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Terence Blanchard plays the role of Miles Davis' trumpet with commitment and emotion at Monterey. (Cole Thompson)

'Miles Davis And Gil Evans: Still Ahead' On JazzSet

by Becca Pulliam
Aug 28, 2014 (WBGO-FM)

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Gil Evans was born on May 13, 1912. In three collaborations in the late 1950s, he and his friend and Miles Davis steered their projects into a new era for jazz.

Their first album was Miles Ahead. This Monterey Jazz Festival concert is called "Still Ahead," with music from the pair's second and third records, Porgy and Bess and Sketches of Spain.

Porgy and Bess, by George and Ira Gershwin, was the first Miles Davis stereo LP, coming out in 1958. A reworked Porgy and Bess was running on Broadway then (and again in 2012), and Nina Simone had a hit with "I Loves You, Porgy." In Davis and Evans' hands, French horns and tuba enter the brass section; the piano is subtracted from the orchestra. Davis takes the solos — he's Porgy, Bess, Sportin' Life and all. For Evans' riff, as well as Davis' reading, the jazz critic Martin Williams included "Summertime" in the 1973 Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz.

In between Porgy and Spain, Miles Davis made the greatest-selling jazz album of all time, Kind of Blue. Then, released in 1960, Sketches of Spain was even more colorful, beginning with the cover art. Remember the gold sky and red earth, and Davis with his trumpet sketched in a silhouette on the horizon? Classic. Castanets and tambourine, flutes, oboe, bassoon and harp expand the ensemble. Davis is the only soloist and the music comes from southern Spain. Joaquin Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez was originally composed for guitar and orchestra, and "Saeta" and "Solea" are flamenco songs, although the sketches are only approximations of flamenco rhythm.

On our JazzSet, Terence Blanchard is the trumpeter, and he plays the role with commitment and emotion. Some in the audience were in tears. Musical director Vince Mendoza conducts the orchestra, and these Los Angeles-based musicians nail the challenging scores. The Still Ahead Orchestra project producer, Festival West's Darlene Chan — also a legend — once produced a Miles Davis-Gil Evans concert in Berkeley, Calif., in 1968. The Monterey Jazz Festival's artistic director Tim Jackson proudly produced this live concert for the 54th Annual Monterey Jazz Festival.

Set List

Selections From Porgy And Bess

  • "Buzzard Song"
  • "Bess, You Is My Woman"
  • "Gone, Gone, Gone"
  • "Prayer"
  • "Summertime"
  • "There's a Boat (excerpt)"

Selections From Sketches Of Spain

  • "Concierto de Aranjuez"
  • "Saeta"
  • "Solea"

Orchestra Members

Wayne Bergeron, Chuck Berghofer, Annie Bosler, Gene Cipriano, Wade Culbreath, Marcia Dickstein, Peter Erskine, Miles Evans, Dan Fornero, Gary Foster, Gary Grant, Larry Hall, Greg Huckins, Alan Kaplan, Charlie Loper, Bob McChesney, Charlie Morillas, Mike O'Donovan, Bill Reichenbach, Bob Sheppard, Rick Todd, Brad Warnaar.

Additional musicians from Monterey's Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (on "Saeta" only): Christian Marrero, Adam O'Farrill, Tree Palmedo, Enrique Sanchez, Anthony Fung, Kevin Mixon Jr.

Credits

Onsite recording by Ron Davis of A Wing and A Prayer Productions. Surround Sound mix by Duke Markos.

Copyright 2014 WBGO-FM. To see more, visit http://www.wbgo.org.

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Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister who ordered a bloody crackdown on protesters in 2010 and later encouraged a coup against the elected government, arrives at court on Thursday. In recent weeks, Suthep has become a Buddhist monk. (EPA/Landov)

Murder Charges Dismissed Against Former Top Thai Leaders

Aug 28, 2014 (WBGO-FM)

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A court in Thailand has dismissed murder charges against a former prime minister and his deputy who led anti-government protests that triggered a coup toppling the elected government in May.

Thailand's Criminal Court ruled Thursday that it did not have jurisdiction in the case against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

As Abhisit's deputy, Suthep was in charge of security and ordered a bloody 2010 crackdown on anti-government "red shirt" protesters that killed at least 90 people. The two denied charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with the crackdown, saying their official capacity shielded them.

During anti-government protests earlier this year, Suthep openly called for a coup against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Following the putsch, he angered junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha with remarks suggesting he and the then-army chief had colluded in toppling the government. Soon after, Suthep went into relative seclusion, becoming a Buddhist monk.

Both Suthep and Abhisit have voiced strong support for the junta that ousted Yingluck's government.

The Bangkok Post writes:

"The Criminal Court on Thursday said it was true that the two men had declared the state of emergency and ordered soldiers to crackdown on the protesters, and allowed them to use weapons and live ammunition.

"But Mr Abhisit and Mr Suthep issued the order while performing the duties of the prime minister and deputy prime minister respectively.

"The Criminal Court, therefore, ruled that the case against the two men comes under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions and that it has no authority to handle the case."

