Lisa Batiashvili & Nikoloz Rachveli – City Lights (2020)

CDFrontCover1Elisabeth Batiashvili (born 7 March 1979), professionally known as Lisa Batiashvili, is a prominent Georgian violinist active across Europe and the United States.

A former New York Philharmonic artist-in-residence, she is acclaimed for her “natural elegance, silky sound and the meticulous grace of her articulation”.

Batiashvili makes frequent appearances at high-profile international events; she was the violin soloist at the 2018 Nobel Prize concert.

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Batiashvili was born in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, to a violinist father and a pianist mother. She began learning violin with her father from age four. The family left Georgia in 1991 when she was 12 years old, and settled in Germany.[3][4] She later studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg. Mark Lubotsky, her teacher in Hamburg, had been a student of David Oistrakh, for whom Shostakovich wrote his violin concertos.[5][6] Later, Lisa Batiashvili also studied with Ana Chumachenco.

In 1995, aged 16, she placed 2nd at the International Jean Sibelius Violin Competition in Helsinki.

Batiashvili was one of the first of the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists, from 1999 to 2001. She has collaborated in chamber music and concerto performances with cellist Alban Gerhardt and pianist Steven Osborne, both BBC New Generation Artists exactly contemporary with Batiashvili. She has also worked with a later BBC New Generation Artist, Ashley Wass, in recital. She made her BBC Proms debut in 2000.

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Magnus Lindberg dedicated a violin concerto to her, the world premiere of which she gave at Avery Fisher Hall, New York, on 22 August 2006 and European premiere in Sweden in October. Batiashvili and her husband, oboist François Leleux, commissioned from the Georgian composer Giya Kancheli the double concerto Broken Chant, which they premiered in February 2008 with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London. She also commissioned a solo violin encore from her compatriot Igor Loboda for solo violin, “Requiem for Ukraine”, which was meant to be a statement against conductor Valery Gergiev’s cozy relationship with the regime of Vladimir Putin.

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Batiashavili became artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic for the 2014/15 season, and with the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia for the 2017/18 season. In parallel, she has an artist residency with the NDR Symphony Orchestra.

Her commercial recordings include Magnus Lindberg’s Violin Concerto No. 1 as part of her recording contract with Sony Classical, which she signed in 2007. And more recently, she has recorded several albums with Deutsche Grammophon, including in 2016, a much-acclaimed album of the Tchaikovsky and Sibelius Violin Concertos and in 2017, an album of Prokofiev’s works including his Violin Concertos 1 and 2.

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She plays a 1739 Guarneri del Gesu violin (Cozio 61377) lent to her from the private collection of an anonymous German collector.

Batiashvili is married to French oboist François Leleux. They have resided in both Munich and France with their two children. (wikipedia)

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And here´s a very unique album by Lisa Batiashvili :

Lisa Batiashvili’s new album takes the listener across the world with eleven carefully chosen pieces that represent the most important cities in her life, as well as a suite based on Charlie Chaplin’s own music for City Lights and other films of his.
The idea came out of a conversation between Batiashvili and her friend the composer-arranger Nikoloz Rachveli. Batiashvili says: ‘Chaplin was very popular in Georgia when I was a child. He was a multi-talent, not only acting and making movies, but writing gorgeous music. For me, he represents the beauty and creative imagination of the 20th century.’ Their idea of creating a suite inspired by Charlie Chaplin’s music and his films grew into an autobiographical concept based on key cities in Batiashvili’s life, each of which has some personal, musical or violinistic connection.

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A journey from her native Georgia to Paris, Berlin, Buenos Aires and Hollywood features ground-breaking collaborations with artists as diverse as Miloš, Katie Melua and Till Brönner. City Lights shares the beautiful melodies from Cinema Paradiso and Chaplin’s own compositions with all time classics from Piazzolla, the late Michel Legrand – in new arrangements by Nikoloz Rachveli  – as well as J.S. Bach – arranged by Anders Hillborg  – and last, but not least a new song by Katie Melua about the magic of London. (press release)

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The idea for this recording came out of a casual conversation between fellow Georgians Lisa Batiashvili and Nikoloz Rachveli about the genius of film composers such as Chaplin and Morricone, and ended up as something of a travelogue, with each of its 12 tracks reflecting the violinist’s relationship with a different city. In many ways, it’s closer to a pop music concept album, like Sinatra’s ‘Come Fly with Me’ (1958), than a classical recital programme. Contributing to this impression, many of Rachveli’s arrangements have a lushness that brings to mind the work of, say, Billy May (who did the orchestrations for ‘Come Fly with Me’) or Nelson Riddle. The sound is slickly produced, with Batiashvili made an almost otherworldly presence, like the voice of the Wizard in The Wizard of Oz – reverberant and larger than life. There are a host of special effects, too. At the end of ‘Paris’, for instance, a technicoloured version of a sweetly nostalgic melody by Michel Legrand gradually fades to black-and-white, as the sound is manipulated to evoke a skipping, scratchy old record.

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The album begins with a medley of tunes from Chaplin films, shaped by Rachveli into a suave narrative arc. Hollywood glamour returns with the love theme from Morricone’s Cinema Paradiso, Batiashvili’s homage to ‘Rome’, in the guise of an unabashedly sentimental duet between Batiashvili and the cellist Maximilian Hornung. ‘Berlin’, a dramatic fantasy on ‘Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin’ (made famous by Marlene Dietrich), features the German jazz trumpeter Till Brönner, who improvises coolly around Batiashvili, who plays it straight, as it were. For ‘London’, the Georgian-born pop star Katie Melua sings a saccharine song she wrote for the album, which makes me feel a little less miffed that New York, my own city, is represented by Czech music – an excerpt from the slow movement of Dvořák’s New World Symphony.

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At no point can I fault Batiashvili’s playing. She’s unfailingly expressive and sends off fireworks when called for, as in The Lark – the Enescu-esque ‘Bucharest’ selection – or Strauss’s Furioso Galopp (‘Vienna’). Yet while the orchestral playing is well drilled, I often find it seems more dutiful than exuberant. Rhythms in the Piazzolla set, for instance, have nowhere near enough bite. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the most intensely played number is the one representing Tbilisi, Batiashvili and Rachveli’s hometown. It’s also the most daring musically. A Medley on Themes by Giya Kancheli may not seem promising on paper but Rachveli does justice to the Georgian composer who died last year. Here, at last, given meaningful contrast, the thread of sentimentality that runs through the record shines pure and bright.


Lisa Batiashvili (violin)
Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra
Georgian Philharmonic Orchestra (on 10. – 12.)
Conductor: Nikoloz Rachveli
David Abesadze (vocals on 12.)
Till Brönner (trumpet on 04.)
Tim Harries (bass on 10.)
Maximilian Hornung (cello on 07.)
Milos Karadaglic (guitar on 08.)
David Nozadze (vocals on 12.)



