Thelonious Monk, dancer

Dance · Music
by 
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
by 
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
by 
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
by 
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” ...

Life achievement award for jazzman Hubert Laws

Music
In the photo, famed jazz and classical music flutist and saxophonist Hubert Laws, who will be presented with the Los Angeles Jazz Society’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the Society’s 30th Anniversary Jazz Tribute Awards Dinner and Concert on October 27. Laws, a graduate of the Julliard School and a forty-year jazz professional, an NEA jazz ...

Herb Alpert, son of Los Angeles, honored with National Medal of Arts

Music
On July 10, 2013, President Barack Obama will recognize Herb Alpert for lifetime contribution to the arts with one of the 12 Medal of Arts bestowed annually by the White House. Herb Alpert is a music legend, as a performing artist in both jazz and popular realms, and as an industry producer. He is an ...

Awakened by the blast of two mighty big bands 1

Music
There’s a resurgence of big-band jazz and that’s a good thing. We enjoyed two recent forays into the reemergence of this distinctly American art form. On Saturday June 1, Grammy-nominated Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra blasted the rafters off Upstairs at Vitello’s, the chic second-floor jazz outlet in Studio City. The occasion was the celebration ...

Capitol Records “Hollywood Jazz” mural celebrated

Music
  “Hollywood Jazz – 1945-1972,” a jazz mural, image posted above, commissioned by the Los Angeles Jazz Society, deteriorated since its unveiling on October 27, 1990. But great news — it has just been beautifully restored by Capitol Records. Artists featured in the mural include Chet Baker, Gerry Mulligan, Charlie Parker, Tito Puente, Miles Davis, ...