Baseball and The Bee Gees

Posted October 25th, 2012 at 12:17 pm (UTC+0)
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By Doug Levine

It’s World Series time and there’s a lot of excitement for this great event featuring the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants.  Like many of my fellow baseball fans here in DC, I too was on the edge of my seat pulling for our Washington Nationals to win their divisional playoff series.  But, it was not to be, as they were edged out of contention by the reigning champs St. Louis Cardinals, who then lost to the Giants in their 7-game playoff series.

Today, whenever I think of baseball I think of the Bees Gees.  What’s the connection?  For me, it’s a baseball camp I attended in my teens.  I had my eyes set on the big leagues and convinced my parents that two weeks of non-stop baseball in Pennington, New Jersey was just the ticket.  I was going to be the next Ted Williams, one of the greatest players of all time and one of my heroes.

Big league dreams begin in Little League. (Photo: U.S. National Archives)

Little did I know that I would leave baseball camp with a musical hero as well, the Bee Gees.  That’s right, the Bee Gees, who during the summer of 1971, gave us one of the biggest hits of the year, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart.”  I remember hearing it for the very first time at camp.  It came over on the coach’s transistor radio which dangled on the fence next to the bench and drifted into left field where I was shagging fly balls.  For the rest of the day, and the rest of the summer, I couldn’t get the song out of my head, especially the opening line, “I can think of younger days when living for my life was everything a man could want to do.”

I was reminded of my younger days when Bee Gees’ singer Robin Gibb died last May after a long illness.  Robin co-wrote the song with his brother Barry and he sings the opening solo.  Talk about staying power, it’s been covered by everyone from Al Green to Rod Stewart.  Green’s version appeared in the hit films “Good Will Hunting” and “Notting Hill.”

So maybe that Bee Gees song, coming out of a little transistor radio, had more meaning in my life than I realized.  Sure, I still love baseball — I even had a stint as an outfielder on my high school team — but eventually my playing days faded and a new path led me to broadcasting music on the radio.


 

Legendary Jazz Pianist Dave Brubeck

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 5:27 pm (UTC+0)
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Dave Brubeck

In this Dec. 6, 2009, file photo President Barack Obama waves to Kennedy Center honorees, from left, Dave Brubeck, Grace Bumbry, Robert De Niro and Bruce Springsteen in the East Room of the White House in Washington (AP)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – The legendary American jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, one of the most exciting names in music, will celebrate his 92nd birthday on December 6. Due to medical tests, Brubeck was unavailable for an interview with Jazz Beat, but Russell Gloyd, his producer, manager and conductor for the past 35 years said the iconic pianist is still committed to daily practice.

“He does practice almost every day,” confirmed Gloyd in an interview with VOA’s Jazz Beat (mp3 here). “And it’s amazing to hear him practice because I’m hearing tunes I’ve never heard in my life.”

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_10/Brubeck_Show_Gloyd_JazzBeat.mp3]

According to Gloyd, the group just released a 19-CD box set which covers all of the studio recordings of the classic Brubeck Quartet. “And we are now starting to look at doing another box which will exceed 19 CDs – which would be featuring all live recordings,” he said.

Dave Brubeck's Legacy CD

Dave Brubeck’s Legacy CD

Columbia Records released a double album set on Dave Brubeck’s 90th birthday in 2010.  Legacy of a Legend features influential pieces in jazz history recorded between 1954 and 1970.  It includes vocal collaborations with jazz legends like Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Rushing and Carmen McRae.

The last time Brubeck talked with VOA was in 1990, backstage at the JVC Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, New York. In an interview with my colleague Doug Levine, the legendary pianist explained how jazz started as a cry for freedom.

