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December 2, 2015



New Orleans Legend Passes 


I was one of many people across the world who felt shocked then saddened by the death of Alan Toussaint.  Mr. Toussaint’s contribution to the arts is legendary and well recognized within the musical industry.  His works traverse multiple generations with versatile arrangements in R&B, jazz and beyond.  Truly an American icon and cultural figure, Toussaint’s talents include musician/pianist, songwriter and producer.  Far beyond the bounds of his native New Orleans, Mr. Toussaint will be remembered in continuum across the globe for his exceptional creativity, unique musical styling and generosity of spirit.  




In the Beginning


For many his music and influence was the sound track of their lives, taking them back to the days and places when they first heard his music, emblematic of the sounds and flavors of New Orle...

June 14, 2015


Derek Trucks with Duane Allman’s 1957 goldtop, Beacon Theater, NYC 2015.  Photo by Derek McCabe.





In 2004, I interviewed Derek and wrote up his 10 Commandments of Jam for Guitar World. Pretty right on and deep thinking, as per usual for Derek Trucks. 



1. Just listen
Make sure that when you’re on stage with others, you are paying attention to what’s going on and not getting self-involved in your own world.

2. Respect everyone else’s musical space
The easiest way to kill a vibe is by jumping in and adding your two cents too soon, while someone else is still trying to build something. Just let things happen.

3. Make you sure you are telling a story
Never just be playing scales, filling space or going through the motions. Sometimes people resort to such tactics just to fill space but it’s always a mistake. Longer solos aren’t always better solos. Always have so...

June 7, 2015





Young musicians of the world: Relax! Even the singular force of nature that would become Fela Kuti took a while to find his sound.


A pair of Fela’s earliest recordings, made in London in 1960, with his bands the Highlife Rakers and Koola Lobitos, have been uncovered and are being released on Soundway Records’ upcoming compilation Highlife on the Move: Selected Nigerian and Ghanaian Recordings From London and Lagos 1954-66.


The tracks don’t sound like Afrobeat; they don’t sound much like Fela. They sound like the long-lived highlife music, which was born in Ghana as far back as the 19th century, before spreading to Nigeria and flourishing in the middle of the 20th.


This is familiar territory for Soundway. The label has already released a half dozen Nigerian and...

June 4, 2015


Tinariwen, Ibrahim, Abdallah, Hassan, ‘Japonais’ and Kheddou, began playing together the 1980s in town of Tamanrasset located in southern Algeria.  In these early years, the group performed at various local venues such as weddings, baptisms and private events.  Their musical endeavors would be put on hold, however, when in subsequent years, the four men were drafted into the same military training camp and sent together into battle. 


Although indentured to military service, the group continued to play together and began distributed cassette tapes in an effort to broadcast their political messages.  They advocated for the rights of nomadic people living under arbitrary, oppressive tyranny.   After much grief and tireless efforts, peace was finally signed in 1994.  Political amity was finally upon the people of Touareg; however, years of drought were finally tak...

June 4, 2015


The former musicians of the Tito Puente Orchestra have come together again as the Mambo Legends Orchestra. The Mambo Legends Orchestra brings all of its incredible musicians together under their new name to bring their music to an international audience and to further explore the music which they have been masters of playing for over 30 years. The Mambo Legends Orchestra is led by John ‘Dandy’ Rodriguez, Mitch Frohman and musically directed by Jose Madera, each having spent over 25 years working with Tito Puente.


The focus of the band is driven by their dedication to keeping the sound of the 50′s and 60′s Palladium era music thriving and moving forward. The Orchestra has successfully kept the sound of the Big 3 (Machito, Tito Rodriguez and Tito Puente) alive and well, while allowing for its progression by working with new musical concepts.


You can check out more,...

June 4, 2015





Eddie Palmieri was born December 15, 1936, his parents migrated to New York City from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1926, and settled down in the South Bronx.  When he was only 8 years old, he would musically accompany brother Charlie and together they entered and participated in many talent contests. Mr. Palmieri was educated in the city’s public school system where he was constantly exposed to music, specifically jazz. He took piano lessons and performed at Carnegie Hall when he was just 11 years old with his main influences being Thelonious Monk and McCoy Tyner.  He became a bandleader in 1950, when he was just 14, Palmieri played in various bands, including Tito Rodriquez Orchestra.



Conjunto La Perfecta


In 1961, Palmieri formed Conjunto La Perfecta (1962-1968), featuring legendary singer Ismael Quintana.  Apart from the big bands, at the begi...

June 4, 2015


The New World Citizen Band plays music drawn from the rhythmic and melodic traditions of West Africa, Cuba, Uzbekistan, Ireland and beyond, and is dedicated to communicating the unique power of each culture. The band recently performed on stage with Baaba Maal, Tinawarin, Vieux Farka Toure, performed as the backing band for Prudence Mabhena from Zimbabwe, and also does regular fundraising performances for the Whole Planet Foundation.


Fusing the Ghanain Gyil (West African Xylophone), folkloric Afro-Cuban and West African drumming, and Middle-Eastern frame drumming with Western music sensibilities, the New World Citizen Band creates an invigorating and powerful improvisational performance.




Venus Cruz - vocals

Greg Tanner Harris - Gyil (West African Xylophone), Percussion 

Matt Fuller - guitar

Jonathan Stewart - sax

Jon Gray - trumpet 

John Grigsby - Upri...

December 28, 2011



Tales from the SahelBaaba Maal sits with renowned music journalist and author, Chris Salewicz.  Baaba Maal shares his experience growing up in Africa and traveling the world.  He also discusses views on pertinent issues facing Africa and the African diaspora.  As part of this interview project, Maal performs an impromptu and unplugged set including vocals, which made the entire evening special and exciting. We were honored to open up and sit in on a few tune for him!





December 7, 2011


Born in 1966 in Basse, West Africa, Juldeh Camara is a Gambian griot and master musician, playing the Riti (one-stringed fiddle). He teams up with British guitarist Justin Adams who is a long time player of world music, as well as being the guitarist and co-writer for Robert Plant. In addition, he has produced all three of Malian desert blues band Tinariwen’s acclaimed albums.


This collaboration is an exciting over lapping of delta blues and west african Mali blues with rock mixed in. Searing fiddle riffs, ancient string grooves provide an incredible range and flexibility…it is hard to believe so much emotion can come from one string. Listening to them play off one another you can hear and feel the cultural sharing.















December 3, 2011



 Mustt Mustt : Kiran Ahluwalia with Tinariwen



When I lived in India, the song “Musst Musst” was a huge hit.  The Panjabi folk song, written by Bari Nizami, performed and recorded by Nustrat Fateh Ali Khan, was being played everywhere.  I heard it on the radio, in rickshaws, guesthouses, restaurants… it seemed in the air all over the country.  It was inspiring to see this beautiful song redone so beautifully with a world fusion style.


This is off of Kiran Ahluwalia release “Aam Zameen: Common Ground” with Tinariwen, a wonderful mix of Indian/Quwwali with West African blues infused by Tuareg musicians from Mali.



Go to Kiran Ahluwalia Website


Go to Tinariwen



Roots of Qawwali


Beginning the 11th Century, predating the birth of Muhammad, spiritual concerts took place in the tradition of Sama.  Nizamuddin Auliya, a follower of the Christi school of Sufism, u...

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June 4, 2015

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