Artist Spotlight, Featured, Latin, New Releases, Performances & Events, world music »

Diego El Cigala’s Hot New Release: Flamenco Meets Fania

Posted November 7, 2016 by | 1 Comment
Image courtesy

Flamenco singer Diego El Cigala‘s career exploded when he recorded Lagrimas Negras with legendary Cuban pianist Bebo Valdés in 2003. By “legendary” I mean patriarch of the Valdés piano clan (with Chucho and Chuchito) as well as his regular employ as music director and pianist of the swank, pre-Castro Havana nightclub, The Tropicana. Never has a duet album travelled so far so fast. El Cigala …

Asia, Classical, Featured, French, Headline, Jazz, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #183: Autumn Songs

Posted November 4, 2016 by | 2 Comments

It’s finally cooling off here in SoCal and temperatures are dipping across the country, too. People living in areas that have seasons love the changing colors that autumn brings — arboreal symphonies in the midwest and east. Of course it is spring in the southern hemisphere, where the weather is warming up. In this age of global warming, however, weather patterns are changing and not …

Artist Spotlight, Classical, Featured, New Releases »

Voces8 / Winter: Fresh New Choral Album

Posted November 2, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Rich Capparela hosts the weekday afternoon drive-time shift on KUSC, L.A.’s classical music station. He calls the selections “anti-road rage.” That would definitely apply to the beautiful, lilting music on Winter, a new album from Decca by the British vocal ensemble Voces8. It would also be wonderful music for meditating, yoga, or lying on your back on the rug on Sunday morning. It’s an album that you can …

Blues, Featured, music phenomena, Recollections & Rediscoveries »

Three Timely Presidential Songs

Posted October 31, 2016 by | 0 Comments

With the election just a week away, I thought I’d call to mind some songs about U.S. presidents and elections — songs that either celebrate or poke a little fun at being POTUS. We can all use a little levity about now, right?
The first is “Tell Me Why You Like Roosevelt” by Otis Jackson. Jackson first recorded this tribute song in 1946, a …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Headline, Interviews, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #182: A Fun Hour with Jazz Guitar Wizard Wolfgang Schalk

Posted October 28, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Jazz guitarist Wolfgang Schalk is a Viennese transplant and one of L.A.’s hidden treasures. I immediately liked his new album From Here to There, from the first track to the last, and find him to be a fresh new musical voice. I invited Schalk in to showcase the new CD, plus to throw some “blindfold test” music at him. It didn’t surprise me that we shared …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, Performances & Events, world music »

A Beautiful Evening with Flamenco Legend Tomatito

Posted October 26, 2016 by | 1 Comment
Photo by Sari Makki Phillips

Flamenco guitarist Tomatito and his group performed for the first time in Los Angeles last Friday night at the Wilshire Ebell Theater as part of the LA Flamenco Festival. I was thrilled to have been there to enjoy this passionate, intense, and beautiful concert.
Tomatito has the singular distinction of being the late singer Camarón de la Isla‘s guitarist. He took over Camarón’s guitarist mantle after Paco de Lucia …

Blues, Featured, Interviews, Jazz, Music History, RIP »

Phil Chess, Co-Founder of Chess Records, RIP

Posted October 24, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Phil Chess, co-founder of Chicago’s legendary Chess Records, has died at the age of 95. Born Fiszel Czyz in Motol, Poland, in 1921, he changed his name after moving to Chicago, a city with a large Polish population and a home of the blues. With his brother Leonard, he founded Chess Records in 1950. Just a year later, one of the first great rock and roll records, Ike …

African, Classical, Featured, Headline, Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #181: New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted October 21, 2016 by | 0 Comments

This week we feature ten new records that caught my ear. Let’s check them out, starting with a bolero from Cuban-born, Toronto-based pianist Roberto Fonseca, with the beautiful voice of Mercedes Cortes.  Venezuelan pianist Edward Simon then covers Ariel Ramirez’ beautiful song “Alphonsina y El Mar,” made famous by the late Mercedes Sosa.
We follow with a posthumous release by …

Featured, Music History »

Crumhorns, Sackbuts and…Oliphants?

Posted October 19, 2016 by | 0 Comments

As a lover of early (pre-renaissance) music, I’ve heard my share of medieval instruments like the vielle, rebec, sackbut and crumhorn. Add to that list the oliphant, which I learned about more recently. It is not to be confused with the modern-day large pachyderm (though the name is an ancient variant of elephant) nor the lumbering creature from the Lord of the Rings. And it …

Artist Spotlight, Featured, French, Middle East, Performances & Events, Recollections & Rediscoveries, world music »

Artists You Should Know: Thierry “Titi” Robin

Posted October 17, 2016 by | 0 Comments

Thierry “Titi” Robin is a French musician and composer. Mostly, however, he is an intrepid musical traveler. He plays guitar, Arabic oud, Turkish buzuq and other instruments of both European and Moorish origin. He has collaborated with Rajasthani gypsy, Indian, flamenco, and Pakistani musicians. He is a musical polymath equally at home in a variety of musical environments and cultures.
I discovered his work years ago on …

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