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Joe Graydon, the former FBI agent who became a debonair big band crooner, television host, personal manager and, finally, producer of road shows for the sedentary circuit, has died. He was 82. Graydon died Saturday at his home in Glendale, said his longtime friend Chuck Benedict. Since 1978, the suave singer had packaged shows featuring artists, bands and the music he used to perform in the 1940s.
March 15, 2014 | By Lauren Beale
If Leonardo DiCaprio needs to take a breather after his hard-fought Oscar battle, he can retreat to the Palm Springs estate he recently bought for $5.23 million. Set on 1.3 acres in the Old Las Palmas neighborhood, the renovated 1963 estate designed by architect Donald Wexler was once owned by Dinah Shore , the big band-era singer, television show host and avid golfer who died in 1994. The 7,022-square-foot Modernist showplace has floor-to-ceiling glass walls, wooden ceilings, a massive stone fireplace and a sunken bar in the living room.
February 1, 2001
Pierce College Foundation will have a big band dance fund-raiser with Ray Anthony and his orchestra on Friday night in Woodland Hills. Singer Madeline Vergari will perform, and Chuck Cecil will serve as master of ceremonies at the Warner Center Marriott Hotel. * Big band dance, Friday, 8 p.m.-midnight, Warner Center Marriott Hotel, 21850 Oxnard St., Woodland Hills. $18. (818) 704-9725.
March 15, 2014 | By Don Heckman
Med Flory, an alto saxophonist and founder of the Grammy-winning jazz group Supersax in addition to being an actor who appeared on numerous TV series, has died. He was 87. His son, Rex, who cared for his father during several years of heart maladies, reported that Flory died Wednesday at his home in North Hollywood. Flory had not been professionally active over the last few years, a shift from the busy demands of a career stretching over six decades. One of Hollywood's most unusual hyphenates, he was successful in two creatively demanding arenas.
July 17, 1992 | ZAN STEWART
The series Best of the Big Bands '92 has been under way at the Moonlight Tango Cafe since May. Produced by singer Diane Varga, who also books the artists for Lunaria in West Los Angeles, the series initially featured just instrumental ensembles but now spotlights a singer along with each band. "I think this is a good way to draw an audience, and most listeners like to hear a vocalist, even if it's two or three numbers a set," said Varga. Here's the upcoming program.
March 6, 1988 | LEONARD FEATHER
At a recent concert by Woody Herman's orchestra, the present leader, saxophonist Frank Tiberi, referred to big bands as an endangered species. After some four decades of such observations, it is time to set this canard at rest once and for all. The impact of rock, of fusion, of mass concern for small groups, has been immense; but this does not mean that the big band is following the route of the dinosaur.
August 18, 2003 | Don Heckman, Special to The Times
The Henry Mancini Institute's seventh-annual session wound up in grand fashion Friday and Saturday with a pair of programs spanning the organization's far-reaching interests in music education. Large ensemble jazz was on display in Friday's HMI Big Band event at UCLA's Schoenberg Hall via the arrangements and compositions of Bob Mintzer and Bill Holman. There was a striking contrast between the two.
February 19, 2003 | Don Heckman, Special to The Times
Most jazz composers would love to have the opportunity to write for the ensemble that saxophonist Kim Richmond brought to the Jazz Bakery on Monday. The 22-piece group, filled with some of the Southland's most versatile musicians, augmented the usual big band instrumentation (four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones and rhythm) with an additional pair of French horns, tuba, a percussionist and a mallet player.
July 30, 2010 | By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times
"Big bands are definitely not coming back," George Carlin once declared in a bit from the '80s, where he posed as Jesus Christ sitting down for an interview. While their golden age certainly has passed, what was as true then as it is now is that big bands have never entirely disappeared, and in fact, there is considerable evidence that the classic format may be enjoying a bit of a revival. Last year's Grammy-nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble and the eclectic steampunk jazz of Darcy James Argue's Secret Society are just two recent examples, and a triple bill at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday night headlined by the venerable Count Basie Orchestra honored the form's rich history while also showing where it stands in the present.
