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From Cimarosa to Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga (2010)

“Fold em let em hit me raise it baby stay with me.”

Lady Gaga’s song, “Poker Face,” is one of the best selling and most down-loaded singles ever produced. The song, written and composed by Nadir Khayat, has a robotic hook and a clever use of the love-as-card-game theme, and after considering all of its charms, and those of the performer, we might also notice that it points us to an important historical relationship. Gambling and music have always been … Continue Reading

An Appreciation of Aaron Copland

William H. Bonney

In 1938, the American frontier got its very own ballet.

After a long period of what seems in hindsight apprentice work, Aaron Copland achieved Master status in the American musical canon in 1938, with a ballet commissioned by Lincoln Kirstein, and named for the western gun-slinger William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid.

In the world of orchestral music, “Billy the Kid” was America’s “Declaration of Independence.” Copland, composing for the choreography of Eugene Loring, broke away … Continue Reading

Rise of the Sound Engineer

Bing Crosby

For decades after the invention of the phonograph, fidelity was the central goal of audio recording. Edison had sung “Mary had a little lamb,” and listen! You could hear him doing so!
The general attitude was that the more faithful the sound you heard was to the sound he had originally made, the more successful the recording. That was the point … right?

But beginning at the time of the Second World War, and with increasing technical sophistication in the 1950s … Continue Reading

Thoughts on Louis Armstrong and A Few Words about Miles Davis

Louis Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971)

The great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) is the subject of a one-man play now touring, Satchmo at the Waldorf, starring John Douglas Thompson.

The play contains three distinct roles, and Thompson by turn inhabits each of them: Louis Armstrong himself of course; Miles Davis, a younger rival who is outspoken about civil rights and thinks Armstrong is a sell-out; and Joe Glaser, Armstrong’s agent/manager. Glaser, though performed by Thompson without transformative make-up, is a … Continue Reading

Stearns Square Hosts Journey Tribute Band: Who Was Journey???


Stearns Square Hosts Journey Tribute Band: Who Was Journey?

A Journey tribute band, The Great Escape, played recently at Stearns Square, an outdoors summer venue in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.

I’m afraid I don’t have any video of that performance to share with you. I do have video of another recent performance of the same tribute band though. Here they are doing Faithfully. That performance is, I might as well say, true to its source. The performers do their job … faithfully.

Their fidelity has me thinking about … Continue Reading