This week in The Wall Street Journal’s
Mansion section, I interviewed Kirk Douglas, who is 100 years old (go here). The actor, who first appeared in the movies in 1946, overcame poverty in Amsterdam, N.Y., and made it to Hollywood, thanks to talent and the generosity of a young actress and friend named Lauren Bacall. Kirk has a new book out—Kirk and Anne. Though he suffered a stroke in 1996 that slurred his speech, it was still a thrill to hear Kirk get on the phone and say, “Hello, Marc. What can I do for you?” Hey, it’s the little things in life. You’ll love his answer when I asked him the secret to reaching 100. Here’s one of my favorite little-known Kirk Douglas films, Champion (1949)…


Also in the WSJ,
my “Anatomy of a Song” column for the Arts & Life section focused on the Spinners’ I’ll Be Around (go here). I interviewed the song’s co-writer and producer Thom Bell, the lyricist Phil Hurrt and drummer Earl Young. What you have in this song is the start of the Philadelphia dance sound. Thom’s vision, Phil’s words and Earl’s beat would be the basis for Blue Magic, MFSB, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes and The Trammps, a group founded by Earl. The Spinners gave me such joy in my teens. It was a joy to celebrate Thom, Phil and Earl in return. Here’s the Spinners’ I’ll Be Around. Listen to drummer Earl Young, who creates what would become the basis for Philly’s hustle beat…


And finally, for the WSJ,
I interviewed bestselling novelist Anne Hillerman for the Review section (go here). She talked about when she first heard the Doobie Brothers’ Long Train Runnin’ and how it helped her sort out a personal matter while driving to and from her parents’ house in Arizona on Thanksgiving in 1973. Her latest book is Song of the Lion. Here are the Doobie Brothers…


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Bill FitzGibbons, whom I interviewed several years ago for my “House Call” column in the WSJ (go here), is a light sculptor. What exactly does that mean? See the image above. We’re talking huge works in San Antonio, Texas, and other locations. If you dig it, the public artwork is called “Centro Chroma Tower.” Well, Bill’s work above has been chosen as one of CODAawards top 100 public art projects worldwide. You can vote for his work by going here.

Dave Pell Tribute

Dave Pell, the late tenor saxophonist and West Coast octet-leader who died on May 7, is being celebrated on Saturday, June 24. If you’re in Los Angeles, rush over to the tribute at the Musician’s Union Local 47 at 817 Vine Street in Hollywood. You’ll get to hear Dave’s octet arrangements played in all their glory. Here’s my post on Dave and my interview with him following his passing in May.


Herman and Lily.
Searching YouTube the other day looking for newly posted music videos (see what I do for you in my spare moments?), I stumbled upon a shockingly superb documentary on The Munsters, the crypto-scary TV sitcom that aired from 1964 to 1966 and transformed horror-movie monster characters into cheery but odd neighbors. Here it is…


Watch nuts.
Count me among them. I love cars, too, but you can’t wear a Porsche 911 Turbo on your wrist. If you love watches, too, then you know that the Paul Newman Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is among the most prized (and expensive) sport models. Dig this fabulous article by Michael Clerizo in the WSJ Sunday magazine a couple of weeks ago. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Go here.


What the heck.
Here’s Frank Sinatra in 1966 appearing on the TV special A Man and His Music Part II. He’s singing The Most Beautiful Girl in the World from his album Strangers in the Night. It’s one of the fastest-tempo Sinatra songs that featured some of Hollywood’s finest studio musicians. Dig the trumpets and trombones turn those music pages…

Oddball album cover of the week.

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How about me what? Dennis Lotis according to Wiki, “is a South African-born British singer, actor and entertainer whose popularity was greatest in the 1950s. He was described as having ‘a sophisticated style that was particularly attractive to the young female population.’ ” It’s easy to see why. Clearly, it’s the two-toned business-class airplane seats converted into a living-room sofa.


from JazzWax
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