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My back pages

Art, Film, My back pages

Jonathan Demme, Film Director 1944-2017

A few hours or so spent in the company of a great film is akin to falling in love. A spell is cast; like a lover, the images on screen evoke a flipbook of feelings. That was what it was like to experience a Jonathan Demme film. I won’t soon forget the unbeatable elation I felt…

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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…

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My back pages, Television, Vespers

Two Marys

After the death of Mary Tyler Moore about a week ago, many notables wrote about Ms. Moore’s influence on everything from fashion to career. Most were women who saw her as a role model, a beacon of possibilities in a changing world that now seems so distant we forgot we were once there. She made…

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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…

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My back pages, New York, Soujorns, Travel

Vacations like other people

The sea air is a drug that addles reason. How else to explain the amnesia that comes over me every summer on the first bike ride back to the Ram’s Head Inn on Shelter Island?  I forget that its approach involves two short steep hills—the first brings you up to Little Ram’s Head Island, a…

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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…

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