A half-dozen cool things in music, from two points of view:
Schubert Club free concert series, Landmark Center. The WindSync classical group's performance included one of the best "West Side Story" medleys I've heard. For classical music lovers, "A Baroque Christmas" will be presented Dec. 10.
"Strayhorn: An Illustrated Life" by A. Alyce Claerbaut and David Schlesinger. For jazz lovers, there's a new biography of Duke Ellington associate Billy Strayhorn that's been highly touted by NPR's "Weekend Edition."
"Frank Sinatra With the Red Norvo Quintet, 1959." In this 100th birth anniversary year of Sinatra, find this little-known but first-rate CD on Blue Note.
Willard b. Shapira, Roseville
Missy Elliott video for "WTF (Where They From)." Just like in her heyday, this rebounding rapper has delivered a riveting, innovative clip featuring silver glitter lips and dancing marionettes, including one of her collaborator Pharrell Williams. And the song with the clever title is pretty compelling all by itself.
Louis Prima Jr. and the Witnesses, Famous Dave's. This high-energy, highly entertaining show band offered everything from "Jump Jive and Wail" and "Just a Gigolo" to Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places" and a James Brown sendup. Great fun and splendid musicianship.
"Sinatra: An American Icon," Grammy Museum. This compact but comprehensive exhibit in Los Angeles traces Ol' Blue Eyes' career via recordings, photos, clothing, home movies, memorabilia, artifacts, a re-creation of his painting studio (with his paintings) and even his fur-covered golf bag with clubs with gold heads. Indeed, he did it his way.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune