Rat Pack-ish, with 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 ...

You’re much too much, and just too ‘very, very,’ Frankie

Language & ideas · Music
In this holiday season, we show how Frankie does lyricist Harold Arlen SO RIGHT. You’re just too marvelous, too marvelous for words Like “glorious”, “glamorous” and that old standby “amorous”. It’s all too wonderful, I’ll never find the words That say enough, tell enough, I mean they just aren’t swell enough. You’re much too much, ...

Jack Jones: a lot of livin’ (and singin’) to do

Music
Frank Sinatra called Jack Jones, “one of the major singers of our time.” Mel Torme said he is “the greatest ‘pure’ singer in the world.” George Chakiris who himself recorded four memorable albums at Capitol Records recently said, “He has a wonderful voice and he never stopped working on it. The last time I saw ...

Eden Ahbez: the wild, the innocent & the Vine Street shuffle

Music
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[ed. note: author Kirk Silsbee’s story was originally published, in slightly different form, in the L.A.Weekly] Some people only have one hit record in them. History’s one-hit wonders make up a long, sometimes colorful and often tragic legion. Eden Ahbez was lucky. He had a compelling song, with an unusual melody and a gentle message ...

Jazz singer Jeri Southern, appreciated

Music
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There were other female jazz pianists who also sang in the 1950s, but none shared Jeri Southern’s formidable pianistic technique, vocal individuality, and unerring choice of good material. She sang the most bittersweet love songs in the most intimate manner. And few could inspire the nightclub reveries Southern conjured—of melancholy, infatuation, optimism, idolatry, disconsolation, and ...

‘Pop’ goes the American Songbook, in Pasadena, under Feinstein baton 1

Film · Music
The Pasadena Symphony and POPS organization practiced what the Chinese call “double happiness” this week, announcing, in one fell swoop, the re-upping of conductor Michael Feinstein’s contract with the POPS (where he started in 2013) and the roll-out of a rich summer menu of American Songbook concerts at their bandshell digs in the Los Angeles ...

TCM Fest: Angela Lansbury brings wit, hauteur, menace to ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

Film
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In 1961 Angela Lansbury was playing the mother of rising star Warren Beatty in All Fall Down, an intense family drama adapted by playwright William Inge from the novel by James Leo Herlihy. In that film she seemed thoroughly convincing as the overbearing mother to Beatty, even though she was only 11 years older than ...

Class! John Pizzarelli’s Sinatra tribute at Valley Performing Arts Center

Music
I missed vaudeville. But I am making up for that loss by enjoying the rich artistic mash-ups and performance combos that Thor Steingraber is staging — he’s been inviting multifarious artists to share the stage of the sublimely intimate Valley Performing Arts Center where he is executive director. Anyone lucky enough to toast Frank Sinatra ...

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 ...

Tracey Davis lovingly honors father, Sammy Davis Jr.

Dance · Music
“It’s been a rough day … a little up and down,” admitted Tracey Davis, her eyes welling slightly with tears as she spoke to a gathered group last night at Larry Edmunds Bookshop about her new book “Sammy Davis, Jr.: A Personal Journey With My Father.” Her high emotion was somewhat atypical for an author ...