African, Featured, Latin, music phenomena, world music »

Strengthening the Musical Bridge Between Cuba and the U.S.

Posted January 9, 2017 by | 4 Comments
Music in Trinidad, Cuba. Photo by Bud Ellison (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Cuba has been in the news a lot, and the latest article by Randy Lewis in the Los Angeles Times is a terrific read. Titled “Cuba had been unplugged from American culture for generations. What happens now?” Lewis discusses the beginnings of the inter-mixing of Cuban and American music under the Obama administration — which may be jeopardized by the incoming administration if Trump’s tweets …

Featured, Music History, music phenomena »

Thomas Edison’s Favorite Invention: The Phonograph

Posted December 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Just the other day, I heard one of the earliest popular recorded sambas, Donga’s “Pelo Telefone,” from 1916 and released on an Edison talking record, probably a wax cylinder. A few years later the “OKeh Laughing Record” (which featured a man and a woman laughing uncontrollably – an absurdist hit if there ever was one) was released on a 78 rpm disc. Thanks to Thomas Edison’s invention …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, music phenomena, RIP, world music »

Esma Redzepova, Queen of the Gypsies, 1943-2016 RIP

Posted December 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments

The great Romani singer Esma Redzepova passed away earlier this month at the age of 73. She began her career at the age of nine, and eventually sang in ten languages and recorded over 500 songs through her long career. The voice of the Romani (also spelled Romany), Redzepova was a powerful performer who captured the joys and sorrows of her people. As the …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, Music History, music phenomena »

Sarah Vaughan: How Different Lyrics Were in the 50’s

Posted December 12, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I recently pulled out my copy of a classic 1950’s Emarcy recording of Sarah Vaughan‘s called Sassy. Most of the 12 songs portray true love as hopeless, women as doormats, and romance as fantasy and idealizing. Of course, this was before our more enlightened–and also cynical–age, pre-dating the feminist movement.
In the 1950’s, colleges offered majors in homemaking, and there were young women going to school for a …

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

Jazz Musicians the Beat Poets and French Existentialists Loved

Posted November 21, 2016 by | 2 Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

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