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_10/DaveBrubeck_Interview_DougLevine1990.mp3]

I played Brubeck’s music frequently on Jazz Club USA, a music show I hosted for 10 years for enthusiasts in the Middle East. He is best known for the hit “Take Five,” from his top-selling album Time Out. The song was frequently requested by listeners in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt and Iraq for dedication to family and friends.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faJE92phKzI

Take Five” was first released in 1959 and became the best-selling jazz single of all time. It was written by Brubeck’s long-time music partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond. It has been included in a new two-disc collection of other familiar classics such as the “Blue Rondo a la Turk” — inspired during a Brubeck tour in Turkey in 1958 — and “Pick Up Sticks”. At the time, Brubeck was America’s jazz ambassador, named by the U.S. State Department. The legendary pianist and his Quartet have also toured the Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe, and Asia.

Another hit song that contributed to Brubeck’s worldwide fame is “Unsquare Dance” from his album Time Further Out. “It was a huge hit in France,” noted Gloyd.

Brubeck, who was featured on the cover of TIME magazine  in 1954, has also composed orchestral and sacred music. In addition, Brubeck wrote soundtracks for television shows such as Mr. Broadway and the animated mini-series This Is America, Charlie Brown.

The soon-to-be 92 Dave Brubeck is still going strong!  He is often saluted by a standing ovation during his emotionally-charged performances.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbUklDXdH2o

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

“Tunnel Of Love” At 25

Posted October 22nd, 2012 at 6:36 pm (UTC+0)
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By Ray McDonald

Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel Of Love” is my go-to Springsteen album. I find myself returning to it time and again. Here was a superstar at his most vulnerable, pouring his heart out during a desperate, confusing moment in his life.

Well, just a couple weeks ago – October 9 – “Tunnel Of Love” turned 25 years old. It was his eighth studio album, and I’d say it’s aged pretty well. In 2003, “Rolling Stone” magazine ranked it 475th in its list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

Three years before “Tunnel Of Love” hit the market, “Born In The USA” had rocketed  Bruce to iconic  status. I saw him perform with the E Street Band in 1985, and the stadium crowd greeted him with messianic fervor. I couldn’t help wondering how he felt about all this adulation…and if things had gotten out of control for him.

It was in 1985 that Bruce had married Julianne Phillips, a model-actress 11 years his junior. They’d wed only seven months after meeting. By all accounts, they were very different people…and one listen to the “Tunnel Of Love” album lets you know what Bruce was going through. He was hurting. Songs like “Brilliant Disguise” and “One Step Up”  show his pain and confusion. Largely a solo effort, the inward-looking collection made sparse use of the E Street Band. Bruce seemed truly alone – but he wasn’t.

While touring behind this album, he fell in love with supporting musician Patti Scialfa. A fellow New Jersey native, she had befriended him years before. In 1988, Bruce Springsteen and Julianne Phillips agreed to separate, and their divorce was finalized the following year. Bruce married Patti in 1991, and they’re still together today.

So this was the background for “Tunnel Of Love.” Bruce’s troubled marriage was tabloid fodder in the late 80s, and the subtext in his songs was easy to spot. For me, however, the appeal of this album goes beyond the surrounding drama. The melodies and lyrics work perfectly together, and the overall aura of melancholy highlights what I like best about Bruce Springsteen’s songwriting: its humanity and universality. We’ve all been there, and so has he.

CHART NOTES:
Just thought I’d start something new in my blog. Each week, I’ll give you a highlight or two from the U-S pop charts. This week, we look at Adele, whose touch, it seems, turns everything to gold…and platinum. “Skyfall” opened in eight place on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, becoming the first James Bond theme in a decade to reach the United States Top 10. Madonna last did it in 2002, when “Die Another Day” also reached eighth place. If you’re looking for a number one Bond song, you have to go all the way back to 1985 for Duran Duran’s “A View To A Kill.”

A Good Live CD Makes You Feel Like You’re At The Show

Posted October 17th, 2012 at 8:12 pm (UTC+0)
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By Katherine Cole

It’s funny. I’ve been to  Nashville many times and I’m starting to think that no musician there is satisfied doing just one thing. Pickers want to be singers. Songwriters want to be producers, and I bet a bunch of those producers have guitars sitting by their beds, just waiting for the next song to come out of their heads.

