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Posted inMusic

Gerry Hemingway Quartet

GERRY HEMINGWAY QUARTET In work as a composer and bandleader and as a drummer for figures as diverse as Anthony Braxton, Ray Anderson, and German pianist Georg GrŠwe, Gerry Hemingway has accumulated a body of work strong enough to knock down walls–the walls between composition and improvisation, pure sound and carefully articulated melody, foreground and […]

Posted inMusic

David Berkman Quartet

DAVID BERKMAN QUARTET Pianist David Berkman has called New York home for 15 years, so a healthy collection of that city’s top-name musicians has heard his intelligently conceived, cleanly crafted, and beautifully balanced jazz. Some of them, including Joe Lovano, Matt Wilson, Tom Harrell, Ray Drummond, and Cecil McBee (with whom he appeared on the […]

Posted inNews & Politics

Caught in the Net

Captured at International Trepanation Advocacy Group Introduction Trepanation is the practice of making a hole in the skull. Trepanation is the oldest surgical procedure practiced by mankind. The earliest evidence of trepanation dates back 10,000 years. At no time had evidence been found that brain surgery was the intention of this procedure. Purpose The […]

Posted inArts & Culture


HOUDINI, Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Escape artist Harry Houdini still fascinates with his spectacular magic and his anticlimactic death: he died of peritonitis after an athlete punched his stomach before he was ready for the blow. Celebrated as a cultural archetype in Ragtime, the illusionist now has his own musical–a new work with Broadway ambitions […]

Posted inNews & Politics

City File

“The availability of a casino within 50 miles (versus 50 to 250 miles) is associated with about double the prevalence of problem and pathological gamblers,” according to a recently released report on gambling by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center ( Overall, the nation’s 5.5 million pathological and problem gamblers are estimated to […]

Posted inMusic

Karlheinz Essl

KARLHEINZ ESSL The music of Viennese composer Karlheinz Essl is a case study in the disintegration of boundaries between improvisation and composition. On the 1995 compilation Rudiments (TONOS), which includes several examples of his imaginative abstract writing (“Met Him Pike Trousers,” “Helix 1.0”), Essl travels easily between the two modes, particularly on “Close the Gap,” […]

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Russell Malone

RUSSELL MALONE As the linchpin of Diana Krall’s trio, guitarist Russell Malone reaches a hundred times as many ears as most straight-ahead jazz musicians can–so when I say he could be the most underappreciated guitarist in jazz, people raise their eyebrows. True, his work with the phenomenally successful Canadian gets him plenty of exposure, but […]

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Chicago Symphony Orchestra

CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Bay Area composer John Adams has described himself as “a minimalist who is bored with minimalism.” In his early career Adams wrote music frankly derivative of Steve Reich’s work, but in 1978 he shifted gears with a piece for strings called Shaker Loops: it took its lulling, meditative pulse from minimalism, but […]

Posted inFilm

New York Eye and Ear Cointrol

New York Eye and Ear Control Canadian artist Michael Snow is better known for Wavelength (1967), but this rarely screened 1964 film is playful and wonderfully inventive in its exploration of issues that have long preoccupied him. The camera moves across landscapes and cityscapes, often discovering enigmatic life-size silhouettes of a woman standing in a […]

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Jazz Mandolin Project

JAZZ MANDOLIN PROJECT Their name seems to promise mandolins as far as the ear can hear–and if that were what they actually delivered, it’d be reason enough to ignore them entirely. But the JMP features only a single mandolinist, Jamie Masefield, and he doubles on banjo in what’s really a variation on the tried-and-true power […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I read somewhere years ago that when you flush the toilet with the lid open, a plume of contaminated water droplets is ejected into the air and lands on everything in the bathroom, including (yuck) your toothbrush. Women I mention this to nod knowingly, but among men it is met with scorn, the common view […]