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World Music Teaches You Everything

Posted March 26, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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I majored in Humanities as an undergraduate because it was broad-based and I could take many courses, from California Geography to Entomology to history, philosophy,  languages and literature. Later, I took an MA in Comparative Literature for similar reasons: I could read the great writers from around the world, learning from epistolary novels (novels of letters e.g. Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Goethe’s Sorrows of Young …

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Remembering Ronald Shannon Jackson

Posted March 24, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Jazz drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson passed away in October of 2013. He was a powerful drummer in a band that broke down a lot of barriers and blended many genres of music: The Decoding Society. The Decoding Society was more edgy, funky, driving. Looking in my KCRW Morning Becomes Eclectic archives and there is my aircheck of an interview I did with him on September …

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Show #44: John Coltrane’s Timeless Ballad

Posted March 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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John Coltrane recorded his classic ballad “Naima” on his 1959 album Giant Steps. He named the song after his first wife, Juanita Naima Grubbs (quite a combo of names). The song has been covered countless times; my recorded show features eight different versions.
It uses a variety of chords over a bass note, as well as a number of modes: dorian, mixolydian, phrygian, lydian, and …

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Songs About March & Spring

Posted March 19, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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We’re now in the middle of March with Spring–at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere–right around the corner.  The Vernal Equinox is tomorrow, 3/20.
Here are two songs about that, but each with a twist. The first is Antonio Carlos Jobim’s song Águas do Março, Waters of March. Jobim was learning English at the time of the writing in the early 1960s; …

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The Rare Beauty Of Susanne Abbuehl

Posted March 17, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Susanne Abbuehl is a Swiss born jazz singer who happened to live in Los Angeles for awhile in her earlier years studying music. After discovering the wondrous beauty of Abbuehl’s recent ECM album The Gift, I looked at this 2006 album, Compass.
Compass is a fascinating album taking you on a cerebral voyage. It draws on material perhaps even more eclectic than the Bronte / Dickinson / Teasdale poetry featured …

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Rhythm Planet #43: New Releases

Posted March 14, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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This week Rhythm Planet features thirteen new releases, covering African, reggae, Brazilian, Moroccan, guitar maestros, and two great LA bands.
A bunch of good new album releases have been filling up my bag lately, so I want to give them some love and share them. I get sent a lot of music and screen new albums by auditioning them first. As the U.S. Marines slogan …

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Hampton Hawes: Jazz Great Pardoned by JFK

Posted March 12, 2014 by | 0 Comments
everybody likes hampton hawes

 A few months ago, I read with interest a New York Times article a story about how a jazz pianist and a great American president’s lives coincided in a small bit of history. The article was called, The President of the Cool.
Hampton Hawes (1928-1977) was one of the great jazz pianists; fiercely independent, he learned everything, improvisation, technique, harmony, theory, music history, on his …

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Jennifer Grout Wows Judges On TV Show Arabs Got Talent

Posted March 10, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I was fascinated by this article a few months ago in the New York Times by Lindsay Crouse.
With Jennifer Grout, you get a 23 year old singer and oud player that is competing in the finals of the Arab version of Simon Cowell’s Britain’s Got Talent, called Arabs Got Talent. Grout sings classic Arabic songs by Oum Kalsoum, even though she doesn’t speak a …

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Show #42: Short Geneology of the Tenor Saxophone

Posted March 7, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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On this week’s Rhythm Planet program, we focus on the modern evolution of that most jazzy of instruments, the tenor sax.

Years ago I saw an ad in Down Beat magazine for knit shirts of the Lacoste variety where you could have a logo of a musical instrument sewn on. I play flute, so first I chose a flute. But then I thought, ‘why do …

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Arabic Twist On The Theme From Shaft

Posted March 5, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Years ago on PRI’s The World’s end-of-program feature called Global Hit, Marco Werman featured a tantalizing version of the Isaac Hayes classic, complete with the wah-wah pedal and drum riff that opens the song. This version was by an French artist of both Algerian and Celtic parentage named Malik Adouane. The version of the song I got was on an collection called Beur-FM, a …

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