WBEZ | David Bowie http://www.wbez.org/tags/david-bowie Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Be a karaoke superstar in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/be-karaoke-superstar-chicago-105792 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Trader%20Todds%20copy.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px; " title="Life is but a karaoke dream at Trader Todd's. (Poggled)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image ">Karaoke may have originated in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaoke" target="_blank">Japan</a>, but America has turned this strange little public display of lyric reading, microphone wielding and awesomely bad singing into a national rite of passage. In fact, a rollicking night out with friends is usually not given the title of &quot;epic&quot; until a 3 a.m. rendition of Billy Joel&#39;s<em> Glass Houses&nbsp;</em>is involved.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div></div><p>If <em>American Idol </em>has taught me anything, it&#39;s that we really like getting up on stage and <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mvNCD6M9PI" target="_blank">losing our inhibitions</a> through song--even if that means making complete fools out of ourselves. Karaoke is a way of life in urban music meccas like New York, Portland and Nashville, but Chicago has a great scene too.</p><p><u>Here are a few of my favorite places to sing like there&#39;s no tomorrow</u>:</p><p><strong>Lincoln Karaoke</strong>&nbsp;(Lincoln Square)</p><p>&quot;Private Room&quot; karaoke with comfy sofas, mini egg rolls&nbsp;and <a href="http://www.lincolnkaraoke.com" target="_blank">glow-in-the-dark tambourines</a>. Need I say more?&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chicago Blackhawk VFW Post 7975&nbsp;</strong>(Noble Square)</p><p>Or as I like to call it, the good ol&#39; <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/chicago-blackhawk-vfw-post-7975-chicago-2" target="_blank">VFDubs</a>. Open until 4 am on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can sing &quot;I Am Telling You I&#39;m Not Going&quot; and really mean it.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Blue Frog&#39;s Local 22&nbsp;</strong>(River North)</p><p>I rarely find myself in this area, but when I do, I&#39;m usually the only one eating a veggie burger and singing &quot;Burning Down the House&quot; at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.local22chicago.com" target="_blank">Blue Frog</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Shoes Pub</strong> (Lincoln Park)</p><p>Friday night karaoke at <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/shoes-pub-chicago" target="_blank">Shoes</a>&nbsp;is always a good time. When you&#39;re not (ironically) belting Bon Jovi alongside trashed DePaulians, feel free to vandalize the walls with chalk or play darts while drinking some delicious craft beer.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Alice&#39;s Lounge</strong> (Avondale)</p><p>Another <a href="http://www.yelp.com/biz/alices-lounge-chicago" target="_blank">4 a.m. dive</a>&nbsp;with a cheap drinks, friendly staff and a cozy setup&nbsp;for singing/dancing the night away.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Mary&#39;s Attic</strong> (Andersonville)</p><p>This is my favorite gay bar for a reason.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hamburgermarys.com/chicago/events.php" target="_blank">MaryOke!&nbsp;</a>on top of Hamburger Mary&#39;s is the most fun I&#39;ve ever had with Wii, Giant Jenga and drag queens combined.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Piece&nbsp;Brewery and Pizzeria</strong> (Wicker Park)</p><p>Live band karaoke on Saturdays! And did I mention that they have the best thin-crust pizza in Chicago? Because <a href="http://www.piecechicago.com/flash/index.html" target="_blank">they do</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Trader Todd&#39;s</strong> (Lakeview)</p><p>Okay, this place is Bachelorette Party central. It&#39;s also <em><a href="http://www.tradertodd.com" target="_blank">amazing</a></em>:&nbsp;kitschy tiki bar atmosphere, drinks with names like &quot;The Naked Jamaican&quot; and over 10,000 karaoke songs for you to croon on a stage that has Christmas lights all-year-round. Seriously, what&#39;s not to love?