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The Other Yoko

Posted February 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Yoko Nagae Ceschina - thumbnail

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 clan. Betty Freeman  helped Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and several other young …

African, Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #95: The LA Cumbia Festival Comes to Town

Posted February 20, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Betto Arcos 2

The vibrant, ubiquitous sound of cumbia is one that we Angelenos should all be familiar with. Born in the barrios of Colombia in the 1950s, the origins of cumbia can be traced back even further to the 17th century colonial slave trade from West Africa. The word cumbé in Guinean refers to a specific rhythm and/or a communal, ritual courtship dance. This hybrid style of music and dance is a …

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

Rubén Blades’ “El Padre Antonio y Su Monaguillo Andrés”

Posted February 11, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Ruben Blades Archbishop Romero

Grammy Award-winning Rubén Blades is a wonderfully gifted Panamanian poet and songwriter whose works often take on a political tinge. Raised in a progressive family, his grand-uncle was a revolutionary during the Cuban War of Independence against Spain. His mother was an actress, his father a musician, and the girls in his family attended college. Ruben himself studied international law at Harvard on a full scholarship.
I knew Rubén back when he lived in …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

RIP: Zane Musa (1979–2015)

Posted February 9, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Zane Musa in Recording

 
One of the most talented saxophonists to emerge on the LA jazz scene in the past twenty years has left us. Zane Musa passed away tragically last week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He had just returned from performing with Arturo Sandoval’s band on a Caribbean jazz cruise. His family, friends, musicians, and fans alike are shocked and mourning his untimely death.
“Zane Musa [was] an incredible virtuoso of the …

African, Art, Literature & Film, Artist Spotlight, Asia, Cape Verde, Classical, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #93: Tom’s Personal Grammy Picks for 2015

Posted February 6, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Grammys 2015

I have been involved with the Grammys for 25 years now. As a short-lived executive at A&M Records from 1990–91, I sat on the committee that created the first Grammy Awards category for World Music (thanks to the late Bill Traut for shepherding this through). For this week’s Rhythm Planet show, I thought we’d have some fun and highlight several favorites among this year’s nominees for the 57th Annual Grammy …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Performances & Events »

Jazz Prodigy Justin Kauflin to Play the Blue Whale

Posted January 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Quincy Jones & Justin Kauflin

Downtown LA’s premier jazz club owner Joon Lee of blue whale really knows how to pick talent. Nightly, this vibrant, intimate space buzzes with patrons, among them enthusiasts and musicians alike. It’s become a true mecca for ardent jazz fans.
Thursday, Jan29: Justin Kauflin Trio
Performing this Thursday at blue whale is 28-year-old jazz piano virtuoso, Justin Kauflin. He may not be a household name just yet, but I have no doubt that he will …

Artist Spotlight, Performances & Events »

The Vegetable Orchestra of Vienna

Posted January 21, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Leek Violin

There are a lot of unusual orchestras out there: New Zealander composer Graeme Revell’s The Insect Musicians; New York-based composer Adam Rudolf’s  Go: Organic Orchestra; the Temple City Kazoo Orchestra; the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain; the Landfillharmonic of Paraguay; the Congolese jungle Orchestre Symphonique Kimbanguiste; and the list goes on. I’m fascinated by the creativity and resourcefulness of these DIY orchestras.
The Vegetable Orchestra of Vienna takes it one step further. This 12-member Viennese …

Classical, Music History, Performances & Events »

Coughing During Concerts and Recordings

Posted January 19, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Horowitz vs Carnegie

Magnificent concert halls offer great acoustic settings to experience live music but can also amplify unwanted noise. There are various tactics you can employ to reproach chatty members of the audience: anything from the subtle glare and the school teacher finger shush, to getting the ushers to do the dirty work, or having a word with the guilty offenders yourself. Speaking of which, I was once offered a job …

African, Artist Spotlight, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #90: Angolan Superstar Waldemar Bastos

Posted January 16, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Peter Waldemar Tom

When I first heard Waldemar Bastos on a compilation called Adventures in Afropea 3: Telling Stories to the Sea, released by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label years ago, I was completely taken by his mellifluous baritone and the sweet, gentle power of his music.
Back in 1999, as the newly appointed Hollywood Bowl Program Director of World Music, I programmed a Lusophone night featuring the music of Cape Verde (Fantcha), Angola …

Audiophiles, Jazz, Performances & Events, Uncategorized »

Surviving Las Vegas and CES 2015

Posted January 14, 2015 by | 1 Comment
IMG_2473

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 …

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