What We Do
Nat King Cole: Pop Goes the (Jazz) Pianist
Nat King Cole was not the first, nor would he be the last, jazz artist whose success as pop singer nearly eclipsed his brilliance as an instrumentalist. Consider Louis Armstrong and, a generation later, George Benson, just to name two prominent examples.
Cole, who died of cancer in February 1965, barely a month before his 49th birthday, was a best-selling singer and global pop star. Unbeknownst to many of his fans then and now, he was also one of the great pianists in jazz history.
Carmen París Brings the Songs From Home to the World — and Vice-Versa
While introducing a song, halfway through her concert at Miami Dade County Auditorium, Friday, Spanish singer and songwriter Carmen París grumbled about globalization and what she saw as the resulting loss of traditional cultures. It was a curious observation for an artist who has built her career on blurring musical borders and subverting the tradition. Friday, París spent much of her show offering fascinating (and successful) global reimaginations of the jota, a traditional dance originated in Aragon, a region in northeast Spain, where she grew up.
Perhaps globalization is in the ear of the beholder.
Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara
Ernesto "Che" Guevara was executed on October 9, 1967, by the Bolivian army, after a brief, disastrous guerrilla campaign. It was only the last in a string of failures. Yet the fascination with Guevara has remained strong if at times disconcerting, ranging as it has from posters tacked on college dorms' walls and harebrained, deadly revolutionary schemes to become the image of choice in the sales pitch for racing skis.
The spell also has produced a small library worth of books - few of them as astute and sober as Compañero: The life and death of Che Guevara by Mexican political scientist Jorge G. Castañeda.