</p><p><u>Oh, and I have some favorite songs too</u>:</p><p>&quot;You May Be Right&quot; - Billy Joel (<em>Glass Houses</em> forever)</p><p>&quot;My Sharona&quot; - The Knack (watch <em>Reality Bites, </em>then&nbsp;get back to me)</p><p>&quot;Under Pressure&quot; - Queen and David Bowie (NOT Vanilla Ice)</p><p>&quot;Here Comes Your Man&quot; - The Pixies (I sang this song in weird dive bars and honkeytonks&nbsp;<em>way</em> before Joseph Gordon Levitt in <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDzDm-KGCs4" target="_blank"><em>500 Days of Summer&nbsp;</em></a>made it cool again)</p><p>&quot;22&quot; - Taylor Swift (guilty)</p><p><em>Where are your favorite places to karoake in Chicago? What about go-to songs? Sound off in the comments below or let me know what I&#39;m missing out on via Twitter&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">@leahkpickett</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Feb 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-02/be-karaoke-superstar-chicago-105792 Act Two…or Three…or…: The remaking of an artist http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/act-two%E2%80%A6or-three%E2%80%A6or%E2%80%A6-remaking-artist-103741 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F66637020&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=true&amp;color=ffe12b" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/6150800473_13f11baa53_z.jpg" style="height: 308px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On'(Flickr/Chris Drumm)" /><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>So now that President Barack Obama has been reelected to a second term, how will his final four years in the White House unfold? What will his &lsquo;second act&rsquo; look like?</p><p>And what sort of reinvention will defeated Tea Party Congressman Joe Walsh undertake? The political landscape is littered with stories of reinvention, which caused <em>Morning Shift</em> intern Miles Doornbos to start wondering about musical second acts--good and bad.</p><p>A quick glance at the history of pop, soul, jazz and other musical styles reveals some fascinating examples of artists who, either out of commercial necessity, creative frustration, an epiphany or a combination of these and other factors, have taken a turn in the music they create.</p><p>Bob Dylan&rsquo;s music went thru a number of transformations; who could forget the <em>Saved </em>album?</p><p>Frank Sinatra&rsquo;s Capitol years presented a mature, almost brooding, yet relaxed swing that was antithetical to his early work with Columbia. And of course, who can forget the Jefferson Starship? What the heck was that all about? Talk about a crash landing.</p><p>Thursday&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Morning Shift</em>&nbsp;takes a look at some of mine and Richard Steele&rsquo;s artist reinventions: from Miles to Snoop, Luther to Bowie.</p><p>I want to start with a man who produced one of his greatest works after once asking himself, &ldquo;with the world exploding around me, how I am supposed to keep singing love songs?&rdquo;</p><p>There has been so much written about <strong>Marvin Gaye</strong>&#39;s 1971 masterpiece<strong>&nbsp;<em>What&#39;s Going On</em>&nbsp;</strong>and the story behind the recording is documented as part of the NPR 100 series. Gaye composed he song &quot;What&rsquo;s Going On&quot; in 1970. Motown chief Berry Gordy didn&rsquo;t want to release the song saying the jazz sound was outdated. Gaye told him he wouldn&rsquo;t record anything unless Gordy released the song. He did, it reached number one on the R&amp;B charts, number two on the Billboard pop chart and sold over two million copies. Not bad for a song that had an &quot;outdated&quot; sound. The album that followed--which Gordy warned would displease his fan base--had Gaye writing about issues of the day, such as the lingering Vietnam War and the environment. And it was not only Gaye&rsquo;s but R&amp;B&rsquo;s first song cycle album; songs segued into each other, adding an overall narrative. <strong>&quot;What&rsquo;s Happening Brother&quot;</strong> is the second track on <em>What&rsquo;s Going On</em> and was dedicated to his younger brother, Frankie, who was returning from a three-year duty in Vietnam.</p><p>There&rsquo;s a reason why <strong>David Bowie</strong> was once referred to as the chameleon; he&rsquo;s transformed himself musically perhaps more than any other pop star. Not long after releasing his Thin White Duke era <em>Station to Station</em> in 1976, Bowie moved to Berlin and lived in a flat above a mechanic&rsquo;s garage. He was looking for a bit of anonymity and to kick his cocaine habit. During that time he became more interested in Krautrock, classical music and post-modernist art. Those three endeavors fed into what would later be called The Berlin Era, with three albums that would swing from minimalist Philip Glass style sounds to Kraftwerk inspired dance rock and hints of the not yet realized New Wave/ Electronic/New Romantic sound which owed a great debt to this Bowie period.</p><p><em>Low </em>was the first album from this era and is by far the most experimental, at least on side two of the LP. <strong>&quot;Weeping Wall&quot;</strong> is an instrumental in which Bowie plays all the instruments including xylophone, vibraphone and synthesizer. He also adds some eerie sounding wordless vocals. At first listen, you might think the melody sounds a bit like Scarborough Fair; that was intentional. Bowie once said the song was intended to evoke the misery of the Berlin Wall.