Six cool things in music, from two points of view:


Paul Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra, “Late Show With David Letterman.” While Letterman’s musical guests have been working hard to make the show’s final weeks memorable, the bandleader and his always solid group have sparkled with renditions from their songbook of classics.

Hagar Ben Ari, “Late Late Show With James Corden.” As the torch of house bands is being passed, Corden is not to be outdone. Behind wild man Reggie Watts, Hagar Ben Ari anchors his combo with grace and authority on Fender bass.

Tal Wilkenfeld. Check out this Aussie bassist. Her body of work includes the Allmans, Herbie Hancock and Jeff Beck. See her fly on Beck’s “Live at Ronnie Scott’s” and the 2007 Crossroads concert as a 21-year-old. Wow!

Jim Koloc, Eagan



Tom Waits, “Late Show With David Letterman.” He penned a special farewell song, “Take One Last Look.” “This is for you, Dave,” he rasped before growling tenderly through a bittersweet ballad, accompanied by accordion, upright bass and his own acoustic guitar. The piece ranks up there with Waits’ sentimental songs.

Various artists, “Voice: Songs For Those Who Are Silenced.” This is a striking collection of a cappella numbers by Minnesota singers to benefit victims of sex trafficking. There are many special performances, including those by the Ericksons, Robert Robinson and Honey Lamb.

American Composers Forum 40th anniversary celebration, Landmark Center. There were speeches, videos, tweets, choirs singing and musicians performing. Jelloslave, the cello-driven quartet, wrapped it up with a program of original music and an instrumental interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

Jon Bream, Star Tribune