Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Alive: “It Had To Be You”

By Roger Crane the Song Scout When I meet jazz performers, composers and fellow music fans I often inquire as to their favorite songs. I recall that the masterful jazz pianist Dave McKenna chose “I’ll Be Around,” giving particular praise to Alec Wilders’s bridge (where his lyrics state “Goodbye again.”). Another jazz pianist, Gerry Wiggins,… Read More Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Alive: “It Had To Be You”

Live Musical Theatre: “Guys & Dolls” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Through December 20

By Jane Rosenberg Entering into the gambler’s paradise that is Guys & Dolls, with its beloved songs, is like sinking into a warm bath: comforting and rejuvenating all at once. In a pared down version by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, directed by Mary Zimmerman and happily ensconced at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing… Read More Live Musical Theatre: “Guys & Dolls” at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts Through December 20

A ROGER SONG SCOUT AURAL BACK RUB: “Chelsea Bridge”

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout There is a Chelsea Bridge and it is located on the Thames in north London. According to David Hajdu’s intelligent, comprehensive and most readable 1996 biography of Billy Strayhorn, Lush Life, his evocative instrumental of the same name resulted from his viewing of a James McNeill Whistler painting. But,… Read More A ROGER SONG SCOUT AURAL BACK RUB: “Chelsea Bridge”

Book Review: “Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music” by Patty Farmer (Beaufort Books)

By Devon Wendell Patty Farmer’s insightful book, Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music, tells the story of how Hugh Hefner changed the way jazz and American music were perceived and accepted by an ever changing culture. The intellectual male “jet setters” were Hefner’s initial target audience but “Hef” attracted… Read More Book Review: “Playboy Swings: How Hugh Hefner and Playboy Changed the Face of Music” by Patty Farmer (Beaufort Books)

Live Music: Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson at the Artistic Piano Gallery

By Don Heckman Medford, Oregon. The creative interaction between a jazz vocal artist and his/her accompanist is one of the most sensitive encounters in the entire musical world. All of which was on fascinating display Friday night in the performance of singer Sara Gazarek and pianist Josh Nelson at Medford’s Artistic Piano Gallery. The talented… Read More Live Music: Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson at the Artistic Piano Gallery