Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, New Releases, world music »

The Musical Elixir of Singer and Oud Diviner Dhafer Youssef

Posted November 28, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I first heard Tunisian singer and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef’s music on his 2010 release, Abu Nawas Rhapsody. It spurred me to buy an earlier record, Divine Shadows (2006), on which he works with a string quartet. Youssef’s vocal training is evident on both albums—his impressive voice has religious power, similar to that of great gospel singers, Pakistani sufi singers (think qawwali singer Nusrat …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Classical, Featured, French, New Releases »

Artists You Should Know: Zsofia Boros

Posted November 23, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I have been completely smitten by the young guitarist Zsófia Boros. On the Hungarian guitarist’s 2013 ECM album, En Otra Parte (Elsewhere), she celebrates the music of Cuban, Brazilian, and Argentine composers. Her subtle touch on the acoustic guitar seduces the listener. The guitar, already a very personal instrument, never sounded so intimate or beautiful. She plays with a quiet passion and clearly loves the music she chooses. …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Featured, Music History, New Releases »

Tchaikovsky’s Powerful Sixth Symphony Gets Great New Reading

Posted November 9, 2016 by | 1 Comment

I’ve been listening to a new recording of Tchaikovsky’s last symphony, the Sixth–named the Pathétique–paired with the romantic masterpiece Romeo & Juliet. It is a wonderful recording, with Russian conductor Semyon Bychkov leading the Czech Philharmonic on the Decca Classics label, which is famous for the quality of their recorded sound. This is the first volume of “The Tchaikovsky Project” recording cycle that will eventually cover all of the …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Latin, New Releases, Performances & Events, world music »

Diego El Cigala’s Hot New Release: Flamenco Meets Fania

Posted November 7, 2016 by | 1 Comment
Image courtesy

Flamenco singer Diego El Cigala‘s career exploded when he recorded Lagrimas Negras with legendary Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés in 2003. By “legendary” I mean patriarch of the Valdés piano clan (with Chucho and Chuchito) as well as his regular employ as music director and pianist of the swank, pre-Castro Havana nightclub, The Tropicana. Never has a duet album travelled so far so fast. El Cigala …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Featured, New Releases »

Voces8 / Winter: Fresh New Choral Album

Posted November 2, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Rich Capparela hosts the weekday afternoon drive-time shift on KUSC, L.A.’s classical music station. He calls the selections “anti-road rage.” That would definitely apply to the beautiful, lilting music on Winter, a new album from Decca by the British vocal ensemble Voces8. It would also be wonderful music for meditating, yoga, or lying on your back on the rug on Sunday morning. It’s an album that you can …

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Show #182: A Fun Hour with Jazz Guitar Wizard Wolfgang Schalk

Posted October 28, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Jazz guitarist Wolfgang Schalk is a Viennese transplant and one of L.A.’s hidden treasures. I immediately liked his new album From Here to There, from the first track to the last, and find him to be a fresh new musical voice. I invited Schalk in to showcase the new CD, plus to throw some “blindfold test” music at him. It didn’t surprise me that we shared …

African, Classical, Featured, Headline, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #181: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted October 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments

This week we feature ten new records that caught my ear. Let’s check them out, starting with a bolero from Cuban-born, Toronto-based pianist Roberto Fonseca, with the beautiful voice of Dayme Arocena. Venezuelan pianist Edward Simon then covers Ariel Ramirez’ beautiful song “Alphonsina y El Mar,” made famous by the late Mercedes Sosa.
We follow with a posthumous release by …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #180: John Beasley’s “Monk’estra” Celebrates Thelonious Monk Classics

Posted October 14, 2016 by | 0 Comments

This week, I had pleasure of welcoming John Beasley to KCRW’s studios to talk about his cool new project, Monk’estra Vol. 1, which celebrates the music of Thelonious Sphere Monk. Monk, like Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, was a proto-beatnik. As house pianist at Minton’s Playhouse in Harlem beginning in 1942, he helped launch the bebop revolution in modern jazz. Their take on music inspired beat poets like Jack …

African, brazilian music, Cape Verde, Featured, French, Headline, Jazz, Middle East, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #178: Eclectic New Release Mix (+2 classics).

Posted September 30, 2016 by | 0 Comments

For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been playing my personal selection of timeless classics. It’s time to check out some new jams. We begin with a nice track from the ARC label, featuring a number of great Brazilian musicians accompanying a West African traditional 21 string harp-lute, the kora, played here by Ravi (aka J.P. Freeman). The CD, The Afro-Brazilian Project, features top-flight Brazilian musicians like …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Show #173: Potpourri

Posted August 26, 2016 by | 6 Comments

This week I’ll mostly feature new releases, but I’ll also play a little Cuban son and remember two musicians, Toots Thielemans and Irving Fields.
We start with a wonderful guitarist based in Los Angeles, Wolfgang Schalk. He has a new album I keep returning too, and it’s on CD and vinyl. After that, a track from busy Bronx bass player Carlos Henriquez, …

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