Well, with Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott , we don’t have to worry about that because they are true “triple threats”—guys who are exceptionally good at more than one job. Between the two of them, Tim and Darrell have released several well received solo CDs and duo recordings and their latest is a live performance recorded in Ashville, North Carolina .

Now not all live CDs are good ones, but a wonderful live recording is the next best thing to being at a concert. And that’s exactly what we have with the new release from Tim  and Darrell,  “We’re Usually A Lot Better Than This.”  It’s almost as much fun as it must have been to be sitting in that Ashville audience.

Tim and Darrell have also written hit songs for artists including the Kathy Mattea, Hal Ketchum, and Garth Brooks.

Of course, I can’t leave out what might be my favorite, the Dixie Chicks hit “Long Time Gone.” This is how it sounds when the guy who wrote it gets down and picks.

 

Most of the songs on the new disc are originals, though there are a few well chosen covers, including this version of Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.”

You can find out more about Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott in this American Songwriter review of the disc, which also lets you stream the entire recording.

And if you want to see more, check out this clip of  Tim and Darrell performing at the Transatlantic Sessions in Scotland a few years ago.

 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Host of VOA's Roots and Branches, and world traveler extraordinaire! When I'm not listening to music, I'm probably talking about it or thinking about the next band I'm going to see. Or my next interview! Join me every week for the best in folk, bluegrass and all other forms of American roots music!

American Splendors: Coltrane and Pekar

Posted October 16th, 2012 at 5:26 pm (UTC+0)
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I really love jazz, so the other night when I was driving home from work, I was listening to John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things.”  It got me thinking about the movie I had seen a few days earlier called “American Splendor,” because Coltrane’s treatment is featured on the soundtrack.  The film follows the trials and tribulations of the late comic book writer and noted music critic Harvey Pekar, whose “American Splendor” comic book series touched a nerve with those looking for a little reality with their morning coffee.  He wrote about everyday life in his native Cleveland, Ohio,  mundane things like grocery shopping, moving, recording buying or funny co-workers.  He described himself as “just an average guy having experiences like everyone else has.”  Harvey was whiling away the years as a file clerk at the local Veteran’s Administration Hospital when budding underground cartoonist Robert Crumb agreed to illustrate his work, a break that led to his first publication.

Paul Giamatti portrays Harvey Pekar in the 2003 film “American Splendor.” (New Line Records)

As I maneuver through DC’s dark and empty streets, with Coltrane soloing at the 7-minute mark, I remembered that the music for  “American Splendor”  was largely inspired by Pekar’s love for jazz, especially the be-bop era of the ’40s and ’50s.  But he once admitted that he had to re-train his ears to appreciate jazz, that at first he didn’t fully get what was going on.  He said, “Finally, I was able to hear the relationship between the jazz improvisor’s solos and the underlying structure that it’s based on, the chord progression.”

Improvised solos and chord progression are the hallmark of “My Favorite Things.” It plays briefly during a scene where Pekar’s wife Joyce is ice skating with their daughter.  Coltrane’s swirling version of the Rodgers and Hammerstein standard was recorded for his 1961 album of the same name.  It features Trane on soprano sax with support from bassist Steve Davis, drummer Elvin Jones, and pianist McCoy Tyner, who at age 21, proved a masterful soloist and improvisor.  The album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Finally, I arrive home, and as “My Favorite Things” fades, I wonder how a simple Broadway melody can inspire such a complex jazz masterpiece.  Who knows?  That may have puzzled Harvey Pekar at the end of his day as well.

 

 

John has been with VOA for 27 years. Before that, he was vice-president of programming for Parkway Communications. John has been very active in various musical endeavors including his service of Director of Music at Colesville Presbyterian Church for 30 years. He has also been active in musical theatre and concert performances.

The British Are Coming…Again

Posted October 15th, 2012 at 4:21 pm (UTC+0)
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I have a theory: the U.S. is in the midst of another British Invasion. Of course, there was that first one back in the 18th Century, but musically, the first “British Invasion” began in 1964 with The Beatles, then expanded to include dozens of other acts – many of whom are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. When I began my Top 10 Countdown in 1984, U-K acts such as Wham! and Sheena Easton regularly visited the best-seller lists, and every summer especially, we’d get new names from across the Atlantic. Most of them quickly faded, but it was always fun to hear their slightly different take on American rock and pop.

