Feb. 18 2015
Harry Belafonte is a tall tree with deep roots in music, movies and civil rights activism, but he didn´t come to Michigan State University last week to cast a kindly shadow. At 88, he was desperately...
Feb. 4 2015
To grasp the vocal genius of Betty Joplin, start with the smallest word you can find. Joplin´s indigo-sky voice, with dusky vibrato at the edges, is too generous to take in all at once. When she...
Jan. 28 2015
In January 1954, George Brookover was perched on his dad´s shoulders, watching the big political fish go by on their way to the second-term inauguration of Michigan Gov. G. Mennen "Soapy" Williams....
Jan. 21 2015
A half-buried, two-way tunnel runs between the camps of art and music. From Mussorgsky´s "Pictures at an Exhibition" to Jackson Pollock´s jazz-fueled drip fantasias, artists and musicians have...
Jan. 21 2015
The MSU College of Music trimmed away the usual oratory and commentary from this year´s Martin Luther King Jr. tribute and served up two courses of pure music. Something was lost, but something else...
Jan. 14 2015
Each year, topical threads are added to timeless ones, but warmth is always woven into the MSU College of Music’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. tribute, ”Jazz: Spirituals, Prayer and Protest.” The...
Jan. 14 2015
For all the fiddlers, fandooglers and foom-boomers crowding the stage at Saturday’s Lansing Symphony concert, two distinct figures linger in my mind. I’ll start with the obvious one: Soloist...
Jan. 7 2015
Austin-based cellist Bion Tsang, guest soloist for Saturday’s Lansing Symphony concert, coaches youth football, loves to roughhouse with his three young kids and has a great laugh. He sounds like...
Dec. 31 2014
At the end of every year, I drop a dented dipper into the river of life and look at the lives of 10 people from the Lansing area who died in the past year. They are not all famous or accomplished, but...
Dec. 31 2014
Shocked at the death Sunday of longtime Lansing political and pastoral leader the Rev. Michael Murphy, friends are finding solace in the memory of a principled public figure and empathic friend. "It´s...
Dec. 31 2014
If you love jazz and classical music and you live in the Lansing area, you only needed six words in your vocabulary to describe this year’s schedule: “Pinch me. I must be dreaming.” A...
Dec. 10 2014
Nancy Lombardi vigorously shook a heavy crystal globe with Wonder Woman inside, fists akimbo. The fluid swirled with sparkly pain from freshly punched enemies. Or maybe it was Amazon magic. "Isn´t...
Dec. 3 2014
Robin Eubanks is one of the top trombonist-composer-arrangers in jazz, but “genius” talk isn’t his style. The latest international jazz star to take part in MSU’s Jazz Studies residency...
Nov. 26 2014
There are risks to putting jazz and classical musicians together. When Duke Ellington unleashed his first big jazz-symphony hybrid, “A Tone Parallel to Harlem,” in 1951, photographers swarmed...
Nov. 19 2014
There are certain things you should never say to someone who has suddenly lost a loved one: “She´s in a better place,” or “It’s God’s will,” or “you can...
Nov. 19 2014
“Pretending I was a boy felt like telling a lie.” “I Am Jazz” touches piano keys no other children’s book touches, but the last chord has a familiar ring: Be yourself. A...
Nov. 12 2014
Last week, jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, the distinguished composer, arranger, and 2013 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, was relaxing on the patio of his home in Calabasas, Calif., watching hummingbirds. “I...
Nov. 5 2014
Should violinists hold a little something back when they play Max Bruch’s oh-so-romantic violin concerto? Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, star soloist in Sunday’s big Moscow State Symphony stop...
Nov. 5 2014
Six of the artists featured in “Future Returns,” the large new exhibit of contemporary Chinese art at the Broad Art Museum, flew into town for the public opening last Thursday. Jizi, 74, explained...
Nov. 5 2014
The gales of November 2012 lashed the rusting hull of Lansing´s biggest and most beautiful commercial downtown icon, the Knapp´s Department Store building. A lifeline was on its way, but...

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