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August 31, 2006

Song of the Day #713

Song of the Day: Courageous Cat and Minute Mouse has no credited composer (the copyright is held by Tele Features, Inc.). Listen to an audio clip of this jazzy cartoon theme, from one of my favorite childhood cartoons, here.

August 30, 2006

Song of the Day #712

Song of the Day: The Tonight Show, composed by Paul Anka and John William "Johnny" Carson, was heard nightly on Carson's show and performed with gusto from 1962, first by the Skitch Henderson Band, and then, from 1967, by the Doc Severinson Band. Listen to an audio clip of this theme that is truly among "Television's Greatest Hits."

August 29, 2006

Back to Bourbon Street

There's not much that I can say about the one-year anniversary of Katrina that hasn't already been said. I do find it ironic, however, that some NYC politicians have been up in arms over recent comments by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who tried to defend his own sorry political record by taking a swipe at the fact that, five years later, there's still a "hole in the ground" at Ground Zero. Well, it is true that infrastructure is being laid at that hole in the ground, but let's face it: The WTC's Ground Zero has become a textbook illustration of internecine interest-group warfare, leading to interminable delays in construction... indeed, even in the planning for construction!

All this said, let us put aside the politics for a day, and remember New Orleans and its culture, which has had a past, and which will have a future.

This brings to mind a new CD that I'm listening to, put out by the Side Street Strutters, entitled "Back to Bourbon Street." From the poignant sounds of "Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?" to the swinging tempos of "There'll Be Some Changes Made," "King Porter Stomp," and "Royal Garden Blues," this is a wonderful album.

And, heck, it also features the terrific trombone work of one of my favorite trombone players in the whole wide world, my pal, Roger Bissell!

As Andy Waterman writes in the liner notes, "Back to Bourbon Street seems to be an appropriate place to musically congregate in this post-Katrina universe." The album reminds us of the vivacious, life-affirming culture that is New Orleans.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #711

Song of the Day: Spider-Man (audio clip at that link), composed by F. Harris, S. Phillips, and D. Kapross, was one of my favorite themes, comics, and cartoons when I was a kid. I really love the jazzy Michael Buble version too, which was heard over the closing credits of the hit 2004 film, "Spider-Man 2." But the only version I can find on the web is an audio clip of a hot Ralphi Rosario "Black Widow" Unreleased Mix.

August 28, 2006

Song of the Day #710

Song of the Day: Night Gallery had several themes, including the series theme composed by Gil Melle (listen to an audio clip here). Another theme was composed by the great Eddie Sauter (audio clip here). My favorite theme from this Rod Serling show, however, is the one featured in the superb made-for-TV movie that served as the basis for the series. That main title was composed by Billy Goldenberg. Listen to an audio clip of that theme here.

August 27, 2006

Song of the Day #709

Song of the Day: The Odd Couple, music by Neal Hefti, lyrics by Sammy Cahn, made its debut in the 1968 film version of this Neil Simon play, but was adapted for the small screen as well. Listen to an audio clip of this famous theme here, along with other sound clips here, and, tonight, tune into the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.

August 26, 2006

Song of the Day #708

Song of the Day: Bewitched (various versions of the memorable theme archived at that link) was composed by Howard Greenfield and Jack Keller, for one of TV's classic comedies.

August 25, 2006

Maynard Ferguson, RIP

There were few sounds that could go higher (or, rather, that could be heard by humans) than the soaring notes played by Maynard Ferguson in one of his classic trumpet solos. And the Ferguson Big Band, exploring jazz and fusion, could easily act as a demolition crew, anytime it exhibited its characteristic vigor (I reference two Ferguson recordings here and here).

I learned early this morning that Maynard Ferguson passed away on Wednesday, August 23, 2006 at the age of 78.

He'll be missed.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #707

Song of the Day: Peter Gunn (audio clip at that link), composed by Henry Mancini, is one of those instantly recognizable television themes. Check out an audio clip of a rendition of this track featuring saxophonist Tom Scott. This begins our Annual Tribute to Favorite TV Themes, which coincides with the soon-to-be-broadcast 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, and the kick-off of the Fall 2006 TV season.

August 24, 2006

Song of the Day #706

Song of the Day: I've Got Your Number features the music of Cy Coleman and the lyrics of Carolyn Leigh, from the Broadway show "Little Me." Listen here to an audio clip of Tony Bennett singing this swinging standard. We began our Tony Tribute, and we end it, with a selection from his album, "I Wanna Be Around," which remains my favorite Bennett album of all time.

