Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 5:26 am
The best place to stand in the entire solar system at 1:14 a.m. ET Monday was about 150 million miles away, at the bottom of Gale Crater near the equator of the Red Planet.
Looking west around mid-afternoon local time, a Martian bystander would have seen a rocket-powered alien spacecraft approach and then hover about 60 feet over the rock-strewn plain between the crater walls and the towering slopes of nearby Mount Sharp.
A legend of Latin American song has died. Chavela Vargas was a cultural icon across the Spanish-speaking world, with a voice that redefined notions of beauty and an attitude that brashly bent gender roles. Vargas died Sunday; she was 93.
She was born Isabel Vargas Lizano in Costa Rica, but audiences knew her as Chavela, a hard-partying, rabble-rousing, fiery singer who adopted Mexico as her homeland and began singing on the streets in her early teens.
John Hollenbeck Claudia Quintet + 1 Live From Newport
A powerhouse behind the drum kit, John Hollenbeck is also becoming one of the great composer-bandleaders of the age. After last year's large ensemble show, he returns to Newport with his unusual small group, the Claudia Quintet (and a sixth member on piano). The band's latest release What Is The Beautiful? sets poems by Kenneth Patchen to music; much like the album, vocalists Kurt Elling and Theo Bleckmann stand and deliver on stage.
Boston's esteemed Berklee College of Music, just up the road from Newport, has produced top jazz musicians for decades. Driven by the leadership of Panamanian pianist Danilo Pérez, the school has expanded its jazz vision internationally, developing an initiative to recruit from and bring on tour around the world. Berklee's current Global Jazz Ambassadors are joined here by professional musician Adam Cruz, whose shimmering 2011 debut album Milestone showed off his talent both in front of the band and behind the drum kit.
It may be billed as a gig for the alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón, who is making his third Newport appearance in four years, but he would refuse complete credit. He teamed up with the French pianist Laurent Coq to co-write an album's worth of music inspired on the high-modernist Julio Cortázar novel Hopscotch — Rayuela, in the original Spanish. It calls for a cello and a trombone — Dana Leong plays both — and a drummer who can play tablas, so an obvious choice was Dan Weiss. Together, the quartet's literary and musical imagination runs wild.
One of the things the Mars rover will look for is organic molecules that could at least indicate whether there was once life on the Red Planet. But if searching for life in outer space is the goal, many scientists now say we might have better luck elsewhere — specifically one of Saturn's moons, Enceladus.
Mitt Romney and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell were featured on the front page of a Chinese-language newspaper following a visit to the Northern Virginia's Asian-American community in June. Such engagements with the Asian community helped McDonnell win his current office.
What if there were lost big-band masterpieces by the great composer/arranger Gil Evans which never made it to record? In fact, there are plenty of them, according to composer/arranger Ryan Truesdell. He's culled, researched, transcribed and completed a handful of the best for Evans' 100th birthday anniversary. It helps that he's the lead copyist for composer Maria Schneider; he's borrowed much of her orchestra to record and now perform this rich, intensely-hued material.
Yuval (saxophone), Anat (reeds) and Avishai (trumpet) Cohen are siblings from Israel. They're also among the growing number of terrific jazz musicians from that country; Anat and Avishai have both had bookings for their own bands at Newport in recent years. Naturally, the three Cohens occasionally record and perform together as a band, whose original pieces and arrangements are supported by a rhythm section. It's a family reunion you won't secretly dread.
"Blues For Dandi's Orange Bull Chasing An Orange Sack"