| Jul 11, 2008
Wynton Marsalis describes the big jazz band as "the American orchestra." It's an intriguing and, in many ways, definitive identification of the instrumental collective that has been a foundation ensemble of American jazz and popular music for more than 80...
| Aug 27, 2006
Indomitable saxophonist Peggy Gilbert got the beat back in the 1920s, when Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington and the Kansas City Nighthawks were wowing Jazz Age dance crowds.
She was still blowing a hot tenor sax in 1981 on Johnny...
| Nov 29, 2009
In 1947, jazz great Louis Armstrong got himself a new gadget -- a tape recorder, fresh out on the consumer market. It was a big, boxy machine that he set up in concert halls and jazz joints to record his six-piece All Stars so he could listen to each show...
| Jun 5, 2009
Sam Butera, a hard-swinging tenor saxophonist who formed a rowdy and successful onstage partnership with entertainers Louis Prima and Keely Smith in the 1950s, died Wednesday at a hospital in Las Vegas. He was 81.
He had Alzheimer's disease, according to...
| Jun 7, 2009
Rock stars, Jazzers, Pachucos...they may have grown up somewhere else quaint, like Sandusky, Ohio, or Canada, but they made their mark herelived, created and died here. Music is as much a part of the L.A. legacy as film and television. From the bebop...
| Jul 19, 2009
Critics don't get much respect. (Pause here for raucous laughter.) If you doubt it, look up the word "critic" in any book of quotations and see what you find.
H.L. Mencken's "New Dictionary of Quotations" is full of zinger after zinger, most of which...
| Sep 13, 2009
Morris Dickstein's "Dancing in the Dark" is not exactly the syncretic "Cultural History of the Great Depression" that its subtitle promises -- at best, the book treats inferentially the broad political and social trends of that desperate, crucial era. Let...
| Mar 17, 2009
It was 50 years ago that Nat King Cole went to Brazil and was greeted with staggering street-side ovations. "There was so much affection, it's hard to describe what it was like," said Carole Cole, one of the late singer's daughters. "It was almost like...
| Apr 6, 2009
The Quai Branly Museum, a steel-and-glass palace on the Seine River, has news for the culture world: "Three Little Bops" is art.
The Looney Tunes cartoon from 1957 retells the Three Little Pigs as a jazz fable with music by...
| Nov 16, 2003
At the end of "Inventing a Nation," Gore Vidal recalls a conversation with John F. Kennedy at Hyannis in 1961. Kennedy was complaining about the proliferation of second-raters in government: "Then you read all those debates over the Constitution ......
| May 22, 1994
Midafternoon, and we are sailing. The wide span of Century Boulevard seems vast in its possibilities, a seductive expanse with room to roam or expand. At quick glimpse, it is sparkling, but a brief pause at a light reveals something quite different--a...