Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History »

Satchmo, Nixon and the Hidden Stash

Posted July 22, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Satchmo & Nixon 2

Some of you Rhythm Planet fans may recall my previous about Richard Nixon as an unwitting ‘mule’ for Louis Armstrong’s hidden stash, but I’ve just unearthed yet another version of this funny bit of jazz history that I just had to share.
By now, there are probably as many versions of this story—it’s too good to be apocryphal—as there are versions of the New Testament books in the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz »

3 Jazz Pianists Who Deserve MacArthur Awards (While They’re Still Here)

Posted July 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Over the years, I have seen many jazz musicians receive the coveted $625,000 MacArthur “Genius” Awards. Some recipients I wondered about, quite frankly; others, like pianists Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, as well as the late saxophonist Steve Lacy, I was delighted to see win.
There are three great pianists on the scene whom I feel have demonstrated a lifetime of jazz excellence and innovation. Each artist …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, New Releases »

Tokyo Adagio: Charlie Haden & Gonzalo Rubalcaba

Posted July 15, 2015 by | 1 Comment

This is music that comes straight from the heart. Two outstanding musicians who genuinely loved and respected one another, performing before a quiet, rapt audience in the intimate setting of the Blue Note Tokyo club. It is music to savor like a fine meal accompanied by a fine wine.
Some duet albums I find to be thin, lacking the presence of a solid drummer to …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #115: That Timeless Gil Evans Sound

Posted July 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Gil Evans - 500

Just like Miles Davis, Gil Evans’s timeless arrangements charted the course of jazz during the 20th century, influencing big bands to bebop to cool and beyond.
Ian Ernest Gilmore (Gil) Evans was born May 13, 1912 in Toronto. His family moved to Stockton, California, during his youth, where he was raised until relocating to New York in his twenties. The early part of his career …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Middle East »

The Otherworldly Voice of Soeur Marie Keyrouz

Posted July 6, 2015 by | 1 Comment
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You may remember a post I did awhile back on singing nuns. I featured the big 1963 hit “Dominique,” sung by Soeur Sourire or ‘The Singing Nun,’ and then the Sicilian nun-rocker, Sister Cristina Scuccia.
Now I’d like to spotlight a nun of another order: Soeur (or Sister) Marie Keyrouz, who has recorded numerous albums over the years with her Ensemble de la Paix (Ensemble of Peace). Based now …

African, Artist Spotlight »

Senegalese Thione Seck is in Trouble

Posted July 1, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Thione Seck

I am a big fan of Thione Seck, a Senegalese singer who has been famous in Africa and Europe for more than 20 years. He is less well-known than other Senegalese superstars like Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal, probably because he doesn’t often travel outside of Senegal. Like his more famous compatriot, Seck has that amazing, big griot voice and a number of wonderful albums, though …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, MBE Archive, New Releases, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #113: Branford Marsalis Quartet’s Tribute to John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

Posted June 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments

If I had to name a few of the greatest instrumental jazz records of all time, several artists would come to mind: Louis Armstrong, Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis would be at the top of my list.
John Coltrane and his album, A Love Supreme, was music of an even higher order. It distinguishes itself from the rest by being not only …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, RIP »

RIP: Fernando Brant, Lyricist for Milton Nascimento

Posted June 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Música Popular Brasileira or MPB, a popular song form that followed bossa nova in the 1960s, often paired singers with poets and lyricists. Vinicius de Moraes penned lyrics for Antônio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell. Vítor Martins for Ivan Lins. Aldir Blanc for João Bosco and others. We’ve seen similar musical partnerships here in the U.S. between George and Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Ira …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Netflix Releases “What Happened, Miss Simone” Documentary

Posted June 22, 2015 by | 2 Comments
What Happened Miss Nina Simone - poster

Back during the Sundance Film Festival, there was a big buzz about filmmaker Liz Garbus’s new documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone, which screens this Thursday, June 25, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), followed by a Q&A. If you can’t make it, it will also be released on Netflix this Friday, June 26. I guested on Morning Becomes Eclectic afterwards to talk about this exceptional artist and her legacy.
I …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Show #112 – Directly From My Heart: Billy Vera on Little Richard

Posted June 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Billy Vera is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter who has written hits for top stars like Dolly Parton and Bonnie Raitt. It’s always a special treat for us when Billy comes by the station because he was the host of his own KCRW show for six years when he’d play classic rhythm and blues, gospel, and early rock and roll. Billy is the authority on this …

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