</p><p>Okay, I&rsquo;ll say it upfront; I never really got into Snoop&rsquo;s music although I won&rsquo;t deny his talent. This is a rather dramatic turn for Snoop; he takes on the name Snoop Lion, embraces the Rastafarian faith and embarks on a reggae album.&nbsp; Now whether Snoop is serious or not (he also says he&rsquo;s Bob Marley reincarnated), the music isn&rsquo;t a fluff attempt a reggae; Snoop dives into the one drop sound and the result is soulful, playful and radio friendly. This is music from skanking. <strong>&quot;La La La&quot;</strong> is the only single released so far from his forthcoming reggae album <em>Reincarnated</em>.</p><p>Damon Albarn knows a thing or two about reggae and dub, having incorporated them into the music of his band Gorillaz. Albarn first came to prominence as part of the Brit indie band Blur in 1988 and has since expressed his musical creativity in ways that has put him outside his rock comfort zone but usually with more than a modicum of success at least artistically. He&rsquo;s played music with Malian artists, added electronica to the music of the Democratic Republic of Congo and helped write a Chinese opera. Here he teams up with Afrobeat drum master Tony Allen and Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea for further explorations in African funk&hellip;and beyond. &nbsp;<strong>Rocket Juice &amp; The Moon</strong> is Albarn&rsquo;s latest project (he&rsquo;s also done work with Chinese opera), and it&rsquo;s a heady mix of basson drum, jazz, afro beat, Sun Ra, and space funk. The guests are as mixed as the sounds: Eryka Badu, Ghanaian rapper M.anifest and Mailian guitarist and vocalist Fatoumata Diawara, who teams up wioth Albarn on the tune<strong> &quot;Benko.&quot;</strong> So with music from Kinshasa , Mali and China under his belt, one has to wonder what&rsquo;s the next act for Albarn.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNI-Cs" width="500"></iframe></p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/2695583862_e4ff1a690b_z.jpg" style="float: right; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Cassandra Wilson performing in 2008. (Flickr/Evert-Jan Hielema)" />This is an amazing story about three African-American operatic tenors with a background in classical music. The idea to bring Victor Trent Cook, Rodrick Dixon and Thomas Young together was the brainchild of Broadway producer Marion Caffey. Caffey was responsible for bringing <strong>Three Mo&rsquo; Tenors</strong> to PBS as part of the <em>Great Performances </em>series. The idea was to celebrate the African-American tenor voice by showcasing performances that included opera, jazz, blues, spirituals, gospel, R&amp;B and Broadway tunes. From the moment the show aired during a 2001 pledge drive, it became a phenomenal PBS favorite, and its three stars became known across America. This is a medley of R&amp;B classics starting with the track<strong> &ldquo;Love Train.&rdquo; &nbsp;</strong>&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p><strong>Phil Collins</strong> is a multi-talented English singer-songwriter, drummer and actor born in 1951.His showbiz career began as a child actor on the London stage when he appeared in a production of <em>Oliver.</em> He also began to play drums at an early age. Over the course of time, music became his full-time pursuit. He played, recorded and toured with a local band in the late &lsquo;60s. The next move was to answer an ad by a group called Genesis that was looking for a new drummer. At that time, Peter Gabriel was the group&#39;s lead singer; &nbsp;Collins did backup vocals and drummed for the group &nbsp;for about five years. When Gabriel left, Collins became the lead singer. That&rsquo;s when his career really started to take flight.</p><p>It seems he was always re-inventing himself:&nbsp; He even played jazz and produced some R&amp;B tracks. His first solo album was <em>Face Value</em>, and he said his divorce influenced the project. The track called <strong>&ldquo;If Leaving Me Is Easy&rdquo; </strong>might be a testament to that. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>This is a vocal version of one of the tracks from the trend-setting <em>Bitches Brew </em>album from Miles Davis. This recording makes a connection between the two extraordinary musicians: &nbsp;Davis was a brilliant jazz innovator who never stopped inventing, and Cassandra Wilson is a contemporary vocalist who often defies musical categories and is not afraid to take chances. Davis&rsquo; jazz trumpet sought out new territory in 1970 with the release of <em>Bitches Brew</em>;&nbsp;That album turned completely away from the be-bop form of jazz from the 1940s and 50s, which Davis had been closely associated with, and took jazz in a whole new direction. Wilson was able to capture some of that momentum vocally on the <em>Traveling Miles</em> tribute album released in 1999. The first track on this recording,<strong> &ldquo;Run the Voodoo Down,&rdquo;</strong> &nbsp;is a nod to the classic <em>Bitches Brew </em>package.