Artist Spotlight, Jazz »

3 Influential Jazz Pianists You Should Know Better

Posted October 16, 2015 by | 5 Comments

This week we showcase three heavyweight pianists who probably don’t get the love and attention showered on more popular artists like Keith Jarrett and Dave Brubeck. These three are highly original artists, with their own signature style, career longevity, internationally lauded by followers around the world. They have also influenced many other musicians, not only other piano players but other instrumental musicians as well. …

Jazz, Music History »

Miles & Ornette: Observers of first-class misery

Posted October 14, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Miles Davis and Ornette Coleman are so well-known to jazz aficionados — and even regular folk — that you can just call them by their first names and most people will know who you’re talking about.
Their musical styles were very different, almost contradictory.  Miles mastered chord sequences and scales, then threw it all away; Ornette had his own “harmolodic” theory and practice, where all …

Music History, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

DNA of a pop song: Barry Manilow’s started with Chopin

Posted October 12, 2015 by | 1 Comment

Often big pop hits have somewhat obscure origins in classical music. This is true for a song that was a big hit for, first, Barry Manilow, who wrote the song “Could It Be Magic” in 1973. Then  three years later, Donna Summer followed suit.
Now, I was never much of a Barry Manilow fan, but I have to say he melted my heart — along …

African, Interviews, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #127: The Kel Tamasheq Sounds of the Sahara

Posted October 10, 2015 by | 3 Comments
Nyka in the Zone

Back in the late 1960s and ’70s, when bootleg cassette tapes first began exchanging hands amongst the Tuareg ranks of Muammar el-Qaddafi, the early sounds of Tinariwen were sown across the desert sands of the Sahara. Singing songs of struggle and division, their guitar-driven modal grooves became a unifying call for independence for Kel Tamasheq fans scattered across Mali, Mauritania, Algeria, Niger, Libya and portions of Burkina Faso.
The words, Tuareg and Kel Tamasheq, are often …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz »

The Village Vanguard: 3 Great Live Sets

Posted October 7, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard in New York City’s Greenwich Village is probably the most famous jazz club in the world. It is a mecca for jazz fans who visit New York City from all over the world. Many iconic albums have been recorded there over the years since it was first opened in 1935 by Max and Lorraine Gordon.
Today, I thought I’d focus on three albums in …

Jazz, Music History »

The Story of “Twisted,” a Jazz Bebop Vocal Classic

Posted October 5, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Wardell Gray was 28 when he wrote “Twisted,” and the bebop classic is still hip after all these years. He graduated from Cass Tech in Detroit which, like DuSable High in Chicago, was an incubator of young jazz talent. Arriving here during the late 1940s, he was one of the cool young hepcats in Los Angeles, gigging on Central Avenue with the likes of Dexter Gordon, …

Asia, Jazz, Latin, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #126: What I’m Listening To

Posted October 2, 2015 by | 0 Comments

This week on Rhythm Planet, we’ll survey ten new releases that I am currently enjoying.
We begin with a Brazilian singer from São Paulo whose debut album is gorgeous. Catina DeLuna’s rendering of Lenine and Egberto Gismonti’s original song, “Lavadeira do Rio and Maracatu” is just sublime.
Our second song features French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon and the multi-talented polymath, Melody Gardot, as vocalist, singing in flawless French. (I cheated a bit …

African, Jazz, Music History »

Manu Dibango Chez Moi, 1995

Posted September 29, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Manu Dibango - Soul Makossa

The popular Cameroonian-born saxophonist, Manu Dibango, has always been a personal favorite. Traveling as a young man from his home town of Douala, Cameroon, to Paris, he discovered American jazz and fell in love.
His 1972 hit song, “Soul Makossa,” was discovered by DJ David Mancuso as a French import at a West Indian record store in Brooklyn and became a favorite at his loft parties. Soon, the song received enough air …

Artist Spotlight, Jazz, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

My Thwarted Interview with Stan Getz

Posted September 28, 2015 by | 0 Comments

I still remember the night of April 24, 1980, when I drove to Howard Rumsey’s popular Redondo Beach jazz spot, Concerts by the Sea, because it was the same date as the failed attempt to rescue the Iranian hostages. I was on my way to interview Stan Getz.
I had my questions prepped and my portable cassette recorder ready to go. My first question was whether he had …

African, Jazz, Latin »

Show #126 – Naming Names: African, Latin & Brazilian Stars Celebrate Their Muses

Posted September 25, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Africando - Trovador

This week’s Rhythm Planet show is all about heroes. Some of these artists are musical giants you’ll recognize: Miriam Makeba, Mahalia Jackson, Tito Puente, and Stevie Wonder; others you might not know: Wanda Sá, Cariocas Farney Club. There are also mentions of beloved political icons of post-Colonial Africa: Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X, Che Guevara.
Tropical music, the genre that comprises Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Colombian music, is especially …

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