News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More

Thomas Swan

Chris Rock

88th Academy Awards Sunday >>

When the 88th Academy Awards go down this Sunday, everyone will be scrambling to the internet to try to figure out, if Eddie Redmayne wins another Academy Award for best actor, why someone has won more awards than there have been to see his films. Or maybe, if Sylvester Stallone gets his due, how actor and Stallone can go together in the same sentence. Without further ado, let's play with Oscar for a little while.

Robert Mugge

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Robert Mugge >>

Independent filmmaker and documentarian Robert Mugge is one of the greatest chroniclers of American roots music working today. For more than thirty years, he has carefully preserved and documented pieces of American culture that may have otherwise been lost in the foggy haze of time. To coincide with the release of three new DVDs that explore Louisiana cultural music on DVD - Zydeco Crossroads: A Tale of Two Cities, The Kingdom of Zydeco, and Rhythm N Bayous: A Road map to Louisiana Music March 25, Mr. Mugge sat down with Classicalite to talk about the blues, film making and New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina -

John Coltrane

Portland Jazz Festival Honors 'The Trane' >>

This year is a speical celebration for the annual Portland Jazz Festival. For ten days, February 18th to the 28th, the festival is proud to honor legendary saxophonist John Coltrane on his 90th birthday. With a full slate of honored guests in 100 plus events at a dozen different venues, the organizers will pay tribute to one of Jazz's greatest innovators, with the help of Mr. Coltrane's son Ravi as well.

Apollo's  Fire

Apollo's Fire @ PAC Purchase College >>

The Performing Arts Center at Purchase College in Purchase New York is welcoming the Apollo's Fire Baroque Orchestra and Chorus to their stage. They will be performing Bach's St. John Passion on Sunday March 13th at 3 P.M. Tickets vary from $40 to $70 dollars and are on sale now. The address of PAC is 735 Anderson Hill Rd.

Slim Harpo

The Forgotten Voices of Slim Harpo and Jimmy Reed >>

1958, Buddy Holly died. Elvis was doing bad movies and about to be inducted into the army. If you read the history books or listen to Don McLean's "American Pie," rock music was dying and quickly. Only that was far from the case. A seething cauldron of black driven music, largely termed blues, was modernizing music and sparking an underappreciated and underdocumented revolution. Two of the men leading the revolution were Slim Harpo and Jimmy Reed, two largely forgotten voices who would exert a great influence on 1960s groups from The Rolling Stones to Bob Dylan.

European Film Awards 2013

The Good, the Bad, and Ennio Morricone on the Hollywood Walk of Fame >>

Legendary film composer, Ennio Morricone, who is still going strong in his 8th decade of work, has seen it all and done it all in the world of cinema. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Morricone is set to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He will be the 2574th star on the historic attraction, which is set to be unveiled at 7065 Hollywood Blvd by such noted lumanaries as Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino.

Hristo Vitchev

EXCLUSIVE: Jazz Guitarist Hristo Vitchev on Jazz, Composing and His Band >>

Hristo Vitchev deserves to be heard. His website describes him as an impressionistic, modern jazz guitarist. However, one listen of his new CD In Search of Wonders, you are struck by the timelessness of Mr. Vitchev's music. The guitarist fronts a tightly structured quartet that features him on guitar, Jasnam Daya Singh on piano, Dan Robbins on bass and Mike Shannon on the drums. In real life, they are four different individuals but, as a band, they are one, as Mr. Vitchev will be the first to tell you.

GoGo Penguin

Ladies and Gentlemen, GoGo Penguin >>

Being based out of Portland, Or has its benefits. We have one of the most cutting edge jazz radio stations in the US, KMHD. You may hear a lot of uninteresting sounds but, every so often, comes a new, powerful group of individuals who will not be denied and KMHD were one of the first to get on board the GoGo Penguin band wagon. The three man trio, based out of Manchester, England have drawn comparison to such heady acts as Massive Attack and Brian Eno.

