Posted inArts & Culture

Charles Fambrough Quartet

With extended tenures in bands led by pianist McCoy Tyner and drummer Art Blakey–powerhouse percussionists both–bassist Charles Fambrough has learned more than a thing or two about holding the time together. He’s also apprenticed himself to the rhythms and song forms of Brazil, courtesy of Airto Moreira–whose band he anchored in the mid-70s–and gotten a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Circus Oz

As a kid I hated circuses. The ringmaster was always making a lot of noise about nothing. The animal acts always looked like exercises in sadism. And the clowns, that band of bozos, never seemed funny. My attitude changed last fall when I checked out the eye-pleasing, mind-blowing Cirque du Soleil from Montreal. Now, part […]

Posted inArts & Culture

James Moody

Standard forms of musical logic don’t apply at all to James Moody’s art; instead, his improvisations (on the flute and tenor and alto saxes) depend on bop logic. He’ll transform the ballad “Autumn Leaves” into a fast rabble-rouser, the rabble-rouser “Cherokee” into a ballad, or he’ll play “Beer Barrel Polka” not as a joke but […]

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In My Father’s Court

IN MY FATHER’S COURT National Jewish Theater Even the best ingredients will be wasted if the chef can’t cook. A National Jewish Theater adaptation by Arnold Aprill and Jaqueline Penrod of the late Isaac Bashevis Singer’s colorful memoirs, In My Father’s Court seems blessed with promise, but though the inspiration is there, it hasn’t quite […]

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Proof

Jocelyn Moorhouse’s sensitive and well-acted chamber drama focuses on a young man, blind since birth, who is obsessed with taking photographs. Cared for by a frustrated young housekeeper who both loves and despises him, he strikes up a friendship with another young man, and the story turns into a subtly nuanced romantic triangle and power […]

Posted inMusic

Pleasures of Purcell

THE FAIRY QUEEN Les Arts Florissants at the Civic Opera House May 13 DIOCLESIAN, OR THE PROPHETESS Music of the Baroque at Grace Lutheran Church May 22 The musical world owes Henry Purcell a huge debt of gratitude. To begin with, there’s the sheer, shining pleasure of his tunefulness and unfailing inventiveness. There’s his vocal […]

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Symphony of the Shores

The Evanston-based Symphony of the Shores is a lively little orchestra with a penchant for the unconventional; earlier in the season it gave a fairly traditional program then followed it with a pops concert. Now it has thrown caution to the winds for its season finale, a multimedia affair that juxtaposes opera’s past and present […]

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Gerry Mulligan Tentet

Miles Davis’s 1949-50 “Birth of the Cool” little big band was a major step in jazz, not for its style–its several composers didn’t agree on a style–but for its curiously light yet bottom-heavy sound, for its rejection of big-band conventions, and for its repertoire, notably the classic “Israel.” Arranger-composer Gerry Mulligan was among the original […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Sports Section

The long break between the National Basketball Association semifinals and the finals was both surprising and welcome–like an intermission in a presentation of Shakespearean tragedy, except, of course, it wasn’t clear whether the Bulls’ season would come to a tragic end. Still, the Bulls elevated their reputation–at least as far as I was concerned–from potential […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Lisa Kron

If the stand-up world wasn’t such a club of homophobic boys (and the girls who date them), lesbian comic monologuist Lisa Kron would be far better known nationally. This sharp-eyed, sharp-tongued observer of life has enough wit and wisdom packed into her one-woman show to cheer even the sourest disposition. But most comedy clubs wouldn’t […]

Posted inNews & Politics

News of the Weird

Lead Story The U.S. tax court ruled in March in favor of the Internal Revenue Service’s claim that Irwin Schiff owed $92,000 in back taxes and penalties. Schiff is coauthor of the 1982 book How Anyone Can Stop Paying Income Taxes, in which he put forth the thesis that the IRS lacked the authority to […]