But this week, the British folk-rock group Mumford & Sons capped a new invasion with their first U-S number one album, “Babel.”

Mumford & Sons, Los Angeles CA Feb. 2012 (AP Photo)

They did so in spectacular fashion, selling 600-thousand first-week copies. That’s the year’s best opening week by a nearly two-to-one margin. How did such a relatively esoteric group perform so spectacularly in a market usually dominated by pop singers and rappers?

Well, Mumford & Sons helped touch off this current wave with its 2009 debut album, “Sigh No More.” It was an out-of-nowhere hit in the States, selling more than two million copies. Then, last year, the dam truly burst when Adele flattened the competition with her world-beating “21” album. Now 24, she’s already become such an icon that she’s singing the latest James Bond theme “Skyfall,”  released on October 5.

Looking at the current Hot 100 chart, I count 12 songs from British artists. Several of them are by Mumford & Sons, but there’s enough variety to please most other tastes: dubstep from Alex Clare; pure pop from One Direction and Cher Lloyd; folk from Ed Sheeran, and arena rock from Muse. The music industry is in the midst of a fundamental transition, but one tenet remains: if something works, ride it into the ground. There’s a wealth of Transatlantic talent awaiting Stateside ears, and I’m glad the gates have re-opened long enough for some to seep through.

Jonathan Kreisberg’s One, Exclusive Music

Posted October 15th, 2012 at 3:03 pm (UTC+0)
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Jonathan Kreisberg (Photo by Jimmy Katz)

Jonathan Kreisberg (Photo by Jimmy Katz)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Acclaimed American jazz guitarist Jonathan Kreisberg has just finished recording a new album titled One. It will be released in Europe next month, and in the United States in January 2013. One will also be released in German on vinyl on November 1.

I recently talked with him about his new album and career. You will be able to preview some of the songs exclusively on Jazz Beat:

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_10/JazzBeat_Jonathan_Kreisberg_Oct2012.mp3]

Kreisberg performed last week with iconic pianist Lonnie Smith at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He is part of Dr. Smith’s new album, The Healer, which is coming out soon. Kreisberg says he always wanted to record a solo album, but felt a bit intimidated.

Kreisberg’s Discography

  • One – to be released later
  • Shadowless – 2011
  • Night Songs – 2009
  • The South of Everywhere – 2007
  • Unearth – 2005
  • New for Now – 2005
  • Nine Stories Wide 2004
  • Trioing
  • Jonathan Kreisberg Trio

“I’ve long loved and been intimidated by the idea, which is to put out an all solo guitar record comprised of only single performances. In other words, no tracks and no loop or anything – just solo guitar,” said Kreisberg during an interview with VOA’s Jazz Beat.

“I started basically recording myself whenever I got inspired by something this past summer. The first two results came out so good that I just said I’ve got to do this. This is the time to do it. So, I put together an entire record of solo guitar. Some different angle, some different guitars and it came out as what I’d like to think is a pretty exciting solo guitar records. It’s a lot of different kind of angles on the concept, and I decided to call it One.”

Jonathan Kreisberg was born in New York City and grew up listening to his parents’ wide-ranging record collection.

He says some of his all-time favorites are John Williams’ “Concierto de Aranjuez,” John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things“, and the British super group Cream‘s “Disraeli Gears.”

Kreisberg started playing guitar at the age of 10. He studied jazz and showed spectacular talent – according to his teachers — to the point that he was featured as a young promising guitarist in Guitar Player and DownBeat magazines. He later won a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he held the guitar chair in the acclaimed Concert Jazz Band. Kreisberg had the opportunity to tour Brazil and perform with Joe Henderson, Michael Brecker, and Red Rodney during his tenure.

Jonathan Kreisberg was born in New York City and grew up listening to his parents’ wide-ranging record collection.

He says some of his all-time favorites are John Williams’ “Concierto de Aranjuez,” John Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things“, and the British super group Cream‘s “Disraeli Gears.”

Shadowless with the Eye of Horus

Ancient Egypt’s Eye of Horus (Shadowless album cover). Listen to the interview to learn why Kreisberg used it.

Kreisberg is now establishing himself as a major new voice on the international jazz scene. He recently returned from a one-month tour in South America. In 2008 his quintet played an electrifying set on the main stage at Jazz Baltica. He also completed successful tours of Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Finland, Italy, and Japan, where he featured talented Japanese trumpeter Tomanao Hara.

Kreisberg has his own recording label. He blames the music industry for trying to make money at the expense of quality music. “As music progresses, some things improve, but something is lost along the way,” said Kreisberg.  “For instance right now, in pop music – the music of our time culturally – is starting to get very melodically and harmonically boring, you know, and actually rhythmically too.”

Kreisberg has successfully released eight albums so far.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

 

 

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Excitement in Nashville!

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 3:58 pm (UTC+0)
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By Katherine Cole

I never thought I’d be glad to say “hello from my desk,”but that’s how I’m feeling today. Between the recent Americana Music Association conference two weeks ago and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event last week, I’m just happy to be home.

Not that I didn’t have a great time at both events but it was really non-stop.  At the IBMA conference,I was on the go 24 hours a day. And I’m not really exaggerating.  I found myself scheduled into business meetings in the morning, speaking at seminars in the afternoon, then ducking into the trade show to see the latest & greatest new musical equipment and to find out about bluegrass events around the world. In the evening, my colleagues and I ran all over town to hear bands and late nights were spent at the conference hotel, checking out all the after hours showcases!

The International Bluegrass Music Awards show will be broadcast on my radio show Roots and Branches over the next few weeks and also available here on our website, so you’ll be able to hear all the excitement for yourself!  In the meantime, here are some photos from last week!

Pick one, any one! Lots of banjos for sale in the trade show (photo compliments IBMA)

All the major bluegrass instrument makers were on hand, trying to convince me that I needed a new guitar or banjo. Or at least a pick.

I never thought I needed a pink guitar pick…until I saw that one! (photo compliments IBMA)

The awards show was held at the historic Ryman Auditorium and, as you might guess, it was  filled with great performances. One of the coolest had to be the grand finale led by banjo picker/actor/writer Steve Martin.  It was a tribute to the late banjo legend Earl Scruggs, who died earlier this year. As you can see, there were hundreds of strings up on stage for that one.

IBMA Awards show grand Finale (photo by Alane Anno)

There was so much good music at the World of Bluegrass that I can’t really pick a highlight. But I’ll confess that after a few nights of high tenor singing and lots of banjos, I loved hearing New Country Rehab, complete with drums!


New Country Rehab rocked the Nashville Convention Center during their IBMA showcase. From left: James Robertson, Roman Tome, John Showman, Ben Whiteley. (Photo: Katherine Cole)

So, here I am—back at work and exhausted! But it was worth it.

KC!

Host of VOA's Roots and Branches, and world traveler extraordinaire! When I'm not listening to music, I'm probably talking about it or thinking about the next band I'm going to see. Or my next interview! Join me every week for the best in folk, bluegrass and all other forms of American roots music!

Ramsey Lewis, Taking Another Look

Posted October 1st, 2012 at 2:16 pm (UTC+0)
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Ramsey Lewis Taking Another Look

Ramsey Lewis Taking Another Look

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Three-time Grammy winner and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis is going to host a new television show about jazz music. Lewis told VOA’s Jazz Beat that he does not know when the show will air on the PBS network. “I’m in talks right now during this period of time to start another show on public television. And I’m looking forward to that,” said Lewis, who hosted the extremely popular radio and television show “Legends of Jazz”. The show aired in about a 100 American cities and on some of Europe’s top affiliates.

Lewis talked with Jazz Beat about his music and new projects, including his 80th album titled Ramsey Lewis Taking Another Look (Download the show).

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_10/RamseyLewis_JazzBeat_oct2012_podcast.mp3]

Lewis has been fascinating audiences with his performances since he was 15 years old when he began playing piano for the jazz band The Cleffs.

He first rose to prominence in 1965 when three of his compositions: “The In Crowd,” “Hang on Sloopy” and “Wade in the Water” were big hits on the song charts.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Slv0j5USBa4

“I have never had any feelings about any record being a big hit,” admitted Chicago native Ramsey, who now has 80 albums under his belt. “When I make a record or when I write music, in the back of my mind I have no false illusions about oh this could be a hit or this might be a hit, or hope the audience like it. Of course I do hope the audience likes everything I do, but I can’t depend on that being the criteria for my success in performing and recording.”

Here’s a profile of  Ramsey Lewis on VOA’s Jazz Club USA [Arabic Download)] broadcast in 1998 when he released his album Dance of the Soul.

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_09/jazzbeat_Ramsey_Lewis_diaa_bekheet_021503.mp3]

Many musicians and artists have been influenced by Lewis. He is considered one of the top pianists worldwide. During an interview in Egypt, I once asked jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie to name three of his top jazz pianists. He put Lewis third after Duke Ellington and Art Tatum.

Tatum had a great influence on Lewis. “My dad brought Art Tatum home when I was 11 and scared me to death,” Lewis recalled, “because I thought there were two piano players: Mr. Art and Mr. Tatum.”

“I can’t say [Tatum] influenced me to the point where I could play like Art Tatum. I don’t think anybody can play like Art Tatum,” added Lewis, who said during his childhood years, he was highly influenced by classic masters like Wanda Landowska and Vladimir Horowitz.

Ramsey Lewis is now part of the Ravinia Outreach program which includes professional jazz musicians touring the United States to introduce children to the fundamentals, history, and tradition of jazz. The program’s motto is: “Reach, Teach, and Play”.

Lewis’ 80th collection and latest album, Taking Another Look, was released a year ago. It showcases 10 songs with his Electric Band  and re-works many of Lewis’ favorite tunes, including “Sun Goddess” and Stevie Wonder’s “Living for the City”.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

Rachael MacFarlane’s Hayley Sings

Posted September 24th, 2012 at 1:36 pm (UTC+0)
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Rachael MacFarlane (Photo by Giuliano Bekor)

Rachael MacFarlane (Photo by Giuliano Bekor)

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – American actress and singer Rachael MacFarlane is releasing her new album Hayley Sings Tuesday. It showcases 14 jazz, blues and Big band oldies from the 1960s and 1970s reimagined for more contemporary audience. I talked with MacFarlane about the album’s collection of jazz and pop standards, and asked her why she is revisiting those years.

[audio:http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/2012_09/Rachel_MacFarlane_diaa_bekheet_jazzbeat_sept2012.mp3]

“My Dad introduced me to that music, you know, Carole King, Jim Croce, and Paul Simons when I was about six,” said MacFarlane, who started doing voice acting and kids animations some 15 years ago. “So, it was basically the soundtrack of my childhood, and for me it was really a treat to revisit it and tackle some of those iconic songs and put any spin on them.”

MacFarlane also talked about her music career, and answered some questions from Jazz Beat international audience in Alexandria and Cairo, Egypt, and in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates.

Two songs, “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Makin’ Whoopee,” will be included on the September 30 season-opening episode of Fox TV’s American Dad.

Rachael Ann MacFarlane was born on March 21, 1976. She’s best known for her appearances in Codename: Kids Next Door as supreme leader Numbuh 362 and the FOX animated series Family Guy and American Dad.

For more on jazz music, listen to VOA’s Jazz America

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UN9lJwV7ps

Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

About

About

VOA’s music bloggers bring you info about all kinds of music. Katherine Cole will keep you up-to-date on the world of Bluegrass and Americana music while Ray McDonald rocks the Pop charts and artists. Diaa Bekheet  jams with you on Jazz.  Visit us often. Your comments are welcome.

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