Art, Literature & Film »

A Plea to Preserve Music & Performing Arts Education

Posted July 13, 2015 by | 0 Comments
LAPhil Kids

Over the years at KCRW, I’ve interviewed many incredible musicians who could barely string a decent sentence together. Thank goodness they’d been given or chosen a musical instrument with which to express themselves in school, otherwise their artistic genius would never have been realized. Heaven only knows what might have happened to them, and what lives they would have lead. Even the great musical genius Charlie Parker …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #115: That Timeless Gil Evans Sound

Posted July 10, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Gil Evans - 500

Just like Miles Davis, Gil Evans’s timeless arrangements charted the course of jazz during the 20th century, influencing big bands to bebop to cool and beyond.
Ian Ernest Gilmore (Gil) Evans was born May 13, 1912 in Toronto. His family moved to Stockton, California, during his youth, where he was raised until relocating to New York in his twenties. The early part of his career …

Audiophiles »

Frank Sinatra’s Classic Hi-Fi System

Posted July 8, 2015 by | 4 Comments
Frank Sinatra - reel to reel

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, America was producing some of the world’s best-sounding hi-fi gear by famous brands like Marantz, McIntosh, Fisher, Eico, Scott, Acoustic Resarch, and Altec-Lansing. Then in the 1970s, with the advent of transistors, many of the great tube amps, preamps, and speakers disappeared as they were replaced by mid-fi Japanese brands. Fortunately, since the 1990s, America’s hi-fi cottage industry has …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Middle East »

The Otherworldly Voice of Soeur Marie Keyrouz

Posted July 6, 2015 by | 1 Comment
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You may remember a post I did awhile back on singing nuns. I featured the big 1963 hit “Dominique,” sung by Soeur Sourire or ‘The Singing Nun,’ and then the Sicilian nun-rocker, Sister Cristina Scuccia.
Now I’d like to spotlight a nun of another order: Soeur (or Sister) Marie Keyrouz, who has recorded numerous albums over the years with her Ensemble de la Paix (Ensemble of Peace). Based now …

Jazz, Music History, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #114: The Spiritual Jazz Legacy of John Coltrane and His Followers

Posted July 3, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Kamasi Washington - The Epic 2

The Epic, a new 3-disk set by saxophonist Kamasi Washington has just been released on Brainfeeder Records. It’s of the same Spiritual Jazz musical DNA as John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Meditations, Ascension, Cosmic Music, Sun Ship, and his other classics.
Jazz titans like Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, and John Coltrane all broke down music barriers. Ornette Coleman may have deconstructed music, but Coltrane stands apart …

African, Artist Spotlight »

Senegalese Thione Seck is in Trouble

Posted July 1, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Thione Seck

I am a big fan of Thione Seck, a Senegalese singer who has been famous in Africa and Europe for more than 20 years. He is less well-known than other Senegalese superstars like Youssou N’Dour and Baaba Maal, probably because he doesn’t often travel outside of Senegal. Like his more famous compatriot, Seck has that amazing, big griot voice and a number of wonderful albums, though …

African »

Ann Peebles, We CAN Stand the Rain

Posted June 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Ann Peebles - I Can't Stand the Rain

I love the rain. I remember the El Niño years of the 1980s, when I had a leaky roof in my apartment. As the American Catholic writer and mystic, Thomas Merton wrote in his ode, “Rain and the Rhinoceros,” I loved hearing its pitter-patter, the swoosh of cars passing over wet streets, the beautiful play of colors on the ground, and the way it always cleans our …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, Jazz, MBE Archive, New Releases, Performances & Events, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #113: Branford Marsalis Quartet’s Tribute to John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme”

Posted June 26, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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If I had to name a few of the greatest instrumental jazz records of all time, several artists would come to mind: Louis Armstrong, Ahmad Jamal, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis would be at the top of my list.
John Coltrane and his album, A Love Supreme, was music of an even higher order. It distinguishes itself from the rest by being not only …

Artist Spotlight, Latin, Music History, RIP »

RIP: Fernando Brant, Lyricist for Milton Nascimento

Posted June 24, 2015 by | 0 Comments
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Música Popular Brasileira or MPB, a popular song form that followed bossa nova in the 1960s, often paired singers with poets and lyricists. Vinicius de Moraes penned lyrics for Antônio Carlos Jobim and Baden Powell. Vítor Martins for Ivan Lins. Aldir Blanc for João Bosco and others. We’ve seen similar musical partnerships here in the U.S. between George and Ira Gershwin, Kurt Weill and Ira …

Artist Spotlight, Interviews, MBE Archive, Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Netflix Releases “What Happened, Miss Simone” Documentary

Posted June 22, 2015 by | 2 Comments
What Happened Miss Nina Simone - poster

Back during the Sundance Film Festival, there was a big buzz about filmmaker Liz Garbus’s new documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone, which screens this Thursday, June 25, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), followed by a Q&A. If you can’t make it, it will also be released on Netflix this Friday, June 26. I guested on Morning Becomes Eclectic afterwards to talk about this exceptional artist and her legacy.
I …

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