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

Revisiting Paris: Old Haunts And Music Discoveries

Posted November 4, 2015 by | 2 Comments
yellow deux chevaux

I just spent two weeks in France, much of it in Paris. It was Cherie’s and my first visit together. I lived there in 1970, back when Les Halles was still there, demonstrations continued to pick up where May 1968 left off, and many demonstrations against Nixon and Kissinger’s war in Vietnam. I got thrown in jail for being too close to a demonstration …

Classical, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

A Devotion To The Mighty Pipe Organ

Posted October 21, 2015 by | 1 Comment

Anybody who’s never experienced a big pipe organ concert in a cathedral has missed something special. The pipe organ is — and has always been — the biggest and most complicated musical instrument of all. Its huge array of sound, its sheer sonic power, would make a stack of Marshall amps or heavy metal band sound puny.
Then there is the setting: cathedrals, especially the …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Six Great Music Educators

Posted October 20, 2015 by | 1 Comment

A good music teacher can infuse inspiration and instill a lifelong love of music. I couldn’t relate at all to my super straight, rigid piano teacher when I was seven or eight, plus there was simply no great music to be had in the Schnabel household, save for the 45 rpm 7″ R&B sides my older brother brought home. So I stopped taking lessons. …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

DNA of a pop song: Barry Manilow’s started with Chopin

Posted October 12, 2015 by | 1 Comment

Often big pop hits have somewhat obscure origins in classical music. This is true for a song that was a big hit for, first, Barry Manilow, who wrote the song “Could It Be Magic” in 1973. Then  three years later, Donna Summer followed suit.
Now, I was never much of a Barry Manilow fan, but I have to say he melted my heart — along …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

My Thwarted Interview with Stan Getz

Posted September 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments

I still remember the night of April 24, 1980, when I drove to Howard Rumsey’s popular Redondo Beach jazz spot, Concerts by the Sea, because it was the same date as the failed attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages. I was on my way to interview Stan Getz.
I had my questions prepped and my portable cassette recorder ready to go. My first question was whether he had …

Audiophiles, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

New Vinyl Sales are Up, Up and Away…!

Posted September 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments

I am a vinyl junkie and have written about my habit before:
Also some seriously bad LP cover art…
I perked up when I saw this in the New York Times (there is a video after the ad, too).
Rusty old pressing plants are being bought up, refurbished after years of non-use and neglect, and still can’t keep up with demand for new vinyl pressings. Many independent labels …

Artist Spotlight, French, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #125: Musical Ambrosia, Part 1

Posted September 18, 2015 by | 1 Comment

Ambrosia is the nectar of the gods in Greek mythology. For me it’s a little more mundane: a fruit salad with mandarin oranges, pineapple, grapes, pecans, cherries, with a dash of whipped cream. I have added a splash of Cointreau to this beautiful mélange.
I heard the word in a different and incongruous way the other day, when I read an article in the …

African, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #124: Hot Weekend Grooves

Posted September 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments

This week, I’m especially excited about the new releases that I’ve been sent. I’ve got tracks for you from around the globe and back, which I’ll feature along with a few recent rediscoveries.
Let’s begin with a nice melding of traditional African and western classical music. It’s the music of the 21-string harp-lute kora, played by Malian virtuoso Ballaké Sissoko, in collaboration with French cellist, Vincent Ségal. Sissoko is descended from …

Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

What I Learned From Oliver Sacks (1933–2015)

Posted September 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Oliver Sacks - Headphones

I was deeply saddened to learn that Oliver Sacks (b. 1933–2015) had succumbed to the cancer that he announced this past February. He was 82-years young.
The sheer number of obituaries penned over the past few days remembering this gifted author and neurologist for his immense contribution to the field made me recall how differently I learned to understand the situations of people suffering with neurological …

Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Ted Curson’s Chinchillas in Heat

Posted August 31, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Chinchilla in heat

Ted Curson (b. 1935–2012) was a Philadelphia-born jazz trumpeter who played with Charles Mingus, Cecil Taylor, Max Roach, and Dizzy Reese among others. As a young turk of the 1960s jazz avant-garde, he also recorded several albums of his own.
Ted visited the station shortly after I started at KCRW, probably around 1977. I had already met him, though he probably didn’t recognize me. I used to frequent …

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