Tapestry, from 90.3 WBHM

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From July 21, 2005...

Arts news

This weekend, the Birmingham Museum of Art pays tribute to a Japanese filmmaker credited with revolutionizing the movie industry. I'm Greg Bass and tonight on Tapestry we also connect the dots between a Birmingham trombone player, the Army's Special Forces, and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Also, American negro spirituals from Eric Essix. That, and more, after this roundup of arts news...

Arts news

Akira Kurosawa

At a time when many Asian and American filmmakers were making fairly straightforward action movies, Akira Kurosawa was revolutionizing the industry. The Japanese director became known for not only his groundbreaking cinematic style … but also for his ability to communicate common themes about the human experience in his action films. Kurosawa would have a profound impact not only on his Asian contemporaries but also on filmmakers the world over. One of his movies was copied for the classic Western "The Magnificent Seven". But he's still considered a director’s director.

The Birmingham Museum of Art is hoping to make Kurosawa a little more accessible to the general public. To do that they're holding a Kurosawa film festival this weekend. Among the movies being shown is Ikiru, which ranks as one of Time magazine's 100 Best Films of All Time.

WBHM's Rosemary Pennington spoke with Don Wood, Chief Curator and Curator of Asian Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art, about the Kurosawa legacy.

Don Wood's Interview

Don Wood – Chief Curator and Curator of Asian Art at the Birmingham Museum of Art talking about this weekend’s Kurosawa film festival. It starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday. There are more details on our online community calendar – on the Tapestry section of our website, wbhm.org.

Brian Earl

There comes a point in every young aspiring artist's life when he has to decide whether to "go for it" – to try to make art or music or writing a career. For Birmingham's Brian Earl it was his senior year in high school. After years of playing of trombone, Earl toyed with the idea of pursuing his music full-time – but his parents encouraged him to pursue something a little more practical. Earl chose the military and rose quickly through the ranks, serving as a member of the Army’s 10th Special Forces Group – the "Airborne" - and commanding a Special Forces A-team in Bosnia. He left the military and in 2002 joined Birmingham-based Human Strategies, Inc as Vice President of the Security Division. And that, of all things, has led him back to music! More than a decade after Earl gave up his trombone chair in a community band, he was tapped to provide security for the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra on their 2005 Asian Tour. He tells WBHM’s Tanya Ott that it was an amazing experience.

Brian Earl Finds Music Again

Brian Earl is Vice President of Birmingham-based Human Strategies, Inc – a business solutions company.

What's going on in and around the Birmingham area. For additional details, go to our online version of the Community Calendar.

Community Calendar

Eric Essix

Eric Essix is one of Birmingham's most accomplished Jazz guitarists, but his success didn't come without a lot of hard work and a little ingenuity. His grandfather bought his first guitar and amplifier, and Essix taught himself to play by listening to LP’s by Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 and Al Green. He found jazz in Wes Montgomery’s California Dreamin' and after a life-changing experience in 1977 at a Weather Report concert, Essix decided to take his shot at making a living making music. His debut album in 1988 led to a record deal with the Los Angeles based jazz label Nova Records. And in 1993 he graduated from Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music. Several CDs later, Essix finds himself the youngest inductee into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. He's known for his smooth jazz, but Essix insists he doesn't like to be pidgeon-holed into one genre.

Essix is shaking things up a bit on his newest CD "Abide with Me". He offers up some of the most enduring American negro spirituals. Songs like "We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder" and "Precious Lord". This is "I Heard the Voice of Jesus".

Music and Interview with Eric Essix

Eric Essix’s new CD "Abide with Me" was just released this week. We've got more selections available for download on the Tapestry section of our website, wbhm.org. You can catch Essix live - tonight - at WorkPlay Theatre in Birmingham.

Tapestry is produced by Tanya Ott and Michael Krall. Hunter Bell produces our musician profiles. Additional reporting this week from Rosemary Pennington. I'm Greg Bass. Thanks for joining us!

Support for Tapestry comes from the Jefferson County Commission through the Jefferson County Community Arts Funds administered by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham.