Artist Spotlight, Featured, French, Middle East, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Artists You Should Know: Thierry “Titi” Robin

Posted October 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Thierry “Titi” Robin is a French musician and composer. Mostly, however, he is an intrepid musical traveler. He plays guitar, Arabic oud, Turkish buzuq and other instruments of both European and Moorish origin. He has collaborated with Rajasthani gypsy, Indian, flamenco, and Pakistani musicians. He is a musical polymath equally at home in a variety of musical environments and cultures.
I discovered his work years ago on …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, MBE Archive, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #179: Michel Petrucciani: Amazing Virtuosity Despite All Odds

Posted October 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments

In the summer of 1981, I went to Paris on vacation. I squeezed in a few visits to record labels as part of my job as KCRW’s Music Director. The station was known in Paris and other French cities because we always sent various record companies our playlists, and I frequently sent my interviews to Jazz Magazine and other music publications there.
One of the labels I …

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 …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Interviews, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Gil Scott-Heron: Speed Kills….Crack Enslaves

Posted September 12, 2016 by | 2 Comments

My ears always perk up when I hear a Gil Scott-Heron song. His early poetry was so poignant, and his Flying Dutchman albums like Pieces of a Man are still so moving.
Gil Scott-Heron was already a published author with a master’s degree in creative writing when he started making records. He had a keen sense of history, both musical and generalized, which he alluded to …

African, Classical, Featured, Headline, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #175: Timeless Gems – Tom’s Personal Selection Part 1

Posted September 9, 2016 by | 3 Comments

Deejays are always sampling new releases, but occasionally, it’s great to go back to recordings that have withstood the test of time. This is the first in a short series of programs that does just that. I hope you enjoy this eclectic selection!
We begin with a song from Leon Thomas, a progenitor of what people now call “Spiritual Jazz.” Kamasi Washington is the current embodiment of …

Classical, Featured, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Thibaut de Navarre: The Mysteries and Wonders of Medieval Music

Posted September 5, 2016 by | 1 Comment
Initial A: David Playing the Psaltery, about 1460 - 1480, Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment. The J. Paul Getty Museum. Digital image courtesy of the Getty's Open Content Program.

The other day veteran music journalist Steve Hochman reminded me of a wonderful album of music by the French trouvère Thibaut de Navarre (1201-1253) on the Harmonia Mundi label. This 1979 album, featuring the classic Harmonia Mundi cover art and format, is one I used to spin during my Morning Becomes Eclectic days. It’s in the category known as “Early Music,” i.e. pre-Renaissance music that goes back to …

Artist Spotlight, Asia, Featured, Headline, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #174: Qawwali Music: The Mystical, Peaceful Side of Islam

Posted September 2, 2016 by | 2 Comments

I first heard the Sufi devotional music called qawwali around 1982 on a WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) album. WOMAD was Peter Gabriel’s world music label and brainchild. This was right about the time when a bunch of Brit record executives coined the term “world music” as a category for retail sales purposes. The five-minute excerpt I heard was powerful, enthralling. I was transfixed. …

Artist Spotlight, brazilian music, Featured, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Clementina de Jesus: A Legendary Brazilian Singer

Posted August 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments

With the world’s attention focussed on the upcoming summer Olympics in Rio, I thought I’d shine a spotlight on a lesser-known Brazilian singer, Clementina de Jesus (1901-1987). She was an unlikely diva: Born south of Rio in Carambita in 1901, she worked as a maid for decades before being discovered in 1963 by a record producer and composer named Herminio Bello de Carvalho. How many singers …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Wayne Shorter: A Love for the Abstract, the Mystical

Posted July 27, 2016 by | 0 Comments

I listened again to Miles Davis‘s album Nefertiti the other day. Like Davis’s album Water Babies, all the compositions were by saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Tracks like “Fall” are ambiguous and strange; does the title refer to the fall of man or just the season? Will we ever know?
Wayne Shorter wrote amazing compositions, which is probably why an artist as egotistical and controlling as Miles Davis let …

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