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Revisiting Paul Horn

Posted July 31, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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In 1966 I bought my first flute, a cheap $25 Vito from a pawn shop near USC, where I was struggling through my sophomore year. I already knew about Paul Horn, one of the best musicians anywhere and an artist who had an incredibly beautiful sound when he played flute. I bought all his RCA LPs, although it took me a long time to …

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Show #12: Forgotten Gems, Part 2

Posted July 19, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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This week’s Rhythm Planet again celebrates some great music from times past. We start with the great 1962 Columbia recording of the great and under-appreciated Oscar Brown Jr., a song that once was the theme song for a show on jazz radio station KBCA in the 1960s. We follow with a classic from the great trumpeter Roy Eldridge, “Ain’t No Flies on Me”, recorded in Paris …

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Perfection in Sushi and Sound

Posted July 19, 2013 by | 0 Comments
sushi-and-sound

I recently dropped some serious coin on some new amplifiers. I normally first audition new albums in my mid-fi workhorse system of receiver and 5 cd carousel player, but for serious listening I use a more refined reference system. Music is my life and religion, so this is serious business for me. I replaced a pair of E.A.R. (Esoteric Audio Research) 509 tube monoblocks …

Featured, Headline, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #11: Forgotten Gems, Part 1

Posted July 12, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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This week, Rhythm Planet revisits some rare sides from years past. As a longtime KCRW deejay, I can tell you that you’re always swamped with new releases, trying to audition them, often hurriedly, and then cull the best from the bunch. You rarely have time to go back to savor earlier releases that have been relegated to the shelves.
With that in mind, let’s dust …

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Show #9: A Tribute To Nelson Mandela & South Africa

Posted June 28, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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This weeks Rhythm Planet program celebrates South African music, including many songs paying tribute to Nelson Mandela. I hope it sends out healing vapors and spreads healing vibrations out toward Nelson Mandela’s hospital room. This music not only celebrates Mandela’s courage, leadership, and legacy: it is a celebration of life and the triumph of hope over despair.

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 6/28/13

Dollar Brand | Cape Town Fringe …

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Jazz Icon Cecil Taylor Wins $500,000 Kyoto Prize

Posted June 24, 2013 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve just learned that pianist Cecil Taylor, uncompromising avant garde jazz pianist, has won the coveted prestigious Kyoto Prize, awarded by the Inamori Foundation in Japan. Taylor, now 84,  is now a Kyoto laureate in the category of arts and philosophy.  Past laureates include French composer / conductor Pierre Boulez; this year’s laureates in science and technology include electronics engineer Dr. Robert H. Dennard …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

Ray Manzarek 1939-2013

Posted May 23, 2013 by | 0 Comments
"When You're Strange" - 2009 Sundance Portrait Session

Ray Manzarek died this past Monday in Germany, where he was being treated for bile-duct cancer.
I wasn’t into too many popular bands of the 1960s, but I was a fan of The Doors.  They were a quintessential LA band.  The founding members, Ray and Jim Morrison, met on the beach in Venice.  Their song lyrics contained references to Los Angeles.  The band got their …

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RCA Living Stereo LP’s: Some of the Best Vinyl Ever Made

Posted May 14, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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RCA Living Stereo, along with Mercury Living Presence and the Decca classical catalogue, have been and will always be some of the best vinyl ever produced.  Vinyl is special: you never quite hear the sizzle of the drum cymbals and other frequencies the same way on most digital, especially the horrendous sound of early digital, which Neil Young once compared to nails being driven …

African, Art, Literature & Film, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

The Amazing Fela

Posted May 3, 2013 by | 0 Comments
fela

A friend sent me this video of a 1971 concert of Fela with Cream drummer Ginger Baker. It was most likely lifted from a great documentary, Ginger Baker in Africa, a must-see for any Fela fan. The show overflows with dionysian energy, an African counterpart to love-in shows of the countercultural 1960s. For anybody in LA considering going to the Ahmanson Theater to see …

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Louis Armstrong, Jazz Ambassadors, Richard Nixon and the Return from Ghana

Posted April 18, 2013 by | 2 Comments
louis-armstrong

I’ve written earlier about the 1950s U.S. State Department policy of using jazz musicians as American ambassadors spreading good will around the world in the 1950s, during the cold war. A great example is Louis Armstrong’s trip to Ghana in 1957, shortly after the West African country’s independence from Britain:

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