The Post says the case could still be submitted to the country's Supreme Court by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

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Suthep Thaugsuban, a former deputy prime minister who ordered a bloody crackdown on protesters in 2010 and later encouraged a coup against the elected government, arrives at court on Thursday. In recent weeks, Suthep has become a Buddhist monk. (EPA/Landov)

Is Hello Kitty A Cat Or A Girl?

by Laurel Dalrymple
Aug 28, 2014 (WBGO-FM)

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Laurel Dalrymple

Dear Sanrio,

If you name something "Hello Kitty," and proceed to give it cat ears and cat whisker-looking things, then don't be surprised if people think you have made a cat.

I was surprised when I read this story in the LAist: Christine Yano, an anthropologist from the University of Hawaii, is curating an upcoming exhibit at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles in honor of Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary. While writing the script for the exhibit, she referred to Hello Kitty as a "cat," and — as reported in the Los Angeles Times — was firmly corrected by Sanrio, the character's manufacturer:

"Hello Kitty is not a cat. She's a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She's never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature."

Hmmm. Reporters from Kotaku and RocketNews24 are getting a different response from Sanrio. When you read the official backstory of Hello Kitty, there seems to be some fuzziness. Kitty is British and loves apple pie. She is the daughter of George and Mary White. She is a Scorpio and has a twin sister. That could be an anthropomorphized cat, right?

So why would the manufacturer say Hello Kitty is really a girl?

There are lots of cats that walk on two legs! Sylvester, Garfield, Snagglepuss, Felix. No one mistakes these cats for humans. Granted, they are drawn more like cats than Hello Kitty, but just because she is not depicted on all fours does not make her human. Most of the time she is just a floating head anyway — on pillows, purses, press-on nails and everything else.

The Cat Is Out Of The Bag

Hello Kitty is a huge business. In fact, when it comes to global icons, Hello Kitty is in its own cat-egory. (Let me rephrase that.)

Sanrio reports that the bewhiskered Kitty brings in more than $1 billion in annual sales, with more than 50,000 branded items on the shelves in more than 70 countries. The product list is staggering. Hello Kitty's little face is on everything from hair clips to hand warmers to coat hangers.

Last year a Taiwan-based airline introduced a Hello Kitty-themed Boeing 777 with flights to and from the United States.

Sanrio is planning for the 2014 Hello Kitty Con, a multiday fanfest in Los Angeles at the end of October, featuring flower arranging, cake decorating and scrapbooking.

If we learn in the near future that Hello Kitty is human, well ...

For me, it's personal. I was obsessed with Hello Kitty in the sixth grade, and when I first saw her, I thought she was a cat.

I did not think, "Here is a little girl." No. I thought, "This is the cutest cat eveeerrrrrrrrr."

If Sanrio's goal, as curator Christine Yano suggests, is to present Hello Kitty's feline appearance as "a kind of abstraction," then why has Sanrio given us a list of solid details about Kitty's life? Those details have been out there for a while, but now, with this news, the disenchantment seems so real.

But this is not about reality. This is about surreality. Who would have thought that a cute little whiskery thing would make people smile all over the world?

I want to believe that Hello Kitty is a cat. So that's what I am going to believe. But I will never look at whatever it is the same way again.

You can follow Laurel Dalrymple at facebook.com/laurelmdalrymple.

—————————————————————————————————————————————

The Protojournalist: Experimental storytelling for the LURVers — Listeners, Users, Readers, Viewers — of NPR. @NPRtpj

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'Geography Can Be Tough': Canada Trolls Russia For Ukraine Action

by Krishnadev Calamur
Aug 28, 2014 (WBGO-FM)

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Russian troops are entering Ukraine - this much is known - but whether they are mounting a "full-scale invasion," as one Ukrainian official told CNN, or are mistakenly crossing over, as Moscow itself claims, is uncertain.

Enter Canada.

Our northern neighbor's delegation to NATO had this useful tweet to remind everyone how, in its words, "Geography can be tough."

The message has been retweeted more than 17,000 times since it was posted Wednesday morning. No word yet of a Russian response.

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Songs As Soundtracks To The Story Of Latin Life

by Jasmine Garsd
Aug 28, 2014 (WBGO-FM)

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x x x x The French-Cuban band Ibeyi is one of Alt.Latino's favorite musical discoveries of 2014.

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I recently started a habit of listening to new music for Alt.Latino while reading. I'm on a new book called An Anthology Of Latin American Chronicles, a compilation of the best long-form journalistic pieces from contemporary Latin America. It's all non-fiction, yet as fantastical as you can get.

These days, reading about a trip to Pablo Escobar's secret zoo, the third gender among the Oaxacan people, or the unusual trajectory of a family heirloom during the Chilean dictatorship is accompanied by songs blasting in my ear. So I've made a point of picking music that softly transports me into this everyday world of Latin American beauty and horror, glory and pathos.

In the process, something wonderful happened: The text and the lyrics have begun to fuse together, and the stories I read have soft, cinematic, very Latin soundtracks. I've come to appreciate more than ever the storytelling legacy of Latinos, and how our music as much as our writing tells those stories. I'm sharing some of those songs on this week's show, which also features a broad and beautiful selection of Felix's favorite new music.

So join us on Alt.Latino as we listen to everyone from a Mexican legend to a French-Cuban duo that has us mesmerized. And, as a side note, if you're interested in reading An Anthology Of Latin American Chronicles yourself, I highly recommend it. If you don't speak Spanish, there doesn't seem to be a translation, but many of the authors featured in the anthology have works in English. You can find the list here.

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