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Artists You Should Know: Erroll Garner (and His Song “Misty”)

Posted October 12, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I heard the jazz standard “Misty” on FIP radio the other day, and it made me think about the song’s composer, American pianist Erroll Garner (1921-1977). Garner conceived of “Misty” — his most famous song — while on a DC-3 lumbering over Chicago in 1954. The clouds were beautiful and misty on that flight, and a classic was born.
I say “conceived” because Garner played by ear …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, MBE Archive, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #179: Michel Petrucciani: Amazing Virtuosity Despite All Odds

Posted October 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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In the summer of 1981, I went to Paris on vacation. I squeezed in a few visits to record labels as part of my job as KCRW’s Music Director. The station was known in Paris and other French cities because we always sent various record companies our playlists, and I frequently sent my interviews to Jazz Magazine and other music publications there.
One of the labels I …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Featured, Music History, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

The Modern and Edgy Music of Bartok and Hindemith

Posted October 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Just as Dave Brubeck or Chet Baker are considered “gateway” (aka accessible) artists for an introduction to jazz, so are Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy for classical newbies who are searching for something other than Bach or Mozart. But if you’re ready to move beyond classical music’s greatest hits, I recommend exploring the music of Béla Bartók and Paul Hindemith. I find their music modern and edgy.
I was introduced …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Featured, French, RIP »

Buckwheat Zydeco’s Stanley Dural, Jr., RIP

Posted September 28, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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Accordionist Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural, Jr., leader and founder of the funky New Orleans band Buckwheat Zydeco, passed away Saturday, September 24, in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana at the age of 68.
Zydeco is cajun-creole funk music. It’s about as funky as you can get, a blended musical analog for gumbo and other spicy cajun cuisine. The word Zydeco is believed to be a creolized version of …

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, …

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