Music, My back pages, Vespers

Al Jarreau 1940-2017

Back when I sang professionally, I could think of no greater compliment than when some trade paper critic or a fan would say, “he reminds me of Al Jarreau.” No worries I’d be puffed up with delusions of greatness. By then I’d been listening to the guy long enough to know I’d never be that…

Continue reading
Music, Theater

Prince Power

Back in the day he’d been on the edge of my consciousness, what with music for Purple Rain and Batman (that soundtrack’s “The Arms of Orion” duet with Sheena Easton is, note for note, a delectably romantic morsel of pop craftsmanship); aside from those, I owned approximately one other Prince album (Lovesexy), but I still…

Continue reading
Music, Vespers

Merle Haggard 1937-2016

There’s a lot of new ground being broken in what we used to call country music.  Lately I’ve been listening to Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and Jason Isbell mine that primal place where voice and longing collide. I’m impressed they’ve found something fresh and contemporary in the form; it’s no longer necessary to be a hillbilly (or a…

Continue reading
Art, Music

Hang in there, you…

Tough times for Folkies Dept: First she fended off Taylor Swift’s attempt to make a movie of her life.  Now comes word that Joni Mitchell was hospitalized this week.  The prospect of losing the ultimate artist is too dispiriting to contemplate.  We love you, Joni–now get up and get back to work.

Continue reading
Music, My back pages

Tim Hauser 1941-2014, Founder of the Manhattan Transfer

Photo: Hauser, left, with Siegel, Paul and Bentyne “Boo-bop-boooo-bop…” It was all I needed to hear–til this day those first four notes of “Tuxedo Junction” can still elicit the pleasure it did when the Manhattan Transfer released it on their debut album back in 1975.  Hearing this matchless quartet for the first time was a…

Continue reading
Music, My back pages, Vespers

Horace Silver, Jazz Supernova 1928-2014

Thanks to Horace Silver, the magical moment occurred shortly after I first moved to New York, one of many that effectively, resoundingly, shot down (or made me re-consider) all my country Midwestern notions about…everything. I’d say I was hooked from the moment I heard that sneaky vamp. “Come on Home” was the first cut on…

Continue reading
Art, Dance, Film, Music, Television

Fool for Fall

That time of year thou mayst in me behold When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang Upon those boughs which shake against the cold, William Shakespeare, Sonnet 73 Don’t’ be fooled by those guys still wearing flip-flops, or the young (and not so) women who continue to stroll our avenues in their Daisy…

Continue reading