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Show #154: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted April 15, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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This show features some of my favorite new releases, starting off with that most-Cuban of all New York tropical latin outfits, Los Hacheros (The Hatchets). The vocalist reminds me of all that I loved about Ibrahim Ferrer, the late star vocalist with the Buena Vista Social Club. The new album is filled with that catchy, soulful, sabor cubano that …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Duke Ellington Celebrated in New Rizzoli Book

Posted April 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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April is Jazz Appreciation Month, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s classic 1921 musical Shuffle Along is about to hit big on Broadway, so it’s only fitting that I praise a wonderful and timely new book about Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon, written by Mercedes Ellington and Steven Brower, a beautifully illustrated gem just published by Rizzoli.
There have been many books about the great jazz composer …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, French, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Lisa Simone Headlines at the Olympia in Paris This Thursday, April 14

Posted April 11, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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It’s been said that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, film, Jazz, Latin, Middle East, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #153: The Oud, Lute, and Guitar; Also, Remembering Gato Barbieri

Posted April 8, 2016 by | 11 Comments
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This week’s show is divided into two parts. In the first half, we hear tracks to compare three solo plucked instruments — the oud, the lute, and the guitar. Then we feature three songs by Latin jazz saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, who passed away recently. I reminisced about my 1977 interview with Gato in a blog post earlier this week.
The oud, the lute, and the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My Afternoon with Gato Barbieri in 1977

Posted April 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Latin jazz saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri passed away recently at 83. When I heard the news, I rummaged through my old tapes and pulled out a cassette of my interview with him, which I did in a noisy room at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1977.
I love Gato Barbieri and have most of his albums in my music collection. Under Fire and Fenix are terrific, as is his soundtrack …

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

David Baker (1931-2016): Musical Polymath Succeeded Despite Racism

Posted April 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments
David Baker practicing the trombone in the 1950s.

David Baker was a true polymath: writer, educator, trombone and cello virtuoso, conductor, composer. When I read his recent obituary in the New York Times, I was also reminded of Nina Simone.
After earning both bachelor and master’s degrees, Baker auditioned for the trombone chair in the Indianapolis Symphony. He was told, “You’re probably the best one we’ve heard, but we can’t employ you because …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Latin, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

The Rolling Stones in Cuba: Better for the Oldies than the Youth?

Posted March 28, 2016 by | 13 Comments
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The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations is finally happening, and I am glad and grateful for it.
On the musical front, I heard NPR’s recent story on the Stones’ free concert in Havana before hundreds of thousands. Apparently only the older people will know the band; many of the younger folk interviewed had never heard of them. It isn’t surprising, given the embargo as well as limited …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, New Releases, Performances & Events »

Peter Erskine’s Dr. Um Record Release Concert: Total Fun

Posted March 23, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Last Sunday afternoon, I had the most fun I’ve had at a concert in some time: Peter Erskine’s Dr.Um record release party at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at the New Roads School in Santa Monica. I ran into old friends like pianist Mike Lang, Robert Kraft, composer Vince Mendoza, and Julio Ledesma, who performed so brilliantly Ariel Ramirez’ moving Misa Criolla at …

African, Artist Spotlight, Asia, brazilian music, Performances & Events, world music »

Rhythm Planet Recommends: More Upcoming World Music Events

Posted March 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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There is a wealth of world music coming to Los Angeles soon. Let’s look at these terrific events — three of which are happening this Saturday, March 26!
1. Sounds of LA: Riyaaz Qawwali: Saturday, April 9, 7 p.m. and Sunday, April 10, 4 p.m. at Harold M. Williams Auditorium, The Getty Center.
From deep in the heart of Texas, this Austin-based sufi devotional music group features musicians …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Asia, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Anoushka Shankar’s “Land of Gold”: A Musical Response to Refugees and Victims of War

Posted March 16, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Countless singer-songwriters write and perform songs about love lost, heartbreak, or other personal issues. Anoushka Shankar has opted for the road not–or at most seldom–taken with her new album, Land of Gold.
In some ways it echoes her father Ravi Shankar’s and George Harrison’s 1971 The Concert for Bangladesh, a benefit concert, subsequent album, and documentary film to help seven million refugees displaced by the Bangladesh Liberation …

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