July 4, 1999 |
Tom Waits' "Mule Variations" and Randy Newman's "Bad Love" aren't necessarily the best albums these veteran songwriters have ever given us, but both collections deserve bonus points in a year in which pop music is awash in mediocrity. Beyond the solid craft and abundant passion you expect from outstanding albums, the Waits and Newman CDs abound with individuality and character--qualities that are sorely absent in today's commercial scene.
December 12, 1999 |
Together, Britney Spears, Kid Rock, Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees, Jennifer Lopez and Lou Bega have sold more than $205 million worth of albums. What a waste. Not that the formal pop world seems to notice--publicly at least. Record executives speak proudly of their new moneymakers as legitimate stars who will be around for years, and MTV welcomes Lopez, Kid Rock and the rest with the same enthusiasm the channel shows for such legitimate talents as Rage Against the Machine and Beck.
June 21, 2000 |
The Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon--perhaps the biggest surprise to hit popular music in years--would not have happened without American guitarist Ry Cooder, who decided to record an album with a group of aging Cuban musicians, or German director Wim Wenders, who figured those musicians would be great subjects for a movie. But it also certainly would not have happened without Juan de Marcos.
September 4, 2003 |
On a night when this city celebrated its role as capital of the Latin music industry, Colombian singer-songwriter Juanes consolidated his stature as the genre's leading star, sweeping the top categories in the fourth annual Latin Grammy Awards.
July 8, 2000 |
Ricky "Shake Your Bon-Bon" Martin competing against the soulful, sophisticated pop of Carlos Vives and Ruben Blades? Over-the-top, melodramatic crooner Luis Miguel in the same category as the tender, brilliant Brazilian poet Caetano Veloso? Argentine folk sorceress Mercedes Sosa fighting it out with teen sensation Christina Aguilera? Welcome, alas, to the wonderful world of the Latin Grammy Awards, where the inspired collides with the cornball in many of the 40 newly appointed categories.
October 15, 1999 |
The City by the Bay becomes the jazz center of the country next week as the San Francisco Jazz Festival kicks off its 17th annual jubilee. In locations all around the Bay, jazz and jazz-related events will take place for more than two weeks, from Wednesday through Nov. 6. How does such a major program come together? "With a tremendous amount of work," says Randall Klein, the festival's founder and executive director. "It literally takes about 18 months to put together each festival.
September 7, 1999 |
MOVIES Labor Day Record: "The Sixth Sense" remained the top box-office draw for the fifth straight weekend with a record-breaking take of $28.5 million for the four-day Labor Day holiday, according to industry estimates. That's nearly as much as the $30.1 million in combined grosses for the rest of the top five films--"Runaway Bride" ($8.6 million), "The 13th Warrior" ($8.4 million), "Bowfinger" ($7 million) and "The Thomas Crown Affair" ($6.1 million).
November 15, 1999
There's a battle brewing at the box office, and we don't mean Agent 007 ("The World Is Not Enough") versus the Headless Horseman ("Sleepy Hollow"), both of which open Friday. No, this is a battle of animated family films, pitting in one corner the Warner Bros. blockbuster hit "Pokemon: The First Movie" and in the other, Disney/Pixar's highly anticipated sequel "Toy Story 2." And, if recent history is any gauge, both films could emerge big winners.
January 2, 2000 |
For fans of Latin music, 1999 was a memorable year. Not only did Latin artists become an unequivocal part of the American mainstream, but the rock en espan~ol and Afro-Cuban genres also offered some of their strongest efforts of the entire decade. It's a tough act for Latin music to follow this year, a period when many superstars in the field will not be releasing new material.