African, Artist Spotlight, Classical, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, Uncategorized »

Show #91: New Releases & Rare Classics

Posted January 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Dobet Gnahoré

This week, I showcase some choice new releases, as well a few classics. It’s a mixed bag, a variety show.
We ease into the show with Alison Balsom, an British classical trumpet player who has performed with many of the world’s leading orchestras. She was most recently invited to play the iTunes Festival in London, and has been making headlines as an up-and-coming talent. There aren’t that many female trumpet players out there, …

Audiophiles, Jazz, Performances & Events, Uncategorized »

Surviving Las Vegas and CES 2015

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment

CES stands for the Consumer Electronics Show, the largest showcase of new gadgets and gear that takes place every year around this time in Las Vegas. Techies swarmed the Strip last week for a sneak peak at the latest offerings for 2015. A friend of mine invited me to perform at CES with his jazz group, so I had the opportunity to check out some choice audiophile …

Uncategorized »

Music Lovers, Neighbors & Unwanted Noise

Posted December 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Tippa Irie - Complain Neighbour

Years ago, I moved from an apartment to a building that was going to be converted into condominiums. The owners paid the residents $300 each to relocate. Luckily, I managed to find myself a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, took the money, and moved.
The new apartment was in a three-unit building. Just before I moved in, my soon-to-be next door neighbor, Lisa, told me, …

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Fall Music Salon, 5 Spaces Left, That’s All

Posted September 7, 2013 by | 0 Comments
salon chat

It all started with a bike ride in 1994. While on the bike path I ran into Ronee Rubin, then Director of Entertainment Studies at UCLA Extension, who was on her daily power walk.  She asked me what was happening and I told her I’d just moved into my first home. She asked me if I wanted to do something new and different from …

Artist Spotlight, Uncategorized »

Emily Bear, an 11 Year Old Piano Prodigy

Posted July 29, 2013 by | 2 Comments

It’s one thing to find some young classical talent that’s been nurtured from age 3 on the Suzuki method with a toy piano and can glide through Chopin and Schumann. It’s another thing when that same classical prodigy can play jazz well enough to please a giant like Quincy Jones.
Well, 11 year old Emily Bear has done just that, and proof is on her …

Music History, Uncategorized »

Saudade & Duende: Two Elusive Words that Defy Translation

Posted June 11, 2013 by | 0 Comments

I’m a big fan of both Lusophone (Portuguese-language-based) and Flamenco music, and I’ve taught music salons that feature music from Brazil, Portugal, Cape Verde, and Spain.
Saudade comes up constantly in Lusophone music: it’s a sad and gentle longing, maybe for one important person, a true love in the past, that has turned inward to an infinite sadness. It was once characterized as “the love …

African, Artist Spotlight, New Releases, Uncategorized »

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba: Traditional Malian Modal Groove at Its Best

Posted March 26, 2013 by | 0 Comments
Jama Ko

Bassekou Kouyaté and his band Ngoni Ba burst upon the African and world music scene a few years ago, winning top world music awards and winning the hearts and minds of African music fans everywhere. It is pure Malian groove, no gimmicks—it doesn’t need any. (Well, there is a wah-wah pedal and some guest musicians). Following up on his popular two first album’s, Segu Blue …

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Paul Tanner 1917-2013 Early Jazz Studies Educator RIP

Posted March 9, 2013 by | 0 Comments

Paul Tanner just passed away at the ripe old age of 95.  Although he made a name for himself at a young age by being chosen by Glenn Miller to be in the trombone section of the famous WWII band, playing such classics as “In the Mood” and “String of Pearls”.  Any WWII veteran still with us knows those songs well.
For me, however, Paul …

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Ravel Compared on Two Fine Grand Pianos

Posted February 25, 2013 by | 0 Comments

We had a piano in our home when I was growing up, a nice Chickering quarter grand.  It was given to my teenage father after his recital by a rich lady who was impressed by his budding talent.  My father would play it to relax before dinner, with a few double scotches fueling his inspiration.  It was cocktail style piano.   We sold it …

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Baffling Smoke Signals: Reggae Veteran’s Song about Choosing New Popes

Posted February 13, 2013 by | 0 Comments

There is now a vacancy in the Vatican with the sudden departure of Pope Benedict, the first time a Pope has vacated the Holy See since the 15th century.  Certainly stranger things have happened;  my dad used to talk about a female pope in the middle ages, but it’s now clear that Pope Joan never existed.
One of the oddest thing about the Vatican–and …

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