Tagged: jazz

America’s Greatest Export

While traveling abroad in Southeast Asia, we shirked from inquiring eyes when George Bush’s coronation was broadcast live on CNN. We weren’t ashamed to be an American — on the contrary, we’re proud to be a citizen of this glorious country — but at that inglorious moment in history we were mortified to have come...

Mistaking Commercial Popularity With Artistic Achievement

Not long ago a couple of friends invited us to watch a concert DVD of one of their favorite performers, a woman named Beyonce Knowles. One of our friends, a musician, said that although most fans admire Ms. Knowles for her pretty face, powerful singing voice, and shapely ass, the really impressive thing about her is...

This Mysterious Notion of Quality

People blessed with this amorphous attribute we call “taste” like to congratulate themselves for being able to discern the difference between that which is good and salutary and that which is bad and degrading. (Those who are too busy or distracted to make such distinctions rely on taste consultants known as reviewers.) Books, music, paintings,...

Screaming the Loudest

The benefit of teaching young people that the world is a meritocracy is that this enduring myth encourages people to try their best. As long as they believe that the cream eventually rises to the top, they’ll continue to toil diligently, confident that there’s a demonstrable correlation between dedicated effort and eventual reward. Once the...

Why People Hate Art

A rich guy we know gives generously to a wide and cheering cross-section of charities: Special Olympics, animal shelters, American Cancer Society, institutions of higher learning. He feels good giving away some of his millions to any cause or appeal, except “the arts.” That he won’t do. The arts, he’s told us in so many words,...

The Slippery Slope of Indecency

Haters of sin rejoiced this week when the FCC, under pressure from righteous politicians and their outraged constituents, announced that broadcasters would be subject to fines of as much as $500,000 and a reevaluation of their licenses should they transmit “indecent” programming to the innocent ears and eyes of the American citizenry. Believe it or...

Our National Anthem

Whenever we view an international sporting event, we’re reminded anew how awful is our country’s national anthem. (Exhibit A: just listen to “Oh, Canada” and “The Star Spangled Banner” back-to-back.) Our song is about the flag, but it’s also about war, about perilous fights and bombs bursting in air. To some people – particularly those...

Smooth Jazz

You can find karaoke machines in hundreds of bars and restaurants and bowling alleys around Los Angeles, where everyone is a budding star (or at least wants to be.) You can find fewer live piano bars, where a player well-versed in the standards and Broadway show tunes accompanies enthusiasts with cabaret dreams. And even rarer...