LACMA ‘Found in Translation’ documents Mexi-Cali design dialogue 1

Architecture & Design · Reviews · Visual arts
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From Sacramento to San Diego, California’s Mexican and Spanish underpinnings are as historic as they are pervasive. We often take those connections for granted, but LACMA’s exhibition “Found in Translation: Design in California and Mexico, 1915-1985” offers a fascinating view of the influence and confluence between the two cultures in the 20th Century. It’s part ...

Holiday sounds: manger, mistletoe, and martinis

Music
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Every December, a crop of new recordings address the season by celebrating the birth of Jesus, playing up the frivolity of holiday parties, and all variations between. These are some of this year’s CDs. PBS viewers know well the angelic boys choir Libera. A recorded concert at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Armagh soars to heavenly ...

Pianist Dick Hyman, a many-colored chameleon

Music
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It takes an exceptional chameleon to be able to master every piano style of consequence in jazz history.  There have been some good comprehensive players; the late Dr. Billy Taylor comes to mind.  But it takes an extraordinary artist to be able to accurately interpret the work of great pianists in their own respective vernaculars, ...

Cool Hollywood jazz feted in festival

Music
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Jazz has been such an integral component to American motion picture soundtracks for so long, we sometimes forget it wasn’t always so. Try to think of modern motion picture soundtracks without jazz and it’s, well, unthinkable.  Don Ellis’s vibrant, taut music to “The French Connection,” Johnny Mandel’s poignant songs like ”The Shadow of Your Smile” ...

An easy nut to crack: City Ballet of Los Angeles in “The Nutcracker Swings”

Dance
City Ballet of Los Angeles (CBLA) continues its mission to reflect the diversity of its city and bring classical ballet to new audiences with its winter program, The Nutcracker Swings, a twist on the holiday favorite set in 1942 Los Angeles during World War II. The Nutcracker Swings is CBLA’s tribute to the classic tale ...

Duke Ellington’s polished “Satin Doll” 1

Music
Note the beat-up bass Aaron Bell solos on! Personnel: Ray Nance, Shorty Baker, Cat Anderson, Bill Berry, Ed Mullens (t), Lawrence Brown, Leon Cox, Chuck Connors (tb), Russell Procope, Johnny Hodges (as), Paul Gonsalves (ts), Jimmy Hamilton (cl, ts), Harry Carney (bars), Duke Ellington (p), Aaron Bell (b), Sam Woodyard (d). NYC, Jan 9, 1962. ...

The satin sound of Johnny Mercer

Language & ideas · Music
While I was recovering from knee surgery, my buddy S.V. brought me recuperation DVDs — among them “The Dream’s On Me,” documentarian Bruce Ricker’s film homage to lyricist/composer Johnny Mercer. [The documentary, executive-produced by Clint Eastwood, airs from time to time on TCM.] Mercer, a tireless music maker of the highest order (by the way, ...