Posts by Kirk Silsbee

arts•meme contributor Kirk Silsbee writes about jazz and culture, as he has for nearly 40 years. He can be read in many publications including Downbeat, the Burbank Leader, the Glendale News-Press, Downtown News, and Jewish Journal. He makes a mean plate of pancakes and is known to be a terrific kisser.


Music in the key of joy: bossa nova with Sergio Mendes @ CAP UCLA

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Sergio Mendes, Bebel Gilberto, Royce Hall Nov 16 In 1966, rock and soul dominated American pop music charts. But there was room for the infectiously swinging “Mas Que Nada”—the first international hit song in Portuguese. If Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto opened the door with “The Girl From Ipanema,” Sergio Mendes put an authentic Brazilian ...

Jazz gladiator Joshua Redman brings it to Royce Hall

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Ever since he came to national attention at the beginning of the 1990s, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman has defied the narrative of the wunderkind who bears prodigious talent, then declines. He’s taken on ambitious formats, often in the company of seasoned jazz gladiators, and Redman has more than held his mud. In the face of ...

Tango Revolution: Quinteto Astor Piazzolla at The Soraya

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Ed note: This story by Kirk Silsbee was originally written for The Younes & Soraya Nazarian Performing Arts Center and is reprinted on artsmeme with permission. When Astor Piazzolla, Argentina’s paramount composer and bandoneon player, introduced his revolutionary quintet of the 1960s, tango adherents didn’t embrace his innovation. Fistfights, even death threats, were not uncommon. ...

Diva in concert: Darlene Love at Pepperdine

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A recent hot theater ticket in San Diego was the trial run of the historic rock musical, “House of Dreams,” that told the story of Hollywood’s fabled Gold Star Studio. Over a hundred hit songs were recorded there in the 1960s — from “Rockin’ Robin” to “Good Vibrations” to “Cherry Bomb.” Owner/engineer and sound innovator ...

Review: a Bowl-ful of Playboy jazz

Music · Reviews
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angelique kidjo, photo credit: matthew imaging The Playboy Jazz mold was set a long time ago. Saturday openers are for socializing and getting the crowd up and moving. Sunday is where the bulk of the serious jazz ensembles and features will be heard. That framework continued unabated, at the 41st anniversary edition of the Playboy ...

Alan Broadbent: fire in the residency

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Alan Broadbent – Photo by Jon Frost When he left Santa Monica for New York in the fall of 2011, pianist and composer Alan Broadbent wasn’t missing out on many playing opportunities. One night a month at Vibrato wasn’t exactly stoking his pianistic fires. Chalk it up to one of the failures of this city ...

Jazz review: Chilly night at the Ford warmed by ‘Spring Quartet’

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Spring Quartet: DeJohnette, Lovano, Spalding, Genovese For a jazz super group, the Spring Quartet is something of a phantom. Most Angeleno jazz fans had never heard of the quartet, but they all know the names of saxophonist Joe Lovano, drummer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Esperanza Spalding and pianist Leo Genovese. When the group performed at the ...

Stylin’ songs straight-ahead: Catherine Russell @ Segerstrom 2

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Songstress Catherine Russell It’s very common for today’s young jazz singers to want to sound like instruments, instrumentalists, and/or innovative vocalists. There are legions of developing singers who worship at the altars of Betty Carter, Sheila Jordan and Mark Murphy. But each of those trend-setters evolved into very personal stylists only after years of trial-and-error. ...

Charles White, at our city’s artistic center LACMA

Reviews · Visual arts
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Charles White in his Los Angeles studio, 1970 photo: Robert A. Nakamura The Pacific Standard Time art extravaganza that blanketed Southern California in 2011 brought much-needed, new focus to the art currents that circulated in post-World War II Los Angeles. Those surveys, as fine as they were (there were some glorious shows), implored further explorations. ...

John Sebastian’s Greenwich Village memories to Malibu 4

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John Sebastian’s songs for the Lovin’ Spoonful placed him firmly in the elite 1960s songwriting fraternity that helped turn rock from entertainment to an art form. Like Paul Simon, John Phillips of the Mamas and Papas and Roger McGuinn of the Byrds, Sebastian was one of the prime architects of folk-rock. That crop of folk ...