Art, Literature & Film, Asia, Featured »

Hip Hop In Mongolia

Posted July 20, 2014 by | 1 Comment
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I was doing full-time radio when hip hop started gaining popularity with artists like Grandmaster Flash, Kool Moe Dee, Run DMC, and the Sugar Hill Gang. Major labels were initially reluctant to issue the music, but you could find it on smaller labels. Now, of course, hip hop is a main stream American genre and has been dominating American music award shows in past years.
Hip …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Jazz, MBE Archive, Recollections & Rediscoveries, Rhythm Planet Music Show, RIP »

Show #64: Remembering Charlie Haden (1937–2014)

Posted July 18, 2014 by | 6 Comments
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Charlie Haden died last Friday at the age of 77. He had contracted polio as a teenager in Springfield, Missouri, and the dreaded disease returned in 2011 like Faust from Hell.
Charlie was a great friend of KCRW. He probably visited both myself and Chris Douridas at least 30 times on Morning Becomes Eclectic. But he didn’t want us just to play his music; he …

Art, Literature & Film, Featured, Jazz »

The Ocean, Surfing & Music

Posted July 16, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Water has always fascinated me–the way it looks, the way it moves and flows, the way it feels when you’re enveloped by it. It allows you a reprieve from gravity, an environment where you can float suspended and temporarily occupy another mental and spiritual zone.
I especially love the power and unbridled energy of the sea and I savor the color of oceans in different …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Music History »

Billie Holiday’s Saddest Song

Posted July 13, 2014 by | 2 Comments
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The other night I heard an instrumental version of “You’ve Changed”, which is unusual; you don’t hear very many versions of this most sad of songs, either vocal or instrumental. The most famous version is Billie Holiday‘s version from her swan song album, Lady in Satin.

She was dying in the hospital when that record was released in 1958. She has the sad distinction of …

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

Show #63: Crème de la Crème of New Releases

Posted July 11, 2014 by | 4 Comments
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The new albums that I’m always grateful to receive piled up again and I need to share the best of them. Here is this week’s crème de la crème of fantastic new releases.
Los Hacheros: This group of New York City musicians play some of the best Cuban-style salsa of any band I’ve heard. They recorded it all live. Remember that many albums are produced, …

Artist Spotlight, Featured »

Tharanga Goonetilleke: Sri Lankan Opera Star

Posted July 9, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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There aren’t many Sri Lankans who turn to Western classical music. One guy is named Dinuk Wijeratne, a pianist and Juilliard graduate who does amazing work on a visionary album with Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh called Complex Stories, Simple Sounds.
Another artist was well-known lyric soprano named Danielle de Niesse, whose parents came from Sri Lanka, rose to fame first in Australia, then in Los …

Artist Spotlight, Featured »

La Sonora Matancera: Cuba’s Immortal Group

Posted July 7, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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It was 90 years ago that Valentin Cane and Pablo Vazquez Gobim founded one of the greatest of all Cuban groups, La Sonora Matancera (The Sound of Matanzas). As the group’s name would suggest, it all started in Matanzas–the word means “slaughterhouse”. Probably because this was the bay and port where the slaves arrived after the miserable “middle passage” across the Atlantic. It’s also …

Featured, Headline, Holiday, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #62: Rhythm Planet’s July 4th Soundtrack

Posted July 4, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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With the exception of Bruce Springsteen‘s classic song, this week’s Rhythm Planet features some Independence Day theme songs that don’t get a lot of play. Alyssa Graham does a beautiful job on the Simon & Garfunkel classic, and so does Brubeck’s great alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond. Jazz singer Teri Thornton gives us a vocal version of Nelson Riddle’s theme for the classic TV series …

Artist Spotlight, RIP »

RIP: David Weiss, Master of the Musical Saw

Posted July 2, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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Another musical friend has passed: David Weiss. What makes it more poignant is that he performed on his $7.00 Stanley Handyman Saw on Morning Becomes Eclectic with me on December 5, 1983, but also that he was born 3 days after me. Tragically, David Weiss dropped dead in Pacific Palisades while surfing on May 24th. One would think that if you’re healthy enough to go surfing …

Artist Spotlight, Audiophiles, Featured, Music History, New Releases »

Reissued: The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal

Posted June 30, 2014 by | 0 Comments
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The German audiophile label Speakers Corner had just reissued, on LP–in glorious mono too–a classic album, The Piano Scene of Ahmad Jamal. This LP was originally issued by Epic Records in 1959.  There may have been a stereo version, but the original master tape is lost–or worse, it may have been reprocessed for stereo which is the kiss of death for any recording. On the …

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