Featured, Music Phenomena, Recollections »

Record Sleeves as Time Capsules

Posted June 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
record jackets

Old albums on vinyl can be time capsules. You can’t put much into a CD jewel case and can’t do anything with a digital music collection. When my CD player was in the shop, I went through my vinyl collection in search of analog LPs I haven’t visited in a long time. Some funny things turn up in LP jackets. A friend of mine …

Featured, Headline, Recollections, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #55: African Sax Kings

Posted June 6, 2014 by | 6 Comments

Many of us know the great guitarists of Africa: Mali’s Ali Farka Toure, Guinea’s Sekou “Diamond Fingers” Diabate, the great bass players of South Africa (Bakhiti Kumalo who played with Paul Simon on Graceland, Sipho Gumede who worked with Dollar Brand and others). But we don’t know much about African saxophone players. I had to do some thinking about this too.
The impetus was a …

Artist Spotlight, Literature, Music Evolution, Music History, New Releases »

Verve: The Sound of America

Posted June 4, 2014 by | 2 Comments

I thought I knew Norman Granz and his successive record labels Clef, Norgran, Verve, and Pablo pretty well. I’ve had records on these labels in my collection for years. Granz founded Verve Records in 1956, a time of change not only in music but in domestic politics and race relations as well.
Like Francis Wolf and Alfred Lion (Blue Note’s founders from Germany), Phil and …

Featured, Music History »

The 3 F’s of Portugal: Fado, Futbol, Fatima

Posted June 2, 2014 by | 2 Comments

I was recently on a plane en route from Praia, Cape Verde to Lisbon and was sitting next to a Cape Verdean who’ve I’ve known for many years. He was the tour manager of the late Cesaria Evora, who visited KCRW many times. He told me that “Fado, Futbol, and Fatima are the 3 F’s of Portugal”. We know about the first F, “Fado”–that …

Featured, Headline, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #54: Tom’s Latest Picks

Posted May 30, 2014 by | 3 Comments

This week, I wanted to share some recent music that I’ve been listening to a lot. I didn’t try to be too eclectic, just play stuff I love.
We start with a quartet of great new jazz albums: Eric Alexander, an amazing tenor player, then a forceful pianist who grew up in Israel and now based in NYC, Alon Nechushtan. Next, a lovely piece by …

Featured, RIP »

RIP: Maya Angelou

Posted May 28, 2014 by | 3 Comments
Maya Angelou

I interviewed Maya Angelou on January 7, 1995. She visited Cafe LA as a guest DJ. She was wearing Malian mud cloth slacks. It was an El Niño year and it was pouring buckets outside. I welcomed her to sunny Southern California.  The guest mike wasn’t working, there was no engineer on duty to fix it, but I had prepared and was ready. She …

Featured, Music History, Music Phenomena, Rediscoveries »

Lindy Hop is Back

Posted May 27, 2014 by | 0 Comments
herrang dance camp

First it was the introverted Finns coming out of their shells and dancing close to the Tango. Then, the shy Japanese getting into latin music and swing. Now it’s the Swedes getting into the Lindy Hop.
Lindy Hop was a gymnastic, highly physical dance form from the Depression era, where it was popular in ballrooms and clubs of Harlem, particularly the Savoy Ballroom. There dancers …

Featured, Headline, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #53: Noteworthy Releases

Posted May 23, 2014 by | 0 Comments

This week, Rhythm Planet spins some more new releases that have filled up my grab bag. We begin with a good compilation of Malian music, a great way to start anybody’s collection of Malian music. Bassekou Kouyate is one of the most authentic Malian music purveyors and one of my favorite musicians. His show at UCLA was a highlight for me. He plays the …

Featured, Music History, Performances & Events »

Indian Music: Dhrupad

Posted May 21, 2014 by | 0 Comments

This Friday (5/23/14) at Occidental College’s Herrick Chapel, LA’s Music Circle hosted their final concert of their 2013-2014 season with the Gundecha Brothers. The Music Circle was founded in 1966 by Ravi Shankar and the late Harihar Rao. They present world class concerts of Indian classical music. The Gundecha Brothers (Umakant and Ramakant) are among the most celebrated of dhrupad vocalists today, recognized for their vocal range and praised …

Featured, Music Phenomena »

Nuns Who Rock

Posted May 19, 2014 by | 0 Comments

Back in 1963 there was an improbable hit song by a French sister, The Singing Nun, called “Dominique”.
But she couldn’t hold a candle to a another singing nun, a 25 year old Sicilian named Sister Cristina Scuccia. Perhaps it’s happening–I mean a nun really getting down–because of the new open-minded Pope Francis. Whatever the reason, I’ve never seen anything quite like it. She belts …

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