Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Artists You Should Know: Drummer Tony Williams

Posted June 22, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Drummer Tony Williams (1945-1997) isn’t exactly a household name; probably only jazz fans of Miles Davis‘s quintet from the 1960′s know about him. He joined Miles’s group at the age of 16, and Miles always held him in high esteem. So did Herbie Hancock, who learned a lot from him. In his autobiography, Possibilities, Herbie praised Tony Williams for his musical inventiveness, openness, and curiosity about all forms …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

How a Teenage Astor Piazzolla Escaped the Tragic Fate of Tango Giant Carlos Gardel, and So Tango Was Saved, Too

Posted June 15, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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When I was working on my second book, Rhythm Planet: The Great World Music Makers (Rizzoli, 1998) and started to listen to my interview with tango giant Astor Piazzolla, I thought I was going to have to translate it from the Spanish. To my surprise, he spoke in perfect, unaccented American English. I then recalled that Piazzolla spent his first ten or so years …

MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

More Anecdotes From the Basement

Posted June 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Last week, KCRW held a celebration and launch for our new “Morning Becomes Eclectic” photo book, From the Basement, which features musicians and artists who have visited our basement studios over the past 30 years. (Big thanks to Bill Turner for letting us use his gallery at Bergamot Station for the party. And it was great hearing the train whistle and the Expo Line rolling by.) At the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

John Coltrane’s Funeral Service – July 21, 1967

Posted May 18, 2016 by | 5 Comments
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My music teacher Joe Nazzaretta recently sent me John Coltrane’s funeral service program. I am still moved by anything having to do with this genius of modern music. I recall sitting in a Will Rogers State Beach lifeguard tower on July 17, 1967, when I heard the news of Coltrane’s death on the local jazz station, KBCA 105.1 FM. I didn’t even know he was sick with …

brazilian music, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

The Bar do Lagoa in Rio and Robocop

Posted May 16, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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My first trip of many to Brazil, our great and troubled southern neighbor, was in 1990. I went there with a bunch of friends to discover the music and culture of the various states: Rio de Janeiro, Minas, Pernambuco, Bahia, Sao Paulo. We had a Varig air pass so we went everywhere. We drank cashew milkshakes, got robbed in Olinda, viewed Rio’s gorgeous …

Music History, music phenomena, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Paul Bowles: Music of Morocco 1959

Posted May 9, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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Dust to Digital has just released a remarkable and historic box set: Music of Morocco, from the Library of Congress, recorded by Paul Bowles over a five-month period from July to December 1959. It is a snapshot, or perhaps a time capsule, of a culture then relatively pure and unmolested by the world outside.
Paul Bowles lived in Tangier for over 50 years, from his arrival …

African, Artist Spotlight, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My 1989 Interview with Papa Wemba

Posted April 27, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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As I wrote in a blog post earlier this week, Congolese rumba great Papa Wemba performed in L.A. a few times in the late 1980′s, first at the Executive Club and later as a star in an African musical at the Pantages Theater, in a show called Africa Oye. That’s where I caught him in 1989.
Africa Oye was extended into a two-week run, an …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #155: Bach Cello Suites Celebrated by 8 Great Cellists

Posted April 22, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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This is kind of an experimental show. Bach wrote six beautiful suites for solo cello, and I want to showcase two of them through interpretations by eight different cellists. The cello is probably the closest instrument to the human voice in terms of range and pitch. The form even resembles a human body (think Man Ray’s 1924 photo of …

African, Artist Spotlight, Music History, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP, world music »

Malick Sidibe, the “Eye of Bamako”, 1936-2016 RIP

Posted April 18, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Malick Sidibé, Malian photographer, has died at 80. Sidibé’s black and white photos captured the golden era of Malian music and culture during the 1960′s, a time of optimism, pride, pan-africanism, and joy. With the death of fellow Malian photographer Seydou Keita (1921-2001), Sidibé had been the only remaining photographic chronicler of a golden age.
Sidibé’s photos are full of post-independence joy. People came to his …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, French, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Lisa Simone Headlines at the Olympia in Paris This Thursday, April 14

Posted April 11, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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It’s been said that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and …

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