City Memories (Chaplin) 7.15.
01.1. The Terry Theme (From The Film Limelight)
01.2. La Violetera (From The Film City Lights)
01.1. Je Cherche Après Titine (From The Film Modern Times)
01.4. Awakening (From Limelight)

02. Ich ruf zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ BWV 639 (Bach) 3.34

03. Paris Violon (Legrand) 4.21

04. Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin (Siegel) 7.50

05. Evening Song (Traditional) 4.28

06. Furioso Galopp Op. 114 (Strauss/Liszt) 3.00

07. Love Theme (From The Film Cinema Paradiso) (A.Morricone/E.Moriccone) 4.22

Buenos Aires:
08. Adiós Nonino – Vuelvo Al Sur – Buenos Aires Hora Cero (Piazolla) 7.02

New York:
09. Largo (From Symphony No. 9 “From The New World” Op. 95) (Dvorak) 4.51

10. No Better Magic (Melua) 5.46

11. The Lark (After A Romanian Folk Song) (Koncz) 3.10

12. Medley On Themes By Giya Kancheli (For Violin, Tape And Orchestra) 10.16
Herio Bichebo / Tovlis Panteli / Lament / Styx




Nikoloz Rachveli (born 15 May 1979) is a Georgian conductor, composer and cultural manager. He composes and arranges for theatre and film, using themes from Georgian and non-Georgian composers. Memanishvili is the Principal Conductor of the Georgia National Symphony Orchestra, and Head of the Georgia National Music Center. He has been leading the Mikeladze Symphony Orchestra since 2007. (wikipedia)

The official website:

The Barry Sisters – Sing (1957)

LPFrontCover1The Barry Sisters:

Minnie Bagelman (April 6, 1923 – October 31, 1976) and Clara Bagelman (October 17, 1920 – November 22, 2014), best known under the stage names Merna and Claire Barry, were popular American Yiddish and jazz entertainers from the 1940s to the early 1970s.

Minnie and Clara were born in the Bronx, New York to Ashkenazi Jewish parents, Herman and Ester, from the Russian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, respectively. Herman Bagelman was born in present-day Berdychiv, Ukraine. Minnie and Clara also had two younger sisters, Celia and Julia. When Minnie and Clara decided to entertain by singing in Yiddish, as The Bagelman Sisters, their father told them they would need to do it in the manner of the Old World and not with American accents.

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The young girls got their first break as singers on WLTH Radio’s Uncle Norman show for children and were still then known as The Bagelman Sisters. They cut their first recordings with Victor Records in the late 1930s, and made a name for themselves as Yiddish jazz singers. When the Andrews Sisters’ version of the Yiddish song, “Bei Mir Bistu Shein” (as “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”), became a hit, musician and composer Sam Medoff, known professionally as Dick Manning, started his Yiddish Melodies in Swing radio program on New York’s WHN. Before joining the radio show, the sisters made a change of their stage surname, from Bagelman to Barry.

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From 1937 until the mid-1950s they performed on the program, where they would sing jazz recordings in Yiddish.[5] Their recordings included popular tunes, such as “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head”, translated into Yiddish (“Trop’ns Fin Regen Oif Mein Kop”). They also performed in New York’s Catskills resort hotels. They eventually toured with Mickey Katz. During the height of their popularity, they made appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, The Jack Paar Program and The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. They were one of the few American acts to tour the Soviet Union in 1959. The sisters also entertained Israeli troops during the Yom Kippur War. The Barry Sisters “didn’t look like the typical Yiddish theater stars or singers of that era”, it was observed. “They looked glamorous. And they spared no expense for their orchestrations—they always had the best orchestrations possible.”

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The sisters’ 11th and final album, Our Way, was issued in 1973.

Merna Barry, later Mrs. Emanuel Pine, was born on April 6, 1923 and died on October 31, 1976, aged 53 (not 51 as was misreported) from a brain tumor following a lengthy hospitalization in Manhattan’s Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospital.

Claire Barry (later Mrs. Easton) was born on October 17, 1920 and died on November 22, 2014, aged 94, in Aventura, Florida, having survived her younger sister by 38 years. She was survived by a daughter, Joy Pargman. Claire Barry Easton was featured in the 2002 NPR radio show, The Yiddish Radio Project. (wikipedia)

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And here´s their second album:

An early and wonderful example of their very unique mixture between Jewish songs and a fanastic Jazz feeling … very special, very good !


Clara Bagelman (vocals)
Minnie Bagelman (vocals)
The Abraham Ellstein Orchestra

CD front+backcover:

01. Beltz (Olshanetzky/Jacobs) 3.33
02. Shein Vi Di Levone (Tauber/Rumshinsky) 2.24
03. My Yiddishe Momme (Polack/Yellen) 4.41
04. Beit Mich Abisele (Lillian/Jacobs/Ellstein) 2.22
05. Roumania (Lebedeff) 4.01
06. Vi Iz Dus Gesele (Ellstein) 3.29
07. Roshinkes Un Mandlin (Ellstein) 3.27
08. Abi Gezunt (Picon/Ellstein) 2.37
09. Otchi Chornia (Ellstein) 3.22
10. Ay Ay Hora (Ellstein) 2.20
11. Der Alter Tzigeuner (Ellstein/Jacobs) 3.46
12. My Mother’s Sabbath Candles (Tellen) 2.51
13. Abi Er Ken Tanzen (Windisch/Berman) (as “Bagelman Sisters; 1939) 3.24



Single 1939

Abraham “Abe” Ellstein (July 7, 1907 – March 22, 1963) was an American composer for Yiddish entertainments. Along with Shalom Secunda, Joseph Rumshinsky, and Alexander Olshanetsky, Ellstein was one of the “big four” composers of his era in New York City’s Yiddish Theater District scene. His musical Yidl Mitn Fidl became one of the greatest hits of Yiddish-language cinema.

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He was born on the Lower East Side, Manhattan, at that time an Eastern European Jewish immigrant area. His musical education began at the Third Street Music School Settlement. From the age of nine to thirteen, he studied piano with Frederick Jacobi. He was the conductor of the boy’s choir of the Broadway production Richard III, at only thirteen years old. He went on to study at the Graduate School of Juilliard, training as a conductor, with a major in composition.

Ellstein’s only opera, The Golem, had its world premiere at the New York City Opera under the baton of music director Julius Rudel on March 23, 1962.[3] The libretto was created by the composer and his wife, Sylvia Regan, based on the mythical Golem tale of the Central European Jews. (wikipedia)

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Hans Reichel – The Death Of The Rare Bird Ymir (1979)

FrontCover1Hans Reichel (10 May 1949 – 22 November 2011) was a German improvisational guitarist, experimental luthier, inventor, and type designer.

Reichel was born in Hagen, Germany. He began to teach himself violin at age seven, playing in the school orchestra until age fifteen.

Around the same time, he began to play guitar and became interested in The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and later, Frank Zappa, Cream, and Jimi Hendrix.

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He left music in the late 1960s to pursue font design and typesetting. He returned to music in the early 1970s, when he recorded a tape of guitar music. This recording was sent to the jury of the German Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, where he was asked to appear in a special concert for newcomers. Discussions with Jost Gebers, the founder of Free Music Production, led to the release on his debut album, Wichlinghauser Blues (FMP, 1973).

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During the 1980s and 1990s, Reichel recorded solo albums and duets with Rüdiger Carl, Tom Cora, Eroc, Fred Frith, and Kazuhisa Uchihashi. He was featured in ‘Crossing Bridges’, a 1983 music programme based around jazz guitar improvisation, and broadcast by Channel 4 He was a member of the September Band with Paul Lovens, Rüdiger Carl, and Shelley Hirsch. He also worked with groups led by Thomas Borgmann and Butch Morris. The record labels Intakt, Rastascan, and Table of the Elements released some of Reichel’s albums, compensating for the limited distribution of FMP.

In 1997, he was named one of the “30 Most Radical Guitarists” by Guitar Player magazine. He died at the age of 62 in Wuppertal, Germany. (wikipedia)

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And here´s 5th solo album:

Even American rock stars revere him as the father of their skills. But in his native Germany, the Wuppertal guitarist Hans Reichel leads a shadowy existence. Yet he has expanded the sound spectrum of his instrument to infinity – simply by ingenious manipulations (string guide, frets, pick-up positions). Reichel is a sound designer in two senses: first he builds, then he plays. Now there are two old LPs from 1979 and 1981 to be rediscovered: surprisingly traditional (understood as an antithesis to “free”), more folk than avant-garde, yet excitingly modern. (Stereoplay)

Take an inventor/improvisor and give him a classical guitar and you get a very beautiful and interesting album. (by proclaimation)

This music is a smorgasbord of delights that will continue to elicit pleasant feelings on every listen. (Anonymous)

Rating: exquisite !!!


Hans Reichel (guitar)


The Youth Of The Rare Bird Ymir:
01. Good Days I 4.53
02. The Call I 2.37
03. The Flight 3.49
04. The Dream 2.34
05. Good Days II 3.35

The Death Of The Rare Bird Ymir
06. The Call II / The Death Of The Rare Bird Ymir 20.34

Music: Hans Reichel


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Connie Francis – Sings Jewish Favorites (1960)

FrontCover1Concetta Rosa Maria Franconero (born December 12, 1937), known professionally as Connie Francis, is an American pop singer, actress, and top-charting female vocalist of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Called the “First Lady of Rock & Roll” in one headline of a marginal publication, she is estimated to have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

In 1960, Francis was recognized as the most successful female artist in Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia and in every other country where records were purchased. She was the first woman in history to reach No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, just one of her other 53 career hits

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Connie Francis sings Jewish Favorites is a studio album of Jewish songs recorded by American entertainer Connie Francis.

After the success of her 1959 album Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites (which remained on the album charts for 81 weeks and peaked at number four), Francis decided to release more albums which appealed to immigrant communities in the United States.

In July 1960, Francis was in Hollywood for the interior shots of her first motion picture Where The Boys Are which made it impossible for her to record the album during live sessions at EMI’s famous Abbey Road Studios in London, as she had done with Connie Francis Sings Italian Favorites. Hence, the playbacks to these songs were pre-recorded in London under the supervision of Francis’ British producer Norman Newell, and were conducted by Brian Fahey. The tapes containing these playbacks were shipped to Hollywood, where Francis overdubbed her vocals.

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According to Ron Roberts, all the recording dates and titles included in the 1975 edition of his series of Connie Francis discographies were faithful copies of sessions logs compiled at the time by Connie herself. The entire Jewish album was recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road studios, together with her preceding release, Connie Francis Sings Spanish & Latin American Favorites, and the subsequent album More Italian Favorites. It was the last album that could not be completed during the July sessions, and final tracks by Connie were cut in September 1960.

Francis, who had grown up in an Italian-Jewish neighborhood in Newark, spoke Yiddish fluently and was familiar with songs in Hebrew, which prompted her to record the songs either entirely in Yiddish or Hebrew or bilingually, with a few lines sung in English.

Alternate edition:
Alternate edition

The album was originally released in October 1960 under the catalogue numbers E-3869 (mono pressings) and SE-3869 (stereo) on MGM Records. The album consisted of 12 songs, although 13 playbacks had been produced. However, conflicts with Francis’ busy schedule of filming, recording for other markets and public appearances led to her not overdubbing vocals for her rendition of “Eli, Eli”.

According to Ron Roberts, Francis did record “Eli Eli” in London during the Jewish album sessions and it had not been deferred because of other schedules. The backing track to this and several tapes of Connie’s London sessions were discovered in the EMI vaults when the MGM Records label was taken over by Polydor. Francis eventually utilised the backing track in 1983 when she recorded a new vocal. (wikipedia)

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In addition to her many successful albums of waltzes, pop hits, Broadway show tunes, rock & roll tributes, country & western, Christmas, and children’s music, Connie Francis also recorded a series of albums devoted to different ethnic traditions, an important ingredient in her life and work. Born Concetta Rosemarie Franconero in Newark, NJ, she grew up in what she later described as “a totally Jewish neighborhood,” where she learned to speak Yiddish fluently. Legend has it she agreed to change her stage name to “Francis” after Arthur Godfrey had difficulty pronouncing “Franconero.” Acting on advice from her father, the singer devoted an entire album to “Italian Favorites” and subsequently took on melodies from both Spanish and Jewish traditions. This eventually led to the creation of Hawaiian, Portuguese, Latin American, German, Irish, and catchall “International” Connie Francis albums. The first thing one notices about her “Jewish Favorites” is the bright and brassy early-’60s production with lush orchestral accompaniments and lots of reverb.


Then one marvels at the ease with which she expresses herself in this rich dialect, focusing upon two distinctive categories of song. On the one hand there are the high-stepping Jewish dances, some of them centuries old (“Tzena Tzena,” “Hava Nagila,” and the magnificently Eastern Mediterranean-sounding “Shein Vi de Levone,” during which she sings a stunning overdubbed duet with herself). Most of the songs presented here reflect that other aspect of Jewish American culture: the slow, sentimental song (“My Yiddishe Momme,” “O Mein Papa,” and “Mein Shtetele Belz”). In the final analysis, this is remarkably refined music — polished and pretty, soulful and sweet. (by arwulf arwulf)


Connie Francis (vocals)
Geoff Love & His Orchestra

01. Tzena, Tzena, Tzena (Miron/Chagiz) 1.56
02. My Yiddishe Momme (Yellen/Pollack) 4.12
03. I Love You Much Too Much (Ich hob dich zifeel lieb) (Olshanetsky/Towber) 3.19
04. Shein vi di Levone (Rumshinsky) 2.03
05. Mein Shtetele Belz (Olshanetsky) 3.02
06. O mein Papa (Burkhard/Turner/Parsons) 3.27
07. Anniversary Song (live)(Traditional) 2.23
08. Oifen pripetchik (Traditional) 2.50
09. Havah Negilah (Dance Everyone Dance) (live) (Traditional) 2.48
10. Yossel, Yossel (Casman/Shteinberg) 2.31
11. Wus Geven Is Geven (Traditional) 3.18
12. Mom-e-le (Goodhart/Parish) 4.03



Liner Notes

More from Connie Francis:
MoreThe official website:

Ry Cooder & David Lindley – The Family Tour (1995)

FrontCover1Ryland Peter “Ry” Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, record producer, and writer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in traditional music, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.

Cooder’s solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Taj Mahal, Gordon Lightfoot, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Linda Ronstadt, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson and The Textones (on record and film). He formed the band Little Village, and produced the album Buena Vista Social Club (1997), which became a worldwide hit; Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

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Cooder was ranked at No. 8 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, while a 2010 list by Gibson Guitar Corporation placed him at No. 32. In 2011, he published a collection of short stories called Los Angeles Stories. (wikipedia)

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David Perry Lindley (born March 21, 1944) is an American musician who founded the band El Rayo-X, and has worked with many other performers including Jackson Browne, Ry Cooder, Bonnie Raitt, Warren Zevon, Curtis Mayfield and Dolly Parton. He has mastered such a wide variety of instruments that Acoustic Guitar magazine referred to Lindley not as a multi-instrumentalist, but instead as a “maxi-instrumentalist.”


The majority of the instruments that Lindley plays are string instruments, including the acoustic and electric guitar, upright and electric bass, banjo, lap steel guitar, mandolin, hardingfele, bouzouki, cittern, bağlama, gumbus, charango, cümbüş, oud, and zither.

Lindley was a founding member of the 1960s band Kaleidoscope, and has worked as musical director for several touring artists. In addition, he has occasionally scored and composed music for film.


And here´s a delightful broadcast recording from Cooder & Lindley when Ry Cooder & David Lindley went out on a short tour across Europe, Cooder s last solo-album had been 1987 s Get Rhythm. He had, however been spending time working alongside a number of fellow musicians during this period, such as Malain guitarist, Ali Farka Touré, Hindi slide and classical guitarist, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and, most successfully, with John Hiatt, Nick Lowe and Jim Keltner, as a member of Little Village. David Lindley, as was his want, had also been collaborating with others, most recently with Warren Zevon, on Zevon s ninth record Mutineer. But in the early summer of 95, both these master musicians decided to keep it in the family , and indeed set out for a jaunt with Cooder s son, drummer, percussionist and keyboard player Joaquim in tow, and with Lindley s daughter, vocalist Roseanne, on what came to be known as The Family Tour.


The entourage performed in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Italy et al, and on 6th July they played in Vienna at the prestigious State Opera House, for a concert that was recorded and broadcast both locally and back home in the US. Playing a superb and eclectic set, with all members of the line-up taking turns to front this delightful combo, (


You would have thought this was recorded yesterday the sound is so good and the combination of Ry Cooder and David Lindley with David’s daughter singing some numbers and Ry’s son on percussion quite a family affair works so well. Anything with Lindley in is well worth it he only plays with the best and 140 mins of happy music in times of Coronavirus you may be cheered up (Jim Sproull)

Alternate front + backcover:

A real treat unearthed from the vaults. What a wonderful live performance of two excellent guitarists, featuring their fine slide work in particular and the soulful bluesy vocal of Roseanne Lindley. Good variety, including a traditional Irish tune and one from Madagascar but also some of the slow mournful stuff such as the theme from Paris Texas and Vigilante Man which doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the great up-tempo material embracing reggae rhythms, old r n b, gospel, blues, soul and rock.
The highest quality pin-sharp recording in the Vienna Opera house.(Mal)

Cooder & Lindley, assisted by their offspring, tackle a wide ranging collection of song styles , working hard to involve a rather stolid & reserved audience in this Viennese palace of culture. Maybe something got lost in translation. Pristine recording, virtuoso performances as one would expect from this lineup. (Doris H.)

 Recorded live at Opera House, Vienna /Austria, 06. July 1995
(excellent broadcast recording)


Joachim Cooder (drums, percussion)
Ry Cooder (guitar, vocals, accordion, bouzouki, tambora, mandolin)
David Lindley (guitar, vocals, bajo sexto, bouzouki, tambora)
Rosanne Lindley (vocals, guitar)

Another alternate frontcover:


CD 1:
01. Intro 1.23
02. Promised Land (Lindley) 6.38
03. Jesus On The Mainline (Traditional) 6.15
04. Mercury Blues (Douglas) 7.57
05. Afindafrindrao (Madagascar) (Traditional) 5.28
06. Si Beg Si Mhor (O`Carolan) 2.54
07. Paris Texas (Cooder)  / Vigilante Man (Guthrie) 10.32
08. All Shook Up (Blackwell/Presley) 6.01
09. That’s The Way The Girls Are From Texas (Chambers/Holiday/Lewis) 6.05
10. How Can A Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live (Reed) 7.11
11. Leave Home Blues (Lindley) 4.07

CD 2:
01. I´m A Lonesome Fugitive (Haggard) 3.57
02. Me And My Chauffeur (Memphis Minnie) 4.03
03. Ain´t No Way Baby (Lindley) 4.55
04. Break Up Your Happy Home (Matthews/Jackson Jr.) 4.38
05. Little Sister (Shuman/Pomus) 3.41
06. Play It All Night Long (Zevon) 6.43
07. If Walls Could Talk (Miller) /Smell (Davis) / 5-10-15 (Boyd/Powell) 8.32
06. Hold That Snake (Cooder) 6.27
07. Talk To The Lawyer (Lindley) 5.32
08. Good Night Irene (Ledbetter) 9.11
09. The Very Thing That Makes You Rich (Bailey) 5.55
10. Do You Want My Job (CooderHiatt/Keltner/Lowe) 6.21



More from Ry Cooder:

More from David Lindley:

The official Ry Cooder website:
Ry Cooder Website

The official David Lindley website:
David Lindley Website

Luiz Bonfa – Plays Great Songs (1968)

LPFrontCover1Luiz Floriano Bonfá (17 October 1922 – 12 January 2001) was a Brazilian guitarist and composer. He was best known for the music he composed for the film Black Orpheus.

Luiz Floriano Bonfá was born on October 17, 1922, in Rio de Janeiro. He began studying with Uruguayan classical guitarist Isaías Sávio at the age of 11. These weekly lessons entailed a long, harsh commute (on foot, plus two and half hours on train) from his family home in Santa Cruz, in the western rural outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, to the teacher’s home in the hills of Santa Teresa. Given Bonfá’s extraordinary dedication and talent for the guitar, Sávio excused the youngster’s inability to pay for his lessons.

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Bonfá first gained widespread exposure in Brazil in 1947 when he was featured on Rio’s Rádio Nacional, then an important showcase for up-and-coming talent. He was a member of the vocal group Quitandinha Serenaders in the late 1940s. Some of his first compositions such as “Ranchinho de Palha”, “O Vento Não Sabe”, were recorded and performed by Brazilian crooner Dick Farney in the 1950s. Bonfá’s first hit song was “De Cigarro em Cigarro” recorded by Nora Ney in 1957. It was through Farney that Bonfá was introduced to Antônio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, the leading songwriting team behind the worldwide explosion of the great Bossa Nova in the late 1950s to 1970s, becoming a fever in the US. Bonfá collaborated with them and with other prominent Brazilian musicians and artists in productions of de Moraes’ anthological play Orfeu da Conceição, which several years later gave origin to Marcel Camus’ film Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro in Portuguese). In the burgeoning days of Rio de Janeiro’s thriving jazz scene, it was commonplace for musicians, artists, and dramatists to collaborate in such theatrical presentations. Bonfá wrote some of the original music featured in the film, including the numbers “Samba de Orfeu” and his most famous composition, “Manhã de Carnaval” (of which Carl Sigman later wrote a different set of English lyrics titled “A Day in the Life of a Fool”), which has been among the top ten standards played worldwide, according to The Guinness Book of World Records.

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As a composer and performer, Bonfá was at heart an exponent of the bold, lyrical, lushly orchestrated, and emotionally charged samba-canção style that predated the arrival of João Gilberto’s more refined and subdued bossa nova style. Jobim, João Donato, Dorival Caymmi, and other contemporaries were also essentially samba-canção musicians until the sudden, massive popularity of the young Gilberto’s unique style of guitar playing and expressively muted vocals transformed the music of the day into the music of the future. Camus’ film and Gilberto’s and Jobim’s collaborations with American jazzmen such as Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd did much to bring Brazilian popular music to the attention of the world, and Bonfá became a highly visible ambassador of Brazilian music in the United States beginning with the famous November 1962 Bossa Nova concert at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

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Bonfá worked with American musicians such as Quincy Jones, George Benson, Stan Getz, and Frank Sinatra, recording several albums while in U.S. Elvis Presley sang a Bonfá composition, “Almost in Love” with lyrics by Randy Starr in the 1968 MGM film Live a Little, Love a Little. Also of note is his “The Gentle Rain”, with lyrics by Matt Dubey, “”Non-Stop To Brazil”” (recorded by Astrud Gilberto) and “Sambolero”. From 1990 to 1999, Bonfá worked with singer Ithamara Koorax on several recordings and concerts, appearing live with her as special guest at several venues in Rio de Janeiro such as Teatro Rival, BNDES Auditorium and Funarte-Sidney Miller Hall. They also recorded together, in 1996, the album Almost In Love – Ithamara Koorax Sings The Luiz Bonfá Songbook, featuring Bonfá on acoustic guitar plus special guests Larry Coryell, Eumir Deodato, Ron Carter, Marcos Suzano, and Sadao Watanabe. The sessions, produced by Arnaldo DeSouteiro, were filmed for a Japanese TV broadcast presented by Sadao Watanabe.

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Bonfá wrote soundtracks for two dozens of movies, such as Black Orpheus, O Santo Módico, Os Cafajestes, The Gentle Rain, Pour Un Amour Lointain, Le Ore dell’Amore, Carnival Of Crime and Prisoner Of Rio (on which he collaborated with arranger Hans Zimmer), among many others. He died of prostate cancer at 78 in Rio de Janeiro on January 12, 2001. At the time of his death, he was working in the soundtracks for a movie produced and starred by Karen Black and for a Broadway show titled Brazilian Bombshell based in the life of Carmen Miranda and to be starred by Sonia Braga. (wikipedia)

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This is an album with another really good guitar (released in Spain same year as “Grandes Standards”, but for my taste there are too many strings … and that is a pity, because his guitar alone is already a pleasure !


Luiz Bonfa (guitar)
unknown orchestra conducted by Nick Perito

Alternate edition from Australia:
Alternate Edition (Australia)

01. Born Free (Black/Barry) 3.02
02. Moon River (Mercer/Mancini) 3.18
03. Spanish Eyes (Kampfert/Singelton/Snyder) 2.26
04. Strangers In The Night (Kampfert/Singelton/Snyder) 3.05
05. Bubala (Bonfa) 2.04
06. The Exodus Song (Boone/Gold) 3.13
07. More (Newell/Oliviero/Ortolani) 2.49
08. Somewhere My Love (Webster/Jarre) 3.09
09. Yellow Bird (Keith/Bergman/Luboff) 2.34
10. A Day In The Life Of A Fool (Manhã de Carnaval) (Sigman/Bonfa) 3.16
11. Seville (Bonfa) 2.14
12. A Man And A Woman (Bocouh/Lai/Keller) 2.18



Alternate frontcovers from Spain and Japan:
AlternatefCDs (Spain + Japan)


Nick Perito

Luiz Bonfa06

Martin Denny – Primitiva (1958)

FrontCover1Martin Denny (April 10, 1911 – March 2, 2005) was an American pianist and composer best known as the “father of exotica.” In a long career that saw him performing up to 3 weeks prior to his death, he toured the world popularizing his brand of lounge music which included exotic percussion, imaginative rearrangements of popular songs, and original songs that celebrated Tiki culture.

Denny was born in New York City and raised in Los Angeles. He studied classical piano and toured South America for four and a half years in the 1930s with the Don Dean Orchestra. This tour began Denny’s fascination with Latin rhythms. Denny collected a large number of ethnic instruments from all over the world, which he used to spice up his stage performances.

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After serving in the United States Army Air Forces in World War II, Denny returned to Los Angeles, in 1945 where he studied piano and composition under Dr. Wesley La Violette[5] and orchestration under Arthur Lange at the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. He later studied at the University of Southern California.

In January 1954, Don the Beachcomber brought Denny to Honolulu, for a two-week engagement. He stayed to form his own combo in 1955, performing under contract at the Shell Bar in the Hawaiian Village on Oahu and soon signing to Liberty Records. The original combo consisted of Augie Colon on percussion and birdcalls, Arthur Lyman on vibes, John Kramer on string bass, and Denny on piano. Lyman soon left to form his own group and future Herb Alpert sideman and Baja Marimba Band founder Julius Wechter replaced him. Harvey Ragsdale later replaced Kramer.

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“We traveled a lot on the Mainland, but we came back every 12 weeks because the guys had their families here [in Hawaii],” recalled Denny. In 1955, the musician met his future wife, June, and married her the following year. His daughter, Christina was born a few years later. “I loved the lifestyle and my career was built here,” said Denny.

Denny described the music his combo played as “window dressing, a background”.[8] He built a collection of strange and exotic instruments with the help of several airline friends. They would bring Denny back these instruments and he would build arrangements around them. His music was a combination of ethnic styles: South Pacific, the Orient and Latin rhythms.

Martin Denny04

During an engagement at the Shell Bar, Denny discovered what would become his trademark and the birth of “exotica”. The bar had a very exotic setting: a little pool of water right outside the bandstand, rocks and palm trees growing around, very quiet and relaxed. As the group played at night, Denny became aware of bullfrogs croaking. The croaking blended with the music and when the band stopped, so did the frogs. He thought it was a coincidence at first, but when he tried the tune again later, the same thing happened. This time, his bandmates began doing all sorts of tropical bird calls as a gag. The band thought it nothing more than a joke. The next day, someone approached Denny and asked if he would do the arrangement with the birds and frogs. He agreed. At rehearsal, he had the band do “Quiet Village” with each doing a bird call spaced apart. Denny did the frog part on a grooved cylinder and the whole thing became incorporated into the arrangement of “Quiet Village”. It sold more than one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc.

The album jacket was an influential factor guiding the fantasy of Denny’s music. Denny’s first dozen albums featured model Sandy Warner on the cover.

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Art designers always changed her looks to fit the mood of the package. For instance, we called one album with an African sound Afro-desia and Sandy dyed her hair blond for the photo session; she’s seen against a background of colorful African masks. When we did Hypnotique, which is surrealistic, she had dark hair. For Primitiva, she was photographed standing waist-deep in water.

The Exotica album was recorded in December 1956 and released in 1957. In 1958, Dick Clark hosted Denny on American Bandstand. “Quiet Village” reached #2 on Billboard’s charts in 1959 with the Exotica album reaching #1. He rode the charts of Cashbox and Variety also. Denny had as many as three or four albums on the charts simultaneously during his career. He had national hits with “A Taste of Honey”, “The Enchanted Sea”, and “Ebb Tide”.

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Denny died in Honolulu on March 2, 2005, aged 93. Following a private memorial service, his ashes were scattered at sea.

His combo spawned two successful offshoots: Julius Wechter (of Tijuana Brass and Baja Marimba Band fame) and exotica vibist Arthur Lyman.

Denny’s “Firecracker” is well known in Japan as the number which inspired Haruomi Hosono to establish Yellow Magic Orchestra; a “subversive” version of the song, according to Hosono, appears on the band’s eponymous debut album and was released as a single to promote it, charting at No. 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 18 on the Billboard R&B Singles charts. The song was later adapted into Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real”.

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Former Psychic TV member Fred Giannelli released an album in 1991 entitled Fred;[16] the second track on that album is “Mr. Denny”, an instrumental tribute to Martin Denny that features excerpts of an interview with him.

Denny’s recordings are prominently featured in the 1999 film Breakfast of Champions, based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel. This is primarily because the car dealership featured in the film is having a Hawaiian-based promotion.

Denny’s music is a recurring theme in the Sandman Slim series of fantasy novels by Richard Kadrey, where his music is always playing on the jukebox in the Bamboo House of Dolls, “LA’s only punk tiki bar”.(wikipedia)

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Originally released in 1958, Primitiva is a rhythmically rich and inimitably exotic Martin Denny experience. Reissued by Jackpot Records on limited edition lagoon blue color vinyl, Primitiva highlights the burgeoning sound of ’50s exotica music, with Denny’s diverse soundscape ranging from vibraphones and marimbas, to Burmese gongs and Buddhist prayer bowls. This third outing from the father of exotica shines in style with stand-out tracks like “Burma Train”, “M’Gambo Mambo”, and “Jamaica Farewell” spanning from the Caribbean coast, to the South Pacific islands, and beyond. Pairing perfectly with beachside Mai Tais and ornamental umbrellas, Primitiva is a hallmark of the mid-century’s lounge music fascination, and is replete with animal cries, pulsing percussion, and enough groovy goodness to keep it a mainstay of your rotation.

Really great exotica, and really hard to find in the wild! What a cover! Image and letting are insane. (


August Colon (percussion voice: bird calls)
Martin Denny (piano, celeste)
Harvey Ragsdale (bass, marimbula)
Julius Wechter (vibraphone marimba, percussion)
Roy Hart (percussion)
Harold V. Johnson (use of authentic collection of instruments)
Tak-Shindo (koto)
Jerry Williams (percusion)


01. Burma Train (Johnson/Denny) 2.56
02. Kalua (Darby) 2.40
03. M’Gambo Mambo (Williams) 2.06
04. Buddhist Bells (Johnson/Denny) 2.56
05. M’Bira (Johnson/Denny) 2.50
06. Flamingo (Anderson/Grouya) 2.45
07. Llama Serenade (Peruvian Llama Song) (Wolcott) 2.12
08. Akaka Falls (Parker) 2.50
09. Bangkok Cockfight (Baxter) 2.19
10. Mau Mau (Wechter) 2.35
11. Dites Moi (Rodgers/Hammerstein, II) 2.39
12. Jamaica Farewell (Burgess) 2.17




Martin Denny08

Ry Cooder – Blue City (OST) (1986)

FrontCover1Ryland Peter “Ry” Cooder (born March 15, 1947) is an American musician, songwriter, film score composer, record producer, and writer. He is a multi-instrumentalist but is best known for his slide guitar work, his interest in traditional music, and his collaborations with traditional musicians from many countries.

Cooder’s solo work draws upon many genres. He has played with John Lee Hooker, Captain Beefheart, Taj Mahal, Gordon Lightfoot, Ali Farka Touré, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, Linda Ronstadt, Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, David Lindley, The Chieftains, The Doobie Brothers, and Carla Olson and The Textones (on record and film). He formed the band Little Village, and produced the album Buena Vista Social Club (1997), which became a worldwide hit; Wim Wenders directed the documentary film of the same name (1999), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2000.

Cooder was ranked at No. 8 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2003 list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, while a 2010 list by Gibson Guitar Corporation placed him at No. 32. In 2011, he published a collection of short stories called Los Angeles Stories. (wikipedia)

Ry Cooder

Whether serving as a session musician, solo artist, or soundtrack composer, Ry Cooder’s chameleon-like guitar virtuosity, songwriting, and choice of cover material encompass an incredibly eclectic range of North American musical styles from rock & roll, blues, reggae, Tex-Mex, Hawaiian, Dixieland jazz, country, folk, R&B, gospel, and vaudeville. Cooder is also an unofficial American cultural ambassador who was partially responsible for bringing together the Cuban musicians known globally as the Buena Vista Social Club. (by Steve Huey)

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And here´s his soundtrack to the movie “Blue City”:

Blue City is a 1986 American action thriller film directed by Michelle Manning and starring Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, and David Caruso. It is based on Ross Macdonald’s 1947 novel of the same name about a young man who returns to a corrupt small town in Florida to avenge the death of his father.

Movie Poster

A young man, Billy Turner, returns to his hometown of Blue City, Florida, after five years away. He gets into a bar fight and is thrown in jail. Then, he learns that his father Jim, the town’s mayor, was killed while he was gone. The chief of police, Luther Reynolds, tells Billy that the police did not find the killer but that Perry Kerch, Jim’s widow’s business partner, was a suspect. Billy decides to start his own investigation. He meets with his old friend, Joey Rayford, who refuses to help him.

Blue City01

Billy then meets with Kerch. Kerch says that he did not kill Jim and then has his thugs beat up Billy. Billy talks to Joey again, and Joey agrees to help him take down Kerch. Billy blows up Kerch’s car and robs Kerch’s thugs of money. Joey’s sister, Annie, does not approve of what Billy and Joey are doing, but they refuse to stop. Billy gives Annie a ride home, and they have sex. Afterwards, they start a relationship with each other. Annie, who works at the police station, starts to help Billy with investigating Jim’s murder. Billy and Joey go to a club that Kerch owns, beat up the workers, and wreck the club. Kerch and Reynolds both continue trying to get Billy to leave town, without success.

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Billy, Joey, and Annie get lured to a motel. Kerch’s thugs arrive, a gunfight ensues, and Kerch’s thugs are killed. Reynolds forces Billy to leave. After he leaves, he learns that Joey was shot and killed. Billy returns and goes to confront Kerch at Kerch’s house. Reynolds shows up, as well, and kills Kerch and his thugs. Then, Reynolds shoots Billy and reveals that he killed Jim. Billy fights and kills Reynolds. The police arrive, everything is sorted out, and Billy and Annie leave town on Billy’s motorcycle. (wikipedia)

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A very enjoyable soundtrack to a rather mediocre film. Cooder’s take on Johnny Cash’s “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town” alone is worth the price of admission. “Tell Me Something Slick” features the fabulous vocal stylings of Terry Evans and Bobby King. Other standout tracks are the irresistably funky “Blue City Down” and the quietly infectious closer “Not Even Key West”. Recorded at Ocean Way by Mark Ettel (who had previously also recorded Cooder’s soundtrack to “Paris, Texas”) and mastered by Bernie Grundman. Recommended! (Maria B.)


Jorge Calderon (bass)
Ry Cooder (guitar, slide guitar, vocals on 01. + 09., wind, piano on 05., background vocals on 01.)
Miguel Cruz (percussion)
Jim Dickinson (keyboards)
Jim Keltner (drums, wind. piano on 05.)
Jorge Calderon (piano on 05.)
Bill Cuomo (synthesizer on 02.)
Nathan East (bass on 01., 02. + 07.)
Alejandro Escovedo (guitar on 03.)
Javier Escovedo (guitar, vocals on 03.)
Terry Evans (vocals on 07.)
Kevin Foley (drums on 03.)
Denny DeGorio (bass on 03.)
Jon Dee Graham (lead guitar on 03.)
Robert Greenidge (steel drums on 02. + 10.)
Bobby King (vocals on 07.)
Gayle Levant (harp on 10.)
Michelle Manning (wind, piano on 05.)
Benmont Tench (organ on 02. + 10.)
background vocals on 01.):
Bobby King – Terry Evans

01. Blue City Down (Dickinson) 3.28
02. Elevation 13 Ft. (Cooder) 3.18
03. True Believers (Marianne) (J.Escovedo) 3.00
04. Nice Bike (Cooder) 1.36
05. Greenhouse (Cooder) 4.19
06. Billy And Annie (Cooder) 2.44
07. Pops And ‘Timer (Tell Me Something Slick) (Dickinson) 2.50
08. Blue City (Cooder) 4.21
09. Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (Cash) 3.49
10. A Leader Of Men (Cooder) 1.25
11. Not Even Key West (Cooder) 4.32




More from Ry Cooder:

The official website:

Al Di Meola – The Grande Passion (2000)

FrontCover1An acclaimed fusion guitarist, Al Di Meola first rose to prominence in the 1970s as a fiery jazz-rock pioneer before embracing a globally expansive mix of sounds. A key member of Chick Corea’s landmark fusion band Return to Forever, Di Meola established his reputation on many of the group’s classic dates before coming into his own on albums like 1977’s Elegant Gypsy and 1980’s Splendido Hotel. Along with tours in his all-star guitar trio with John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia, Di Meola has collaborated on projects with luminaries like Stanley Clarke, Larry Coryell, Paul Simon, Luciano Pavarotti, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Charlie Haden, and others. He has continued to expand his sound on albums like 1990’s World Sinfonia, 2011’s Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody, and 2018’s Opus, balancing his fusion roots with forays into Argentinian tango and Spanish flamenco, as well as Middle Eastern, North African, and Afro-Cuban traditions. (by Matt Collar)


World Sinfonía III – The Grande Passion is an album by jazz guitarist Al Di Meola that was released in 2000.

A rich, moody tapestry with flashes of fire, this CD incorporates elements of jazz, fusion, classical, Latin, tango, and Middle Eastern music. Sounding like the romantic soundtrack to an excellent foreign film, it’s full of splendid moments, like the wash of colors on “Double Concerto,” a sinuous composition by Al di Meola’s “musical father and friend,” Astor Piazzolla. Di Meola interprets two more beauties from the late Argentine tango legend — the tender “Soledad” and the churning, incendiary “Libertango,” where he uses MIDI technology to approximate the classic bandoleon sound — and offers six of his own. One of them, the title track, could be the most gorgeous, soulful melody of 2000, stated in ways alternately delicate and powerful; when it finally crescendos it’s like the ocean lifting, with the sun sparkling on it.