August 23, 2006

Song of the Day #705

Song of the Day: Until I Met You (aka "Corner Pocket"), music by rhythm guitarist Freddie Green, lyrics by Don Wolf, is presented in an understated, swinging arrangement by Tony Bennett (audio clip at that link). Also, listen here to an audio clip of a Manhattan Transfer rendition (which earned the group a Grammy for "Best Performance by a Duo or Group") and here to a clip of a Duke Ellington big band rendition.

August 22, 2006

Song of the Day #704

Song of the Day: We'll Be Together Again, words and music by Carl Fischer and singer Frankie Laine, was recorded by Tony Bennett and the great jazz pianist Bill Evans (audio clip at that link). This classic standard has also been recorded by Frankie Laine, Lena Horne, Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt, Cannonball Adderley (that's Nat Adderley on trumpet), Sammy Davis Jr. (with guitarist Laurindo Almeida), Stan Getz and Chet Baker, Stephane Grappelli, Marian McPartland (with Bruce Hornsby), the Four Freshmen, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra (audio clips at those links).

August 21, 2006

Song of the Day #703

Song of the Day: Street of Dreams, words and music by Sam Lewis and Victor Young, was recorded by Tony Bennett, with his long-time piano accompanist, Ralph Sharon. Listen to an audio clip of their collaboration here. Listen to additional audio clips from several other renditions of this American standard by Lee Wiley, Cannonball Adderley, Chet Baker, the Ink Spots, and Sarah Vaughan.

August 20, 2006

Song of the Day #702

Song of the Day: You Don't Know What Love Is, words and music by Dan Raye and Gene De Paul, has been recorded in a sensitive rendition by Tony Bennett and the incomparable jazz pianist, Bill Evans (who would have been 77 on August 16, 2006). Listen to an audio clip here. The two of them recorded a couple of fine albums together. I also love versions of this song by George Benson and my sister-in-law Joanne Barry (no audio clips at those links), as well as Dinah Washington and Cassandra Wilson (audio clips at those links).

August 19, 2006

The Film Noir Music Project

As readers of my website are aware, I have been a long-time fan of film noir, film music, and jazz (check out "My Favorite Things"). And it's no coincidence that so many film noir soundtracks draw from jazz and jazz-inspired music, which lends itself to the genre's themes of seduction, melancholy, and menace.

All the more reason for me to recommend highly a wonderful CD featuring guitarist Bob Sneider and vibraphonist Joe Locke, not to mention the tasteful improvisations of trumpeter John Sneider, tenor saxman Grant Stewart, pianist Paul Hoffman, bassist Phil Flanigan, and drummer Mike Melito. The CD is called "Fallen Angel," a by-product of the Bob Sneider and Joe Locke Film Noir Project. (I couldn't find any sample audio clips on the web, but you can order it from Amazon.com and CD Universe, among other online retailers.)

The track that hooked me into purchasing the CD was the group's rendition of "Chinatown," the theme by the great Jerry Goldsmith. I am a huge fan of both the film and the soundtrack (the love theme among my favorites). I heard it on WBGO-FM, and wasted no time in picking up the whole album. That track is still my favorite on the CD, but fans of noir will have a field day checking out the many interpretations of other classic themes.

I have a backlog of music to listen to, and hope to post many more recommendations in the coming weeks.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #701

Song of the Day: Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)?, words and music by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, is from the Broadway musical, "The Roar of the Greasepaint, The Smell of the Crowd." The song has been recorded by many fine artists, including our featured singer, Tony Bennett (audio clip at that link). Check out additional audio links to versions by Anthony Newley, Dionne Warwick, and Sammy Davis, Jr.

August 18, 2006

The House that George Built

Okay. Please put your rationality to the side. We're talking baseball fanaticism here. And the utility of good luck charms. And the disutility of curses!

Last summer, I expressed jitters with regard to the newly proposed Yankee Stadium, which will sit across the street from the current Cathedral of Baseball. On Wednesday, August 16th, the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new stadium was held. The stadium is scheduled to make its public debut on Opening Day, 2009.

Well, I still got them jitters. It's just not going to be the same. That's not the field on which Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle played. Despite its "retro" look, the "mystique" of the new venue is just not going to be the same. Call me a mysitc! I don't care!

Some friends remind me that Madison Square Garden wasn't always in its current place and that things change all the time. Puhlease. Don't even compare the two. And right now, nobody would flip out if the Knicks found a new home or even ... a new team!

Anyway, Boss George Steinbrenner has been itching for this stadium for a couple of decades. And everybody is happy that he's staying in Da Bronx (though, rightfully, not so happy that so many tax dollars are going for "infrastructure" development), rather than moving the team to New Jersey. (Yeah, the Joisey Yanks... like THAT would ever fly!)

