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Top Picks: Woody Allen's 'Manhattan,' an all-star blues concert, and more top picks

One website shows Google and Twitter's first days on the Internet, saxophonist and composer Tim Berne releases a new album, 'American Masters' celebrates jazz legend Cab Calloway, and more top picks.

February 23, 2012



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Woody Allen's classic 1979 film Manhattan, about New Yorkers and their romances, is now on Blu-ray for the first time. Famously opening with a montage set to George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," the movie features several actors at the top of their game, including Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, and, of course, Allen himself.

Tracing the blues

The Feb. 27 PBS concert special, In Performance at the White House: Red, White and Blues, features a Feb. 21 White House event hosted by President and Mrs. Obama, taped for the broadcast. The evening is in recognition of Black History Month. The all-star concert features B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, and Buddy Guy, among others, and celebrates the great figures of the blues genre and the songs they made famous. It airs at 9 p.m.

Bach and Schubert freshly drawn

Simone Dinnerstein's album Something Almost Being Said – whose title is taken from Philip Larkin's poem "The Trees" – feels like a perfect mathematical series with a soul. Dinnerstein renders Schubert and Bach with immaculate precision, and fans won't be disappointed by her interpretation of the two Bach partitas, especially the vibrant capriccio of Partita No. 2 in C Minor.

Google's first day

Web design has developed lightning fast. To illustrate that point, Mashable has compiled screencaps from several famous websites showing what they looked like the day they first launched, with appearances from giants such as Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. Twitter sported an awkward blocky green logo, and Google's page read, "Index contains ~25 million pages, soon to be much bigger." They weren't kidding. Check them out at http://mashable.com/2011/12/11/old-web-design/.

Saxophonist Tim Berne's rare balance

On the eve of a 24-city US and European tour, New York City-based alto saxophonist and composer Tim Berne has delivered a stunning album of contemporary chamber jazz in Snakeoil. Berne's hard-edged sax finds a perfect foil in the woody clarinets of Oscar Noriega. The pieces seamlessly blend jagged melodies reminiscent of 1970s European prog rock, post-Coltrane ecstatic wailing, and moments of almost Debussian calm. Drummer Ches Smith and pianist Matt Mitchell give the music a muscular propulsion that frees the horns to weave their magical webs.

An elegant showman

PBS caps off Black History Month with another special: "American Masters" celebrates Cab Calloway in a documentary on the iconic musician's life airing on Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. and repeating on March 2. Cab Calloway: Sketches explores the life of a pioneering jazz legend who charmed audiences with his bravado and showmanship.

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