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Brown exits New Edition tour to focus on health Jazz masters evoke joy, sadness

Keith Jarrett and Charlie Haden, “Last Dance” (ECM) There’s a sense of both joy and sadness to “Last Dance,” which surprisingly is the first album in pianist Keith Jarrett’s illustrious nearly 50-year career to hit No. 1 on Billboard’s traditional jazz chart. “Last Dance” is drawn from the same informal 2007 sessions at Jarrett’s home studio that reunited the pianist with bassist Charlie Haden for the first time in more than three decades and yielded the Grammynominated 2010 CD, “Jasmine.”

The joy comes from hearing these two jazz masters in a relaxed, intimate setting, complementing, supporting and listening intensely to each other without wasting any notes. The sadness comes from the realization that the album is this masterful duet’s “last dance” together. Shortly after the release of “Jasmine,” Haden suffered an onset of post-polio syndrome, which led to a hiatus from touring and recording; he died Friday from the prolonged illness.

That gives an added poignancy to the three closing tracks, “Where Can I Go Without You,” ‘’Every time We Say Goodbye” and “Goodbye”— two of which are alternate versions of takes heard on “Jasmine.” Shared Jarrett and Haden each pushed jazz in new directions and shared a deeprooted love of standards. On “Last Dance,” they tenderly embrace such melodic ballads as Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin’s “My Ship” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “It Might As Well Be Spring.” They also change pace by lightly swinging through “‘Round Midnight” at a slightly faster tempo than Thelonious Monk’s original version, and quicken the tempo even more on Bud Powell’s bebop burner “Dance of the Infidels.”

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LOS ANGELES: Dave Grohl decided to take on the upcoming HBO docuseries “Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways” for a number of reasons. And one of them, it seems, is that his offspring won’t have to turn to a Simon Cowell-type music mogul for validation some day. Speaking at the Television Critics Association panel for the upcoming series, which premieres in October, the Foo Fighters frontman discussed the inspiration that he hopes the series will inspire in aspiring musicians — and he took a thinly veiled swipe at “American Idol” and its ilk. “I don’t want my kid to think that the only way you can be a musician is to stand in line at a song contest audition, and then wind up having a bazillionaire tell you if you’re not a good singer,” Grohl has said at the Beverly Hilton hotel.

“Don’t get me started. To me, that’s not what music’s about.” The series represents an ambitious project for Grohl and his band; in it, the Foo Fighters travel to eight different cities to record their new album in eight separate studios, chronicling the musical legacy of each city. In the process of interviewing key players in each music scene, Grohl gathers material that will serve as lyrical fodder for the song they recorded in that city. For Grohl, who cut his documentary teeth with the lauded “Sound City,” the roundabout process of recording the album helped to keep things fresh, as the band moves into its third decade of existence. “To me, it’s all about reinventing the process. We could just go and make another record in the studio, hit the road and sell a bunch of T-shirts ... but wheres the fun in that?” Grohl offered during the panel. “We’ve been a band for 20 years now. Let’s go to tiny studios all over the country, tell the story of music from that city. What is it about that each one of these cities that influences the music that comes from there?

Because there are real reasons, cultural influence from each one of these places. There’s a reason why jazz came from New Orleans. There’s a reason why country went to Nashville, and why the blues went to Chicago.” But beyond the personal challenge, Grohl is hoping to expose the series’ viewers to the overlooked musical gems that reside across the country. “You could give a history of music from any city in America; all these places have music, not just New York and Los Angeles,” Grohl enthused. “I think the idea is that you tell the stories of these unsung musicians and that’s when people start to get inspired.” Grohl found himself pretty inspired by the process too — though he noted that he’s more than happy to leave it as a one-off experience. “It was so fun — I will never, ever do it again, it’s a pain in the ass,” Grohl admitted. “But it was so exciting.”

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LOS ANGELES: Bobby Brown is leaving a reunion tour with the group New Edition to focus on his health. A spokeswoman for the R&B group said group members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant wish the 45-year-old singer a speedy recovery. No other details were provided. “At this time, Bobby needs to put his health first,” said the statement. “We are giving each and every show all we’ve got until his return — and will continue giving the fans 110 percent each night.” Brown was seen struggling to keep up with fellow New Edition members during a dance routine before leaving the stage in a video posted online of the group’s July 2 show in Mississippi. The other New Edition members will continue for the remaining 16 shows of the All Six reunion tour.

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SAN FRANCISCO: Yahoo on Friday continued its shift to online content with a line-up of free streaming concerts by music stars such as Usher, Michael Franti, and The Dave Matthews Band. A Live Nation Channel on Yahoo Screen promised to serve up a new live concert daily beginning on July 15 when The Dave Matthews Band performs two sets. “In today’s on-demand entertainment environment, live experiences are the only ones that we all share together, at the same time,” Yahoo chief marketing officer Kathy Savitt said in a release.

“Together with Live Nation, we are excited to bring millions of fans together to share these moments through the new Yahoo Live experience.” A glimpse of the schedule for the first month at yahoo.com/live promised performances by John Legend, Justin Timberlake, OneRepublic, Everclear, Airborne Toxic Event and other music stars. Live Nation boasted producing more than 23,000 shows annually around the world. “This channel will create a powerful new way for artists to continue to grow their global fan base,” Live Nation chief executive Michael Rapino said in a release. Concerts can be streamed through Yahoo Screen software on a wide array of Internet-linked devices including Roku, Xbox 360 consoles, AppleTV, desktop computers, and mobile devices powered by Apple or Android software, according to the Sunnyvale, Californiabased technology firm. Yahoo has been shedding its online search engine past in favor of a future as a venue for premier digital content and services, particularly aimed at smartphones and tablet computers. (Agencies)

By Charles J. Gans 


By: Charles J. Gans

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