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Life is a Game
Review by Doug Boynton

The Jive Aces can play. And play they do, both figuratively and literally. Based out of the U.K., they’ll perform more than 300 gigs this year, across several countries. Their musical talents and passion for up-tempo swing are delightfully evident on their latest release, Life Is a Game (Right Recordings). With just a couple of exceptions, the disc jumps from beginning to end. Continue Reading »

The King of Skull Island Lives on DVD
By Will “The Thrill” Viharo

In anticipation of the epic Peter Jackson remake of the original 1933 classic King Kong, several studios are going “ape,” unleashing their individual inventories of the Big Guy’s cinematic adventures onto the holiday DVD market. I say, bring it on.

The release (or is that escape?) that’s really driving Kong fanatics bananas is the four-disc set from Warner Brothers (which now owns the valuable vintage RKO library), THE KING KONG COLLECTION. The collection features the first KING KONG plus its immediate and perfunctory sequel, SON OF KONG and the 1949 stop motion monkey masterpiece, MIGHTY JOE YOUNG, all from the trailblazing team of Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack. These two cats were more than visionary entrepreneurs — they were both true-life adventurers in the real world, culling inspiration not only from their vivid imaginations but also from their own exploratory experiences in exotic realms around the globe. Continue Reading »

Brothers in Jive
Review by Joanne Bennett

Cheese comes in all varieties, from the flavorless yet squeezably convenient Velveeta┬« to the delicate Camembert or the pungent and robust Gorgonzola. The same holds true for swing. Some varieties are barely palatable in terms of musicality, yet their kitsch appeal satisfies a certain craving. Others offer a complex assortment of notes and arrangements to be savored. By this reckoning, the Vienna-based combo Five in Love are the masters of cheese, crafting tunes that appeal to a variety of tastes. Continue Reading »

Built of Stone
Review by Frankie Hagan

Performers have to be made of pretty sturdy stuff to endure the rigors and trials of the music industry. Thankfully, the Cigar Store Indians and their special brand of swingin’ rock ‘n’ roll, country western ballads and rockabilly riffs have stood the test of time.

The band has been long overdue in releasing a new album, and they do not disappoint their fans with their latest CD, Built of Stone (Overall Records). Two major changes separate this record from CSI’s previous two releases: Continue Reading »

The High-Flying Life of Howard Hughes
By Leslie J. Thompson

Hughes (DiCaprio) is taken with the fiesty Kate Hepburn (Blanchett).
Hughes (DiCaprio) is taken with the fiesty Kate Hepburn (Blanchett).
In his soaring cinematic narrative, The Aviator, director Martin Scorsese takes viewers on an exhilarating three-hour trip back in time and into the life of an American icon. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a young Howard Hughes during the 1920s-1940s, as the budding industrialist turns a sizeable inheritance into the foundation of his vast empire with ventures in filmmaking and flight. Along the way, Hughes launches the careers of starlets like Jean Harlow (Gwen Stefani, in her brief big screen debut), and courts such Tinseltown luminaries as Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett in an Oscar┬«-worthy performance) and Ava Gardner (an immaculately polished Kate Beckinsale). Continue Reading »

Boy from Tupelo
Review by Frankie Hagan

It must have seemed like such a small thing, then: a young boy arriving at 706 Union Avenue in Memphis in 1953. He paid $3.98 to make a “custom record” and, as a special bonus, change the course of music history. That young man was Elvis Presley, and his impact on popular culture has spanned half a century. To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the recording of Elvis’ first single, “That’s All Right”–a moment some music historians refer to as the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll–HEAR Music and BMG Special Products have released 15 Elvis classics on Boy From Tupelo. Continue Reading »

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