Five-Star Favs – It All Began In Mexico

First a word of explanation to newer visitors (and a reminder to regulars). The Special Feature known as Five Star Favs is the one that spotlights a song that falls into a very unique category -- it inhabits space in the top tier of my music collection, which means I have given it a five-star … Continue reading Five-Star Favs – It All Began In Mexico

Machito And His Brother-In-Law

We haven't featured Latin jazz in quite a while, and even though the subject might bring to mind guys like Xavier Cugat, Perez Prado, and Tito Puente, there were many others who were a big part of the history of the music. The popular bandleader known as Machito was an early star who had a … Continue reading Machito And His Brother-In-Law

Eddie Palmieri’s Big Brother Charlie

You've probably heard of Eddie Palmieri, the multiple Grammy-winning pianist who is still active and enjoying a career that has led to him becoming one of the stars of Latin jazz. But did you know he had an older brother -- Charlie -- who died in 1988, and was pretty darn good too? In fact, … Continue reading Eddie Palmieri’s Big Brother Charlie

Summer Olympics Showcasing London

Just in case you missed all the zillions of news stories, I thought I'd let you know that the London Olympics are underway (and share some pictures too). I just read that Great Britain has spent almost 10 billion pounds even in these tough times, but I guess they figure it's worth it. Wendy Luck … Continue reading Summer Olympics Showcasing London

A Wave From A Happier Time

The earthquake and resulting tsunami (what used to be called a tidal wave) in Japan and elsewhere is a devastating event, and I won't even begin to try to describe the tragic results. I thought that I would instead write about a different kind of 'wave', one from a happier time. It's a wave that's … Continue reading A Wave From A Happier Time

Mr. Peanut Makes An Appearance

So I was listening to an album that I reviewed several years ago -- Cuban legend Juan Pablo Torres' Romantic Cuba -- and suddenly my ears perked up and I had a strong craving for peanuts. The reason? The last cut on the album is a medley that includes "El Manisero," a piece that's much … Continue reading Mr. Peanut Makes An Appearance

Bye-Bye To Brubeck Bossa Nova

More than once, I've mentioned my long-standing appreciation for Latin jazz. I've also made no secret about being a fan of Dave Brubeck since the days when he brought jazz to the mainstream music world with his group's seminal 1961 recording of "Take Five." And in a different piece, I touched on how his group's … Continue reading Bye-Bye To Brubeck Bossa Nova

Fusion Can Show Up In Surprising Places

Fusion is a simple word that pretty much just means blending or merging, but these days it seems to be used with increasing frequency and in a lot of different ways. At one time it was probably mostly used to describe processes like nuclear fusion, but it's now applied to everything from gourmet cooking to … Continue reading Fusion Can Show Up In Surprising Places

Vikki Carr – One Of Carson’s Cohorts

On the occasion of the recent dust-up over NBC's Tonight Show, including an eviction of Conan O'Brien and ascension by Jay Leno, my thoughts turned to the history of the show. Specifically, the years during which Johnny Carson made a regular practice of turning over the reins to a parade of 'guest hosts'. The occupants … Continue reading Vikki Carr – One Of Carson’s Cohorts

REVIEW: Nilson Matta & Brazilian Voyage – Copacabana

Let's get this out of the way first: sorry, Barry Manilow fans, but the title song of this album is not the one made famous by your idol. It is instead one of the best of the original compositions provided for the album by its featured star, Brazilian bassist Nilson Matta, who named it for … Continue reading REVIEW: Nilson Matta & Brazilian Voyage – Copacabana