Top Picks: Mose Allison, Saturday Night Live, inaugural celebrations, and other recommendations
Mose Allison's latest CD 'The Way of the World,' 10 years of 'SNL' on NBC in 'Saturday Night Live in the 2000s,' 'The Official Inaugural Celebration' on DVD, and more top picks.
Mose Allison hasn't lost his jazzy piano chops, bluesy vibe, and Beat poet demeanor on "The Way of the World," his latest CD. At 82 years old, his voice is still hipster smooth. The tune "Crush" showcases his piano virtuosity, sampling boogie blues, swing, and bebop in a three-minute aural joy ride. On "Ask Me Nice," Allison sings, "I'm just tryin' to swing my way through life." Yeah. Cool.
As part of the annual, week-long Days of Remembrance, PBS airs "Among the Righteous: Lost Stories From the Holocaust in Arab Lands" on April 12 at 9 p.m. – a history of the half-million Arab Jews in North Africa under Nazi rule. The show addresses lingering Holocaust denial by asking the question, did any Arabs help Jews during World War II – and finds the affirmative answer to be as difficult to unearth as it is rewarding to document.
HBO presents the only inaugural package approved by the Obama campaign. In the two-disc set "The Official Inaugural Celebration": HBO's own "We Are One" preinaugural concert, which includes performances by Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Jon Bon Jovi, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Stevie Wonder, as well as the actual swearing-in, the full ceremony, plus speeches, and the ball.
NBC explores the past 10 years of one of its most iconic shows in "Saturday Night Live in the 2000s: Time and Again." More than simply a clip show, though not exactly a documentary, it is nonetheless an entertaining, highlight-packed journey through some of the show's most memorable moments of the past decade. Airing April 15, the show interviews some of its quirkiest hosts and replays moments that might actually appear in real history books, most notably Tina Fey's wide-eyed impression of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin ("I can see Russia from my house").
America's family tree
On the heels of his PBS series documenting African-American lives, historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. unravels the complex ancestry of the nation through a series of personal stories. He taps a wide array of celebrities for the project, including actress Meryl Streep, comedian Stephen Colbert, Dr. Mehmet Oz, figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi, poet Elizabeth Alexander, and author Malcolm Gladwell. The DVD arrives from PBS.org on April 13.
Fresh take on fado
The melancholy melodies of traditional fado, Portugal's answer to the blues, find haunting new expression in Ana Moura's latest album, "Leva-me Aos Fados" (Take Me to a Fado House), released by World Village. The young fadista's deep voice is backed by a simple trio of guitars – a 12-stringed Portuguese, an acoustic, and a bass – as she spins new lyrics for old songs.