July 17, 1992 |
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.
May 3, 1991 |
Albert Marx, founder of Discovery Records, a Los Angeles-based jazz label, and a music innovator whose insight led him to record Benny Goodman's legendary 1938 Carnegie Hall concert, died Wednesday. His wife, Patricia, said the 60-year veteran of the music business, who produced Sarah Vaughan's first records and later broadened the appeal of Dizzie Gillespie and Duke Ellington, was 79 when he died of the complications of a stroke at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
October 12, 1999 |
Fifteen years after Count Basie's death, the big band that bears his name continues to sustain his legacy of hard-swinging, large ensemble jazz. On Sunday night at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, the current edition of the Count Basie Orchestra, now directed by trombonist Grover Mitchell, managed to stir up memories of the original while speaking with its own collective sound.
December 31, 1998
9:30 am: Jazz "New Year's Jazz at Indian Wells" is one of the year's biggest jazz parties with some 21 bands performing at three desert resort hotels. Take your pick between New Year's Eve shindigs--"Traditional Jazz Dance" or "Swingin' Blues"--then unwind through Saturday at all-day sessions that include performances from the Bobby Rodriguez Latin Jazz Band, singer Ernie Andrews, vibraphonist Charlie Shoemake, Lisa Hayley & the ZydeKats, the Don Miller Orchestra and others.
October 18, 1998
MOVIES Gary Ross' modern fairy tale "Pleasantville" finds a fictional town granted a chance to experience the wonders, comedies and dangers of real life. Jeff Daniels, Tobey Maguire and, at right, William H. Macy and Joan Allen head the cast of the film, which opens Friday in general release. MOVIES Roberto Benigni's "Life Is Beautiful" is a Chaplinesque fable about the power of imagination, set against the harrowing backdrop of Europe in the throes of World War II.
May 20, 1994 |
Movies about jazz through the years (whether theatrical or made-for-TV) have maintained a low level of authenticity. It is a rare pleasure to report that "Lush Life" is an exception to the rule. The story line might well be dismissed as just another disease-of-the-week melodrama. But the relationship between the two principal characters is warmly convincing, thanks to the writing (by director Michael Elias) and the performances. Jeff Goldblum is a saxophonist, Forest Whitaker a trumpeter.
July 13, 1991 |
Countless jazz fans are familiar with the magic of Stan Getz: his abundant lyricism, his precise technique, his soothing-yet-never-saccharine sound. But for newcomers looking for an introduction to the saxophonist, who died June 6, "Vintage Getz" is a timely and inviting starting place. The two-hour video package from A*Vision Entertainment was shot during an '83 concert at a Northern California winery and features pianist Jim McNeely, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Victor Lewis.
July 30, 2002 |
Central Avenue was the powerful spine of an energetic, world-class entertainment center for the first half of the 20th century in Los Angeles. Overflowing with theaters, restaurants, nightclubs and bistros, it was the showcase arena to experience the art of Louis Armstrong, Art Tatum, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Jelly Roll Morton and other jazz legends. On Saturday and Sunday, the Avenue came vibrantly alive again, as it does each year with the arrival of the Central Avenue Jazz Festival.
August 11, 1998 |
Though the temperature was peaking at more than 100 degrees and the humidity felt equally high, singer Barbara Morrison was able to get the Long Beach Jazz Festival's crowd of 9,000 to sweat a little more Sunday as they danced, waved their hands and shouted encouragement to her raunchy claim in song "I know how to do it. . . ." The three-day festival could make a similar claim. Without artistic or genre pretensions, its formula seems based on a single dictum: Let the good times roll.