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Remembering Ronald Shannon Jackson

Posted March 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson passed away in October of 2013. He was a powerful drummer in a band that broke down a lot of barriers and blended many genres of music: The Decoding Society. The Decoding Society was more edgy, funky, driving. Looking in my KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic archives and there is my aircheck of an interview I did with him on September …

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Nelson Mandela’s Niece Brenda Fassie & Joy

Posted December 16, 2013 by | 1 Comment

One of the rarest album in the KCRW library (and mine as well) is a 1984 12″ single by a South African group called Joy, lead by Brenda Fassie, late niece of Nelson Mandela. It was issued by Island Publishing but never became available commercially. Perhaps because it was a cover of a big pop song by Vangelis and Jon Anderson? I don’t really …

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Show #31: Music Celebrating Nelson Mandela

Posted December 13, 2013 by | 2 Comments
mandela cover

I was music director of KCRW (1979-1991) we had a dedicated African show (The African Beat) and often featured African music on other programs as well. We gathered South African music wherever we could: from Jo’Burg’s Kohinoor Store, from a woman named Di Brukin who brought us the latest SA grooves when KCRW was still on the John Adams Middle School Campus in 1981-1984. …

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Leonard Cohen: 1988 Interview & New Biography

Posted November 18, 2013 by | 0 Comments

I interviewed Leonard Cohen in 1988, shortly after his reappearance–he had retired both from music and from the world. He had a best-selling album called I’m Your Man. This interview appeared in my first book, Stolen Moments: Conversations with Contemporary Musicians (Acrobat Books, 1988).
A 2013 biography of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons is now a best-seller: I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen. …

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Eek-A-Mouse and KCRW’s Reggae Beat Show

Posted October 9, 2013 by | 2 Comments

I started as Music Director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic in July, 1979. The first show I put on was the Reggae Beat, which soon became the most popular weekend show at the station.  Roger Steffens and Hank Holmes, the co-hosts, had come to me that fall with some colorfully and carefully-illustrated cassette demo tapes. It didn’t take long for me to put them on the air …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, MBE Archive, Recollections, Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 1

Posted August 9, 2013 by | 1 Comment

As I’ve said before, I’m always so busy listening to new albums that some real gems tend to be forgotten or neglected. This week, Rhythm Planet shows the love for some long-form pieces and pop pieces in a part 1 of a 2 part series. Some of these pieces run 20-30 minutes so for interests of space and time I had to excerpt them–no way …

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Nelson Mandela, South African Music and the Struggle Against Apartheid

Posted June 28, 2013 by | 0 Comments

This weeks Rhythm Planet program celebrates South African music, including many songs paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. I hope it sends out healing vapors and spreads healing vibrations out toward Nelson Mandela’s hospital room. This music not only celebrates Mandela’s courage, leadership, and legacy: it is a celebration of life and the triumph of hope over despair.

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 6/28/13

Dollar Brand | Cape Town Fringe …

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Jazz Icon Cecil Taylor Wins $500,000 Kyoto Prize

Posted June 24, 2013 by | 1 Comment

I’ve just learned that pianist Cecil Taylor, uncompromising avant garde jazz pianist, has won the coveted prestigious Kyoto Prize, awarded by the Inamori Foundation in Japan. Taylor, now 84,  is now a Kyoto laureate in the category of arts and philosophy.  Past laureates include French composer / conductor Pierre Boulez; this year’s laureates in science and technology include electronics engineer Dr. Robert H. Dennard …

Artist Spotlight, MBE Archive, Music History »

Janos Starker, Celebrated Hungarian Cellist, dies at age 88

Posted May 9, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Hungarian cellist Janos Starker has died.  He was 88. Born in Budapest July 5, 1924, he was a child prodigy, giving his first concert at six. At just 14, he was asked to step in, on three hours notice, to perform the Dvorak Cello Concerto, one of the most difficult works in the cello repertoire.  He succeeded with aplomb.  Later in 1945, when he …

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An End But a Beginning Too: And the New Rhythm Planet Program

Posted April 14, 2013 by | 45 Comments
At the mike

After being with you for over 20 years on Sundays — and for 34 years since I started producing radio shows for KCRW — today will be my last live broadcast show.  It’s been a joy and incredibly rewarding for me to share my favorite music with you over this long stretch of time.  That’s me in the old John Adams Middle School studio …

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