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 …

African »

Ann Peebles, We CAN Stand the Rain

Posted June 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Ann Peebles - I Can't Stand the Rain

I love the rain. I remember the El Niño years of the 1980s, when I had a leaky roof in my apartment. As the American Catholic writer and mystic, Thomas Merton wrote in his ode, “Rain and the Rhinoceros,” I loved hearing its pitter-patter, the swoosh of cars passing over wet streets, the beautiful play of colors on the ground, and the way it always cleans our …

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
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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
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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 …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Music History, RIP »

The Zydeco Legend of Amédé Ardoin

Posted June 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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The great musicologist Alan Lomax weighs in on Amédé Ardoin’s music and tragic death.
I recently read an article in the New York Times by Campbell Robertson about a New Orleans musician lost in time. His name was Amédé Ardoin (b. 1898–1942). With his virtuosic talent as an accordionist, he woud cross white Cajun and black Creole lines at a time when it was otherwise unthinkable. Ardoin is credited …

Classical, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

A Brief Encounter: Gustav Mahler & Sigmund Freud

Posted June 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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In 1910, when Viennese composer Gustav Mahler took leave from his rehearsals in Munich to visit Sigmund Freud in Leyden, Holland, he certainly had a lot to talk about. Mahler had grown up in an unhappy household, bearing witness to the frequent abuse of his mother by his father and the deaths of his younger siblings. It’s difficult to imagine his extraordinary musical gift being the product of such a …

Asia, Classical, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, Uncategorized »

Show #111: More June Releases

Posted June 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Chico Trujillo - Group

This week on Rhythm Planet, we chase away June gloom with another fine sampling of musical eclecticism, together with some spectacular jazz tracks.
But first up, it’s a jaunty Latin party record that’s got a great Chilean cumbia beat by the band, Chico Trujillo, who incorporate ska, reggae, and rock into their fun grooves. Next, I bring you the strange and wonderful sounds of Mbongwana Star, a new psychedelic grunge band from Kinshasa, Congo, who use …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, RIP »

RIP: Ornette Coleman, Jazz Visionary (1930–2015)

Posted June 11, 2015 by | 1 Comment
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Cézanne. Picasso. Stravinsky. Schoenberg. Pollock. Derrida. Ornette Coleman. They all rewrote the books.
Ornette Coleman (b.1930–2015) died this morning of cardiac arrest in Manhattan at the age of 85. He burst upon the jazz scene in 1958, not in New York but here in Los Angeles when he recorded his first album, Something Else!!!, for Lester Koenig’s great Contemporary Records label. Coleman had come to Los …

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