May 15, 1994 |
For the characters populating the new Showtime movie "Lush Life," jazz is more than just a popular form of music. It's a way of life, bordering on religion. Set in New York, "Lush Life" focuses on the relationship between two jazz musicians, saxophonist Al Gorky (Jeff Goldblum) and trumpeter Buddy Chester (Forest Whitaker). Though not superstars, they're well-respected sidemen, playing everywhere and everything from bar mitzvahs and weddings to commercials, Broadway and be-bop.
May 12, 1996 |
For most of its seven-year career, Lush has been as intriguingly distant as Pluto, with a core of dedicated fans orbiting like curious probes. One of England's enigmatic "dream pop" bands, the quartet buried its tunes and wafting vocals under layers of guitar reverb, signed with the esoteric 4AD record label and put out cryptically titled records such as "Spooky" and "Scar." It didn't help, from an accessibility standpoint, that the musicians looked so cool as to be unapproachable.
July 14, 1996 |
To jazz fans, Billy Strayhorn is a much-admired but enigmatic figure whose name is inevitably linked with that of Duke Ellington. To the wider musical public, he is a virtual unknown. Yet it was Strayhorn, not Ellington, as is generally believed, who wrote the Ellington Orchestra's classic theme song, "Take the 'A' Train."
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.
September 9, 1996 |
Fox bats .500 tonight with its new comedies "Party Girl" and "Lush Life." The high achiever is "Party Girl," a funny gala of fresh, cleverly bent whimsy and endearing lightness that brings out the burlesque best in Christine Taylor, allowing her to far exceed her campy neo-Marcia in two movie revivals of "The Brady Bunch."
May 5, 1989 |
"Jazz Alive," airing tonight on the Bravo cable channel at 7 and midnight, was taped in 1983 in Toronto, with an assortment of Canadian and American musicians. Maynard Ferguson, who opens the show with two numbers backed by the Canadian house band self-consciously reading its parts, plays high, wide and not very handsome. A bravura expert, he has rarely shown much class as an improvising musician and seems even less inspired nowadays. Also past his prime was the great Teddy Wilson, a seminal pianist of the 1930s, seen here three years before his death, going rather sadly through the motions of what was once an excitingly fresh style.