Electric Miles Davis in the new millennium, at The Soraya

Miles Davis (1926-1991) was out of the public eye in the late 1970s. The legendary trumpeter and bandleader had changed the course of music—not just jazz—several times, and was half a decade into his electric period, inaugurated by 1969’s Bitches Brew. That epoch rewrote the rules of ensemble interaction, as Miles turned eager young soloists ...

REVIEW: Keigwin + Company Celebrates Bernstein @ The Soraya

Dance · Reviews
Not one, but two, sweet-hearted, newly commissioned dance works by choreographer Larry Keigwin for his charming and excellent dance troupe, Keigwin + Company, had world premieres tonight in the classy, comfortable, and elegant Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts (The Soraya), formerly the Valley Performing Arts Center. The commissions came as part ...

Bernstein’s gripping ‘Waterfront’ score to surge thru The Soraya

Film · Music
The American Film Institute ranks On the Waterfront (1954) as one of the best ten movies of all time. The searing indictment of union corruption on the New York docks was a landmark in social realism. Its greatness lies in the collaboration between the towering talents of director Elia Kazan, actors Marlon Brando, Karl Malden ...

Juan de Marcos’s Afro-Cuban beat to pulsate The Soraya

Cuban music has tantalized and insinuated itself into the United States since the 19th Century. New Orleans-born composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk (1829-1869) was smitten with the Cuban tresillo, cinquillo and habanera, and incorporated those elements into his compositions. Ragtime pianists were subsequently taken with what Jelly Roll Morton called “the Spanish tinge.” Then came the ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...

To higher musical spaces and places, with Jacaranda

Chamber music, a relatively portable art form (relative to, say, a symphony orchestra), in May climbed our city’s peaks in celebration of The Big Vista, the annual summer party of our top-favorite contemporary-classical music series, Jacaranda. Bundling repertoire culled from the edgy, the new, and the yet-to-be-imagined into stimulating, curated concerts for receptive audiences in ...

“Dreamgirls”‘s Moya Angela to sing national anthem at Dodger Stadium 2

It’s Oh say can you see & And I am telling you — all in one fell swoop. We’re all looking forward to four performances of the Tony Award-laden “Dreamgirls” at the Valley Performing Arts Center in early May. And now all the more so — having learned that the production’s star, Moya Angela, will ...

Choreographer’s playlist for “Huma Rojo” … work it!

Dance · Music
Catalonian choreographer Cayetano Soto breaks from the tedium and slathers on the hot sauce. Soto’s tasty group choreography for “Huma Rojo,” his latest work for Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, spools to this all-Latin-beat retro-soundtrack: Ray Barretto, El Watusi Xavier Cugat & Orchestra, Apache Perez Prado and His Orchestra, Quizas, Quizas, Quizas Abbe Lane, Whatever Lola ...

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

I missed vaudeville. But I am making up for that loss by enjoying the rich artistic 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 on the ...

Infectious holiday fun: “Salsa Navidad” at VPAC

Dance · Music
Oscar Hernandez came of age in the burgeoning New York Latin music scene of the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Fania label recorded many of the greats canonized today: Willie Colón, Bobby Valentín, Pete Rodriquez, Johnny Pacheco, Cheo Feliciano, Larry Harlow, Hector Lavóe, Ray Barretto, Luis ‘Perico’ Ortíz, and Papo Lucca among others. It was ...