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Bartok, Prokofiev, Suicide and Premature Death

Posted November 13, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I recently got a new recording, a superb one, of Bartok’s 2nd piano concerto and Prokofiev’s 3rd, featuring Chinese superstar Lang Lang with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. Click here to view the videos. It’s a tour de force performance of two modern classics. The Bartok has a surrealistic, hallucinogenic middle movement. The Prokofiev is angular, vertical, and a real bear to play. Together …

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

How The Velvet Underground Influenced The Velvet Revolution

Posted October 29, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I was saddened to see one of rock’s titans pass. I always enjoyed Ronnie Ross’ baritone sax solo on “Walk on the Wild Side”, as well as the superb bass line and fun lyrics of “New Sensations”. It was as American as a song can get.
Yet does anybody remember that Czech Republic president Vaclav Havel (who came into office in 1989) admired and was influenced …

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Eek-A-Mouse and KCRW’s Reggae Beat Show

Posted October 9, 2013 by | 2 Comments
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I started as Music Director and host of Morning Becomes Eclectic in July, 1979. The first show I put on was the Reggae Beat, which soon became the most popular weekend show at the station.  Roger Steffens and Hank Holmes, the co-hosts, had come to me that fall with some colorfully and carefully-illustrated cassette demo tapes. It didn’t take long for me to put them on the air …

Featured, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

When Duke Ellington Played The Middle East

Posted October 7, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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Back in 2011, I wrote a post about American jazz diplomacy during the Cold War, a fascinating piece of jazz history–click here to read it. Jazz has always been America’s unique cultural gift to the world, though some might say that it’s been supplanted by hip hop.
And now my old friend Alan Geik, who once co-hosted a popular tropical Latin music show on KCRW, …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Keith Jarrett Standards Trio: 30 Years, Better than Ever

Posted October 2, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I’ve been following Keith Jarrett even before his fateful appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in Charles Lloyd‘s famous performance in 1967. “Forest Flower, Sunrise” and “Forest Flower, Sunset” had crowds galvanized, especially Keith’s solos. Charles Lloyd, veteran jazz statesman and high priest, still calls him, “The Kid”.
When I was still in my teens, I saw Jarrett perform with Art Blakey and the Jazz …

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

Show #19: Celebrating The Music Of Dori Caymmi

Posted August 30, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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I absolutely love Dori Caymmi‘s music and I’ve attended all of Dori’s shows. Once, I was waiting in line at Le Café on Ventura Boulevard in 1988 for one of his shows in the intimate little room upstairs. While waiting, I met a young architect who loved Brazilian music as much as I did. His name was Bob Ramirez, and a few months later …

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Show #16: Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 1

Posted August 9, 2013 by | 1 Comment
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As I’ve said before, I’m always so busy listening to new albums that some real gems tend to be forgotten or neglected. This week, Rhythm Planet shows the love for some long-form pieces and pop pieces in a part 1 of a 2 part series. Some of these pieces run 20-30 minutes so for interests of space and time I had to excerpt them–no way …

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

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 …

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

Show #13: 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 …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Featured, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Perfection in Sushi and Sound

Posted July 19, 2013 by | 0 Comments
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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 …

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