By Paul Desmond featuring Jim Hall, 1965.
Paul Desmond may be best known for his memorable saxophone features on the seminal Dave Brubeck Quartet jazz album, Time Out. Follow Desmond, with his own quartet, on to Bossa Antigua, his first excellent foray into bossa nova music.
In contrast to the incredible frenzied rhythms on Time Out, Paul Desmond’s alto sax soars over the subtle samba rhythms set down by Connie Kay (Modern Jazz Quintet). The other treat in this session is Jim Hall’s muted guitar – it compliments Desmond’s solos gracefully. The sax and guitar bounce off each other so effortlessly that the listener forgets there was a melody back there somewhere, until they remind him in perfect unison. Brubeck fans, don’t miss Bossa Antigua.
Check out Bossa Antigua on CD from Nashville Public Library. Or download Bossa Antigua (and Time Out), plus hundreds of other great jazz albums from Freegal, using the Nashville Public Library card.
By Charles C. Mann
Ancient histories rarely read like detective stories, but Charles Mann is travelling the globe investigating the origins of the Americas. In 1491, Mann hunts down the latest discoveries about the cultures of the western continents before Christopher Columbus arrived in 1492.
Mann looks at several early civilizations in North, Central, and South America. He synthesizes many recent, but little-known studies from a range of scientific and historical experts. He challenges that the Americas were home to cultures more advanced than had been previously been known. With this in mind, he also debates their possible beliefs and attitudes toward land, slavery, and governance.
1491 shows how much of what we know today of our continents’ history is highly debatable. There is a faction that holds the Amazon Basin supported vast, thriving civilizations up until the fifteenth century. Others still maintain that this would have been impossible given the unforgiving climate and jungle landscape.
While discussing the new findings, he also tracks how the most common myths were accepted. Though many of the anecdotes in this work are speculative, even the little-known facts of these civilizations are presented in a satisfying tale. His coverage of the Indians who occupied New England and the Mississippi River is fascinating. The work creates a very different, more provoking, study than the grammar school text books provide.
I never thought I would enjoy a show about polygamists, but Big Love has captured my attention. The acting is great, the characters are complex and the storyline could not be more complicated. This show has made me really appreciate Chloe Sevigny as an actress, but it’s Grace Zabriskie, who plays the crazy grandmother, that steals every scene she’s in.
Jekyll is a recent BBC television drama that takes the novel The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson and reinvents the tale in modern day England. This cutting edge horror show has a complicated structure that takes you on a wickedly funny thrill ride. The show is filled with fresh original characters. But it’s Jekyll and Hyde, both played by the brilliant James Nesbitt, that hold the show together. Nesbitt’s portrayal of Hyde is astonishing because he creates the character using no prosthetics. So grab yourself a bag of popcorn, sit back with your favorite beverage, and enjoy!
Six Feet Under
I think this show is even better than The Sopranos. Not for the squeamish or prudish, this show explores love and death of all types. Excellent writing, characters, and acting.
SCTV is a television series that aired in the early 1980’s. Its cast was formed with comedians out of the original Second City comedy troupe of Chicago, as well as Toronto Second City troupe members. Many comedy greats of the 70’s and 80’s came through the Second City organization, some going to the SCTV series and others graduating on to Saturday Night Live. SCTV cast members included Dave Thomas, Catherine O’Hara, John Candy, and Andrea Martin, John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. The many sketches in this collection hold up rather well despite their early 80’s time frame. Many politicians, TV stars, TV shows, and various celebrities were spoofed, which is what sketch comedy is all about. Some skits were truly inspired, such as a takeoff on Chariots of Fire which they renamed “Chariots of Eggs” and starred the pop duo Hall and Oates.
This is England
By Meadows, Shane
This is a powerful independent film based on the director’s own experiences growing up in Northern England.
Things We Lost in the Fire
By Bier, Susanne
Excellent movie with terrific acting by Halle Berry, David Duchovny and Benicio Del Toro. Very engrossing tale of a marriage tragically broken with Del Toro’s character – Jerry Sunborne, becoming involved in the aftermath. His portrayal of a recovering heroin addict is quite convincing. First rate screenplay and camera work make this a quietly affecting winner.
By Hovde, Ellen
by Battles, 2007
4 Stars, Ben
Up In Flames
By Caribou, 2006
4 Stars, Ben
Made of Bricks
By Kate Nash
She’s British, she’s cheeky, she’s awesome!
5 stars, Kyle
by M.I.A., 2007
Guaranteed to make you dance.
By Grinderman, 2007
A recent episode of Fresh Air with Terry Gross reminded me to listen to Grinderman, a 2007 side project of Nick Cave’s. If literary punk rock is your bag, check it out!
4 stars, Crystal
Under the Blacklight
By Rilo Kelly, 2007
Jenny Lewis is an amazing talent. This album is fun and quirky, full of lyrics that will at times break your heart.
4 Stars, Kyle
By Patti Smith Group, 1978
This is one of my favorite of Patti’s albums. Often noted for its accessibility, it also includes some wicked slam poetry, “Babelogue,” and tribal incantations, “Ghost Dance.” This is not to underplay the value of her searing remake of Bruce Springsteen’s “Because the Night.” The library’s copy also includes the b-side bonus track “Godspeed” which Thurston Moo
re of Sonic Youth declared his favorite song ever in a recent interview.
4 stars, Bryan
By Long-View, 2005
If you like Coldplay, you’ll love Long-View.
4 Stars, Carrie
Till the Sun Turns Black
By Ray LaMontagne, 2006
4 stars, Jessica
by Dava Sobel
Normally, we consider the planets a facet of astronomy, but the author quickly redirects the discussion to history, geology, astrology, poetry and music. The Planets is a reminder of how many realms the subject touches. Dava Sobel’s tour of our neighbors reminds us of our place in the universe and how mysterious that place remains. The book also reacquaints us with the characters related to the discoveries of each planet and the origins of their mythological names.