Arts and Culture

Jazz on Film
11:39 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Jazz on Film: So Square and So Hip

Jack Webb’s iconic character Joe Friday and program "Dragnet" forever fixed him as the no-nonsense, straight talking and ultra-square cultural figure firmly behind law and order and unmoved by societal changes in the 1950s and 60s. Yet few knew that Webb got his start as a late-night jazz DJ before moving to radio broadcasts and television. He is reputed to have had more than 6,000 jazz records, including everything done by Bix Beiderbecke as well as his love for the modern jazz of the 50s. His first wife was the actor-singer Julie London.

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Book Review
2:03 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Gil Scott-Heron: Is That Jazz? A book review

Chroniclers of the life of Gil-Scot Heron (GSH) describe him as a contradiction—the lead evidence is his self-destructive drug use while musically preaching the dangers of drugs to others. Critics also cite parent Gil’s neglect of his children despite having been pained by the absence of his own father. These and other tales of failings and accomplishments are here—the compassion and neglect, the engagement and denial, the creativity and ambivalence.

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PBS Shows
11:14 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Bing Crosby Rediscovered | PBS Special

For the first half of the 20th century, jazz champion Bing Crosby (1903-1977) was the most popular and influential multi-media star. Crosby reigned supreme through radio, film, television and records for more than three decades.

Crosby's deep love of jazz brought the genre to a wider, mainstream audience. While a singer for the band the Rhythm Boys, Crosby bent notes and added off-tune phrasing in true jazz form.

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Book Review
4:16 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

SRV: The Pride of Austin - a book review

Stevie and older brother Jimmie Vaughan taught themselves to play guitar. “He taught me how to teach myself,” remembered Stevie. “And, that’s the right way.” The boys would listen closely to a tune repeatedly and pick it out themselves. Stevie’s first electric guitar was the hand-me-down when Jimmie bought a new one. “Keep your hands off my guitar,” Jimmie warned when Stevie got caught. Sibling rivalry prevailed, but Stevie always idolized his brother’s playing ability and leadership of the band The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

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Jazz on Film
12:11 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Jazz on Film: Tom Dowd & The Language of Music

Here’s a simple quiz. What do John Coltrane, Ray Charles, The Drifters, Bobby Darin, Aretha Franklin, Ornette Coleman, The Cream, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Lynard Skynard, Charles Mingus, the Allman Brothers, MJQ, and Otis Redding all have in common?  The answer is Tom Dowd, who engineered many of their (and others’) most important recordings. From 1948 at age 23 until the mid-70s Tom Dowd was the chief engineer for Atlantic Records and remained one of the most influential and innovative contributors to the work of popular music and sound recording until near his death in 2002.

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