Featured, French, Jazz, Music History, music phenomena »

Jazz Musicians the Beat Poets and French Existentialists Loved

Posted November 21, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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When the word “beat” is used in the context of the arts, it’s usually in reference to the Beat Generation writers: Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, and William S. Burroughs are the most well-known. Michael McClure won fame for writing the poem “Mercedes Benz” that Janis Joplin popularized, Gary Snyder was a forest ranger who wrote while stationed in treetops, …

Blues, Featured, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Three Timely Presidential Songs

Posted October 31, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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With the election just a week away, I thought I’d call to mind some songs about U.S. presidents and elections — songs that either celebrate or poke a little fun at being POTUS. We can all use a little levity about now, right?
The first is “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt” by Otis Jackson. Jackson first recorded this tribute song in 1946, a …

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 …

Audiophiles, Featured, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Am I a Music Dinosaur?

Posted September 26, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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When I walk down the CD and album-lined hallway at my home, I sometimes wonder if I’m like a dinosaur — a species about to go extinct. My record collecting habit started a long time ago in high school. I would go into town with my music and surfing buddies to record stores that carried jazz. Crane’s and Sam’s on Adams Boulevard were two …

Classical, Featured, film, music phenomena »

Talent Has Hunger…This 3 Year-Old Kid Sure Does!

Posted August 31, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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I recently watched the film Talent Has Hunger, directed by Josh Aronson. It follows cello virtuoso Paul Katz of the Cleveland Quartet and the New England Conservatory of Music as he teaches and inspires young students at the Conservatory. He instructs them in technique, inspiring them to achieve and improve. The film shows lots of one-on-one instruction, with Katz coaching students on bow technique, fingering, and also on just …

African, Featured, Headline, music phenomena, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #168: Songs from Birds, Frogs, Whales, and…Even Humans!

Posted July 22, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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I will admit – this is an experimental playlist. I’ve had all these CD’s and LP’s out for some time, while I contemplated whether a show featuring and inspired by the melodic sounds from our animal friends made any sense. Now that I’ve recorded it, I’m still not sure whether all you listeners will find it interesting. But with all the screaming and …

Audiophiles, Featured, Music History, music phenomena »

L.A.’s Musical Treasure Chest

Posted July 20, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I’m about to record an unusual program featuring non-human music…think whales, insects, frogs, and birds. For this show, I pulled out an obscure 1986 LP by composer Graeme Revell called The Insect Musicians. It was my first encounter with this prolific composer, who more recently has been successful in film composing.
What I noticed when pulling out the record was that I purchased it from Tower Records many …

Asia, Classical, Featured, music phenomena »

The Piano in China: From a Royal Gift to International Superstars

Posted July 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I once read that when pianos first started arriving in China in the 19th century, people were afraid of what they heard; it sounded like bones were rattling inside. Actually, the first keyboard arrived in China in 1601, when an Italian Jesuit missionary named Matteo Ricci brought a clavichord (a precursor to the modern piano) with him to Beijing. Later Jesuits also brought keyboards to …

Classical, Featured, music phenomena »

Musical Goosebumps and Where they Come From

Posted July 11, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I’ve read so many books on music and the brain that sometimes I forget which information comes from which book, among them Daniel Levitin‘s This is Your Brain on Music as well as the late Oliver Sacks‘ Musicophilia. One of the things Sacks examines is why some people react so emotionally to music (=musicophila), or certain music, while others are unmoved (=amusia). I’ve always reacted strongly, both …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

Ludovico Einaudi & Greenpeace Team Up for Arctic Concert: Amazing!

Posted June 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve been a fan of composer/pianist Ludovico Einaudi ever since I first heard his stunning album Divenire in 2008.  Actually, I liked his kora-piano duet album Diario Mali with kora player Ballaké Sissoko, which came out before that in 2006. He is a big star now, with fans around the world, and is busy scoring movie soundtracks and commercials as well.
Einaudi comes from a prominent Italian family. His …

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