Happy 100th, Frank! Love, The Wallis

Film · Music
For many he remains forever young, but the truth is Frank Sinatra would turn 100 on Dec. 12, 2015. Honing in on just one aspect of his performance career — his movie-making — The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts is rolling out a screening event of three of Sinatra’s best known films. From ...

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, ...

Satchmo sings “Stardust”

Music
This nattily dressed young man is Louis Armstrong, age 30. The photo was taken in 1931, the same year in which Armstrong made his groundbreaking recording of Hoagy Carmichael’s plaintive “Stardust.” Here Carmichael plays his own great song. Here’s Nat King Cole. Now here’s Satchmo. Armstrong was by then an experienced Chicago musician, and the ...

Now that Macheath’s back in town …

Music
Reading Terry Teachout’s biography of Louis Armstrong and loving it.