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The Other Yoko

Posted February 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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(L–R) Nadezhda von Meck, Betty Freeman, and Nica von Koenigswarter with Thelonious Monk
Few musicians are fortunate enough to have patrons. Tchaikovsky had one, a female benefactor whom he never met. Nadezhda von Meck’s largesse stipulated that he devoted himself full-time to composing, and that they would never meet. Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Barry Harris had Nica von Koenigswarter, a scion of the powerful Rothschild …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Blues, Classical, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Uncategorized »

Sundance Report: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Posted January 29, 2015 by | 2 Comments
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“But what happened, Miss Simone? Specifically, what happened to your big eyes that quickly veil to hide the loneliness? To your voice that has so little tenderness, yet flows with your commitment to the battle of Life? What happened to you?” —Maya Angelou
So wrote the erudite Maya Angelou, following a 1970 Redbook interview she did with the mercurial ‘High Priestess of Soul’ herself, Nina Simone (b. 1933–2003). Echoing …

Audiophiles, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

Director David Greene on John Coltrane

Posted January 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments
David Greene

I am once again listening to a glorious reissue of my gateway jazz LP, John Coltrane‘s Impressions remastered by the great German label, Speakers Corner Records. They do a fantastic job reissuing the classics on 180 gram vinyl.
The terms, ‘virgin,” heavyweight,’ or ’180 gram’ refer to the mass of vinyl used in the pressing of the cut. Whereas most standard LPs are either 120 …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, French, Latin, MBE Archive, Music History, Performances & Events »

Artists You Should Know: Carlos do Carmo

Posted January 5, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Música: Carlos do Carmo homenageia Sinatra, o cantor a quem "deve muito"

There is a new documentary by filmmaker Ivan Dias, called Um Homem no Mundo, that hit Portugal’s theater circuit on New Year’s Day. Best known for his work as Carlos Saura’s co-director for the documentary, Fado (2007), Dias has now turned his camera to Portugal’s champion of its fado heritage, Carlos do Carmo.
I’ve long been a fan of fado, the Portuguese traditional song form, ever since lusophile historian, Donald Cohen, visited …

French, Latin, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

RIP: Manitas de Plata, “A Great & Savage Artist” (1921–2014)

Posted November 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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“A great and savage artist” were the words John Steinbeck once used to describe gypsy guitarist, Ricardo Baliardo, better known as “Manitas de Plata” for his “little silver hands.” Born in 1921 to a traveling gypsy caravan in the Camargue region of southern France, de Plata never learned to read or write (he was tasked with begging as a child), but was a self-taught …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Show #64: Remembering Charlie Haden (1937–2014)

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 6 Comments
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Charlie Haden died last Friday at the age of 77. He had contracted polio as a teenager in Springfield, Missouri, and the dreaded disease returned in 2011 like Faust from Hell.
Charlie was a great friend of KCRW. He probably visited both myself and Chris Douridas at least 30 times on Morning Becomes Eclectic. But he didn’t want us just to play his music; he …

MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Russian Rock: Then and Now

Posted May 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I was Music Director of KCRW and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic during the 1980s and we did regular programs featuring the latest in Soviet-era Russian pop and rock music. Back then, the Cold War was alive and well, with Reagan and Brezhnev regularly rattling their swords. Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny once told me that as a kid in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, he played near …

Artist Spotlight, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

Remembering Ronald Shannon Jackson

Posted March 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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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 …

Artist Spotlight, MBE Archive, Music History »

Nelson Mandela’s Niece Brenda Fassie & Joy

Posted December 16, 2013 by | 1 Comment
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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 …

African, MBE Archive, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #34: 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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