July 19, 2002 |
Billie Holiday was an elusive figure. Drug use and arrests provided an element of sensationalism to her life. A questionable depiction of her emerged in an autobiography that she later claimed never to have read. Her travails contributed to the rich, often mysterious emotional layering that always was present in her music. But Wednesday night's "Broadway and Hollywood Salute to Billie Holiday" at the Hollywood Bowl did little--if anything--to add any insights, musically or personally.
January 28, 1986 |
A few magical moments capped "A Celebration for Billie Holiday," a high-spirited benefit performance featuring 25 jazz and pop music artists Sunday at the Vine St. Bar & Grill to raise funds to pay for Holiday's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The evening began ideally when the magnificent pianist Jimmy Rowles delivered a brief, unaccompanied "No More," full of floating, probing chords set against sparkling notes of melody.
November 23, 2008
As an old time New Yorker who frequented Rivington street many years ago when it was primarilly the original discount area it was interesting to see a sleek Beyonce as a temporary resident in what was at early times, the principal Jewish tenement ghetto in The United States. However using "Lady Sings The Blues" as a headline was a sacrilege based upon your story that followed. There was and still is only one "Lady" that sings the blues and she was a bigger icon in her own way than any other singer named in the article including Barbara Streisand.
August 22, 2008 |
The great Anita O'Day, tough cookie and sublime jazz vocalist, receives a fitting tribute in this exuberant documentary, completed shortly before her death in 2006 at 87. Alive with improvisational energy and rejecting the conventional biographical format, the film pursues ideas and feelings rather than chronology as it scats through an archival wealth of interviews with O'Day and some of her most inspired performances. Friends and colleagues weigh in too and impresario George Wein, at whose Newport Jazz Festival O'Day delivered a transcendent and legendary performance.
October 29, 2012 |
"Blues for Smoke" is an odd duck. The big new exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art's warehouse space in Little Tokyo is filled with a lot of terrific art from the past half-century, including many works by artists who should be far more widely known than they are. There's much to discover. Its central theme - that a good chunk of contemporary art evokes the ethos of the blues, the great musical legacy that is arguably America's first distinctive contribution to world culture - is provocative and engaging.
June 15, 1989 |
A line hung with segments of women's hair is strung across the top of the stage. An "altar" on which cast members place objects with deep personal meaning is a focal point of the set. A stomping dance inspired by South African gumboot dancing is juxtaposed with women tentatively tottering in high heels. One performer plays a resonant, single-stringed Brazilian instrument; another wails and scats in a voice that evokes memories of Billie Holiday. These are some of the sights and sounds in "Song of Lawino," a collaborative work that blends drama, music and dance as it distills the story and message of a Ugandan poem.
November 22, 2001 |
It hasn't been an especially notable year for new jazz recordings, with a few exceptions. But we always know that when there's a lull in the current action, there's plenty in the catalog to revisit. Surveying the high points of 2001, in fact, results in a fairly even split between current material and reissues, all of it first-rate. * FOUR STARS **** WOODY HERMAN, "Woody Herman--Blowin' Up a Storm!," Columbia Legacy.
December 14, 2008 |
After scoring four Grammy nominations, including one for best new artist, British soul upstart Adele downplayed her chance of winning, telling the British media that "I don't feel like I need awards." But she wasn't setting out to be this year's Grammy bad girl. Now, Adele has made it clear she'll be at the Feb. 8 Grammys ceremony in L.A. (In fact, beforehand, she'll appear at the Wiltern on Jan. 30, then hole up in Malibu to record her second album, which she says may have more of a country influence.
August 18, 1989 |
An American intelligence officer, carrying vital knowledge about the Allies' planned invasion of Normandy, is captured and tortured by the Nazis. He wakes up in an American military hospital in Germany and learns the war has been over for two years. Or has it? Tonight's TNT cable movie "Breaking Point," at 5 p.m. and again at 7, 9 and 11 p.m., is an abundantly stylish remake of "36 Hours," the 1964 film with James Garner, Eva Marie Saint and Rod Taylor.