Cape Verde, Classical, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #162: New Releases: A Mixed Bag

Posted June 10, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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This week we sample some more new jazz, world, and classical jams. We begin with an improbable labor of love, a Lollywood (Pakistan’s version of Bollywood) group called The Sachal Ensemble that was mostly out of work due to the political situation in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan’s movie industry. The group members recall a visit to Lahore by Dizzy Gillespie (think jazz diplomacy …

MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

More Anecdotes From the Basement

Posted June 8, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Last week, KCRW held a celebration and launch for our new “Morning Becomes Eclectic” photo book, From the Basement, which features musicians and artists who have visited our basement studios over the past 30 years. (Big thanks to Bill Turner for letting us use his gallery at Bergamot Station for the party. And it was great hearing the train whistle and the Expo Line rolling by.) At the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, Music History, music phenomena »

How Dizzy Gillespie and U.S. V.P. Dan Quayle’s Business Card Saved A Great Cuban Trumpeter

Posted June 6, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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It’s not easy to be a jazz musician – or anything but a classical musician - in Cuba.  It’s like the former Soviet Union, where jazz was forbidden and banned. Stalin sent Russia’s Louis Armstrong, Eddie Rosner, to the gulag (Soviet jazz fans called Satchmo the American Eddie Rosner). It’s hard enough to even get a decent instrument if you’re a young Cuban musician; and since you have …

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

Show #161: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted June 3, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Once again I’d like to feature some new albums that caught my ear. We start with Michael Franti & Spearhead’s latest release Soulrocker. I’ve followed Franti ever since he fronted the Disposable Heroes of Hipoprisy in the late 80′s. He formed Spearhead a few years after that. Franti is one of the smartest lyricists around, writing committed and intelligent music, usually with a strong affirmative spirit. …

Jazz, Latin, Performances & Events »

Upcoming Music Events with a Latin Twist

Posted June 1, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Regular listeners of KCRW probably already know about the station’s “Summer Nights” events – featuring an abundance of free performances throughout the summer all over L.A. Those are sure to draw crowds, but I’d like to highlight some other events–shows with a latin twist and great for dancing. Thanks to my peripatetic Cuban friend, journalist, and dance pro Humberto Capiro, I’m reminded of these events you salseros …

Asia, Music History, music phenomena »

Sony’s Pocket Radio: Grand Theft Gives Birth to a Top Japanese Brand

Posted May 30, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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  President Obama  just returned from a historic trip to Japan, including the first visit to Hiroshima by a sitting U.S. President. It got me thinking about Japan’s recovery from the devastation of WWII. During the U.S. occupation that followed the war’s end, General MacArthur helped rebuild Japan; divine Emperor Hirohito became a person, not a god; and MacArthur’s master plan brought Japan out of the …

brazilian music, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #160: Odd and Wonderful Brazilian Music

Posted May 27, 2016 by | 7 Comments
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I’m teaching Brazilian music again in my music salon and have been bemoaning the music I haven’t been able to feature in class due to time constraints. I thought I’d share a few of those tracks here instead. We start with music about two favorite Brazilian subjects: cachaça and futebol (foo-chee-ball), which we Americans mislabel soccer (probably because of the other football we have …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Performances & Events »

Eric Whitacre, Choral Composer, Returns to LA

Posted May 25, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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Eric Whitacre writes choral music that would make anybody a believer, including those who think classical music is stuffy and overly formal. His music is levitational, rising and floating, transporting you into another dimension. When I opened the shrink wrap on his CD Cloudburst years ago, I initially thought, “Yawn, here comes another boring choir album.” A minute or two later, I was blown away. So much …

African, Latin, Music History, music phenomena, world music »

Yoruba Drums and Cuban Batá

Posted May 23, 2016 by | 0 Comments
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I had my brain seriously stretched by a recent podcast of Afropop Worldwide. It was a superb program about “drum speech”–a fascinating subject that has interested ethnomusicologists for a long time. Ned Sublette writes about it in his masterful study, Cuba and its Music: From the First Drum to the Mambo. He’s part the Afropop Worldwide team. I wanted to share just a few things that …

Interviews, Latin, Music History, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #159: Betto Arcos & the Music of Colombia

Posted May 20, 2016 by | 1 Comment
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I’ve learned a lot from my friend and musical colleague Betto Arcos over the years, and yesterday I learned even more. This time the subject was the music of Colombia, from which he’d recently returned.
Betto, like me, is a world music cheerleader and has been for decades. First and foremost a fan of world music, he has hosted innumerable shows on KCSN and KPFK. Most recently, …

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