Lou Rawls: 1933-2006

No less a singer than Frank Sinatra cited him as having "the classiest singing and silkiest chops in the singing game." Lou Rawls, whose velvet baritone inspired 75 albums and three Grammys over the course of a four-decade career, died yesterday of lung and brain cancer. Rawls had been battling cancer since 2004. The Library owns several Rawls albums, including the 1977's When You Hear Lou, You've Heard it All

Read the CNN obituary.

Records of the Year?

Another year-end list! This time it's the top three records of the year according to Entertainment Weekly's David Browne. 1) Extraordinary Machine, by Fiona Apple; 2) Guero, by Beck; 3) Late Registration, by Kayne West.

Read more about EW's choices...or tell us your own.

The Play Ground

American works for Balinese gamelan orchestra

Often lauded as the pinnacle of aesthetic achievement in Indonesia, Javanese shadow puppet theater is one of the world’s great classical theatrical forms. The mythological stories feature ancient kings, humorous antics of clowns, fierce battles and deep philosophical questions. This concert stars puppeteer Sigit Adji Sabdoprijono and Javanese dancer Yulisa Mastati, artists-in-residence at the Residential College. Susan Pratt Walton directs the gamelan, which is part of the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.
Rackham Auditorium, January 14, 2006 at 8pm, No tickets required

The Big Apple

Transit strikes come, transit strikes go. The City endures. Pete Hamill knows, as only an old newspaper reporter can, the streets, the people, the stories that make New York City so captivating and so confounding . Listen to Downtown: My Manhattan and you’ll want to visit even if you have to walk from the airport.

Once Hamill has you hooked on the Big Apple, you’ll want to know how it all started. The Island at the Center of the World takes you back to the founding of New Netherland, describing the array of cultures and peoples that created one of the most diverse cities in the world.

De-stress while listening to classical piano

With the holidays upon us, smart music lovers are stocking up on relaxing CDs. The library recently bought the popular title The Most Relaxing Classical Piano Music in the Universe, with selections by Bach, Schumann, Mozart, Beethoven (Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise), and other composers. Right now there are 27 people on the waiting list for this CD, but if you reserve it now, you, too, can look forward to being among the most relaxed listeners in the universe.

Holiday CD is music for tired ears

If your ears are jangling from too much holiday noise, switch to the uplifting sounds of this CD, Carreras, Domingo, Pavarotti: Christmas Favorites from the World's Favorite Tenors. Not only are their voices glorious, but the selections - including I'll be Home for Christmas and Joy to the World - hit just the right note, too. Happy holiday listening!

Before You See the Movie, Listen to the Book

Odds makers are betting that Brokeback Mountain will walk away with the most Oscars next March. We’re betting the audio version of Annie Proulx’s spare and moving love story will win your praise too.

Joan Didion’s memoir of love and loss, The Year of Magical Thinking, made the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2005 list. The book is headed for a spring 2007 opening on Broadway, so you have plenty of time to listen before opening night.

The New Usher?

The latest release in R&B is 16 year old Chris Brown’s self-titled debut CD. His first single 'Run It' is #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and the album itself is #2 on the Billboard 200. If you've seen the music video for 'Run It,' you’ll know that Chris Brown has some awesome moves, somewhat reminiscent of Usher. I think it’s pretty safe to say that we can expect more from this promising new artist.

Richard Pryor: 1940-2005

Actor and comedian Richard Pryor died over the weekend. He was 65. Last year's two-disc, 65-track compilation of some of his best performances, Evolution 1966-1968; Revolution, 1971-1974, shows why he was one of the most influential comedians of the 20th century. The Library also owns Live and Smokin' on DVD and his 1995 memoir Pryor Convictions: And Other Life Sentences, which Publisher's Weekly calls "Profane, profound and poignant...." Read more about Richard Pryor.

The Play Ground

That sultry, smoky, soulful singer performing in George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck will be at Hill Auditorium for a live University Musical Society performance on Saturday, December 10th at 8pm. This time Dianne Reeves is singing the season as she and her trio offer "Christmas Time." Tis a reason to be jolly!

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