Look Back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

Look Back: Highlights from Melissa Merli on the week that was

A week or so ago I went to The Iron Post, Urbana, to hear Condition Blue, a pickup group of talented local jazz players. The play the music of the early '60s Blue Note period — hard bop that feeds out of the music of Art Blakey, Horace Silver and other greats of the mid- to late '50s. Condition Blue didn't make me and others in the bar feel blue, though. Instead we felt uplifted.

I've always been fascinated by Josephine Baker, the African-American dancer who achieved great fame in Paris in the jazz age. So I really enjoyed Champaign resident Patricia Hruby Powell's new non-fiction book for children and teens, written in free verse. Bonus: "Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker" (Chronicle Books, $17.95) also features illustrations by Christian Robinson that recall African-American artist Jacob Lawrence's "Migration Series."

Last Sunday I joined 20 million others watching on TV the Golden Globes awards ceremony. I chuckled at Tina Fey and Amy Poehler though my mom told me she didn't. I was puzzled by the acceptance speeches from a hazy Jacqueline Bisset, a ditzy Diane Keaton on behalf of child abuser Woody Allen, and an uncharacteristically nervous Jennifer Lawrence. I skipped one hour to switch to "Downton Abbey" on PBS; as I promised, that Brit series, now in its fourth season, is heating up!

Topics (3):Music, People, Television

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