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Show #187: Cuban Classics–A Personal Selection Part 1

Posted December 2, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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With Fidel’s passing I wanted to play some Cuban music I really love. This is a personal selection, and if you’re wondering why there’s no Buena Vista Social Club, Cachao, or Gloria Estefan, we’ll have a sequel next week with more sizzling Cuban music.
We start with a Coca-Cola commercial from 1952. The beverage giant was a player on Cuban soil back …

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Cuban Music: Wonderful but Complicated by Politics!

Posted November 30, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Cuba is such a musical country, and it’s hard to find a Havana street that doesn’t have music coming out of a storefront. The rich brew of Cuban music consists of African rhythms, Spanish décima poetry that dates back to the 16th century, American jazz, plus other ingredients that together provide synergy, power, and flavor. The many styles of Cuban music include mambo, timba, bolero, guaracha, rumba, contradanza, trova, classical, danzón, son …

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Show #184: Past and Present Voices

Posted November 11, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week’s playlist is just a crazy mix of songs from past and present that I love. Jumping right in, we start with a 1980’s U.K. group called The Flying Lizards, from an album of cover songs and their stiff-upper-lip version of James Brown’s “Sex Machine.” A Lebanese cover of Frank and Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” follows. Then we’ll hear a cut by …

Blues, Featured, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Three Timely Presidential Songs

Posted October 31, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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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 …

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Artists You Should Know: Thierry “Titi” Robin

Posted October 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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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 …

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

Posted October 7, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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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 …

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The Modern and Edgy Music of Bartok and Hindemith

Posted October 5, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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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 …

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Am I a Music Dinosaur?

Posted September 26, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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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 …

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Gil Scott-Heron: Speed Kills….Crack Enslaves

Posted September 12, 2016 by | 2 Comments
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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
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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 …

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