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Top Picks: PBS's 'Inside the Court of Henry VIII,' Tobias Jesso Jr.'s album 'Goon,' and more

The Oscar-nominated movie 'The Imitation Game' features a deeply felt performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, 'The Wrecking Crew' goes deep on one of music history’s coolest chapters, and more top picks.

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New Piano Man

Measuring up to “Hey Jude”-era McCartney and early Elton John is a tall order, but long and lanky Canadian Tobias Jesso Jr. makes it sound as easy as breathing on his sparkling debut, Goon. With little more than a grand piano and a dozen tales to tell, the singer-songwriter grabs your heart and doesn’t let go, the music still reverberating long after the last chord fades out. You’ll want to keep an eye on this northern star.

High-stakes court 

From books like “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “Wolf Hall” to movies like “A Man for All Seasons,” British monarch Henry VIII and those who surrounded him have continued to fascinate the world. PBS’s new program Inside the Court of Henry VIII explores what it was like to live in the world of the mercurial king and how dangerous it could be. The TV show airs on April 7 at 9 p.m. Viewers should be aware there is graphic content. 

Code crackers

The movie The Imitation Game tells the story of Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch), the cryptanalyst who helped the Allies win World War II and who is often called the father of contemporary computers. Cumberbatch’s deeply felt performance is the reason to see the movie, and Keira Knightley is charming as his friend and co-worker Joan Clarke. The film is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.  

Buena Vista redux

Perhaps you’ve worn out your Buena Vista Social Club CD from nearly 20 years ago? Not to worry, the original cast once again delights with extra tracks and thrilling live recordings on Buena Vista Social Club: Lost and Found. Though many of the original BVSC members have since died, their irresistible Cuban “son” music lives on in this wonderful collection.  

Unsung session stars

Before the era of do-it-all singer-songwriters, the recording industry’s secret starmakers were session musicians like Tommy Tedesco and bass-line maestro Carol Kaye (both pictured, left). Spin “Windy” or “Good Vibrations” – to name just two – and you’re hearing the inventive, often one-take works of these and other pros. The absorbing documentary The Wrecking Crew, now widely viewable on demand, goes deep on one of music history’s coolest chapters.

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