December 1, 2011
Observations, Insinuations, Ruminations and unvarnished opinions . . . 'MY FUNNY Valentine" is one of the great standards of our rich popular-music culture. The timeless Rodgers and Hart classic has been performed by every major artist, vocally by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Linda Ronstadt, Billy Eckstine - even actress Michelle Pfeiffer crooned it in "The Fabulous Baker Boys. " But its real staying power and endless musical possibilities have been interpreted by just about every jazz great from boppers Miles Davis, Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan to smooth-jazz star Chris Botti . . . "My Funny Valentine" ceased to be funny to the rest of the American League East yesterday when the Boston Red Sox segued from the final dysfunctional season of unfocused manager Terry Francona to the brilliant baseball mind and firm hand of Bobby Valentine.
May 28, 2010 |
I don't recall whether I told my friend Ted about the Hank Jones concert in New York or whether he told me. (Such lapses occur more and more these days.) But I do recall what I said next: "I have to go. I think it's going to be my last chance to see him. " The two of us went, and it was wonderful. That was about three years ago. Not long afterward, Jones stopped playing because of poor health. This month, he died at the age of 91. Jones was a marvelous pianist, and one of the last of the jazzmen - and jazzwomen - who have enriched my life over the decades.
December 29, 2006 |
From the diversity of sounds that emanate from his kit, Ari Hoenig's latest CD, "Inversations," could almost serve as a sonic resum? - if that wasn't rendered unnecessary by the fact that the Philadelphia-born drummer is already one of the most in-demand sidemen on the New York jazz scene. The Mount Airy native has played with names like Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Gerry Mulligan, Pat Metheny and Wynton Marsalis. "Who doesn't like to feel wanted?" posed Hoenig from Vermont, enjoying some holiday down time after a two-week tour of Italy and shortly before returning to New York to resume his packed schedule.
October 17, 2006 |
John J. Keenan, 75, of Bryn Mawr, professor emeritus of English at La Salle University, died Saturday of cancer at Bryn Mawr Terrace. Professor Keenan taught English at La Salle for 36 years. He chaired the English department for seven years. In 1968 he received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. "He was an engaging and challenging teacher and the epitome of what it means to be part of La Salle University," said his former student and La Salle president, Brother Michael McGinniss.
November 28, 1997 |
A picture is worth a mere thousand words. But A Great Day in Harlem, a moving picture about the making of a 1958 photograph of all the living jazz greats, is worth a million stories. When Esquire photographer Art Kane assembled jazz legends one Sunday morning in front of a Harlem brownstone, he didn't realize he was calling a historic convention. As with the best jazz, Kane made the most of serendipity and improvisation, and the documentary inspired by his photo is affectionate, gossipy - and it swings.
January 25, 1996 |
It was late in the afternoon in the auditorium of the old West Catholic High at 49th and Chestnut. The year was 1945, and the school dance band, "the Sirens," was rehearsing. I was a wide-eyed freshman, a novice clarinet and saxophone player, whose greatest dream was to someday play in a band like this one. A tall, thin red-headed boy came in and began to fool around laughingly with the other players. He sat down and played with the sax section for a while, but the next time I looked he was playing trumpet.
November 26, 1995 |
For the fraction of a second that it takes for a camera shutter to close, bebop was back yesterday. So was the beret. They were probably perched atop more heads on North 33d Street than anyplace else west of the Champs-Elysees. The lingo came back, too. A "cat" wasn't just the Felix variety anymore. And people could call each other "baby" without fear of being labeled politically incorrect or worse. So it was yesterday morning when 175 of the Philadelphia area's best-known jazz musicians gathered in front of the rowhouse where John Coltrane once lived for a photograph to honor him and the city's contributions to the art form.
December 10, 1993 |
Lionel Hampton is somewhere between 80 and 85, depending on which source you put your trust in. Hampton himself contributes nothing to clearing up the matter. "I'm old enough to know better," he said when the question of age was put to him. Whatever, Hampton is still "trying to make it . . . aiming straight ahead. " He's not interested in taking it easy at this stage of his life. Oh, sure, there was a little setback about a year ago. "Yeah, they had me grounded," Hampton said on the phone from his New York apartment a few days before bringing his 17-piece band to Glenside's Keswick Theatre for a concert Saturday.
November 9, 1993 |
Robert M. Gallagher, an advertising salesman for the Daily News and Inquirer for nearly 30 years, died Saturday. He was 66 and lived in Roslyn, Montgomery County. Gallagher, who worked for the Daily News for 22 years and six for the Inquirer, retired in 1991. He was widely regarded as a successful salesman because he liked people and he liked the product he was selling. Gene Williams, executive vice president of the Charlotte Observer, in Charlotte, N.C., and a former supervisor of Gallagher's, said he could never forget "his wit and his dogged persistence . . . He was an outstanding salesman and he brought a great deal of humor to the office.