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Charlie Parker’s First Recording

Posted August 12, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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For the past month, I’ve been learning (slowly and with difficulty) Charlie Parker’s “Anthropology” solo from a track which appeared on a Columbia LP that was recorded live from Birdland, a now defunct New York City jazz spot that was named after Charlie Parker himself. The recording was probably made by the mysterious Bird follower and recording maverick, Dean Benedetti. Captured in lo-fi mono, it’s an amazing performance. …

Art, Literature & Film, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

Monica Lewis, Chiquita, United Fruit & All Things Banana

Posted August 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Monica Lewis

Everyone remembers Carmen Miranda (b. 1909–1955) as the woman with the tutti-frutti hat (made famous by the Busby Berkeley musical, The Gang’s All Here). The video’s banana-themed choreography is still just as amazing today as it was back in 1943.
But the voice of Chiquita Banana has officially left the building. Monica Lewis (b. 1922–2015) got her start at the swanky Stork Club in New York City before a radio appearance led …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, New Releases, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan & Me

Posted July 27, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Nusrat Forever

I first discovered Pakistani sufi maestro Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in 1982 on one of Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD (World of Music and Dance) Festival benefit collection LPs, titled Music and Rhythm. It was the beginning of a 1980s phenomenon that would come to be known popularly as world music, right around the same time that King Sunny Ade would gain fame outside of Nigeria.
The most arresting track on the …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Netflix Releases “What Happened, Miss Simone” Documentary

Posted June 22, 2015 by | 2 Comments
What Happened Miss Nina Simone - poster

Back during the Sundance Film Festival, there was a big buzz about filmmaker Liz Garbus’s new documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone, which screens this Thursday, June 25, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), followed by a Q&A. If you can’t make it, it will also be released on Netflix this Friday, June 26. I guested on Morning Becomes Eclectic afterwards to talk about this exceptional artist and her legacy.
I …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #112 – Directly From My Heart: Billy Vera on Little Richard

Posted June 19, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Billy Vera is a Grammy Award-winning songwriter who has written hits for top stars like Dolly Parton and Bonnie Raitt. It’s always a special treat for us when Billy comes by the station because he was the host of his own KCRW show for six years when he’d play classic rhythm and blues, gospel, and early rock and roll. Billy is the authority on this …

Classical, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

A Brief Encounter: Gustav Mahler & Sigmund Freud

Posted June 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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In 1910, when Viennese composer Gustav Mahler took leave from his rehearsals in Munich to visit Sigmund Freud in Leyden, Holland, he certainly had a lot to talk about. Mahler had grown up in an unhappy household, bearing witness to the frequent abuse of his mother by his father and the deaths of his younger siblings. It’s difficult to imagine his extraordinary musical gift being the product of such a …

Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

De Lux’s “Oh Man the Future”

Posted May 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments
DE+LUX

KCRW recently featured a song called “Oh Man the Future” by the Los Angeles-based duo, De Lux, as Today’s Top Tune. Somewhere between new wave, disco and punk, De Lux are Sean Guerin and Isaac Franco. With Guerin’s David Byrne-esque spoken vocals and stream of consciousness lyrics about millennials and their technology-driven lifestyles, the track is reminiscent of The Talking Heads’ “Once in a Lifetime.”
De Lux performing “Oh Man the Future” last …

Art, Literature & Film, Asia, French, Interviews, Music History, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #107: Tom Interviews Director John Pirozzi of “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock & Roll”

Posted May 15, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Don't Think I've Forgotten

For the past ten years, Director John Pirozzi has been traveling back and forth to Cambodia plumbing the archives in Phnom Penh, Paris, and elsewhere for his new documentary film, Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll, which screens this Friday and Saturday at the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood. It’s a powerful musical journey through Cambodia’s Golden Age, the Vietnam War, and …

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

Miles Davis’s Miles Ahead: A Timeless 1957 Classic

Posted April 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Gil & Miles

Last night, I listened to Miles Davis’s classic, Miles Ahead, for the thousandth time. Amazingly, it sounded better than ever on my mono vinyl reissue, an original ‘six eyes’ version. I never cease to be astounded and moved by the genius of Gil Evans’s orchestrations, only more so, actually, with each passing listen.
Miles Ahead has been part of my life for a long time now. Back in …

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

The Hi-Lo’s Amazing Album: And All That Jazz

Posted April 27, 2015 by | 0 Comments
HiLosMusical200

My flute teacher, Joe Nazzaretta, a great reed and wind player who studied at William Paterson University, and then privately with the great Joe Henderson, recently turned me onto a 1950s album by quartet The Hi-Lo’s And All That Jazz, on Columbia Records. The four vocalists: Gene Puerling, Don Shelton, Clark Burroughs, and Bob Morse named themselves The Hi-Lo’s because they sang both high and low notes in wonderful …

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