From TV screen to concert hall, Score! celebrates music made for television

Courtesy of the Television Academy

Courtesy of the Television Academy

Composers of today’s hottest TV shows lead a full L.A. orchestra and choir in an unprecedented Television Academy celebration

by Linda A. Rapka

Today’s hottest TV music came to life at Royce Hall May 21 with the Score! concert, presented by the Television Academy in its first live showcase of television music as performed by a full  orchestra and choir led by the composers themselves.

The unprecedented musical event boasted an orchestra of more than 70 of Los Angeles’s top musicians, contracted by David Low and featuring many of the same musicians who originally recorded the scores. Sharing the stage was the 40-voice LA Chorus directed by Steve Lively, and conducting the performances of today’s iconic television themes were the very composers who wrote them.

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Strunz & Farah @ Catalina’s


Photos by Linda A. Rapka

It’s not every night you hear a beatboxing flutist, but with international instrumental guitar duo Strunz & Farah one can’t expect a typical concert experience.

Acclaimed as much for their international virtuosity as for their dazzling eclectic live performances, Middle Eastern-flavored jazz/flamenco duo Costa Rican Jorge Strunz and Iranian Ardeshir Farah are credited for pioneering guitar-focused world music before the term even existed. The Grammy-nominated pair shares a prolific partnership spanning more than three decades. They met in 1979 after learning of their shared ability to play mind-blowing instrumental guitar improvisations at lightning speed. Continue reading

Glen Campbell Farewell Tour @ the Hollywood Bowl 6/24/12

glen campbell farewell

Decked out in a sparkle-studded blue suit and matching boots, Glen Campbell gave Los Angeles one final performance befitting a real rhinestone cowboy during his farewell tour at the Hollywood Bowl June 24.

For most farewell tours, it’s a safe bet that the parting adjective is thrown in just to boost ticket sales, with future “farewell” tours sure to follow a year or two down the road. But for Glen, this was truly goodbye. He announced his battle with Alzheimer’s in 2011, and his final tour. Continue reading

Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde Live @ the Roxy 5/23/12


LA Weekly photographer Timothy Norris caught this pic of me and my crew hanging with J-Sw!ft after the show. Check out their full slideshow here.

Taking us on a bizarre ride back to the golden era of hip hop, the party was on from the start at “Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde: Live” on May 23. Fatlip, Slimkid3, J-Sw!ft and L.A. Jay brought it hard at the sold-out Roxy show celebrating the 20th anniversary of one of the most influential hip hop albums of all time.

DJ Nu-Mark did well to prime the crowd with an appropriate booty-shaking mix of early ’90s hip hop jams before Big Boy (Pharcyde’s bodyguard from back in the day) introduced the MCs to the stage. Straight from the downbeat the vibe was right and crowd was bumping, and when the timeless comedy of “Oh Shit” kicked off everyone flowed along with every rhyme, ingrained into every Angeleno’s brain as part of our native vocabulary. The four performed the entire album top to bottom, and 20 years later it still holds up — as do the MCs, who sounded (and looked) as fly as they did in 1992. They went through all the classic tracks sounding as good as, and at times even better than, the record, among the standouts being the Stanley Cowell-heavy “On the DL,” ganga-lover favorite “Pack the Pipe,” and the still hilarious “Ya Mama.” Taking a solo moment, Tre impressed with his dynamic vocal lead on “Otha Fish.” But of course the undeniable highlight was “Passin’ Me By,” which remains as haunting and soul-stoppingly beautiful as it did the day it was released. They even played all the hysterical skits in between, like “It’s Jigaboo Time” and “Quinton’s On His Way” (and he really was; the famous “delivery man” showed up with the evening’s most important party favors). Even the original album drummer, legendary JMD, was there holding down fat live beats. Continue reading

Strawberry Alarm Clock @ the Satellite 4/25/12

Though they weren’t delivered to the stage upon mystical Persian rugs, as was their usual mode of transport in the late 1960s thanks to some hulky roadies, Strawberry Alarm Clock did conjure plenty of magic at its show at the Satellite.

The vintage psychedelic rockers, best known for their 1967 gold hit “Incense and Peppermints,” which saw newfound revival thanks to the stellar musical taste of Austin Powers, performed a rare live show at the popular Silver Lake club in support of its first album of new material in 42 years. Continue reading

Ravi Shankar @ Walt Disney Concert Hall 9/29/11


Though he doesn’t look much like a typical rock star, at 91, Ravi Shankar could have fooled anyone during his mesmerizing performance at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Uniquely worthy of the term “living legend,” he first amassed attention outside of his native India after befriending George Harrison in the 1960s, whose enamor with Shankar and the transfixing sounds he produced on the sitar sparked the rise of raga-rock embraced by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things, Jimi Hendrix and many other rock musicians of the time. The venerated sitar master captivated the Los Angeles audience Sept. 29, at long last. One year and two cancellations since the originally scheduled concert, ticketholders grew anxious we’d never see the venerated Indian sitar master — he’s not getting any younger, after all — a fact which also raised questions about what a performance by a nonagenarian would be like. Would his playing be as impressive as in decades past? Could it be? Continue reading