Al Di Meola01

His “Opus in Green,” written with fine Argentine pianist Mario Parmisano, is very Return to Forever-like. Di Meola has phenomenal technique and a gift for unhackneyed writing; his famous blistering runs are in here, but only when they further the music — not gratuitously added for their own sake. The arrangements by di Meola and Parmisano make optimal use of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and soloists, creating an organically textured whole rather than the stringy soup that too often drowns such collections. (by Judith Schlesinger)


Gilad Dobrecky (drums)
Oscar Feldman (saxophone)
Al Di Meola (guitar, dumbek, percussion)
Michael Philip Mossman (trumpet)
Gumbi Ortiz (percussion)
Mario Parmisano (piano, synthesizer)
John Patitucci (bass)
Hernan Romero (guitar, charango, vocals)
Arto Tunçboyacıyan (vocals, percussion)
Toronto Orchestra conducted by Fabrizio Festa


01. Misterio (Di Meola) 7.54
“Double Concerto” (Ástor Piazzolla) – 5:55
“Prelude: Adagio for Theresa” (Di Meola, Parmisano) – 1:22
“The Grande Passion (Di Meola) – 9:04
“Asia de Cuba (Di Meola) – 8:57
“Soledad” (Piazzolla) – 7:37
“Opus in Green (Di Meola) – 10:18
“Libertango” (Piazzolla) – 5:06
“Azucar (Di Meola) – 3:12



More from Al Di Meola:

The official website:

Anton Karas – Vienna, City Of Dreams (1963)

FrontCover1Anton Karl Karas (7 July 1906 – 10 January 1985) was an Austrian zither player and composer, best known for his internationally famous 1948 soundtrack to Carol Reed’s The Third Man. His association with the film came about as a result of a chance meeting with its director. The success of the film and the enduring popularity of its theme song changed Karas’ life.

Anton was born illegitimate at Marchfeldstraße 17, Brigittenau, Vienna to Theresia Streckel. He was later legitimized by her marriage to a factory worker, Karl Josef Karas. One of five children, Anton Karas was already keen on music as a child. He wanted to become a bandleader, which was impossible because of his family’s financial situation. He was allowed to learn to play an instrument, as were his two brothers and two sisters. He later reported that his first zither was one he found in his grandmother’s attic at the age of 12.

Autogrammkarte, 1951

As ordered by his father, he became an apprentice tool and die maker at the age of 14, while taking evening courses in music at a private institution. He finished his apprenticeship in 1924, and worked in a car factory until becoming unemployed in January 1925. Having already begun to study at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna in 1924, he subsequently earned a living as an entertainer in a Heuriger. He soon earned more than his father, and continued his studies until 1928.

In 1930, he married, with the birth of his daughter following three months later. From 1939 to 1945 he was with the German Wehrmacht anti-aircraft warfare, temporarily in Russia, where he took a zither along. He lost more than one instrument from war action, but always managed to find another one.

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In the summer of 1948, director Carol Reed was preparing to shoot The Third Man in Vienna and was staying in the Hotel Sacher, along with many of the British elements of the Allied Control Commission for Austria. Robert Baty, the young son of the Director of Education, C.W. Baty, was tasked with showing the director around the city. On the second day, they stopped at a Heuriger and heard Karas playing the zither in the background. This is described in Karas’ L.A. Times/Reuters obituary which states that:

Reed, desperately searching for a theme tune … chanced on the tavern in Vienna’s Grinzing wine-growing district. Struck by the simple zither melodies, Reed asked a stunned Karas if he would compose the music for the film. Karas protested, saying he had never actually written music. As Karas later told the story, the director insisted and invited Karas to England. The Austrian became homesick and asked to return. Reed told him he could; when he had written the music. Under this pressure, Karas wrote his Harry Lime theme.


The film—with the music a contributing factor—was a success, and Karas’ life was changed drastically.[4] As a result, he toured globally and performed for many celebrities, including members of the British Royal family. Princess Margaret invited him to London’s Empress Club, where he played twice a week while in London. He also appeared before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands, members of the Swedish royal family, and Pope Pius XII.

By the end of 1949, half a million copies of “The Harry Lime Theme” had been sold, an unprecedented number. The success of the score caused a surge in zither sales.

In Austria, the film opened on 10 March 1950, in Vienna’s Apollo Kino, and it initially offended some Viennese inhabitants, as it focused on the disgrace of the destroyed city. Vienna’s newspaper critics hated the film, except for its music. When Karas returned to Austria after his first world tour in July 1950, he was welcomed by Chancellor Leopold Figl and other members of the government. Most importantly, the public liked the film. In Brigittenau, where Karas was born, people queued for tickets which were sold out eight days in advance.

The original single from 1948:

Karas disliked the glamour, and his soundtrack proved to be an enduring one-hit wonder. He later stated, “I never was a star, and never felt like one. It is because of that film that I was pushed from one place to the other … My only desire was to be back home again.”[citation needed] He toured again in 1951, travelling to Montreal and Las Vegas, followed by other tours, including Japan in 1962, 1969 and 1972, where he performed for Emperor Hirohito.

In 1954, he opened a Heuriger, which became fashionable among cinema celebrities including Orson Welles, Gina Lollobrigida, Curd Jürgens, Hans Moser, Paul Hörbiger, Marika Rökk and Johannes Heesters, thereby becoming a tourist attraction. He was not satisfied, as he preferred to perform for locals who would understand him, his language and music. Because of this, he retired and retreated from the limelight in 1966, explaining, “I’m not a tourist guy, and what I did there had hardly anything to do with ‘Vienna Heuriger’.”

The first few bars of “The Third Man Theme” are engraved on his grave marker in Vienna. (wikipedia)

And here´s a nice sampler with many ofhi beautful mloies.

Enjoy this trip to Vienna, the city of dreams:


Anton Karas (zither)
Die 2 Rudis:
Rudi Kurtzmann (bass)
Rudi Schipper (accordeon)

Der dritte Mann

01. The Harry Lime Theme (Karas) 3.12
02. Nothing Doing! (Keine Ahnung) (Karas) 2.11
03. Drink Brothers Drink (Trink, trink, Brüderlein) (Lindemann) 2.13
04. Ottakringer-March (Foderl) 2.01
05. In Grinzing (Benatzky) 3.29
06. Im Prater blühn wieder die Bäume (Stolz) 2.07
07. Lili Marlene (Leip/Schultze/Connor) 2.07
08. Vienna, City Of My Dreams (Sieczynski) 2.42
09. Zither Man (Karas) 1.59
10. Mei Matzleinsdorf (Obermayer) 3.15
11. Mein Herz Binker-Waltz (Karas) 2.33
12. Liebes Wien, du Stadt der Lieder-Waltz (Strecker) 1.42
13. Mei‘ Muatterl war s Wienerin-Polka (Gruber) 2.25
14. The Cafe Mozart Waltz (Karas) 2.54



The official website: