Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, RIP »

RIP: Fernando Brant, Lyricist for Milton Nascimento

Posted June 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Música Popular Brasileira or MPB, a popular song form that followed bossa nova in the 1960s, often paired singers with poets and lyricists. Vinicius de Moraes penned lyrics for Antônio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell. Vítor Martins for Ivan Lins. Aldir Blanc for João Bosco and others. We’ve seen similar musical partnerships here in the U.S. between George and Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Ira …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Music History, RIP »

The Zydeco Legend of Amédé Ardoin

Posted June 17, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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The great musicologist Alan Lomax weighs in on Amédé Ardoin’s music and tragic death.
I recently read an article in the New York Times by Campbell Robertson about a New Orleans musician lost in time. His name was Amédé Ardoin (b. 1898–1942). With his virtuosic talent as an accordionist, he woud cross white Cajun and black Creole lines at a time when it was otherwise unthinkable. Ardoin is credited …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, RIP »

RIP: Ornette Coleman, Jazz Visionary (1930–2015)

Posted June 11, 2015 by | 1 Comment
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Cézanne. Picasso. Stravinsky. Schoenberg. Pollock. Derrida. Ornette Coleman. They all rewrote the books.
Ornette Coleman (b.1930–2015) died this morning of cardiac arrest in Manhattan at the age of 85. He burst upon the jazz scene in 1958, not in New York but here in Los Angeles when he recorded his first album, Something Else!!!, for Lester Koenig’s great Contemporary Records label. Coleman had come to Los …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, RIP »

L.A.’s Latin Dance Community Loses Ron Arciaga & Johnny Polanco

Posted June 3, 2015 by | 4 Comments

When you’re young like I once was and reading Camus, Hemingway, Plath, Ibsen and others, you ponder death and think you understand it. You don’t. It’s when we get older and bear witness to our friends and family shuffle off this mortal coil, that we actually understand that death can come, as the Bible says, “like a thief in the night.” The silver lining is that …

Jazz, Music History, RIP »

In Passing: Bernard Stollman, Iconoclast Founder of ESP-Disk

Posted May 4, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Bernard Stollman

What other label would release LPs by Timothy Leary, The Fugs, Giuseppe Logan, Albert Ayler, Ornette Coleman, Burton Greene & Patty Waters, and Pharoah Sanders—not to mention Bob James’s first wild album, Explosions. People remember the 1960s as being about The Doors, Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, but let’s not forget ESP-Disk. It was the wonderful lunatic fringe on the other side of the coin.
ESP-Disk was …

African, Artist Spotlight, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Music as Time Capsules: Joe Cocker & Papa Yoro Diop

Posted April 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Joe Cocker Photo

Awhile back, I wrote on vinyl about LPs as time capsules. As an ardent collector of vinyl, I’ve regularly find all sorts of random paraphernalia inside: newspaper clippings, handwritten personal notes, mementos, etc. Once, I even found a $5.09 receipt that had somehow made its way over from Platterpus Records in Easthampton, Massachusetts, to Los Angeles.
Radio airchecks (demo tapes made of on air radio …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

A Billie Holiday Celebration

Posted April 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Billie Holiday

Tomorrow is the centennial of Billie Holiday. Her haunting, soulful sound was laden with personal stories of heartbreak and misfortune. A victim of circumstance from early on, she took to substance abuse as a means not only of coping but in defiance of social norms. She was surrounded by dope all her life as a jazz musician—it was part of the jazz underground scene. However, addiction was considered …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

How Jazz Trumpeter Clark Terry Kept On

Posted February 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Clark Terry

My first introduction to the musical genius of Clark Terry happened back in 1964 during a surfing trip to Oahu. I was 16 at the time. I had purchased the Oscar Peterson Trio + One LP at a record shop in the Ala Moana shopping center. The album featured jazz trumpeter Clark Terry doing a funny song called, “Mumbles,” which sounded exactly like the title implies: Terry mumbling—rather, scat singing …

Audiophiles, Classical, MBE Archive, Music History, New Releases, Performances & Events, RIP, Uncategorized »

The Other Yoko

Posted February 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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(L–R) Nadezhda von Meck, Betty Freeman, and Nica von Koenigswarter with Thelonious Monk
Few musicians are fortunate enough to have patrons. Tchaikovsky had one, a female benefactor whom he never met. Nadezhda von Meck’s largesse stipulated that he devoted himself full-time to composing, and that they would never meet. Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Barry Harris had Nica von Koenigswarter, a scion of the powerful Rothschild …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, French, Music History, RIP »

Aldo Ciccolini and Erik Satie

Posted February 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Back in the 1960s, composer Erik Satie’s limpid, odd, but wonderful solo piano music became known largely through the recordings of the late Aldo Ciccolini, who very recently passed away at the age of 89 in France, where he had lived for years.
Born in Naples in 1925, Ciccolini exhibited a natural gift for piano early on and was admitted to conservatory as a young boy. After …

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