Jazz on Film at the American Cinematheque Aug. 20-23

Posted by Amoebite, August 7, 2015 04:49pm | Post a Comment

Jazz on Film at the Aero Theatre

American Cinematheque presents Jazz on Film, a weekend of classic jazz films Aug. 20-23 at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.

The first three screenings will feature giveaways of jazz CDs, courtesy of Sony Legacy recordings, and Amoeba gift certificates. Each screening starts at 7:30 p.m.

The series begins with Diana Ross' electrifying performance as Billie Holiday in Lady Sings the Blues Thursday, with an appearance by jazz musician Corky Hale. It continues on Friday with the shorts program Jazz on a Spring Day and Stormy Weather, which features singing from Lena Horne, Fats Waller and Cab Calloway; film noirs Anatomy of a Murder and Odds Against Tomorrow on Saturday; and Latin jazz films Cachao...Como Su Ritmo No Hay Dos, directed by Andy Garcia (who will be there in person for a discussion, time permitting) about original mambo king Cachao, and performance film Calle 54.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Avant-Garde Composer Nils Frahm

Posted by Amoebite, February 24, 2015 05:00pm | Post a Comment

Nils Frahm

Nils Frahm is a Berlin-based Avant-Garde composer and pianist known for his Nils Frahm Spacesunconventional approach to Classical piano. Frahm creates a unique style of classical and Jazz-influenced electronic music by utilizing a grand piano, upright piano, Juno 60 keyboard, Rhodes and a drum machine.

Frahm has gained recognition for his trance-inducing live shows where he's known for painstakingly sustaining notes over a long period of time. On his tenth studio release, Spaces (Erased Tapes), Frahm delivers layers of atmospheric sonics while displaying his ability to create meticulous compositions. Many of his pieces paint broad pictures and can easily be used as film score. Nil Frahm's work satisfies Jazz listeners, electronic fans and those who enjoy avant-garde. Spaces does not disappoint.   

Nils Frahm dropped by Amoeba Hollywood recently and picked up some choice vinyl from our Jazz Room. Once Nils starts talking about albums, it's clear he is a true connoisseur who takes his record collecting very seriously. He also explains the importance of being patient when hunting for harder-to-find records. A huge fan of classic Jazz, Nils finds a copy of Billie Holiday's Songs For Distingue Lovers. He follows that up with another rare copy of Thelonious Monk's Thelonious Himself. Frahm finds some amazing records and his genuine appreciation for Jazz makes you want to fire up the record player and chill out to some Miles Davis or John Coltrane.

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New "What's In My Bag?" Episode With Macy Gray

Posted by Amoebite, November 5, 2014 06:11pm | Post a Comment

Macy Gray

Easily recognized by her natural afro, reminiscent of a young funky Betty Davis, Macy Gray is unmistakable. In the spring of 2000, Gray went from single mother of three, studying film at USC to international mega star. The world was introduced to Gray's trademark raspy vocals by her smash hit Macy Graysingle, "I Try." The song topped charts around the globe helping her debut album, On How Life Is (Epic Records), go triple platinum in the United States and sell seven million copies worldwide. Gray went on to launch a successful acting career co-starring alongside A-listers like Denzel Washington and Tobey Maguire. Six Grammy nominations later (winning 1), with multi-platium record sales and a bonafide acting career, Macy Gray continues to be as productive today as she was a decade ago.     

Aftr releasing The Sellout in 2010, Gray is back with her 6th studio album, The WayFor her latest production Gray partners with a revolving cast of collaborators, including the legendary Booker T Jones. The new album is out now on Gray's own label, Happy Mel Boopy Touring Co., and  is available on CD and download at Amoeba.  

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Essential Records: Portishead's 'Dummy'

Posted by Amoebite, October 27, 2014 04:24pm | Post a Comment

Essential Records Portishead Dummy

During the summer of 1996, I became obsessed with Portishead. Dummy had been released two years earlier, so generally speaking, I was late to the game, but in the suburban town where I was about to start high school, I was definitely way ahead of the game. Because when it came to underground music, culture or film, there was no game.

I was just about to turn fifteen and leave all the friends I'd known for nearly a decade to attend the state's largest high school on my own. It was a deeply mopey time. At the same time, I was starting to realize that the music on Top 40 radio made me feel like something was missing, that musically-speaking, there must be more out there. So, I started tuning into the local alt-rock station after school, alone in my room, and that's where I first encountered Portishead's "Sour Times."

Portishead - Sour Times
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I hated this song. I thought it was irritating and abrasive. Singer Beth Gibbons would wail "Nobody loves me/it's true/not like you do" with her '60s jazz influenced vocals and I would get pissed off that I'd have to sit through it for the next three or four minutes. (For some reason I never went as far as actually turning the radio off.) Every time I heard it, I would get angry at it, angry that I had to sit through it, angry that the station's Music Director had poisoned the rotation with this grating, slightly terrifying few minutes of song. 

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New York State Of Mind Amoeblog #98

Posted by Billyjam, September 24, 2014 11:00am | Post a Comment

Billie Holiday "Autumn In New York" (1952)

NYSOM #98 of 100: Since Fall or Autumn officially arrived a couple of days ago here in New York City (and you can feel it in the air especially with chilly cold evenings this past days) Billie Holiday's classic "Autumn In New York" comes to mind.  Hear the song, that is found on such collections as The Best of Billie Holiday, above in homemade slide show video of NYC over the decades. Speaking of weather and NYC the big event here over the past weekend was the huge Climate Change March that attracted (depending on which news source you can believe) anywhere from a quarter of a million to 450,000 participants. The big march included numerous well known actors and musicians including the Bay Area's Michael Franti of Spearhead - seen in photo left that also includes movie stars Edward Norton and a barely recognizable bearded Leonardo DiCaprio. That was Sunday but the following day's Flood Wall Street protest down on Wall Street (also in the lead up to the UN Climate Summit 2014 that began yesterday here in New York), which drew much fewer protestors, had more arrests numbering about a hundred when more vigilant protestors gathered to voice opposition to the corporations who aren't investing in green initiatives.

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