Top Picks: Alto saxophonist Aaron Irwin's new album 'Ordinary Lives,' Lifetime's film 'The Trip to Bountiful,' and more

Fox and National Geographic team up for the series 'Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey,' Beck's new album 'Morning Phase' is bold and assured, and more top picks.

How to be Danish by Patrick Kingsley
Morning Phase by Beck
Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey

Deep space

Fox and National Geographic will debut a first-ever partnership across multiple platforms with a sequel to the groundbreaking “Cosmos: A Personal Journey” science series pioneered by Carl Sagan in 1980. The new 13-part series, Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey, is hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and executive produced by Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, Sagan’s widow. The hour-long weekly segments will air across multiple Fox platforms in March, then re-air on National Geographic networks.

Solo sax

Alto saxophonist and composer Aaron Irwin shines in his latest CD, Ordinary Lives. For anyone who treasures the elegant line of the solo sax, this album is a lovely treat. It showcases original tunes that work with the simple elegance of well-done ensemble acoustic music.

European utopia

It’s hard not to envy the Danes. Survey after survey lists the tiny country at or near the top in standard of living, income equality, literacy, and happiness. One intrigued British journalist, Patrick Kingsley, decided to move to Denmark to find out what makes it tick, and the result is How to Be Danish. Kingsley interviewed 70 Danes – politicians, chefs, actors, designers, students, parents, imams, and refugees. This up-close glimpse into a near-utopian society will have you checking airfares to Copenhagen.

Bob Dylan tribute

Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration proves you can’t have too much of a really good thing. This encore presentation of the 1992 Madison Square Garden event, which was originally released on Pay-Per-View, will be rebroadcast on PBS all through March and available on DVD from Sony on March 4. It offers a rare feast of top-tier boomer talent – think Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, George Harrison, and more – performing Dylan’s iconic songs. The film includes archival footage of Dylan himself as well as backstage moments with the performers. Check local listings.

A heart’s journey

The Trip to Bountiful is that rare gem of a story that celebrates simple values in a quiet but powerful narrative about a matriarch determined to see her hometown one more time. Starring Cicely Tyson in the lead role, the Lifetime special also includes Vanessa Williams and Blair Underwood. Horton Foote originally wrote the play for television in 1953, and it went on to Broadway the following year. It later became a feature film, starring Geraldine Page in a 1985 Oscar-winning performance. It airs March 8 on Lifetime.

Aural wonder

Beck is back with his first collection of new songs in six years. Always a barometer of the zeitgeist, Beck’s latest, Morning Phase, is a bold, assured, and indescribably beautiful work of aural art, drenched in spacious reverb, buoyed up by strings (arranged by his father, David Campbell). His new songs evoke a communal sense of reckoning and harmony, sounding somewhat like Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water” or recent work by Fleet Foxes and Midlake. But Beck is a true original and hearing is believing. Headphones highly recommended!

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