It was, of course, careful planning that led to the selection of August 16th as the date of the groundbreaking. That was the date, in 1921, that the groundbreaking for the original Yankee Stadium took place. And that was the date, in 1948, that Babe Ruth passed away.

And it might yet be the day that Babe Ruth rolled over in his grave. Indeed, Yankee fan that I am, I do hope the Yanks continue their winning ways, or people will be talking about the Curse of the Bambino again... only this time, it will be one that infects the Yankees, rather than that team from Boston.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #700

Song of the Day: If You Were Mine, music by Matty Malneck, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, is one of my favorite popular standards and one of my favorite Tony Bennett recordings of all time. Listen to an audio clip here.

August 17, 2006

So You Think You Can Dance II

I really enjoyed the second season of "So You Think You Can Dance," and certainly agree that the winner, Benji Schwimmer, was a terrific performer. I confess that I was a bit disappointed that my own favorite, Travis Wall, who was more the "artist" in his contemporary dance interpretations, came in second. But the tour should be fun.

The show featured an array of choreographed routines, in solo, duet, and group settings, which encompassed everything from hip hop and jazz to mambo and swing. There were many highlights, including a dance coupling of Benji and Travis, who were, ironically, the last two standing!

Anyway, I enjoyed last year's installment of the show, and thought that this was another very fine season of summer entertainment, provided by the people who bring us "American Idol." That show begins again in January 2007; they just held auditions in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where thousands of potential contestants lined up in the heat.

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #699

Song of the Day: Darn That Dream features the words and music of Eddie De Lange and Jimmy Van Heusen. Some lovely versions of this song have been recorded; listen to audio clips from Benny Goodman & Mildred Bailey, Doris Day, and Kenny Hagood with Miles Davis (from the classic album, "Birth of the Cool"). But one of the sweetest versions was recorded by Tony Bennett on a very early album, his first for Columbia, "Cloud 7" (audio clip at that link). The great Chuck Wayne is the featured guitarist on the album. Chuck, who was a mentor of sorts to my brother Carl (who learned the "consecutive picking" technique from Chuck) was such a well-known jazz guitarist back then that on his last European tour with Tony, many jazz enthusiasts seemed to greet him with even greater fervor than Bennett!

August 16, 2006

Song of the Day #698

Song of the Day: It Was Me (C'Etait Moi) features the words and music of Maurice Vidalin, Gilbert Becaud, and Norman Gimbel. Listen to Tony Bennett sing his heart out.

August 15, 2006

Fascism Revisited

After hearing recent remarks by President George W. Bush about "Islamic fascists," I was reminded of a few posts that I've already written on the subject. Just by way of update, check out:

"Freedom and 'Islamo-Fascism'"

"Fascism: Clarifying a Political Concept"

"Higgs and 'Participatory Fascism'"

"'Capitalism': The Known Reality"

Comments welcome.

Song of the Day #697

Song of the Day: I Left My Heart in San Francisco, words by Douglass Cross, music by George Cory, is a Tony Bennett song. Listen here to an audio clip of this classic Grammy-winning signature tune.

August 14, 2006

Song of the Day #696

Song of the Day: Put on a Happy Face, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams, is from the 1960 Broadway hit "Bye Bye Birdie," which was later made into a film musical. From childhood, I adored Tony Bennett's version of this delightful track (audio clip at that link).

August 13, 2006

Song of the Day #695

Song of the Day: The Good Life, words by Jack Reardon, music by Sascha Distel, was featured on the soundtrack to the 1962 film, "The Seven Deadly Sins." The song was a hit for Tony Bennett, who celebrates his 80th birthday this month. Listen to an audio clip here from the fabulous album "I Wanna Be Around." And join us for the next Twelve Days of Tony!

August 12, 2006

Song of the Day #694

Song of the Day: Good Life, words and music by Kevin Saunderson, Paris Gray, and R. Holman, was a huge club hit for the group Inner City. Listen to an audio clip of this hot dance recording here.

August 11, 2006

New Book: Ayn Rand at 100

In my post "This and That," I referred to a forthcoming anthology edited by Edward W. Younkins entitled Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged: A Philosophical and Literary Companion, which will be published next year by Ashgate. An essay I've written, entitled "Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto for a New Radicalism," appears in that volume. It is actually a much longer and more comprehensive version of an essay that appeared in the January-February 2005 issue of The Freeman. A PDF version of the shorter Freeman article can be found here.

The Freeman essay also makes an appearance in a new collection, edited by my friend and colleague, Tibor R. Machan, entitled Ayn Rand at 100 (okay, okay, it's a little late).

Ayn Rand at 100

The book makes its debut on Wednesday, August 16, 2006. And it is being published by the Liberty Institute in India!!! In fact, Tibor will be giving several talks next week to launch the book in New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai.

The book synopsis states: "Eminent authors discuss the impact [Ayn Rand] has had on their contribution to philosophy and, most importantly, Rand’s Indian connection." Here is the Table of Contents:

Preface : Tibor R. Machan: Ayn Rand at 100
Chapter 1: Bibek Debroy: Ayn Rand -­ The Indian Connection
Chapter 2: Tibor R. Machan: Rand and Her Significant Contributions
Chapter 3: J. E. Chesher: Ayn Rand’s Contribution to Moral Philosophy
Chapter 4: George Reisman: Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises
Chapter 5: Robert White: Ayn Rand’s Contribution to Liberal Thought
Chapter 6: Roderick T. Long: Ayn Rand and Indian Philosophy
Chapter 7: Chris Matthew Sciabarra: Ayn Rand - A Centennial Appreciation
Chapter 8: Fred Seddon: Ayn Rand - An Appreciation
Chapter 9: Elaine Sternberg: Why Ayn Rand Matters: Metaphysics, Morals, and Liberty
Chapter 10: Douglas Den Uyl : Rand's First Great Hit, The Fountainhead

I've not read all of the other essays in the collection, but I suspect it's going to be a fine anthology.

Comments welcome. Cross-posted at Liberty & Power Group Blog.

August 09, 2006

This and That

After a month on summer hiatus, Notablog returns.

I have no clue what shape the blog will take at this point. While I am truly inspired by those who have the time to blog daily, and to blog with substance on such a regular basis, I have found that due to my own very personal circumstances and to my own professional commitments and responsibilities, it is virtually impossible to keep up with regular blogging or to post daily on the significant developments in the world today. Suffice it to say, while Notablog returns, and while I will resume my "Song of the Day" feature this weekend (and don't be surprised if this becomes a "Song of the Week" feature in time), I am still working diligently on many projects that demand my attention.

I should note that the Summer of 2006, which is a little more than half over, has been a productive one thus far. Aside from enjoying the sun and the sea and the lighting of the Coney Island Parachute Jump (Brooklyn's Eiffel Tower), I've been hard at work. I've completed three entries for the International Encyclopedia of Political Science and another entry for the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (more information on these entries will follow in the coming months). In addition to continuing my editing of The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, I've also completed a piece for the forthcoming Ed Younkins-edited anthology, Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, which will be published next year to mark the 50th anniversary of the novel's publication. My contribution is entitled: "Atlas Shrugged: Manifesto for a New Radicalism."

On the subject of Ayn Rand, I have written a brief essay for the September 2006 issue of Liberty magazine. It's part of a special feature entitled "Ten Great Books of Liberty." My entry focuses on Rand's novel, The Fountainhead.

While I've been on hiatus, it came to my attention that I was memed by Nick Manley. The meme has considerable overlap with a blog entry I wrote on those works that had a significant effect on my intellectual development.

Much of that development has been influenced by dialectics, the art of context-keeping. But dialectics has taken various forms tnroughout intellectual history, and the Marxian dialectic is, of course, one of them. A new film, entitled "Half Nelson," apparently delves into the subject. I may not see the movie until it reaches DVD status, but it looks like it might be entertaining.

Marxian dialectics has interested me for many years, going back to my dissertation and to the publication of my first book, Marx, Hayek, and Utopia. Author Kevin M. Brien has published a second edition of his fine work, Marx, Reason, and the Art of Freedom, which addresses criticisms I made of his first edition back in the Fall 1988 issue of Critical Review. I hope to discuss Brien's rejoinder in the coming weeks.

In the next few weeks, I will also publish an exclusive Notablog installment of my annual feature, "Remembering the World Trade Center." This year's installment is particularly important; it comes on the fifth anniversary of that awful tragedy and it marks the first time that I will take readers inside the WTC. My interview subject was on the 89th floor of the North Tower when the first plane struck. That he survived to tell this harrowing story is a blessing to those of us who will never forget September 11, 2001. This was the most difficult interview I have ever conducted, but I trust that readers will agree with me that it is among the most important contributions to my annual series.

So stay tuned to Notablog. The music starts up again this weekend, and will include a 12-day tribute to Tony Bennett (who turned 80 on August 3rd), the return of my annual tribute to TV themes, and a September spotlight on The Four Seasons (loved "Jersey Boys").

Comments are open. Welcome back.