Fats Domino

Rock With Fats Domino and PBS' New Documentary >>

He came from New Orleans and had a major hand in the creation of rock 'n' roll. He would run step for step with Elvis Presley in the early stages of rock 'n' roll. Fats Domino taught the world to swing and rock. He was the king of rock 'n' roll before Elvis and was jiving way before Jerry Lee Lewis was on ever on the scene. n February 26 on PBS a part of it's celebration of Black History months, Thirteen Production's American Masters' newest documentary focuses on New Orleans born piano master Fats Domino. For rock fans, this documentary is a wonderful guide to the man and the history of an American institution.

Helene Grimaud

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Hélène Grimaud >>

Water, it is the source of life and death. It is sustains and corrodes. When it pours outside our window, it torments us but also it comforts us, heals our weaknesses. If there is a greater power on earth, it has yet to be found. Water or lack thereof can bring a country, a state or a city to its knees faster than economic sanctions. Like many in the art world through the ages, French classical pianist Helene Grimaud is fascinated by water, as a muse, a metaphor and bringer of life. Her didactic approach to the project was due to her strong belief in environmentalism. Classicalite sat down to talk with Ms. Grimaud about water and Water.

Jesse Cook

EXCLUSIVE: Classicalite Q&A with Jesse Cook >>

Aladdin Theater, Milwaukie Street, just off busy Powell Boulevard in Southeast Portland, Oregon. This was where I would meet the man who has been dubbed one of the most influenial figures in nuevo Flamenco music, the very affable and witty Jesse Cook. The guitarist's charm and easy sense of humor reminded my date and me of another performer we had seen recently--the slightly more famous Hugh Laurie. Jesse began a new version of his One World Tour on an unseasonably warm day for Portland. But before anything else could happen, the globe-trotting guitarist had to be dad and put his kids to bed in Toronto.

Aamir Khan

Did Aamir Khan Hurt India? >>

It's ironic. Aamir Khan has stirred up the clouds of intolerance and really been proved right in his assessment of the rampant intolerance in India. Now, a professed friend of Khan's is jumping on his back about the comments he has made. Indian Union Urban Development Minister, Venkaiah Neidu, said in a speech before the 6th Bharatiya Chattra Sansad (Indian Students Parliament), organised by MIT College, that he considered Aamir Khan a friend, but he hurt his country and offended a great many people, himself included.

BB King

BB King Documentary on PBS Shows Human Side of the King >>

Thirteen's American Masters series focuses on recently deceased blues legend B. B. King in their new 1 hour documentary airing on PBS Feburary. Their program is a part of the celebration of black history month and the man born Riley B. King is a perfect subject. The son of a sharecropper in Mississippi, King was born into a world with little money and rampant racism and segregation. B.B. King: The Life of Riley takes us into the world of B.B. KIng so we may get a measure of the man who, though he started out in meager surroundings was not a meager man.

Aamir Khan

Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh Khan All Releasing Films? >>

For a long time now. Bollywood has depended on the Khans to put butts in seats and, for the most part, they have came through. Prognosticators have been gazing into the future and see another bed of roses, courtesy of the Khans. In spite of possible clashes with each other's films, trade analyisits believe that this will be a very successful year and the Khans will come through in the pinch once again.

Hélène Grimaud's New CD 'Water' (Deutsche Grammophon) is Her Beautiful, Dark, Twisted Fantasy

REVIEW: Hélène Grimaud, 'Water' (Deutsche Grammophon) >>

In her liner notes for her new Deutsche Grammophon record Water, French-born classical pianist Helene Grimaud notes, "The theme of this album is water: as a source of life and inspiration." Ms. Grimaud goes on to discuss her uniquely holistic project--a meditation of the contrasting incarnations of water. There is a lot to ponder and consider, yes, based largely on Grimaud's stated intentions and what the sound, itself, is saying. Water is a fascinating intellectual journey. And no, it's not a CD you will ever put on just for background noise.

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