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Show #62: Great Music Intros

Posted July 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments

I’m a big fan of emcees who do great concert intros. That’s what this week’s recorded show is all about.
We start with what is perhaps the greatest of them all: James Brown at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, 1962. After that, another great intro for our #1 Soul Brother for his band the JB’s.
After that, two Francophone intros, Miles Davis at the 1st Paris International …

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The Ocean, Surfing & Music

Posted July 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Water has always fascinated me–the way it looks, the way it moves and flows, the way it feels when you’re enveloped by it. It allows you a reprieve from gravity, an environment where you can float suspended and temporarily occupy another mental and spiritual zone.
I especially love the power and unbridled energy of the sea and I savor the color of oceans in different …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena »

Billie Holiday’s Saddest Song

Posted July 13, 2014 by | 2 Comments

The other night I heard an instrumental version of “You’ve Changed”, which is unusual; you don’t hear very many versions of this most sad of songs, either vocal or instrumental. The most famous version is Billie Holiday‘s version from her swan song album, Lady in Satin.

She was dying in the hospital when that record was released in 1958. She has the sad distinction of …

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My Issue With Drum Machines

Posted June 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments

The FIFA World Cup in Brazil is now here and leading up to it, I received a ton of music of new bands and collections of contemporary Brazilian music. The problem is that many of these bands use drum programming and samples rather than real drummers and percussionists. Brazilian music has some of the greatest drummers in the world. The heartbeat of Brazilian music is …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music Phenomena, Performances & Events »

Pipa Player Wu Man

Posted June 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments
wu_man 2

Chinese born and U.S. based Wu Man has taken the pipa (a traditional Chinese lute) and brought it to concert stages around the world as well as introducing it into Western pop and other music styles. She was cited by the Los Angeles Times as “the artist most responsible for bringing the pipa to the Western World.”
The pipa (pronounced pee pah) is one of China’s oldest instruments. …

Featured, Music Phenomena, Recollections »

Record Sleeves as Time Capsules

Posted June 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
record jackets

Old albums on vinyl can be time capsules. You can’t put much into a CD jewel case and can’t do anything with a digital music collection. When my CD player was in the shop, I went through my vinyl collection in search of analog LPs I haven’t visited in a long time. Some funny things turn up in LP jackets. A friend of mine …

Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena, Rediscoveries »

Lindy Hop is Back

Posted May 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments
herrang dance camp

First it was the introverted Finns coming out of their shells and dancing close to the Tango. Then, the shy Japanese getting into latin music and swing. Now it’s the Swedes getting into the Lindy Hop.
Lindy Hop was a gymnastic, highly physical dance form from the Depression era, where it was popular in ballrooms and clubs of Harlem, particularly the Savoy Ballroom. There dancers …

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Nuns Who Rock

Posted May 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Back in 1963 there was an improbable hit song by a French sister, The Singing Nun, called “Dominique”.
But she couldn’t hold a candle to a another singing nun, a 25 year old Sicilian named Sister Cristina Scuccia. Perhaps it’s happening–I mean a nun really getting down–because of the new open-minded Pope Francis. Whatever the reason, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. She belts …

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Show #52: Songs About Food, Glorious Food

Posted May 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments

When I heard Jon Favreau and his music supervisor, KCRW’s resident Frenchman Mathieu Schreyer, on MBE earlier this week I was inspired to do a show featuring songs about food. The new film Chef is a hit and the soundtrack is great. It made me think of  another Frenchman, the great Enlightenment philosopher Voltaine’s comment about eating:
“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and …

Audiophiles, Featured, Music Evolution, Music Phenomena »

CDs and Vinyl: An Odd Pas de Deux

Posted May 7, 2014 by | 1 Comment

When CDs started coming out in the early 1980s, they promised everything: cleaner sound, no surface noise, easier to use, more convenient. Early CDs also enabled record companies to resell their existing catalog, at higher prices of course, and sell the hardware to play it. Some of the early recordings eliminated the tape hiss inherent in analog recordings, ruining the upper octaves, harmonics, and …

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