Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

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

Posted October 12, 2015 by | 1 Comment
barry-manilow-self-titled

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
Stan_Getz_(1965)

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
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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
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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
the-souljazz-orchestra-resistance

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 …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Amália Rodrigues’ Fado Classic, “Barco Negro”

Posted August 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, en route to Cape Verde, I flew to Zurich on Swiss Air, then transferred to a TAP plane (Portugal’s national airline). I was about to board the plane when I was stopped at the gate and told that I would have to check my bag. I didn’t want to; I had another connection to make in Lisbon to get to Praia, Cape …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Latin, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Buena Vista Social Club’s Ibrahim Ferrer & the Havana Sugar Kings

Posted August 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments
BVSC - Ibrahim Ferrer

 
I first heard about the Buena Vista Social Club back in the mid-1990s, probably through Ry Cooder. The minute the album went on sale at Rhino Records in Westwood, I bought my import copy for $27.00 and fell in love with them from the very first notes. I was the first to air them on the radio.
Five years later in 2000, I was lucky to be …

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

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. …

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