February 27, 2016
Ches Smith Trio Ches Smith is a young lion of improvisational avant-garde jazz percussion. He's also a solid, genre-bending session man, having worked with the likes of Mark Ribot, Tim Berne, Xiu Xiu, Mr. Bungle, Carla Bozulich, Wadada Leo Smith, Elliott Sharp, and many more. For all his varied contributions and time logged in jazz's avant division, it is surprising that Smith has done so few recordings as a band or project leader. His new ECM label album, The Bell , changes that as he guides pianist Craig Taborn and violist Mat Maneri through a pulsing series of elegantly majestic and noisily intimate moments.
February 22, 2016 |
Lushlife is on top of the world. Or at least Raj Haldar, the Philadelphia rapper and producer who records under that name, is, perched on a window seat overlooking Center City from the 19th-floor bar at the Bellevue Philadelphia just a few days before his breakthrough album Ritualize (***) was to be released on the Western Vinyl label. Born on the day MTV was launched - Aug. 1, 1981 - Haldar is talking about growing up in Glen Ridge in Essex County in North Jersey, playing drums and writing arrangements in a high school jazz band (with future Vampire Weekend singer Ezra Koenig on saxophone)
September 10, 2015 |
It's an unfortunate name. A new $32 million music and entertainment complex opens in Fishtown on Oct. 1, with hometown heroes Hall & Oates. Do we really have to call it the Fillmore ? Can't the club in the former Ajax Metal Co. factory have its own Philadelphia name, rather than one borrowed from a San Francisco club, one also being used for a host of other venues in the Live Nation chain? But like the name or not, the opening of the Fillmore, which will include a concert hall that holds up to 2,500 and a 450-capacity top-floor club known as the Foundry, is the biggest news of the season for the Philadelphia live music scene.
April 14, 2015 |
For Peter T. Hesbacher, it was always about people. He spent his life - following his father from place to place as a young man to spending years as a sociologist - working to engage people. And in his daily life, it showed. "He was one of those people at a party where, if you felt like nobody's talking to a person, he'd go start talking to the person and find something in common," said daughter Gretchen, who recalled her father as never wearing anything but a suit. "I think he had a lot of people who felt close to him. " Dr. Hesbacher, 78, of Danville, Pa., died Wednesday, April 8, at Emmanuel Center at Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community in Danville after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
April 1, 2015 |
Remember Liberace? The Wisconsin-born piano prodigy who for decades reigned as an American superstar by building an entertainment empire of TV and a mainstay Vegas act that paid him up to $300,000 a week? If you don't, the Walnut's Independence Studio on 3 production of Liberace! contains plenty of historical information to fill you in. Writer/director Brent Hazelton's 2010 show winks at the idea that many may not remember the pop icon. After Jack Forbes Wilson's Liberace announces a drawling "I'm ba-ack!
January 26, 2015 |
When it comes to big-name albums, it's becoming rare for release dates to be announced much in advance. The element of surprise is a big bonus, and social media spread the word like wildfire. So, rather then tell us ahead of time, everybody's trying to keep a secret, then spring it on us for maximum promotional value, Beyoncé-style. So, along with the three to-be-announced releases by Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, and Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill listed below, a whole lot of other marquee releases expected in early 2015 have no specified arrival dates.
September 15, 2014 |
Does anyone actually buy music anymore? Unclear. But the album release schedule still gets busy after Labor Day. Besides those blurbed below, look for releases by Chris Brown ( X , Sept. 16) Lucinda Williams (the double album Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone , Sept. 30), Weezer ( Everything Will Be Alright in the End , Oct. 7), Florida Georgia Line ( Anything Goes , Oct. 14), Jessie Ware ( Tough Love , Oct. 21), Lil Wayne ( Tha Carter V , Oct. 28), Foo Fighters ( Sonic Highways , Nov. 10)
March 24, 2014 |
READY TO SPRING forward, showgoers? Get your ears engaged and your body in motion with some fine musicians, two big back-to-back radio-sponsored rock fests, the return of Philly's Center City Jazz Festival and more fabulous femmes - Miley Cyrus, Cher and Lady Gaga, too - than your dance-pop-loving heart can take without bursting. Okkervil River, March 28. This brittle, edgy folk-rock troupe (named after a Russian short story) is so literate, its lyrics stand alone as vivid poetry, short yarns.
January 28, 2014
FOR RED CARPET mavens, the Grammys are a mix of vavoom-daredevil style or she's-wearing-what? level disasters. This year didn't disappoint on both fronts (oh, Katy, no) but the biggest surprise came from the boys. Men don't have many choices when it comes to awards-show style. Slap on a tux and try not to look like a fool is generally the only rule of the red. But the men stepped it up for this year's red carpet, from Kevin Hart's textured tux, to the velvet-suited men of pop music (Macklemore, Robin Thicke)
January 24, 2014 |
TELEVISED entertainment award shows, like the MTV VMAs, American Music Awards and Golden Globes, have captured surprisingly big - even "best in a decade" - ratings this season, scoring especially well with advertiser-coveted 18- to-49-year-olds. Will Sunday's Grammy telecast (8 p.m., on CBS) likewise win viewing love - and tweets - and help restore pop music's mass-media prestige in the process? Could happen, if the event delivers the same performance tingle and thrill of victory as the best TV talent contests - the new live entertainment standard by which even award galas are being judged.