My new Think Again column is called “Real Reporting and Right-Wing Ideology Don’t Mix,” and it’s here.
My Nation column is called “The Rehabilitation of Elliott Abrams,” and it’s here.
Jazz at Lincoln Center presented a real treat last weekend: The Jon Faddis Orchestra, playing the music of Dizzy Gillespie. Jon Faddis probably enjoyed the closest personal connection to Gillespie of any living trumpet player and he picked up not only “Birks’” dedication to his craft but also his penchant for clowning from the stage. I have to say, there was much too much of this the night I saw the band. J. Lo was sitting in the front row and he would not leave her alone. Everyone who came to show late caught hell from the bandleader. None of it was particularly clever and it probably cost the evening at least two numbers. Luckily, when the band did play, they more than made up for it. The first half of the show was made up of new transcriptions from Gillespie's 1940s big band. The second half was devoted to pieces from Gillespie's days as a jazz ambassador in the 1950s. Faddis ran one of the tightest jazz bands of all time when Carnegie Hall was footing the bill and the orchestra he has put together is pretty stellar today. The big thrill of the show—both musically and emotionally—were the songs played by the great Jimmy Heath who just killed on some of the same solos he did over half a century ago alongside John Coltrane. Kinda brought tears to these eyes… More from my friends as Jazz@LC here.
On the old fart music scene, there’s a forty-year anniversary re-release on 180-gram vinyl only of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s seminal Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which long ago introduced teenagers and others to the music of Mother Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Jimmy Martin. Lotta talking, but if you don’t have it, you gotta. Nice packaging, too.
And my friends at Sony Legacy have put out Elvis's Aloha From Hawaii via Satellite. It’s two CDs from two 1973 shows plus a dress Rehearsal plus five bonus tracks and a twenty-four-page booklet with rare photos and new liner notes. Again, lotta talking but Elvis fanatics want every second they can get, especially 1973 Elvis fanatics.
For Deadheads, there’s Dave’s Picks, Volume 5, also from 1973 at UCLA. Apparently, it’s already sold out though, so I’m sorry. Read all about how excellent it would be if you could have gotten your hands on one, here. (Big bonus: Bill Walton wrote the liner notes…)
I have also been spending some time with of those British sleuthing shows on DVD and Blu-ray, most recently, "Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries," which stars Essie Davis as a modern woman of the late 1920s operating in a mostly male-dominated detective world. Then there is Stephen Mangan in "Dirk Gently" as a holistic detective, which is pretty goofy. There is also a new season of "Murdoch Mysteries," but to be honest, none compare with the gold standard: "Foyle’s War," which luckily for everyone who hasn’t see it, is now out on "The Home Front Files, Sets 1-6" in preparation for its return in September 2013.