Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, New Releases »

Duke Ellington Celebrated in New Rizzoli Book

Posted April 13, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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April is Jazz Appreciation Month, Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s classic 1921 musical Shuffle Along is about to hit big on Broadway, so it’s only fitting that I praise a wonderful and timely new book about Duke Ellington. Duke Ellington: An American Composer and Icon, written by Mercedes Ellington and Steven Brower, a beautifully illustrated gem just published by Rizzoli.
There have been many books about the great jazz composer …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, French, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Lisa Simone Headlines at the Olympia in Paris This Thursday, April 14

Posted April 11, 2016 by | 3 Comments
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It’s been said that the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree. Lisa Simone (b. 1962) is now following her mom’s footsteps by playing in the famous Olympia Hall in Paris this Thursday. It is kind of France’s Carnegie Hall for popular music. All the greats have performed there, including Umm Kulthum, Yves Montand, Dalida, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles…and …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, film, Jazz, Latin, Middle East, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #153: The Oud, Lute, and Guitar; Also, Remembering Gato Barbieri

Posted April 8, 2016 by | 11 Comments
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This week’s show is divided into two parts. In the first half, we hear tracks to compare three solo plucked instruments — the oud, the lute, and the guitar. Then we feature three songs by Latin jazz saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri, who passed away recently. I reminisced about my 1977 interview with Gato in a blog post earlier this week.
The oud, the lute, and the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Recollections & Rediscoveries, RIP »

My Afternoon with Gato Barbieri in 1977

Posted April 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Latin jazz saxophonist Leandro “Gato” Barbieri passed away recently at 83. When I heard the news, I rummaged through my old tapes and pulled out a cassette of my interview with him, which I did in a noisy room at the Beverly Hills Hotel in 1977.
I love Gato Barbieri and have most of his albums in my music collection. Under Fire and Fenix are terrific, as is his soundtrack …

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

David Baker (1931-2016): Musical Polymath Succeeded Despite Racism

Posted April 4, 2016 by | 0 Comments
David Baker practicing the trombone in the 1950s.

David Baker was a true polymath: writer, educator, trombone and cello virtuoso, conductor, composer. When I read his recent obituary in the New York Times, I was also reminded of Nina Simone.
After earning both bachelor and master’s degrees, Baker auditioned for the trombone chair in the Indianapolis Symphony. He was told, “You’re probably the best one we’ve heard, but we can’t employ you because …

African, Blues, French, Jazz, Middle East, New Releases, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #152: Musical Potpourri Part 2

Posted April 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Sometimes I just feel like sharing music I love regardless of whether it’s new or old and no matter the genre. There are plenty of others crowing about what’s new, but often what is older is better since it’s stood the test of time.
That’s certainly true for Howlin’ Wolf (né Chester Burnett). He’s a Mississippi-born blues shouter I’ve always loved. I …

African, music phenomena, world music »

Overcoming Albinism in Africa – Two Stories

Posted March 30, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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An article earlier this week in the LA Times told the tale of a Tanzanian girl named Bibiana who was attacked because she was albino. Bibiana and Tindi Mashamba (also albino) had already lost their mother to asthma and their father to AIDs. Then somebody broke into their house and amputated Bibiana’s right leg and two of her fingers. A local foundation generously brought Bibiana to …

Artist Spotlight, Blues, Latin, music phenomena, Performances & Events »

The Rolling Stones in Cuba: Better for the Oldies than the Youth?

Posted March 28, 2016 by | 13 Comments
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The thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations is finally happening, and I am glad and grateful for it.
On the musical front, I heard NPR’s recent story on the Stones’ free concert in Havana before hundreds of thousands. Apparently only the older people will know the band; many of the younger folk interviewed had never heard of them. It isn’t surprising, given the embargo as well as limited …

African, brazilian music, Classical, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #151: Musical Potpourri

Posted March 25, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week I just want to play deejay and lay down some tracks I’ve liked for a long time. Here are my picks:
Jhelisa had a number of hits as a member of The Shamen in the early 90′s, but I didn’t discover her until later. I love this cut from her 2006 CD A Primitive Guide to Being There.
The positive …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, New Releases, Performances & Events »

Peter Erskine’s Dr. Um Record Release Concert: Total Fun

Posted March 23, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Last Sunday afternoon, I had the most fun I’ve had at a concert in some time: Peter Erskine’s Dr.Um record release party at the Ann and Jerry Moss Theater at the New Roads School in Santa Monica. I ran into old friends like pianist Mike Lang, Robert Kraft, composer Vince Mendoza, and Julio Ledesma, who performed so brilliantly Ariel Ramirez’ moving Misa Criolla at …

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