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Jeff Simon

Jeff Simon is the News' Arts and Books Editor. He has been writing for the paper since Spiro Agnew was the vice president.


The great ones don't dawdle.I once saw Miles Davis in his prime get out of a car in front of Buffalo's old Royal Arms, stride right up to the bandstand and, for the first tune of a three-day gig, play an impassioned blues called "Joshua" at time-warp tempo. His solo was as fierce and intense and savagely memorable as any I've ever heard -- from him or anyone else.The …

Buffalo filmmaker Frederick King Keller, who directed "Vamping" with "Dallas" star Patrick Duffy and "My Dark Lady" in Buffalo, has signed to direct a new television series for the Nickelodeon Cable network and a new feature film for theaters.Later this week, Keller will travel to Tucson, Ariz., to begin preparations for filming "Hey Dude," a television comedy-adventu…

David Murray, Ming's Samba (Columbia Portrait OR-4943). In a little over a decade, he has recorded in just about every format imaginable. Still, David Murray records don't come any better than this. Certainly, they don't come any happier or more spontaneous or ingratiatingly inventive. It's little more than a mainstream quartet with such redoubtables as John Hicks, Ray Dru…

THE BIGGEST controversy in current movies involves Miramax films -- the international company whose springboard many years ago was in local concert promotion. In fact, Harvey and Bob Weinstein's Miramax films has turned into one of the most controversial companies in all of movies.One of the two founders of the local promotion firm Harvey and Corky, Harvey Weinstein b…

THANK GOD for Tracy Chapman.It isn't just that her own music is so good and so strong, it's that she brought back the long-vanished and much-maligned pop specter of the woman-with-the-guitar. And, with it, she helped rejuvenate two careers that had tragically fallen into that special pop Hell created by business when it is pathologically up-to-the-minute.In 1989, a se…

Wynton Marsalis isn't just a musician anymore. Nor is he just a prodigy or a musical phenomenon. He has turned into something of a musical movement. Jazz' great young trumpet player won't be 30 until this fall but he is, unquestionably, the firebrand of a whole generation of jazz musicians who decided that, one way or another, the smartest thing jazz could do might be…

YOU'D KNOW Julie Kavner's voice anywhere. Once heard it's not easily forgotten.It's a voice made for comedy, like Buddy Hackett's, say, or Peter Falk's or novelist Joseph Heller's. It's also a voice that's about as full of New York as you can get, with all sorts of flat, mushy tones and odd emphases. (When it comes up in conversation, for instance, she pronounces the …

BOB'S UP. DON'S UP. Irv is down.That's one way to look at the latest ratings merry-go-round in the local TV news business. It's the easy way to look at the February sweeps derby.It's always difficult to explain to hopeless Puritans that the easy way isn't always wrong. It is in this case, though.Channel 4 news solidified past gains, and Channel 2's detonation of dynami…

"Dead Bang" is not to be confused with "Dead Calm." That thriller will be on your local movie marquee in two weeks -- from the same studio, no less.Yes, this is the same studio that, not too long ago, brought us "The Dead Pool." (Is anyone actually running Warner Brothers these days? Or have they decided to slather short "Dead" titles on everything that isn't nailed d…

OSCAR ODDS"It's not a business, it's a racket."-- Harry Cohn "When a producer tells me he has a prestige picture, I know we're going to lose money."-- Louis B. Mayer "I always worked on the theory that if you make a picture 1 percent better, you improve your take 10 percent."-- David O. Selznick "Once photographed, life here is ended."-- David O. Selznick "Take o…

THE TITLES shown successively on the screen set the scene: Late 18th Century. Then The Age of Reason. And then Wednesday.But not just any Wednesday. You're immediately plunged into the heat of battle -- and then the sight of a family living and cooking inside the horse's head of a decapitated equestrian statue.The cinematic world of Terry Gilliam is unique -- a cinema…

NANCY KELLY IS sensational -- full-bore, flat-out sensational.And almost no one knows it. At this stage, all she needs are people to hear her. Her talent will take care of the rest.Every one of us who was at the Tralfamadore Jazz Institute Thursday night knows it. Some of us were reasonably certain of it the minute we laid ears on her terrific debut record with sa…

She's a black belt shopper who's separated from her filthy rich husband, the Muffler King. She lives in their Beverly Hills manse; the Muffler King makes do in the rambling guest house out back.When he comes in to retrieve a few belongings, she tells her daughter "you remember your father, the Big Bad Wolf."Time hangs heavy on her manicured hands. After all, there's o…