Friday Feb 5, 2016

'MacGyver' adds film to TV series plans

Hot on the heels of a TV series announcement, the ingenious adventuring of "MacGyver" is also headed for cinema screens.The project has the blessing of seven-season TV series creator Lee David Zlotoff, who is on board for the Lionsgate production. Made famous in the 1980s and early 90s,...
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TV

'MacGyver' adds film to TV series plans
Friday Feb 5, 2016
'MacGyver' adds film to TV series plans

Hot on the heels of a TV series announcement, the ingenious adventuring of "MacGyver" is also headed for cinema screens.The project has the blessing of seven-season TV series creator Lee David Zlotoff, who is on board for the Lionsgate production. Made famous in the 1980s and early 90s, "MacGyver" starred Richard Dean Anderson as a secret agent armed only with his wits, craftsmanship, and a very practical understanding of scientific principles. MacGyver, then, would worm his way out of dangerous situations using nothing more than the discarded things around him and, quite often, a trusty Swiss Army knife. Neal H. Mortiz, who has all eight films in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise on his resumé, will produce for Lionsgate Entertainment. Earlier in the same week, television network CBS had announced its intentions to create a new series based on the original property, having tapped "Saw" and "Furious 7" helmer James Wan to direct, with Henry Winkler, a producer of the 1980s and 90s show, also attached. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Stiller sets selfie stick record for 'Zoolander 2'
Friday Feb 5, 2016
Stiller sets selfie stick record for 'Zoolander 2'

Celebrating the world premiere of fashion comedy "Zoolander No. 2," Ben Stiller whipped out an 8.56m (28ft 1in) selfie stick and broke a world record in the process.At the February 4th premiere for the ensemble film in London, UK, Ben Stiller put himself in pole positiong for a Guinness World Records entry, thanks to the towering selfie stick he used to photograph the "Zoolander No. 2" entourage. Over 20 cast members and special guests featured in the selfie, which was taken not on a red carpet, but a blue one, in reference the signature pose of Stiller's character, a fictional male model named Derek Zoolander. Mingling with the film's stars -- Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and more -- were the likes of "Star Wars" cast members Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, real world models Lara Stone, Portia Freeman and Neelam Gill, veritable fashion institutions Valentino and Mario Testino, and even Holly Johnson of iconic synth band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The film is set to start an international roll-out the week of February 11, when it goes on general release in numerous territories including the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and several countries across continental Europe, with a wider global release to follow. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Orange Is the New Black' given 3-season renewal
Friday Feb 5, 2016
'Orange Is the New Black' given 3-season renewal

Netflix has taken the hit comedy drama "Orange Is the New Black" and extended its run for another three seasons.Showrunner Jenji Kohan remains in charge for the duration, even as fans await the debut of a finished season 4 on June 17. "Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things," said Kohan, thanking both the VOD network as well as cast, crew, producers and editors on the show. First releasing in 2013 and based on the memoir of a woman convicted for money laundering and drug trafficking offenses, "Orange Is the New Black" accrued 16 Primetime Emmy award nominations and four wins over its first two seasons. It won both Outstanding Comedy Ensemble and Oustanding Female Actress in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year at January 30's 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

YuppTV joins Apple TV
Friday Feb 5, 2016
YuppTV joins Apple TV

YuppTV, the world's largest Over-The-Top (OTT) provider for South Asian content, has launched on Apple TV. The news means that Apple TV users can enjoy Yupp services such as live TV from more than 200 channels, catch-up TV, sports, and thousands of Bollywood and regional movies through its on-demand platform YuppFlix. Viewers can also watch cricket matches from the upcoming Asia Cup 2016 on YuppTV in the USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia. Apple TV customers will get 15 days of free trial for all the YuppTV services Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry band release deluxe edition of album ahead of Grammys appearance
Thursday Feb 4, 2016
Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry band release deluxe edition of album ahead of Grammys appearance

Rock supergroup, The Hollywood Vampires, has been announced to make its television debut during the Grammy Awards on February 15, 2016.Famed hard rock showman Alice Cooper, Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry, and cinema superstar Johnny Depp comprise the trio, and will play as part of the televised 58th Grammy Award ceremony when it takes place in Los Angeles. Rolling Stone reports that the performance will include a tribute to late Motorhead frontman Lemmy Kilmister. The band specializes in covering other well-known pop and rock artists, with a self-titled 2015 studio album paying tribute to tracks from, among others, The Who, Led Zepplin, Jimi Hendrix, T. Rex and The Doors. Named after Cooper's drinking club, The Hollywood Vampires have also been able to call upon an array of star guests for both their album and supporting live shows. Confirmed for the Grammys show are returning tour musicians Tommy Henriksen (Alice Cooper), Duff Mckagan and Matt Sorum (both Guns'n'Roses) and Bruce Witkin (Depp's band The Kids). A digital deluxe version of the Hollywood Vampires album, with a new original track "Bad as I am" and two unreleased/bonus tracks, is set to go on sale from February 12, with artist proceeds going to the MusiCares Foundation. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Movies

Angelina Jolie's film 'Unbroken' finally opens in Japan
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
Angelina Jolie's film 'Unbroken' finally opens in Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" opened Saturday more than a year after the rest of the world in Japan, where the main character endures as a prisoner of war and where some have called for a boycott of the movie. There were concerns that right-wing extremists may try to disrupt the opening. But the crowd at Theatre Image Forum in Tokyo, a small theater that specializes in independent films and documentaries, was peaceful, appearing engrossed in the film, flinching at the torture scenes and sympathizing with the hero, Louis Zamperini. The distributor said in a statement that it decided to go ahead with the showing because various views on war should be expressed, and because it was unnatural for a movie about Japan not to be shown in the country. A publicity official said the company had received some angry calls when it first announced the film's showing in October. Other than that, nothing unusual happened, and the film is scheduled to be shown in other theaters throughout Japan. "Unbroken" is based on the true story of Zamperini, an Olympic athlete who gets shot down in a U.S. bomber and survives by floating in the ocean on an inflatable boat, but gets captured by the Japanese. He survives horrible torture in World War II camps until Japan's defeat in 1945. Much of the negative chatter on social media in Japan about "Unbroken," which still continues to some extent, alleges that the movie is "anti-Japanese." Many taking offense at the film are outraged that the book on which the movie is based mentions that Japanese soldiers engaged in cannibalism, although the film does not touch on the subject at all. Some historians say some Japanese soldiers did engage in cannibalism. The anger over "Unbroken" has brewed despite Japan boasting a long list of directors who made distinguished anti-war movies, including Akira Kurosawa and Kihachi Okamoto. Nagisa Oshima's "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence," starring David Bowie, has a plot similar to "Unbroken," taking place in a POW camp. But some in Japan have also had a hard time coming to terms with the country's brutal past of colonizing Asian neighbors and the barbaric acts carried out by the Imperial Army, such as the Rape of Nanjing, which began in 1937 and left 300,000 Chinese dead. Similarly, they reject historical studies that show women from several Asian countries, especially Korea, were forced into prostitution by the Japanese military. Some oppose the term "sex slave," which the U.N. uses, preferring the euphemistic "comfort women." In "Unbroken," Japanese characters do little but grunt, scream, punch and kick. Still, the film ends on a reconciliatory note, showing an elderly Zamperini proudly carrying the torch for the 1998 Nagano Olympics, and Japanese on the streets cheering. As a young man, Zamperini had competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics as a runner, and had hopes to go to the next games, set to be held in Tokyo. But by then the war had started. After seeing "Unbroken," Katsuyuki Miyata, a member of the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, said that the closing scene was the best part of the film. "I'd heard it was an anti-Japanese movie," Miyata said. "But it was a good movie." __ Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/yurikageyama Her work can be found at: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/yuri-kageyama Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Yuri Kageyama from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Michael B. Jordan wins big at NAACP Image Awards
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
Michael B. Jordan wins big at NAACP Image Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a total knockout for Michael B. Jordan at the NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony that took several jabs at Hollywood for the lack of racial diversity. The star of the boxing drama "Creed" was honored Friday as both the entertainer of the year and outstanding actor in a motion picture for his role as Apollo Creed's son. "I used to sneak into the Image Awards, and now I'm standing here as the entertainer of the year, which is mind-blowing," he said. "Straight Outta Compton," which tells the story of the pioneering rap group N.W.A., picked up the outstanding motion picture prize. "I want to thank the NAACP for this because without you riding for us for the last 100 years, we would not be standing here," director F. Gary Gray said. Image Awards host Anthony Anderson kicked off the ceremony by invoking N.W.A. for a rap about the lack of racial diversity at other awards shows. The "black-ish" star donned a gold chain and a baseball cap with the words "Nominees With Attitude" to sing about such snubs as "Beasts of No Nation" and Jordan at the Academy Awards. "Listen, y'all, I don't mean to sound cocky, but the movie's called 'Creed,' not 'Rocky,' " he rapped. Anderson later joked during his opening monologue that he didn't want the Academy Awards to go overboard in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy by honoring a movie like "Madea Goes Trick or Treating in Compton" as best picture or handing out Kevin Harts instead of Oscars. "Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like," a more serious Anderson told the crowd at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. When he walked on stage to present "Creed" as an outstanding motion picture contender, Sylvester Stallone was surprised to be greeted warmly by the audience. "I certainly didn't expect that," said the "Rocky" star, who failed to recognize Jordan and "Creed" filmmaker Ryan Coogler in his acceptance speech at last month's Golden Globes. He later returned to the stage to thank them and apologized on Twitter. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee were among this year's Image Awards attendees who said they won't attend this year's Oscar ceremony after a second year of mostly white nominees. Despite several comments — both mocking and thoughtful — about the lack of racial diversity in Hollywood, it was mostly show business as usual for the 47th Image Awards, which are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor people of color in entertainment. "black-ish" swept the TV comedy categories with Anderson winning the award for outstanding actor, while the show was selected as outstanding comedy series and his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross was honored as outstanding actress. On the TV drama side, "Empire" dominated with wins for outstanding drama series, actor and actress for Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. "We don't need to ask for acceptance from anyone," Henson said. "We are enough." Sanaa Lathan was awarded the trophy for best actress in a motion picture for her role as a terrorized lobbyist in "The Perfect Guy." John Legend received the NAACP President's Award, which recognizes those who have achieved career success and public service. In his speech, the singer-songwriter lauded activists who fight for social justice. "Despite the daunting problems, I am hopeful that our generation will demand and achieve radical change in our lifetime," said Legend after he performed "All of Me." For the first time, the NAACP Chairman's Award, which honors distinguished public service, was presented to eight recipients, including pastor Jamal Bryant, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett and the activist group Concerned Student Collective 1950 at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The winners joined together on stage with their fists raised in the air. "I think Hollywood should take notes from this awards show," said "Scandal" actor Guillermo Diaz on the red carpet before the show. ___ Online: http://www.naacpimageawards.net ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/derrik-j-lang . Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Derrik J. Lang from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'MacGyver' adds film to TV series plans
Friday Feb 5, 2016
'MacGyver' adds film to TV series plans

Hot on the heels of a TV series announcement, the ingenious adventuring of "MacGyver" is also headed for cinema screens.The project has the blessing of seven-season TV series creator Lee David Zlotoff, who is on board for the Lionsgate production. Made famous in the 1980s and early 90s, "MacGyver" starred Richard Dean Anderson as a secret agent armed only with his wits, craftsmanship, and a very practical understanding of scientific principles. MacGyver, then, would worm his way out of dangerous situations using nothing more than the discarded things around him and, quite often, a trusty Swiss Army knife. Neal H. Mortiz, who has all eight films in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise on his resumé, will produce for Lionsgate Entertainment. Earlier in the same week, television network CBS had announced its intentions to create a new series based on the original property, having tapped "Saw" and "Furious 7" helmer James Wan to direct, with Henry Winkler, a producer of the 1980s and 90s show, also attached. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Stiller sets selfie stick record for 'Zoolander 2'
Friday Feb 5, 2016
Stiller sets selfie stick record for 'Zoolander 2'

Celebrating the world premiere of fashion comedy "Zoolander No. 2," Ben Stiller whipped out an 8.56m (28ft 1in) selfie stick and broke a world record in the process.At the February 4th premiere for the ensemble film in London, UK, Ben Stiller put himself in pole positiong for a Guinness World Records entry, thanks to the towering selfie stick he used to photograph the "Zoolander No. 2" entourage. Over 20 cast members and special guests featured in the selfie, which was taken not on a red carpet, but a blue one, in reference the signature pose of Stiller's character, a fictional male model named Derek Zoolander. Mingling with the film's stars -- Stiller, Penelope Cruz, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and more -- were the likes of "Star Wars" cast members Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac, real world models Lara Stone, Portia Freeman and Neelam Gill, veritable fashion institutions Valentino and Mario Testino, and even Holly Johnson of iconic synth band Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The film is set to start an international roll-out the week of February 11, when it goes on general release in numerous territories including the USA and Canada, Australia and New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa and several countries across continental Europe, with a wider global release to follow. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Michael Pitt in talks for 'Ghost In The Shell'
Friday Feb 5, 2016
Michael Pitt in talks for 'Ghost In The Shell'

Michael Pitt could be the latest big star to sign up to "Ghost In The Shell".The actor is in talks to play a key role in the Japanese manga adaptation alongside Scarlett Johanson, Deadline reports. The movie tells the tale of a cyborg police woman who is a member of an anti-criminal elite that hunts down human cybercriminals, robots, and cyborgs. The long-awaited project is currently scheduled for a March 2017 release. It will be helmed by "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders, the director and will also star Sam Riley. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Events

300 rare and famous guitars coming to NYC auction
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
300 rare and famous guitars coming to NYC auction

NEW YORK (AP) — About 300 guitars, including instruments associated with Eric Clapton, Elvis Presley and Eddie Van Halen, are heading to a New York City auction. Also on tap at Guernsey's sale Feb. 27 are acoustic guitars from the late 1800s and one played by actor Robert Blake in the film "In Cold Blood." Among the top highlights is a 1952 Gibson Super 400 CES 7-String made for late studio guitarist Tony Mottola that could bring as much as $100,000. Mottola worked with such music greats as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis and Rosemary Clooney. There are two "In Cold Blood" guitars. One was used by Blake in the role of killer Perry Edward Smith in the 1967 Academy Award-winning movie based on the blockbuster book by Truman Capote, and the other is the actual guitar owned by Smith. They are being offered as one lot with a pre-sale estimate of $150,000 to $200,000. A yellow-and-black Charvel guitar, customized for Eddie Van Halen in the 1980s, could bring $60,000 to $80,000. The original bill of sale made out to Van Halen is included. A 1959 Gibson owned by Franny Beecher, the lead guitarist for the rock and roll band Bill Haley & His Comets, could fetch $20,000 to $25,000. It's one of only 57 made in 1959 in the natural finish. Also in the auction catalog are four guitars associated with Eric Clapton, two of them signed; several Elvis Presley items, including a signed guitar; and Jimi Hendrix's guitar strap from Woodstock. The sale also includes vintage guitars and mandolins made by string instrument maker Joseph Bohmann and more than 40 guitars from the late arranger and jazz musician Robert Yelin. About two dozen instruments owned by guitarist and singer-songwriter George Benson also are being offered. ___ Online: www.guerneys.com Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Michael B. Jordan wins big at NAACP Image Awards
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
Michael B. Jordan wins big at NAACP Image Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It was a total knockout for Michael B. Jordan at the NAACP Image Awards in a ceremony that took several jabs at Hollywood for the lack of racial diversity. The star of the boxing drama "Creed" was honored Friday as both the entertainer of the year and outstanding actor in a motion picture for his role as Apollo Creed's son. "I used to sneak into the Image Awards, and now I'm standing here as the entertainer of the year, which is mind-blowing," he said. "Straight Outta Compton," which tells the story of the pioneering rap group N.W.A., picked up the outstanding motion picture prize. "I want to thank the NAACP for this because without you riding for us for the last 100 years, we would not be standing here," director F. Gary Gray said. Image Awards host Anthony Anderson kicked off the ceremony by invoking N.W.A. for a rap about the lack of racial diversity at other awards shows. The "black-ish" star donned a gold chain and a baseball cap with the words "Nominees With Attitude" to sing about such snubs as "Beasts of No Nation" and Jordan at the Academy Awards. "Listen, y'all, I don't mean to sound cocky, but the movie's called 'Creed,' not 'Rocky,' " he rapped. Anderson later joked during his opening monologue that he didn't want the Academy Awards to go overboard in response to the #OscarsSoWhite controversy by honoring a movie like "Madea Goes Trick or Treating in Compton" as best picture or handing out Kevin Harts instead of Oscars. "Hollywood needs to know that this is what diversity is supposed to look like," a more serious Anderson told the crowd at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. When he walked on stage to present "Creed" as an outstanding motion picture contender, Sylvester Stallone was surprised to be greeted warmly by the audience. "I certainly didn't expect that," said the "Rocky" star, who failed to recognize Jordan and "Creed" filmmaker Ryan Coogler in his acceptance speech at last month's Golden Globes. He later returned to the stage to thank them and apologized on Twitter. Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee were among this year's Image Awards attendees who said they won't attend this year's Oscar ceremony after a second year of mostly white nominees. Despite several comments — both mocking and thoughtful — about the lack of racial diversity in Hollywood, it was mostly show business as usual for the 47th Image Awards, which are presented by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to honor people of color in entertainment. "black-ish" swept the TV comedy categories with Anderson winning the award for outstanding actor, while the show was selected as outstanding comedy series and his co-star Tracee Ellis Ross was honored as outstanding actress. On the TV drama side, "Empire" dominated with wins for outstanding drama series, actor and actress for Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. "We don't need to ask for acceptance from anyone," Henson said. "We are enough." Sanaa Lathan was awarded the trophy for best actress in a motion picture for her role as a terrorized lobbyist in "The Perfect Guy." John Legend received the NAACP President's Award, which recognizes those who have achieved career success and public service. In his speech, the singer-songwriter lauded activists who fight for social justice. "Despite the daunting problems, I am hopeful that our generation will demand and achieve radical change in our lifetime," said Legend after he performed "All of Me." For the first time, the NAACP Chairman's Award, which honors distinguished public service, was presented to eight recipients, including pastor Jamal Bryant, "Empire" actor Jussie Smollett and the activist group Concerned Student Collective 1950 at the University of Missouri, Columbia. The winners joined together on stage with their fists raised in the air. "I think Hollywood should take notes from this awards show," said "Scandal" actor Guillermo Diaz on the red carpet before the show. ___ Online: http://www.naacpimageawards.net ___ Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang . His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/derrik-j-lang . Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Derrik J. Lang from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Woody Harrelson applies for Hawaii marijuana dispensary
Saturday Feb 6, 2016
Woody Harrelson applies for Hawaii marijuana dispensary

HONOLULU (AP) — Actor and marijuana advocate Woody Harrelson was one of nearly 60 applicants to apply to open one of Hawaii's first medical marijuana dispensaries. Harrelson, 54, applied for a license in Honolulu County under his company, Simple Organic Living. The Hawaii Department of Health posted the list of 66 applications on its website Friday. The state is now reviewing applications for dispensary permits, which they will award in April. Video game entrepreneur Henk Rogers also applied for a license under his company, Blue Planet Foundation, which advocates for energy independence across the state. Rogers, 61, is famous for discovering the video game "Tetris" more than 20 years ago, and lives in Hawaii in an entirely solar-powered home. Among other applicants include Dirk Fukushima, producer of the local television show, "Hawaii Stars," and former University of Hawaii Regent Charles Kawakami. If selected, dispensary applicants must have $1 million cash before applying for a licenses, plus $100,000 for each dispensary location. All applicants must have been Hawaii residents for more than five years. Under a law passed in 2015, the state will grant eight licenses for marijuana business owners across the islands. The law allows medical marijuana businesses to have two production centers and two retail dispensaries, for a total of 16 dispensaries statewide. Six are allowed on Oahu, four on Hawaii Island, four on Maui and two on Kauai. Dispensaries are set to open in July. Hawaii became the first to legalize medical marijuana through the legislative process 16 years ago. Lawmakers have introduced laws to legalize recreational marijuana; however they don't think they're likely to pass this year. Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Marina Riker from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

'Orange Is the New Black' given 3-season renewal
Friday Feb 5, 2016
'Orange Is the New Black' given 3-season renewal

Netflix has taken the hit comedy drama "Orange Is the New Black" and extended its run for another three seasons.Showrunner Jenji Kohan remains in charge for the duration, even as fans await the debut of a finished season 4 on June 17. "Three more years! Not quite a political term, but still plenty of time to do some interesting things," said Kohan, thanking both the VOD network as well as cast, crew, producers and editors on the show. First releasing in 2013 and based on the memoir of a woman convicted for money laundering and drug trafficking offenses, "Orange Is the New Black" accrued 16 Primetime Emmy award nominations and four wins over its first two seasons. It won both Outstanding Comedy Ensemble and Oustanding Female Actress in a Comedy Series for the second consecutive year at January 30's 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. Copyright AFP Relaxnews, 2016. This article was from AFP Relax News and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

John Scofield goes back to the future on Grammy-nominated CD
Friday Feb 5, 2016
John Scofield goes back to the future on Grammy-nominated CD

NEW YORK (AP) — Jazz guitarist John Scofield went back to the future on his Grammy-nominated CD "Past Present," reuniting members of his acclaimed quartet from the early 1990s to play his new compositions. Though nominated twice before, the 64-year-old Scofield has never won a Grammy. But at the Feb. 15 awards ceremony in Los Angeles, he's up for two Grammys — for best jazz instrumental album and best improvised jazz solo for the CD's title track, which the guitarist describes as "futuristic blues." Scofield credits his wife and manager, Susan, for coming up with the album's title, which he says has multiple meanings. Most of the compositions were written when Scofield's son, Evan, a writer and poet, returned to the family's home in Katonah, New York, while undergoing treatment for sarcoma, a cancer that claimed his life at age 26 in 2013. The soul-jazz "Get Proud" and the breezy "Enjoy the Future!" take their titles from his son's favorite catchphrases. The mid-tempo ballad "Mr. Puffy" refers to a humorous nickname Evan used to describe his bloated appearance after chemotherapy. "He's in the past but he's always present with me," said Scofield. "I feel his essence because he's a part of me." To play his compositions Scofield reassembled his mostly acoustic quartet featuring tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano and drummer Bill Stewart, which combined post-bop jazz with blues, funk and R&B, a departure from his electronic jazz-funk fusion groups of the 1980s. Bassist Larry Grenadier replaced Dennis Irwin, who died of cancer in 2008. "We do have this shared past, but it doesn't feel like retro to me," Scofield said in a telephone interview. "It's very much in the present when we play together. We're playing the same kind of music we were trying to play back then but we've gotten better at it." Scofield and Lovano first got together in the early 1970s when they were students at Boston's Berklee College of Music. The guitarist likened playing with Lovano to his feeling when performing with Miles Davis from 1982-85, calling it "music communication on the highest level." "John plays with a lot of feeling, he's soulful, funky and it's happening," said Lovano. "He's one of the most swinging accompanists on guitar in the rhythm section. ... But he's also a front-line player playing the melody. It's like playing with another horn player." Scofield has performed with Grateful Dead electric bassist Phil Lesh, the Southern rock band Government Mule and the avant-jazz-funk jam band Medeski, Martin & Wood as well as his own groups. His eclectic tastes are reflected on "Past Present" through compositions with catchy melodies — reflecting his affinity for pop music — that each have a distinctive flavor yet remain jazz. The opener "Slinky" is funky but its 5/4 rhythm references the Dave Brubeck Quartet's classic "Take Five." ''Chap Dance" is an Americana melody that Scofield says was inspired by the "faux Western music" of the Broadway musical "Oklahoma!" It presages his next recording that will feature jazz versions of country hits, from George Jones' "Just a Girl I Used to Know" to Shania Twain's "You're Still the One." Scofield says the title "Past Present" also has a deeper meaning reflecting the essence of jazz: "We have to be absolutely in the present in order to have the music be spontaneous and feel like jazz, but everything we play is rooted in the past because it's a shared language and you have to know the music's history." ___ Online: www.johnscofield.com ___ Follow Charles J. Gans at www.twitter.com/chjgans Copyright (2016) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. This article was written by Charles J. Gans from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.