Look Back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was
1. There's a fine new pianist in town: Adrian Herrera Escobar, a native of Colombia. He's studying for a doctoral of musical arts degree in jazz performance at the University of Illinois.
Recently he filled in for Chip Stephens in a Boneyard Jazz Quintet gig at the Iron Post. His style reminds some of Cuban jazz pianist Chucho Valdes. Before coming here in August, he played professionally and obtained a master's degree in New York City.
2. Nice to see the seven members of the Duke of Uke and His Novelty Orchestra re-unite for two toe-tapping sets at the Esquire Lounge on New Year's Eve. I dropped by the happy-hour set, which drew a really good crowd.
Duke of Uke is a fun, funk ukulele band fronted by the multi-talented Dave King. He and two other bandmates now live in New Orleans. Another two live in Chicago, and two remain here in C-U. Maybe they'll be back? All roads eventually lead back to C-U, I've heard.
3: Nursing a cold, I've stayed home and tuned into two screens: my iPhone's and TCM. The cable-TV channel last month celebrated Joan Fontaine. I asked why on FB she's often cast as the "unattractive woman."
"I always thought she did a good job registering a lack of confidence," a friend replied. "Melissa, women's studies knowledge has your answer!" said another. Yet another: "She isn't much of an actress and tends to play a whiner ("Rebecca," "Suspicion"). Hitchcock couldn't stand her and says he created that performance, not her." First friend again: "Hitchcock didn't respect actors. He said so."