Jazz, New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show, world music »

Show #135: 10 New and Noteworthy Releases

Posted December 4, 2015 by | 0 Comments

Time again to spin some new albums that have caught my ears recently.
We start with a feel-good inspirational song by Michael Franti and his great band Spearhead.  I have loved this guy, this band ever since they were the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy 25 years ago.  This song is especially fitting for the holiday season, or anytime!
French band Caravan Palace …

Jazz, Music History, Performances & Events »

Cannonball Adderley’s 1963 Classic Nippon Soul: Jazz as Musical Ambassador

Posted December 2, 2015 by | 1 Comment

I recently pulled out my lp copy of Nippon Soul, the first live concert by American jazzmen in Tokyo, recorded there July 14 & 15th, 1963 in Sankei Hall. This is second post I’m doing on the lp–something rare for me–but the album is so great I have to mention it again. It’s also a good live recording, much better than the Capitol live …

Jazz »

Kenny G in China: It’s Closing Time

Posted November 30, 2015 by | 0 Comments

There was once a Gary Larson “The Far Side” cartoon titled “Charlie Parker in Hell.” There was Bird, the iconic bebop innovator, writhing in perpetual agony as the radio played only New Age music.
My version of the cartoon might be having to repeatedly listen to Kenny G’s 1999 hit instrumental song “Going Home.”
But I may be in the minority. Kenny G is ubiquitous in …

Classical, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #134: 3 New Russian Recordings You Should Hear

Posted November 27, 2015 by | 2 Comments

For this post-turkey day show, we’ll feature three great Russian works: a great new recording of Rachmaninov’s masterpiece, Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini, then two Scriabin miniatures by the great Vladimir Horowitz and a popular new Ukrainian pianist, Valentina Lisitsa.
Rachmaninov represents the last era of great 19th century Russian romanticism. He followed in the footsteps of Tchaikovsky, Glazunov, and Rimsky Korsakov.  For a …

Music History »

The Power of Music on the Brain

Posted November 25, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Dr. Oliver Sacks

Last night I pulled out an old vinyl copy of a beautiful symphony by English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams: his symphony No. 5, composed and first performed in 1943.  Listening to a whole symphony on an old vinyl record is like slow food: you don’t usually have time to do it, but when you do it is very satisfying, a real luxury.
No. 5 is …

African »

This Famous African Singer Helped Track Islamists in Bamako Attacks

Posted November 23, 2015 by | 0 Comments
Africando (Sekouba Bambino pictured center)

One of my favorite African singers helped authorities find the people responsible for the recent attacks in Bamako, Mali.
Sekouba Bambino has been a lead singer in both the powerhouse Guinean band Bembeya Jazz National but also in the Afro-Latin band Africando, which made some of the tastiest tropical Afro-Cuban music ever.
Bambino, 51, was staying at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako when the attacks …

French, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #133: PLAYLIST: Paris Musical Classics And Healing Songs

Posted November 20, 2015 by | 2 Comments
Serge Gainsbourg

There was an article in the New York Times this week that was about Parisians taking back the streets, going out to their favorite cafes, sharing beers, wine, and the ever-present cigarette. It was an act of defiance, and an affirmation of the French way of life.
This week’s show is a musical reflection of my love for France, French music and culture. The French …

Recollections & Rediscoveries »

What Music Do You Play After a Tragedy?

Posted November 18, 2015 by | 0 Comments

On the day after the bloodbath in Paris, I’m listening to KCRW music as well as FIP (France Inter Paris) online radio. Anne Litt started out her Saturday show with “Peace Piece”, a long, subdued,  and beautiful Bill Evans classic. FIP played a lovely song by Piers Faccini called “Three Times Betrayed,” then “Protection” by Massive Attack, a song I remember playing after 9/11. …

French »

How St Germain Heals: Appreciating Paris Post-Attack

Posted November 16, 2015 by | 3 Comments
The "St Germain Mask"

The spirit of multicultural Paris — the mélange of cultures and music that Paris represents — are reflected in a great new album from St.Germain. The new album provides ample testimony on how diverse musical languages and cultures can be combined into a beautiful harmonious soundscape.
St.Germain’s new set is now #1 on the KCRW Most Played Albums music chart. It’s my favorite new album …

New Releases, Rhythm Planet Music Show »

Show #132: 10 Great New Fall Album Releases

Posted November 13, 2015 by | 1 Comment
Dengue Fever

It’s harvest time, and once again I have a ton of new music to share with you out there in the RP universe.
We’ll start with the current top new releases at KCRW: St. Germain‘s eponymous new album. It’s a brilliant bit of alchemy, bringing blues roots, African music, and house vibes together. Congratulations to Ludovic Navarre, the Frenchman behind it all.
Our favorite kiwi band, …

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