A thoughtful, joyous Kurt Elling Christmas at Segerstrom

Featured · Music
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Two years ago, jazz singer Kurt Elling released The Beautiful Day: Kurt Elling Sings Christmas. As he’s a vocalist who likes to have his way with a song to the point of redesigning it, that CD was a bit of a surprise. But for anyone familiar with Elling’s background, it made perfect sense. The son ...

‘When I say freedom, you say jazz’: JazzAntiqua @ 25

Dance · Featured · Music · Reviews
Folk flooding toward the theater half an hour before showtime gave the first indication that something special was on tap at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center on Saturday night. In Los Angeles, where traffic-frazzled late arrivals are habitual, that is a rare sight. The faithful flocked to a special, nearly familial, celebration: JazzAntiqua Dance ...

A cantor’s son travels over the rainbow … Harold Arlen

Music
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ed. note: arts·meme reprints with permission Kirk Silsbee’s profile of Harold Arlen originally published by the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Arts. ♠           ♠           ♠           ♠ Search any photographic archive for images of composer Harold Arlen (1905-1986), and it’s the rare picture that he’s not seen in a jacket and tie, his pocket filled with a ...

A singer’s love of language: Luciana Souza comes to Royce Hall

Music
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It’s been a recurring pleasure to chart the creative arc of Brazilian singer and songwriter Luciana Souza through her SoCal appearances over the years. We remember Jazz Bakery evenings where she held the room spellbound with a tempered vocal delivery on jazz-rooted arrangements and musical interaction. Souza’s clear soprano uses volume judiciously: she can send ...

Mazowsze, the Polish folkloric dance troupe inspiring ‘Cold War’

Dance · Featured · Film · Music
Director Pawel Pawlikowski‘s visually beautiful and emotionally gripping Cold War, which opens December 21, rises from the ruins of post-war Poland where is set a seemingly impossible love story. Cold War earned Pawel Pawlikowski the Best Director award at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In the film produced by Amazon Studios, two fictional lovers meet ...

Gloria Cheng’s garlands for new music in Los Angeles

Music
Ed. note: The great and gracious pianist Gloria Cheng is a guest contributor to the blog, with an excerpt from an essay she herself penned recounting the scene for new music in Los Angeles. “Only in Los Angeles?” was originally published by NewMusicBox and is excerpted with kind permission. Writes Gloria Cheng: It could be ...

Pharrell Williams: ‘Cease and desist, Mr. President’

Language & ideas · Music
In a cease and desist letter sent Monday, October 29, 2016, Pharrell Williams‘ attorney Howard King called on the President of the United States to stop playing the singer’s “Happy” during events. In an act of disgusting insensitivity, the song was played at a rally over the weekend just hours after a gunman killed 11 ...

Susan Graham’s make-believe witchcraft

Music
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Ed. note: arts·meme is delighted to excerpt an interview with L.A. Opera guest singer Susan Graham. The interview, conducted by Gary Murphy, was first published by the Opera League of Los Angeles. After nearly 25 years performing on world stages, mezzo-soprano Susan Graham still finds the thrill of new challenges. Her opera repertoire spans four ...

Rat Pack-ish: Chris Walden Big Band at The Wallis

Music
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Chris Walden is the most ubiquitous musician you’ve never heard of, but whom you’ve heard everywhere. He’s one of the busiest of the current Hollywood composer-arrangers, and just a sampling of his recent album credits includes Michael Bublé, Jessie J., Michael Bolton, and Celine Dion. His film and TV writing is voluminous (your kids hear ...

John Scofield jazz combo at cozy Theater Raymond Kabbaz

Music
John Scofield, the creative, distinctive and versatile guitarist and composer first burst on the scene playing with greats like Charles Mingus, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Billy Cobham in the late ’70s . Possessed of a distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Scofield is a masterful improviser whose music falls between post-bop, funk edged Jazz, and ...