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 08:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-11/act-two%E2%80%A6or-three%E2%80%A6or%E2%80%A6-remaking-artist-103741 Captured: The Live Album http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe frameborder="0" height="250" src="https://rd.io/i/QX9-5DNOpp8" width="500"></iframe></p><p>Forty years ago, Neil Diamond released the legendary live album&nbsp;Hot August Night, which went on to sell millions of copies and solidify his icon status. Host Tony Sarabia and WBEZ&rsquo;s Richard Steele play tracks from some of their favorite live albums and talk about what makes them exciting for some and frustrating for others. And, <a href="http://www.sammoore.net/">Sam Moore</a> of the 60s R&amp;B act Sam and Dave stops by to talk about his career in music, in advance of his Thursday and Friday shows at the City Winery Chicago.&nbsp;</p><hr /><p><strong>Tony Sarabia:</strong></p><p>Forget for a moment<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIAQaReXzB0"> Will Ferrell&rsquo;s hilarious skewing of Neil Diamond</a> and look at the man for what he is: a kitschy showman with a fondness for glitz. Oh wait, isn&rsquo;t that the Neil Diamond as portrayed by Ferrell? Well yes, but beyond the façade is a talented songwriter who gave us a number of hummable tunes such as &quot;Holly Holy,&quot; &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot;</p><p>40 years ago this Friday, Diamond took the stage with his 13 member band and about two dozen string players, for one of a handful of sold out concerts at the Greek Theater in Los Angeles. That show was captured on tape and a few months later the double live <em><strong>Hot August Night </strong></em>was released.</p><p>There are a couple of things that make this album noteworthy: it spent 29 weeks at number one on the Billboard charts and the show format would lay the foundation for Diamond&rsquo;s future concerts. It was an important moment in pop history that Diamond himself has recently revisited at the same theater.</p><p>There are memorable moments on the album: the slow funk burn of &quot;Solitary Man&quot; and the gospel inflected &quot;Red Red Wine.&quot; Having never seen Neil Diamond perform live, <em>Hot August Night</em> allows me to imagine me in that audience back in 1972 well before he was parodied by Will Ferrell.</p><p>I&rsquo;d argue that&rsquo;s one of the purposes of the live album; think of all those college aged Bob Marley fanatics who close their eyes and put themselves in the audience at that 1974 show at the Lyceum in the UK. The live album provides listeners a connection to an artist/group they aren&rsquo;t able to make in real time.</p><p>The live album can also serve as a moment of change whether planned or not.</p><p>This week, in light of the 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary of that Neil Diamond show that resulted in the double live album <em>Hot August Night</em>, Richard Steele and I delve into the live album and consider why our picks merit special attention.</p><p><em><strong>David Live</strong></em> was David Bowie&rsquo;s first official live album and he&rsquo;d be the first to tell you that it was not a good outing. He even commented on the album&rsquo;s cover shot of him saying it looked like he had just stepped out of the grave. He also joked the album should have been titled, &ldquo;David Bowie is Alive and Well and Living Only in Theory&rdquo;.</p><p>Criticism of the album ranged from poor sound quality to lackluster performances by Bowie and the band. One of the songs (the original release contained 17 songs while a 2004 CD re-issue included 22) is the 1966 Eddie Floyd soul hit &quot;Knock on Wood.&quot; Mick Jagger called Bowie&rsquo;s take &ldquo;awful&rdquo;</p><p>Jagger also had this to say about the album&rsquo;s reception by critics: &quot;if I got the kind of reviews that he got for that album, I would honestly never record again. Never.&quot;</p><p>Good thing Bowie didn&rsquo;t heed his friend&rsquo;s advice because one of the things <em>David Live</em> represents is another one of Bowie&rsquo;s musical chameleon moments. Bowie has said <em>David Live</em> was the death of Ziggy Stardust and although most of the tracks featured are culled from<em> Ziggy Stardust</em> and <em>Aladdin Sane</em>, those songs are re-worked to reflect Bowie&rsquo;s growing fascination with American soul music; more specifically the Philly Soul sound of the Gamble and Huff years.