March 2, 2011 | By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times
Even if you haven't heard the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, you might think you have its sound pegged. It's an 18-piece big band, after all, one that's twice been nominated for a Grammy in the jazz category, most recently for its acclaimed 2009 album "Eternal Interlude. " But jazz fans coming to the group's show at REDCAT Monday night looking for the familiar structures of, say, last month's performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall by the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra might be surprised.
November 29, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
This post has been updated. See note below for details. This year's crop of holiday music releases demonstrates anew that the only rule of success in this specialized genre is that there are no rules. Who'd have predicted that the standouts in a year of big name entries would include R&B superstar Mary J. Blige, the erstwhile king of British pub rock (Nick Lowe) and an Indian classical music virtuoso (James Whetzel)? Here is Calendar's annual assessment of the highs and lows of seasonal music collections for 2013.
April 29, 2013 | By Chris Barton
What does Brooklyn sound like? While the fashionably clad, underemployed youth of Lena Dunham's "Girls" may spring to mind given the New York City borough's pop cultural footprint, bandleader Darcy James Argue paints a broader picture of a time and place than any TV series could hope. Conceived as a collaboration with Croatian-born artist Danijel Zezelj (whose drawings backed this music in its live debut), "Brooklyn Babylon" finds Argue and his 18-piece big band again drawing from the broad palette that made their 2009 debut "Infernal Machines" so invigorating.
December 30, 2012 | John M. Glionna
AAt age 87, Roger Hall still loves to play the music of his youth, that larger-than-life big band sound that no longer commands respect among the casino bosses in this town. In an earlier life, he played in bands backing Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis Jr. and the rest of the original Rat Pack. Yet with the city's backbeat overtaken by a new generation of bejeweled rappers and DJs, he found fewer places to blow his alto sax in a big band. One by one, restaurants like Peppers and the Italian American Club, which used to host bands, all closed down.
December 20, 2012
Make yours a happy holiday at a "Swingin' Christmas" with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at Disney Hall. The popular swing revival band will turn Christmas classics such as "Jingle Bells" and "Blue Christmas" into big-band ragers that will have you tapping your toes in no time. Walt Disney Concert Hall, 111 S. Grand Ave., L.A. 8 p.m. Fri. Prices vary. (323) 850-2000,
October 27, 2012 | By Randall Roberts, Los Angeles Times Pop Music Critic
What follows are a few random observations and notes about Bob Dylan's set at the Hollywood Bowl on Friday night. --As a 15-song display of his work, Bob Dylan's show was unimpeachable. Few of his fans could complain about one that began, for example, with his saucy “You Ain't Goin' Nowhere” and ended with a frolic through “Blowin' in the Wind.” In between he played “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Love Sick,” "Make You Feel My Love," “All Along the Watchtower,” and “Desolation Row,” among others.
July 5, 2012
MUSIC The rollicking San Francisco-based ensemble Jazz Mafia brings a welcome dash of hip-hop energy to the big band tradition having collaborated with Ledisi, Digital Underground and Lyrics Born along with Bay Area jazz veterans such as guitarist Will Bernard. But for all the diverse sounds coursing through the group's veins there remains ample room for unfiltered improvisation. Grand Performances at California Plaza, 300-350 S. Grand Ave., L.A. 8 p.m. Sat. Free.
June 18, 2012 | By Chris Barton, Los Angeles Times
As a jazz fan, you really have to savor the select moments of the Playboy Jazz Festival, which began its 34th installment Saturday at its longtime home, the Hollywood Bowl. Because as a stand-alone, multi-day barometer of the state of the music, the festival doesn't measure up to internationally known siblings such as Newport or Montreux - not that Playboy even tries (only by the most generous definition could some of the past weekend's acts, like Ozomatli, Sharon Jones and Robin Thicke, ever be considered "jazz")
June 14, 2012
For the record, 11:50 a.m., June 14 : This item states that the Playboy Jazz Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday. The actual days are Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17. A two-day celebration of jazz and the many sounds in its orbit, the 34th annual Playboy Jazz Festival delivers its typical eclectic lineup, headed by jazz heavyweights including the Christian McBride Big Band, the Cookers, Grammy winner Terri Lyne Carrington and...
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