Artist Spotlight, Latin »

Timbalero Against All Odds: José Papo de Leon

Posted September 8, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I’ve written about pianists who transcended physical disabilities and you can read about here. I want to add to this with a musician who plays the timbales: José Papo de Leon. His nickname is “El Tuco” which translates to “the maimed one”. I saw him play timbales with the great New York charanga outfit Tipica Novel at the Museum of Latin American Art this Summer and he …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #71: Overlooked Unusual Songs, Part 2

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Last year, I did a show where I pulled older songs that still need some love. Now it’s time for Part 2!
We start with an R-rated Tahitian song from 1931: a love song chosen by illustrator and melomane Robert Crumb from an old 78 rpm record he found in France. After that, an album that David Byrne once gave to his friends at Christmas …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz »

Honoring Jazz Giant Gerald Wilson: Happy 96th!

Posted September 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Gerald Wilson is one of my musical heroes. I loved all his Pacific Jazz albums from the 1960s, and songs like “Patterns” and “Lighthouse Blues”. Gerald was everything: born in Mississippi in 1918, moving to New York City at a young age to play lead trumpet and arrange for the legendary Jimmy Lunceford Orchestra, where he, just out of his teens, replaced veteran Sy …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Dick Dale’s Surf Anthem Is Remake Of Traditional Greek Song

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The surf’s up in California (thanks to Hurricane Marie from Mexico) as 15-foot waves have been pounding beaches from Mexico to Malibu. I just heard Dick Dale‘s most famous surf song, “Misirlou” and was reminded that its roots lie far away from our local beaches.
This legendary tune originated as a traditional Mediterranean song from 1920s Greece. It may have even first performed in the late …

Artist Spotlight, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #70: Featured Artists—Mélanie De Biasio & Hollie Cook

Posted August 29, 2014 by | 2 Comments
Hollie Cook - Twice

I want to feature two new albums that showcase two young artists who couldn’t be more different: Mélanie De Biasio and Hollie Cook. Both of them are so outstanding, however, that their excellence binds them together. These two singers have fantastic, new albums out that I highly recommend.
Hollie Cook is a young British singer. The daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook, her mother Jeni was …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Latin, New Releases »

Mandolin Player: Hamilton de Holanda

Posted August 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Personally, I’m not the biggest fan of the mandolin. However, there’s a player out there who is about to change my mind–Hamilton de Holanda.
The mandolin has a higher-pitched, kind of thinner sound than say the rich tones of a guitar or an oud. It is a descendant of the lute and its history reaches back to be one of the earliest instruments.
Brazilian mandolin player Hamilton …

African, Artist Spotlight, New Releases »

The “Wired for Sound – Mozambique” Project

Posted August 25, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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There’s an intriguing new album out via an organization called Wired for Sound, put together by Simon Attwell, founding member of the South African supergroup Freshlyground. The organization is known by its acronym OSISA (Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa). They have put together a modern roaming field-recording studio, taken it into remote regions of Southern Africa, in this case Mozambique. The mobile studio …

Interviews, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #69: Al Pryor of Mack Avenue Records

Posted August 22, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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I met Al Pryor back in the late 1970s when I was getting started: he was working at the time with Tim Owen and Michael Cuscuna on the NPR show Jazz Alive, which we then broadcasted. He went from there to working at a classical station, then a long stint at WBGO in Newark, a popular tri-state NPR station devoted to jazz.
Now he’s the …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, RIP »

RIP: Jazz Trumpet Great, Joe Wilder

Posted August 20, 2014 by | 0 Comments
Joe Wilder

Joe Wilder was one of the best trumpet players that people have never heard of. Playing mostly in pit bands for musicals and TV shows like Dick Cavett’s, he wasn’t well-known. Wilder was so busy working with other bands that he rarely recorded anything as a leader.
I got turned onto him by the late jazz wizard, Will Thornbury, who did music shows for KCRW from …

African, Art, Literature & Film, Latin, Music History »

Cubans Trace Musical Roots Back to Africa…Once Again

Posted August 18, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Cuban music is a combination of Spanish décima poetry and African music and rhythms, but we know that the driving forces in Cuban music are the African polyrhythms, not the poetry. Some might say that about rock and roll, too.
Ned Sublette in his authoritative study, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, traces back to the secret societies formed by Cuban …

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