

Posted August 25, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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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, Featured, Jazz, Latin, RIP »

Toots Thielemans and Irving Fields, RIP

Posted August 24, 2016 by | 4 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, Featured, Middle East, Performances & Events, world music »

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

Posted August 22, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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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, Featured, Headline, 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 …

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