miles of insight.

It just so happens that these two quotes came up on my planner on the day that I was planning to see the new Don Cheadle movie Miles Ahead:

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“Don’t play what’s there. Play what’s not there.”

“Do not fear mistakes. There are none.”

enchanté.

Much love and gratitude to the homie, my dude outta Chamonix Mont-Blanc, my French connection, Seb(astien) ‘DJ Krimi’ Benisti, for airing my Me Llevaba (Glenn Red ‘Rub-a-Dub’ remix ft. Todd Simon) by QUITA PENAS on his ‘RADIO KRIMI’ 24/7 online radio broadcast. Not only does it fall among wonderful company on the list photographed here, but every Radio Krimi mix and playlist bursts with amazing music, carefully curated by Seb and his wide but discerning tastes. Do tune in to RADIO KRIMI as often as you can!

And be sure to check out the QUITA PENAS Remixes by my crew LA JUNTA SOUND SYSTEM on the QUITA PENAS BANDCAMP PAGE.

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blues travelers.

Last Friday night, I made the twelve-minute drive out to Claremont CA to attend a super cool concert. Though I support live music on a regular–almost weekly–basis, it’s a blessing when I can drive under ten miles, stay out of L.A. city proper one less night a week, and still catch a new up and coming band from halfway around the world. Fortunately, with the nearby Coachella Festival luring in so many of these would-be world stars, opportunities like this are more likely for Southern Californians in the month of April (I saw Kinshasa’s Mbongwana Star a few weeks ago!).

On this particular night, I caught up with Algerian quintet IMARHAN, whose familial ties to recent desert blues trailblazers Tinariwen have helped forge their young and fresh take on traditional Tuareg sounds. They began by delving into a handful of deep, beautiful, slow burning grinders, while a string of fierce and funky uptempo numbers closed their fantastic 90-minute set, stirring the relatively small but welcoming audience into a dancing frenzy. Considering their home is literally on the other side of the planet, I couldn’t believe this was a free show!

I’ve been in bliss listening to the vinyl LP that I brought home that night. Be sure to grab one for yourself! Out on City Slang imprint, it hits the stores (and online sites) on Friday April 29th!

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beautiful one.

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Today, Thursday 21 April 2016, marks the day the world mourns the loss of one of the greatest musicians and entertainers of all time, “PRINCE” ROGERS NELSON. I’m pretty certain that almost everyone I know is experiencing the emotional haze of his passing in various degrees.

While I’d heard rumblings of canceled shows and an emergency airplane landing in recent weeks, the news is nonetheless unexpected and devastating! I mean…I grew up with, and probably to his music. I was eight years old when his debut LP “For You” was released in 1977, so by the time the “Purple Rain” album and feature film hit the record shelves and theaters respectively in 1984, I was a high school freshman and an undoubtedly loyal Prince disciple. Those pre-Purple years in between saw the release of the self-titled “Prince”, “Dirty Mind” “Controversy” and “1999” LPs, as well as their respective music videos in constant rotation on a fledgling MTV channel. The Superfriends Hour, and probably the entire Saturday morning cartoon lineup combined, held only a lamb’s share of my boob tube gawking time during my ‘tweens. It was all about music videos, especially as the triumvirate of Prince, Michael Jackson and Madonna ruled the airwaves during the conglomerate network’s startup days in the early and mid 1980s.

Throughout high school and my early college years, Prince’s music continued to entertain me, to mystify my ears, and to challenge my musical sensibilities–despite a solid rearing in rock, soul, funk and pop by older cousins, young-at-heart uncles and aunts, hip teachers and discerning friends. The albums that followed the massive Purple Rain juggernaut–“Around The World in a Day”, “Parade”, “Sign O The Times” and 1988’s “Lovesexy”–all came with a new level of maturity, stretching the breadth of his musical spectrum, etching a place in music’s pantheon among the greatest of all time.

Even while I became enamored by the work of other amazing artists in hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul and eventually world music, I’m proud to say that I bought each Prince (w/various backing bands) studio album in the year it was released, even if the wider music palette of my adult life found me less rabid a Prince fan as I was while in school. I even attended an amazing concert date at Hawaii’s Blaisdell Auditorium years later in 1996. Today though, in my mid 40’s, I have to admit that I’m rocking the “Art Official Age” and “HITnRUN: Phase 1” and “-Phase 2” CD’s in my car on the regular! With expert-level production and musicality, these late-career albums are highly relevant and in tune with today’s current soundscape. Those with good ears will agree.

PRINCE the man has been described as a kind, gentle and loving person by many who knew him. He’s been lauded as a musical genius, even early on in his career. PRINCE has always been the consummate artist, expressing his truest nature fearlessly in the studio, on the screen, on the stage, and in the boardroom. The artist and his work are simply divine gifts. It’s kinda uncanny that his unresponsive body was found in an elevator at his long-time home/recording compound Paisley Park. I like to think that it was finally time for Prince to follow his own lyrical advice and ‘punch a higher floor’.

With the passing of so many great music talents in this still young year of 2016, I’m beginning to think that a portal to a new glorious plane of existence has opened and that they’ve been sent up to get it ready for all the beautiful ones. Hopefully you and me will be included when it’s time.