</p><p>So instead of the 1:38 second glam rock of his <strong>&quot;All the Young Dudes&quot;</strong> you hear on the Ziggy Stardust and the <em>Spiders from Mars </em>Motion Picture Soundtrack from two years earlier, you get a four minutes plus doo wop/ blues inspired take complete with saxophone and piano. It&rsquo;s almost as if Bowie&rsquo;s channeling not soul music but his earlier Hunky Dory days. His voice is smokey and more laid back and it does reflect some of what&rsquo;s heard on Diamond Dogs, the album that was released a few months before David Live.</p><p>But again, it was soul music that was on Bowie&rsquo;s mind and that infatuation would lead him to record his &ldquo;plastic soul&rdquo; <em>Young Americans</em> album in mid-tour, renaming the tour Philly Dogs.</p><p><em>David Live&nbsp;</em><strong>-</strong> like many live albums - has its ups and downs, but it&rsquo;s an important release in the rock genre because it serves as an historical document in Bowie&rsquo;s long career.</p><p>Talk about a comeback! And even the album cover is a work of art ( I have a reproduction hanging in my living room). The&nbsp;<em><strong>Judy at Carnegie Hall&nbsp;</strong></em>concert comes six years after her triumphant screen portrayal as Esther Blodgett in the 1954 movie <em>A Star is Born</em>. But lots had changed for <strong>Judy Garland</strong> since that stellar performance; by 1959 she was &nbsp;more heavily into drugs and booze and she had become overweight.</p><p>She decided to hire a vocal coach and get back into shape physically and mentally. So by the time she hit the stage at Carnegie Hall on the night of April 23<sup>rd</sup> 1961, she sounded in top form, with a new maturity to her voice. That evening has been called the greatest night in show business history. It&rsquo;s been noted the success of that night was not only due to Garland&rsquo;s superb voice but her ability to connect with the audience. Even Hedda Hopper, the hardnosed gossip columnist, said, &quot;I never saw the likes of it in my life.&quot; <em>Judy at Carnegie Hall</em> includes what I think is the tour de force from <em>A Star is Born</em>,<strong> &quot;The Man That Got Away.&quot;</strong>&nbsp;She brings the listener back to that little nightclub in the movie. Wow, what a performance!</p><p>Judy Garland was the first female artist to win a Grammy for Album of the Year and <em>Judy at Carnegie</em> was the first live album to snag a Grammy.</p><p>In 2006, Rufus Wainwright paid homage to Judy Garland and that special night in 1961 by recreating song for song that the Carnegie Hall performance.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4716407789_84ab1805c9_z.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' (Flickr/Peter Renshaw )" />As you can hear from June Carter&rsquo;s comment at the beginning of <strong>&quot;Jackson&quot;</strong> from the 1968 live album <strong><em>At Folsom Prison</em>,</strong> this wasn&rsquo;t the first time Johnny Cash and his crew had played Folsom State Prison in Represa California. Cash loved playing for the inmates. He said they were the best crowd to play for because of their enthusiasm and you can certainly here their appreciation during this rousing take on the Cash hit.</p><p>The lead off tune on the album is Cash&rsquo;s 1955 hit &quot;Folsom Prison Blues.&quot; The live version hit the Top 40 charts and along with favorable reviews of the album, Cash&rsquo;s waning career was revived with him once saying, &quot;That&rsquo;s where things really got started for me again&quot;.</p><p>By August 1968, <em>Folsom</em> had sold over 300,000 copies; two months later it was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Cash&rsquo;s 1969 follow up &ldquo;At San Quentin&rdquo;, would be his first to hit number one on the Pop Chart.</p><p><strong>Richard Steele:</strong></p><p><strong>Sam Cooke</strong> was a stand-out vocalist whose dad was the minister of a South Side church. Cooke&rsquo;s early successes were the result of his commitment to gospel music. But in the mid-&lsquo;50s, he made a very controversial switch to R&amp;B music with the monster hit &ldquo;You Send Me.&rdquo; Cooke&rsquo;s music was mostly mellow and well-suited for the pop music charts. His 1964 album called&nbsp;<em>Sam Cooke</em> <em>at the Copa&nbsp;</em>became a No. 1 hit.&nbsp; Critics weren&rsquo;t very impressed: They said his performance was &ldquo;Sam Cooke light&rdquo; to please the mostly white audience at the Copa.</p><p>His live session,&nbsp;<strong><em>One-Night Stand! Sam Cooke Live </em></strong>at the Harlem Square Club, was recorded in 1963, which was about a year before the Copa album, but it wasn&rsquo;t released as an album at the time. In 1985, RCA went deep into its vaults and released it. The consensus from both fans and critics was that this was one of the best live R&amp;B recordings ever made. As you listen to Cooke&rsquo;s performance, it&rsquo;s obvious that the soul sound critics thought was missing from the Copa recording was in full force at the Harlem Square Club in Miami. First you&rsquo;ll hear a short introduction by the club emcee, and then Cooke does a thumping version of &ldquo;Feel It.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue&rdquo; by Duke Ellington and his orchestra with a fabled tenor sax solo from Paul Gonsalves&hellip;from the album&nbsp;Duke Ellington at Newport.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Duke Ellington </strong>was one of the most celebrated bandleaders of the 20th century. The orchestra had fared well thru the &lsquo;20s, &lsquo;30s and &lsquo;40s, but by the mid-1950s, the new thing was rhythm &amp; blues and rock and roll. Large jazz ensembles were just about passé. The Ellington Orchestra had been reduced to playing a skating ring gig. Then along came the 1956 Newport Jazz Festival. What happened there with Duke&rsquo;s orchestra was the stuff of legends. On the final performance one night, they played a charged-up version of <strong>&ldquo;Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue,&rdquo; </strong>which included a 27-chorus solo by tenor saxophonist Paul Gonsalves.</p><p>The 7,000 people who caught that performance went crazy! They were so pumped up that the festival promoter feared there might be a riot. Duke Ellington was back! There&rsquo;s an ironic twist to this story.&nbsp; There were some technical problems with the recording and a few other things that Duke was not happy with, so they went into the studio the next day and re-recorded some performances with dubbed-in canned applause, simulated live ambiance and reverb and also recreated announcements. So in reality, the album was only partly live. It was many years before most fans knew the truth &hellip; but for most, it didn&rsquo;t matter. It was still a great recording.&nbsp;</p><p>The l<strong>ate James Brown</strong>, known as the &ldquo;Godfather of Soul,&rdquo; created an R&amp;B legacy that very few performers can match. His first hit record was&nbsp;<em>Please, Please, Please</em>&nbsp;in 1956. He followed that up with 50 years of great music and spectacular performances. Back in 1962, he wanted to record his live show and produce an album from it. His record company thought that was a dumb thing to do because there wouldn&rsquo;t be any new material on the album. Brown&rsquo;s position was that he wanted to capture the intense crowd response at his concerts. The answer was still no, so he put up his own money to do it, and the rest is history.&nbsp;<em>James Brown Live at the Apollo</em>&nbsp;was a smash and is still considered a classic. You can hear his fans really get into it while James does this version of&nbsp;<strong>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ll Go Crazy.&rdquo;</strong></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/349218110_9b06157547_z.jpg" style="height: 465px; width: 620px; " title="(Flickr/Chris Olson)" /></p></p> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-08/captured-live-album-101877 Mark Yonally wants to give tap dancing its due http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/mark-yonally-wants-give-tap-dancing-its-due-94674 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/mark yonally tidings of tap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Who teaches deaf children to tap-dance? A true believer, that’s who. Choreographer Mark Yonally, who heads up <a href="http://chicagotaptheatre.com/">Chicago Tap Theatre</a>, wants to bring tap to the masses.</p><p>A self-professed “child of the ‘death of tap’ period,” Yonally says that tap-dance pretty much disappeared from Broadway and the movies between the mid-50s and early 80s. Tap historians, he adds, generally point the finger at Agnes de Mille’s modern-dance dream ballet in <em>Oklahoma!</em>, which made tap-dancing seem “old-fashioned and out of touch.”</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/eric yonally.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 419px;" title=""></p><p>Springing to the defense of a form he’s used in lots of pop culture-based narrative dances, Yonally says firmly: “Tap can reveal psychological insights, tap can further a narrative, tap can explore more complex emotions.” Among the wordless story shows CTT has produced in its nine years: an epic contest between comic book superheroes and a science-fiction tale with a David Bowie score.</p><p>Raised in a Kansas City suburb, Yonally was a child stage and screen actor who decided at 18 that he was better at dancing than acting.</p><p>But theater—and crossing boundaries generally—is still fundamental to his work. CTT’s “Tidings of Tap” was Chicago’s first holiday production to include both Christmas and Hanukkah, always with a light touch. <em>Beatcracker in a Nutshell</em>, for example, is a beat-boxed and tapped rendition of five Tchaikovsky tunes.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/tidings of tap.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 308px;" title="2010's 'Tidings of Tap' production"><a href="https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/208964">This weekend “Tidings of Tap” crosses another boundary</a>: it will be set entirely to live music. New company members Andrew Edwards, CTT’s longtime composer and arranger, and violinist Samantha O’Connell will perform, plus husband-and-wife klezmer whizzes Kurt and Annette Bjorling and bassist Ken Fuller. New pieces include Yonally’s <em>Kiever Dreydiekh</em> (“Dreidels of Kiev”) and <em>You’re a Swingin’ One, Mr. G.</em> (aka “the Grinch”) as well as company member Rich Ashworth’s <em>Candlelight</em>.</p><p>Asked whether “Tidings of Tap” is a CTT cash cow, Yonally says no. “Most of our shows come very close to breaking even—or actually break a profit. We try to do shows that we think the audience will want to see.”</p><p>In March, that’ll be a new danced narrative based on <em>Les Yeux Sans Visage</em> (<em>Eyes Without a Face</em>), a 1960 French horror flick with a gruesome premise: a surgeon is kidnapping beautiful women, cutting off their faces, and attempting to graft them onto the mangled face of his daughter.</p><p>“We try to keep our shows family-friendly,” Yonally says. “But this one may skew older, like PG-13. I’m not interested in going the Grand Guignol route—there are so many artists exploring angst and darkness, no one needs me to do that. There will be some dark humor.”</p><p>Always up for a challenge, Yonally knew that teaching deaf and hard-of-hearing kids to tap-dance wouldn’t be easy. He didn’t realize it was totally uncharted territory. By the night before he was slated to teach fourth- through eighth-graders at Bell School in Roscoe Village, he’d discovered nothing at all online about how to do it. And when he went to the website of Gallaudet University, which specializes in education for the aurally challenged, he discovered an article debunking his only theory: that deaf children would learn to dance by feeling vibrations in the floor.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/mark yonally tidings of tap.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 301px; height: 400px;" title="Yonally in last year's 'Tidings of Tap'">“I told the kids when I started,” he says, “we are pioneers.”</p><p>What Yonally eventually found was that his students learned visually. And unfortunately the auditorium stage where he holds classes, unlike most dance studios, has no mirrors. When his students try to dance without him leading them, they can’t get visual cues from one another to stay in unison. So now a CTT board member is buying portable mirrors.</p><p>“When I started, I couldn’t sign,” Yonally says. “And now I’ve got maybe a 20- or 30-word vocabulary. Today I learned ‘from the beginning.’ I tell them I’m teaching them to tap, and they’re teaching me to sign.”</p><p>“The hard part for me, occasionally, is just keeping my stuff together. When they do it all together, I just want to cry. (Please don't let me sound too squishy and self-serving!) The teachers all dance with the kids, learning along with them. And the kids who need a little extra help, the teachers will hold their hands the whole time. A lot of people are working to make this happen.”</p></p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 15:40:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/mark-yonally-wants-give-tap-dancing-its-due-94674 'Horrible Bosses' step away from the water cooler and onto the big screen http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/horrible-bosses-step-away-water-cooler-and-big-screen-88871 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-08/Horrible-bosses.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Before she left for vacation, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>'s Alison Cuddy managed to squeeze in a few film screenings. <em>Time Out</em> <em>Chicago</em>’s<a href="http://www.wbez.org/contributor/hank-sartin" target="_blank"> Hank Sartin</a> joined <em>her</em> for a review of filmmaker Seth Gordon’s new comedy, <em>Horrible Bosses</em>, playing now across Chicago.&nbsp; Plus, he headed back to the '70s for one of singer David Bowie’s early film appearances in the sci-fi film, <em>The Man Who Fell to Earth,</em> which begins a run July 15 at the<a href="http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/" target="_blank"> Music Box Theatre</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: David Bowie, "Starman," from the release Ziggy Stardust (Virgin Records US)</em></p></p> Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-08/horrible-bosses-step-away-water-cooler-and-big-screen-88871