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”

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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

Live Music: Freda Payne at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

By James DeFrancis Bel Air, CA. Last Tuesday night Pat Senatore, artistic director of Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz etc…, sardonically told me, “Christmas week is a big time for malls, not jazz clubs.” But as the lights dimmed and I looked around the room it occurred to me that something was altogether different about… Read More Live Music: Freda Payne at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

Live Music: Corky Hale and Eloise Laws at Catalina Bar & Grill

By Don Heckman Hollywood. Any evening of music with the names of Corky Hale and Eloise Laws at the top of the program is pretty much guaranteed to offer plenty of memorable moments. Which is exactly what happened Wednesday night at Catalina Bar & Grill. The overflow crowd of enthusiastic fans, filling virtually every table… Read More Live Music: Corky Hale and Eloise Laws at Catalina Bar & Grill

Live Jazz: “To Ella With Love” at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Patti Austin

By Don Heckman The L.A. Philharmonic came up with a great celebration of the memory of Ella Fitzgerald at the Hollywood Bowl Wednesday night. The evening began with a stirring big band salute from the always-exciting Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – an appropriate beginning, given the long association Ella had with big bands, from her early… Read More Live Jazz: “To Ella With Love” at the Hollywood Bowl, featuring the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Patti Austin