Jazz the weekend away @ the Aero

Dance · Film · Music
Jazz on a Spring Day Stormy Weather Jazz’s greatest artists in vintage shorts, digitally restored by the Cohen Film Collection. Includes: “Symphony in Black: A Rhapsody of Negro Life” with Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday; “A Rhapsody in Black and Blue” with Louis Armstrong; “St. Louis Blues” with Bessie Smith; “Cab Calloway’s Hi-De-Ho”; “A Bundle ...

Jazz cooking at the Bakery, all ’round town

Music
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While the Jazz Bakery’s next, new home is being prepared in Culver City, Ruth Price books her floating concert series in some of the best listening venues around town. One of them is the Moss Theatre on the campus of the Herb Alpert Educational Village in Santa Monica. A horseshoe-shaped stage with wrap-around seating, fine ...

Herb Alpert’s twenty-one years of generous giving to artists

Dance · Film · Music · Theater · Visual arts
Herb Alpert, center, with the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts winners, from left, Maria Hassabi, Taylor Mac, Herb Alpert, Sharon Lockhart and Julia Wolfe. Absent because detained in Cuba: Tania Brugeura. On May 1, The Herb Alpert Foundation and California Institute of the Arts awarded the 21st annual Herb Alpert Award in the ...

Billie Holiday in Los Angeles: the blues were brewing 2

Music
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Billie Holiday and her dog Mister, New York, c. June 1946, William P. Gottleib One of the greatest jazz singers who ever lived had a small voice, never more than 15 notes at her disposal, and recorded many throwaway tunes. But Billie Holiday (1915-1959) was great by virtue of her sure-footed musical gifts: behind-the-beat phrasing, ...

Thelonious Monk, dancer

Dance · Music
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Just as James P. Johnson, George Gershwin, Fletcher Henderson and Duke Ellington took musical inspiration from New York City, it’s impossible to divorce pianist/composer Thelonious Monk’s music from Gotham. In Monk, the erotic and the athletic intertwine at the Savoy Ballroom, subways vibrate with propulsive rhythms, congregational choirs shake church foundations, young girls skip rope ...

Bill Clinton, jazz guy

Music
First, an incredible “pick-up band” comprising Jimmy Heath, Joshua Redman and Wayne Shorter (saxophones), Stefon Harris (vibes), Jon Faddis (trumpet), Herbie Hancock (piano), James Genus (bass), TS Monk (drum) performed “Flying Home” in his honor. [It was played at his first inaugural ball.] Then Kevin Spacey imitated him, razor sharp. [“I love jazz,” drawled Spacey ...

The essence of tap is a rhapsody

Dance · Music
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Among the more quixotic ventures one might try, maintaining a tap dance company ranks somewhere between reviving the celluloid collar and loading mercury with a pitchfork. The degree of difficulty—in attracting and keeping good dancers, choreographing for their collective and individual talents, finding sympathetic musicians, securing a worthy facility, mounting shows, and obtaining funding—keeps growing. ...

Frank Morgan tribute concert @ Los Angeles Film Festival

Film · Music
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Film festivals (let’s put “film” in quotes, since virtually nothing on film is actually screened anymore) should be about more than moviegoing. I know regulars at the Berlin film festival who swear that their personal highlight is the annual sidebar, Kulinarisches Kino (Culinary Cinema), which thematically links a movie with a meal. Filmmakers who attend ...

Brando’s bead on jazz in “The Wild One” @ L.A. Jazz Institute festival

Film · Music
We so enjoyed the opening-night  concert of “Jazz Themes from Hollywood: West Coast Jazz at the Movies,” a four-day festival sponsored by the LA Jazz Institute now going on in a big subterranean ballroom at the LAX Marriott hotel. The concert paid tribute to the film music of Shorty Rogers and Leith Stevens, alternately composers ...

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” ...