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Much of the credit goes to Oscar-winning director William Wyler , and the performances he elicited from his actors two of whom brought home Oscar gold: In any event, it is in keeping with my annual practice of featuring something from " Ben-Hur " on the occasion of my birthday , which always coincides with Film Music February.

Today also happens to be my birthday; as in and , I choose a track from my favorite film score of all time. Ben-Hur "Love Theme" [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa , is sensitively stated by a solo violin with orchestra.

It is a central theme from this William Wyler -directed epic , and one of the romantic highlights of the score and the film. Ben-Hur "The Miracle" [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa , is a restatement of the central theme from this magnificent soundtrack, with hallelujah chorus bringing the film to a triumphant finale.

A Happy Easter to all my Eastern Orthodox friends and family! Equaled but not surpassed by " Titanic " and " Lord of the Rings: ET on March 4th.

Ben-Hur "Overture" [YouTube link], composed by Master Maestro Miklos Rozsa , encapsulates all the main thematic content of my favorite soundtrack and film of all time.

All I know is that I turn 55 today; my loving Dad passed away in , three months short of his 56th birthday. Right now, I count my blessings that my eyes open every morning.

I count my blessings for the passion of my work and for the love and support of my family and my friends. Cheers to a life worth living.

For that reason alone, indeed, I shall " row well, and live. Ben-Hur "Parade of the Charioteers" [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa , trumpets the bold and grand arrival of the charioteers before the Great Chariot Race in this all-time Oscar champ its 11 Oscar record is tied with " Titanic " and " Lord of the Rings: Return of the King ".

It acts as a fanfare for a scene rated among the " most thrilling " action sequences ever committed to celluloid , according to the American Film Institute.

Ben-Hur "Prelude" [audio clip at that link], music by Miklos Rozsa , announces the main theme from what is probably my favorite film score , composed by one of my favorite composers , for my favorite movie , the film version of the General Lew Wallace novel, starring Oscar-winner Charlton Heston in the title role.

What better way to celebrate my own birthday than with my favorites? Ben-Hur "Salute for Gratus" [audio clip at that link] is one of the grandest themes composed by Miklos Rozsa for my favorite film, " Ben-Hur.

The Return of the King ". Of this, one can be certain: From my favorite movie , the version of " Ben-Hur ," these selections can be sampled from the soundtrack album here.

This is, to my knowledge, the only suite I have heard that is different from any other pieces I have already highlighted from the soundtrack of my all-time favorite film.

But what makes it so very special is that it features the composer himself conducting the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in It is a special treat to see this man so alive with the music of the score that remains his crowning achievement.

It is a true genius that we honor today [pdf link to my Rozsa essay] on the th anniversary of his birth [YouTube documentary on Rozsa].

Tomorrow, we begin a week-long Centenary Tribute to another musical legend from an entirely different genre. But it shows another thematic side of the grandest symphonic film score ever written by one of my all-time favorite composers.

So row well and live! On Facebook, I wrote the following preface: Perhaps I fell in love with the film before I was even bo rn, since Mom saw it around the Christmas holidays, but one thing is certain: I should add that the re-release ran in 70 mm through November 5, , in preparation for the 70 mm showing of " Goodbye, Mr.

And as is also traditional around here, the Movie Music begins on my birthday I turn 48 today! My favorite version is by Wes Montgomery on his masterpiece album, " Boss Guitar " audio clip at that link.

Its groove was so distinctive to its era that, 20 years later, it opened the soundtrack to the film, " Boogie Nights " listen to an audio clip here.

The "Best Picture" showed us some of the horrific, lingering physical and psychological effects of war even so-called "good wars" on those who survive it.

The Best Supporting Actor , Harold Russell , also received an honorary award for "bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans. I could write a few articles about how far she missed the mark like I did for " A Christmas Carol " and " Ben-Hur " , but, suffice it to say, sometimes you can appreciate works of art on many different levels, even if some mixed premises ooze into the script.

This film came out a year after the end of the most horrific war in human history, one that this particular philosopher opposed. The struggles of its survivng veterans were palpable and resonated with its war weary audience.

And for that, Bravo, Maestro! Johnson and James Torme , son of the late, great jazz singer Mel Torme. Check out this Torme-penned track , with its melodic line and rhythmic feel [YouTube link].

Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered , a great Rodgers and Hart tune from " Pal Joey ," kicks off our mini-tribute in honor of Halloween week okay, so the song has nothing to do with witches and goblins, even if it has "bewitched" in the title While the original mix is classic Blige, nothing compares to the scalding Moto Blanco dance remix audio clips at those links.

Listen to an audio clip of this classic house track here. It has been played by country and jazz artists alike. Billie Jean , music, lyrics, and performance by Michael Jackson , was one of the biggest hits from one of the biggest selling albums of all time, " Thriller " check out audio clip at that link.

Its video also made a big splash at MTV. Like so many others, I saw Jackson perform this classic song live, with his famous moonwalk , at the 25th anniversary tribute to Motown back on May 16, And happy birthday to fellow MJ fan, Abe.

Hey, You Never Know! Bim-Bom , written by Joao Gilberto , has been recorded by many artists. Listen to audio clips of various renditions of this lively Brazilian tune: Birdland was composed by Joe Zawinul , the keyboardist of the jazz-fusion group Weather Report , which recorded it for their seventh studio album, " Heavy Weather " Named after one of the great 52nd Street jazz clubs in New York City , which took its name from the nickname of be bop pioneer, alto saxophonist Charlie "Bird" Parker , it became a landmark Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion track.

But the Grammy Award went to The Manhattan Transfer a few years later, for their jazz vocalese version of the celebrated track. The lyrics for the track were written by Jon Hendricks of the always-fascinating vocalese group, Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross , though Eddie Jefferson had started writing lyrics for the piece before his untimely death.

The Manhattan Transfer version appears on my favorite album of theirs: Check out the original instrumental classic by Weather Report and the equally classic vocalese version by The Manhattan Transfer [YouTube links].

Black Cat , written and performed by Janet Jackson , from her socially conscious " Rhythm Nation " album check out that audio clip. It may not be " Black Dog ," and Janet may not be a bona fide rock singer, but she got a much-deserved Grammy nomination for " Best Rock Vocal Performance, Female.

One of their most memorable hits with a classic rock riff. Check out audio clip here. From her debut album ; check out the clip at amazon. She will be truly missed.

Listen to this song on YouTube , so reflective of a great era for pop music. He recorded this title song for his forthcoming second album.

Fats Domino , who died yesterday at the age of This song was a staple of the s swing era, but became an early rock and roll classic when Domino recorded it in Check out the original Domino single [YouTube link].

It often moves me emotionally, as does the theme every time I hear it. It stars, among others, a strong Tom Selleck and combustive Donnie Wahlberg.

Blue Bossa is a jazz standard composed by jazz trumpeter Kenny Dorham. It was used to classic effect in the Stanley Kubrick -directed film, " Blue Monk , composed by Thelonious Monk , has become a jazz standard.

Check out the original Monk recording , and other renditions as well, including one featuring the lyrics of Abbey Lincoln , another vocal version by Carmen McRae and finally, a swinging solo piano recording by McCoy Tyner [YouTube links].

But there are so many other renditions from which to choose: Thielmans first recorded this song whistling in unison with his guitar lines.

Thielemans is a consummate musician, and my favorite jazz harmonica player too. But there is music that achieves eternal shelf life just from a cinematic association , as we have seen with "Cinderfella" Jerry Lewis.

Talk about a cross-generational impact. Blue Suede Shoes was composed and performed by Carl Perkins audio clip at that link. Today, however, I highlight my favorite version of this song, recorded by The King , birthday boy Elvis Presley.

Listen to an audio clip of this early rock and roll classic here. Of instrumental versions, my favorites are the classic Coleman Hawkins tenor saxophone rendition and a superb version by jazz violinist Joe Venuti , recorded for his album "Fiddle on Fire," on the Grand Award Record label.

Body Heat "Main Title" soundtrack album audio clip at that link is a bluesy, jazzy, steamy composition by the great John Barry. Listen to an audio clip of a rendition by the " Jazz at the Movies Band.

The opening and closing bars of this classic dance track are oh-so-jazzy. Boogie Wonderland , music and lyrics by Jon Lind and Allee Willis , was a collaborative performance between two funky musical groups: Earth, Wind, and Fire and The Emotions.

Today marks the day that Earth, Wind, and Fire actually made its debut on the Billboard album chart, back in It was also recorded in , in an updated, revved-up version by Bette Midler , who dubbed all three vocal parts, and took it into the Billboard Top Ten.

That original version was recorded by Mabel Scott [YouTube link]. Have a safe and Merry Christmas Eve! Listen to audio clips of versions by Andy Williams , Matt Monro , and from the original soundtrack.

Born to Be Alive , music, lyrics, and performance by Patrick Hernandez , was a huge 1 dance hit in Happy 50th anniversary to Atlas Shrugged , the Ayn Rand novel that celebrates human beings who are Check out this song on YouTube.

Bossa Dorado , composed by French guitarist and violinist Dorado Schmitt , is a fitting exploration of " gypsy jazz ," which owes its origins to the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt , whose birthday we celebrated yesterday.

Accordian player Ludovic Beier delivers a wonderful live take on this Schmitt composition [YouTube link], which fuses gypsy jazz with a Latin feel.

Bo ssa Nova U. Brubeck , who passed away today , was one of the greatest innovators in modern jazz. Listen to this song on YouTube. Boulevard of Broken Dreams , music and lyrics by Green Day , is a song from the album " American Idiot " audio clip at that link.

Matt Damon takes on the role of Jason Bourne in this film , the first film in the Bourne film series. He would go on to star in four of the five films in the series thus far.

Listen to audio clips of versions by Sarah Vaughan and Michel Legrand. It was a huge funky hit for The Commodores audio clip at that link.

The Empire State Building. This movie is the first and the best of the sequels to " Frankenstein. Listen to the classic opening theme here [mp3 link].

Powell provides the vocals, with the Mills Brothers, for this song in the movie [YouTube link]. This is just one of those love stories that tugs at the heart strings, perhaps because in the end [semi-spoiler alert!

Fuhgedaboudit [YouTube link to a classic exchange in the film " Donnie Brasco "! Just the greatest borough in the greatest city on earth in this regard, " IMHO " is not part of my acronymic vocabulary!

Listen to a Frank Sinatra au dio clip of this song from the film here. Taking a lick from the military morning trumpet call , the song jumps off and swings to a glorious finish.

James was so much the matinee idol of the jazz trumpet that my mother, a screaming teenager back then, nearly fell out of the balcony of the Brooklyn Paramount , watching him in concert with the Goodman band.

You can listen to many of the actual studio recordings of BG during the era, but it was in live performance that the great clarinetist earned his stripes as the King of Swing.

Check it out here and also the original Kings rendition , a rendition by Jack Pettis and His Pets in , a Glenn Miller version , and one by the Strings Orchestra.

Listen to audio clips of the album version and that 12" single. Boy does this bring back memories Listen to an audio clip of one of her tender renditions here.

But Not For Me is a classic George and Ira Gershwin song introduced in the Broadway production of " Girl Crazy " and performed in both the and film versions too that has been recorded by countless artists from Ella Fitzgerald to Sarah Vaughan to Linda Ronstadt audio clips at those links.

For a change of pace, check out an audio clip of a version by the original " space cadet ," Sun Ra. A happy and a healthy to 1 Herman Blount Sun Ra Expert , my colleague and pal Robert Campbell , who also celebrates his birthday today.

On this date, in , Taylor was born. Check out the original Broadway cast recording , the ensemble film version , and a few really swinging renditions by: Chita Rivera who was in the original musical; this one is about 2 minutes into her " Great Performances " concert , Sammy Davis, Jr.

So we end our mini-Broadway tribute today; enjoy the Tony Awards tonight! It was, of course, the screen version that I saw as a kid and loved.

It was later recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell as the title track to his album. Campbell would go on to amass awards across the spectrum of American music, while also appearing in a dozen films.

This song was 20 on the Top songs of the twentieth century by BMI , ranked according to the number of times they were played on television and radio.

The revival was an entertainment tour de force, powerful and deeply effective in its exploration of universal themes.

The songs , written by John Kander and now, the late Fred Ebb , are boisterous, melodic, witty, and clever. The song is a Dean Martin signature tune.

Here is the scene from the film and the classic Dean Martin recording [YouTube links]. I was a mobile DJ in college and the Dance Bug is part of my genome.

Check out the official video naughty words included and the iHeart Radio Awards version. Calabria , produced by Rune DJ Enur , featuring the late Natasja Saad , is the soundtrack for one of the hottest Target commercials on the air.

The two women roommates who stage a "dance off" to this track express infectious joy as they decorate their room see the commercial on YouTube.

The track features a sample from a Taana Gardner disco classic: Check out a full-version video clip of this track at YouTube. Calamity Jane "Secret Love" , music by Sammy Fain , lyrics by Paul Francis Weber , was composed for the movie musical , where it was introduced by the incomparable Doris Day , who celebrated her 92nd birthday on April 3rd.

With a melody based on the opening theme of the A-major piano Sonata D. Bud Shank , who was born on this day in , and became one of the finest musicians in the West Coast jazz scene.

Happy Birthday to the Golden Gate Bridge! On this track, even Oscar-award winning actress Halle Berry makes a cameo appearance.

Check out the album version [YouTube link] and a live performance at the Apollo [DailyMotion link, around the minute mark]. Call Me , words and music by Randy Muller , was performed by the group Skyy.

And "for all you frustrated musicians," see here , where you can access directions on how to play songs on your touch-tone phone. Vissi recorded the song previously as " Ise " in Greek.

Call Me , words and music by Giorgio Moroder and Deborah Harry , the lead singer of the group Blondie , was the theme from the film, " American Gigolo.

This song is probably my favorite Blondie track in contrast to my favorite, and beloved, Blondie. Listen to an audio clip from the original soundtrack.

The film also features wonderful performances by Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg whose scene with his son near the end of the film is itself worth the price of admission [YouTube link, spoiler alert!

Check out the song, accompanied with film clips [YouTube link]. So be prepared for a very wide variety of music over the next 24 days!

I love a string jazz guitar version by Joe Pass. Olympics Swimming Team [YouTube links]. The voice cast has fun with the song in a pre-release video , even as the official video was released this week [YouTube links].

I remain a life-long Timberlake fanatic, and disco just might usher me through the Pearly Gates or the Disco Inferno , whichever is in store for me.

Since posting this as Song of the Day , the video community has provided us with hilarious takes on the song; check out the Storm Troopers videos, Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3 , and Part 4.

And the DJ community has provided us with a plethora of wonderfully diverse remixes: The song has shown up in many films as well, including " The Deer Hunter " Listen to an audio clip here , and also to alternative versions by Gloria Gaynor and Lauryn Hill.

Can You Handle It? This classic " Prelude label " dance track was performed by the late Sharon Redd. It was one of those dance classics that has been remixed several times, but never at the expense of its wonderful feel.

Capote "Out There" [YouTube link], composed by Mychael Danna , is a simple theme that holds within it the complexity of the person at the center of the film , Truman Capote , and the complexity of the performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman , who won a Best Actor Oscar for the role.

Sadly, this year old actor passed away yesterday ; death need not be tragic, since it is an organic part of life, but when it comes so young to an actor with so much talent and promise, I can find few other words to describe it.

Cappucino audio clip at that link is a Chick Corea composition that made its debut on the phenomenal album " Friends. Captain America "Theme Song" , composer mysteriously unknown , was the classic theme song to the s Marvel Super Heroes cartoon.

Take a look at the animated opening theme [YouTube link], and have a safe and happy Independence Day! It was made famous by the Ellington orchestra audio clips here and here.

Listen to an audio clip of that version here. And so, for now, I conclude my Ellington tribute! Carol of the Bells emerges from a fascinating musical lineage , based on a musical composition by Mykola Dmytrovich Leontovych.

Most riveting when performed with a full chorus as in this Robert Shaw Chorale audio clip or full orchestra as in this Leonard Bernstein audio clip.

Ring in a Happy New Year! Listen to an audio clip of Henry Mancini here too. RIP , Chris Cornell. It is featured on the album " Confessions " audio clip at that link.

Check out the Champion vocal pipes of Underwood in the Super Bowl opening and in the official video, which features a rap by Bridges aka Ludacris [YouTube links].

And sure enough, Puth duets with Taylor on this song. Chained to the Rhythm features the words and music of Skip Marley grandson of Bob , and featured on the track , Max Martin , Sia Furler , Ali Payami , and Katy Perry , who released this recording as the first single from her fifth studio album, " Witness " In fact, it was the seventeenth consecutive 1 Dance Club single for Perry , the longest unbroken streak of 1 dance club hits in the history of the Billboard Dance charts.

Charade is another magnificent collaboration between composer Henry Mancini and lyricist Johnny Mercer. It was nominated for a Academy Award for Best Song , featured on the beautiful score for the classic Cary Grant - Audrey Hepburn film of the same title, the best Hitchcock movie Hitchcock never directed.

One of my favorite versions of this song is an instrumental rendering by jazz guitarist Joe Pass , who plays it on the string guitar.

Listen to audio clips from the original soundtrack here and a version by Andy Williams. The Charge of the Light Brigade "The Charge" [Screen Archives Entertainment mp3 link], written by the legendary Golden Age film score composer Max Steiner , captures the excitement of the climactic scene in this film , starring the swashbuckling Errol Flynn.

This is one of the great Oscar-nominated soundtracks in cinema history. Check it out as well on YouTube as conducted by William Stromberg.

The Charleston , composed by stride pianist James P. One of the most famous recordings of this jazz age standard was recorded in France on April 21, by the Quintette du Hot Club de France , featuring violinist extraordinaire Stephane Grappelli , the immortal jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt , guitar sidemen Pierre Ferret and Marcel Bianchi , and bassist Louis Vola.

Established far away from the American soil that originated the art form, the Quintette contributed to the rise of jazz as a genuine global cultural contribution.

And subsequently, the group had a huge impact on American jazz musicians. Indeed, Reinhardt alone is credited as one of the most influential guitarists in jazz history.

As Bill Dahl put it: Les Paul , Chet Atkins , B. Vive Le Jazz Hot! Listen to audio clips of renditions by Frank Sinatra , Ella Fitzgerald , and of course, from the original film, Fred Astaire.

My favorite jazz rendition of this song is by alto sax player Phil Woods , " Live from the Showboat ," an album that won the Grammy for " Best Instrumental Jazz Performance, Group " unfortunately no audio clip is available.

Che La Luna Mezzo Mare is an Italian folksong composed, it is said, by Paolo Citorello , but infinite variations of the song have been heard throughout the years.

Growing up in the Sciabarra household, we heard the bouncy Louis Prima-Keely Smith version [YouTube link], with its funny double entendres sung in both Italian and English.

How appropriate to note this song today, for 40 years ago, on this date, on the Ides of March in , " The Godfather " had its U. Yes, it has a haunting Nino Rota soundtrack.

Cherish features the words and music of Terry Kirkman , a founding member of The Association , which scored a Number 1 hit with this song in Cherokee features the words and music of Ray Noble.

As an aside, the Cherokee word for "Groundhog" is "Ogana". Punxsutawney Phil tells us six more weeks of winter Listen to the track on YouTube , and the original demo MJ recorded as well.

After the Red Sox , there are no more curses in baseball. Maybe the Chicago Cubs are next! Or maybe these triumphs are only possible for teams named after different kinds of, uh, socks.

Either way, listen here to an audio clip of Frank Sinatra singing this timeless tune. A Child is Born , words and music by Alec Wilder and Thad Jones , is a song that has come to be identified with this day, but it has also become a jazz standard.

A sad loss for lovers of music to contemplate on this Christmas Day. The theme made the hair of many New York tri-state area kids of the s stand on end including this one.

The show was hosted early on by the great Zacherley before switching to the film montage of memory, with clips from such films as " Plan 9 from Outer Space ," " The Cyclops ," and " Attack of the 50 Foot Woman.

Evoking solitude, this composition was written for the Roman Polanski -directed film noir classic , starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway.

It brings back cheerful memories of childhood. It still makes me chuckle. The original lyrics to the jingle boasted: Today, however, inflation has taken its toll, and the lyrics have been adjusted accordingly: Christos Anesti is a traditional hymn sung first at the midnight liturgy as the " paschal toparian " or celebratory hymn of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Greek and Eastern Orthodox churches to mark the arrival of Easter.

Though its authorship is unknown, it has been attributed to Romanos the Melodist , the " Pindar of rhythmic poetry.

Growing up, this Easter hymn was, perhaps, my favorite; check out a lovely version of it on YouTube, featuring the actress Irene Papas with Vangelis.

It depicts the faithful carrying lit candles, that begin to lift the darkened church at midnight into light, as a single candle is passed on to the faithful one by one until the entire church is filled with the light of rebirth and renewal.

I want to wish all my orthodox family and friends a very Happy Easter! And it being the 1st of May, May it be a revolutionary one!

It was later recorded by Jo Stafford [YouTube link]. A very Merry Christmas with peace on earth and goodwill to one and all!

The Herald Angels Sing " with a grim theme of beckoning menace, foreshadowing the fate-altering tale of Ebenezer Scrooge , played in this film by the utterly superb Alastair Sim of all the cinematic treatments of this timeless Charles Dickens tale , this one is my favorite.

Addinsell wrote one of my all-time favorite popular concertos " Warsaw Concerto ". There are one or two neat videos on YouTube that provide an entertaining side-by-side comparison of the various Scrooges portrayed in film over the past century or so.

This concludes my mini-tribute to music from Christmas-oriented films, "in keeping with the situation" of this holiday season. The song has been panned by quite a few critics, but whatever your spiritual beliefs, this is just one of those songs that tugs at your heart.

The warmth of his voice matches those chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Happy birthday to my friend JR! A very Merry Christmas , with peace on earth, and good will to one and all.

Christmas Time is Here was composed and performed by the ever-recognizable pianist Vince Guaraldi. Also check out audio clips from lovely versions by Diane Reeves , Mel Torme , Anita Baker , and Brian McKnight , who is featured on a tribute album in honor of the 40th anniversary of the wonderful Peanuts cartoon.

Also listen to another jazz instrumental rendering by the Airmen of Note the premier jazz ensemble of the United States Air Force.

Oh, and check out this great cinema montage set to the Mars-Ronson hit, "Uptown Funk". Ciaconna from "Partita in D-minor for Violin No.

One of the greatest composers of all time, Bach wrote music that was definitive of the Baroque period. This work has a special place in my heart, and I was able to track it down with the help of my friend Roger E.

Ironically, however, I was first made aware of the piece due to an extraordinary video posted on YouTube in memory of jazz guitarist Joe Pass. It was recorded at the Adelaide Festival S.

It is heard during a seminar that included Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco Pena , blues guitarist Leo Kottke , classical guitarist John Williams not the film score composer , whose birthday we celebrated last month as part of my annual Film Music February series , and jazz guitarist Joe Pass.

Beginning at around 2: Guitarist Williams is obviously fascinated by the spontaneous improvisation of the jazz artist, and to illustrate the spontaneity and brilliance of the process, he lays down the basic melodic structure of the Chaconne , and invites Pass to improvise simultaneously over that melody.

Pass throws in a few jazz licks that get a chuckle out of the audience, but the whole video provides us with a lesson on the universality of music.

Check out the video clip here [YouTube link]. It was on this date in that the Disney film, " Cinderalla ," was released. This is one of the loveliest songs to emerge from the Disney musical catalogue.

Listen to the original animated version of this song [YouTube link] and then check out an instrumental rendition that is among my favorites; it was recorded by the Rob Mounsey Orchestra for the album, " Jazz Loves Disney " [YouTube link].

Legrand also directed this film , and in case you were wondering, the song is delivered with soul and grace by the only Ray Charles , accompanied by the greatest jazz harmonica player to have ever graced this earth, Toots Thielemans , both men no longer with us.

The soundtrack is pure Legrand , but boasts a few pieces by some lightweight composers, folks like Frederic Chopin and Johann Sebastian Bach.

In any event, Happy 85th Birthday to one of my all-time favorite musical innovators , a brilliant and legendary composer who also happens to be a remarkable jazz musician.

Listen to an audio clip from their magnificent album, " Equinox. Claire de Lune , written by the French Impressionist composer Claude Debussy , the third movement of his Suite Bergamasque , has been recorded by many orchestras, including this lovely version by the Philadelphia Orchestra , conducted by Eugene Ormandy.

I also adore a jazz version, featuring the Michel Legrand Orchestra, with alto saxophone soloist Phil Woods , from the album, " Images.

It is a highlight from one of my favorite all-time musicals, " The Sound of Music ," sung in the film version by the character Mother Abbess, played by Peggy Wood.

Listen to audio clips of this uplifting song from the soundtrack album , as well as from the original Broadway production , the London production , the studio cast album , and the Broadway revival.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind "Main Theme" [YouTube link], music by John Williams , is featured today, for it was on this date that the great composer was born in The Oscar-nominated score for this wonderful sci-fi film shows us, in five simple notes, that music really is the universal language.

Alas, Williams lost the Oscar for this film that year to another film score of his: See if you can catch it, uh, while you can. And Happy Birthday, Maestro!

As our Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons tribute concludes , listen to an audio clip of this pop smash here.

The Sammy Davis Jr. The song can also be found on Disc 3 of " Ultimate Sinatra. Also check out audio clips from the full suite, performed by the San Diego Chamber Orchestra.

Come Fly with Me , music by Jimmy Van Heusen , lyrics by Sammy Cahn , sung by a carefree Sinatra to a smooth Billy May arrangement, from the album of the same name check out that audio clip.

The Winter Solstice arrives today at 7: ET, and what a nice way to celebrate it: Above the clouds, "where the air is rarefied Come Together , words and music by Paul McCartney and John Lennon , was the first Beatles single to go to 1 in November as part of a two-sided number one single with " Something ".

It appears on " Abbey Road ," the final recorded Beatles album. This " Paradise Garage " dance classic packed the floors in And I was among those dancing the night away to its rhymes and rhythms.

Listen to audio clips from three renditions: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Op. Listen to audio clips of all three movements from the debut recording by violinist Jascha Heifetz , and another recording by violinist Robert McDuffie.

I saw this grand piece performed live with violin soloist Glenn Dicterow and the New York Philharmonic. What better way to celebrate the First Anniversary of " Song of the Day "!

The piece features an improvised piano introduction and an improvised cadenza, enveloped by composed orchestrations. Listen to various audio clips here.

Concierto de Aranjuez is one of the greatest and most memorable compositions of Joaquin Rodrigo. Julian Bream recorded this classical guitar evergreen many times, but my favorite version is that recorded with the Melos Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Colin Davis , which received a Grammy nomination for " Best Classical Performance Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra.

This concerto reminds me of my dear pal Lou, to whom I send birthday wishes today for much health, happiness, and success.

But today it is posted in tribute to all the residents of Coney Island , who live just a few Brooklyn blocks away from me, and who survived evacuation , the shutdown of the NYC subway system , and Irene herself , which was downgraded from a Hurricane to a Tropical Storm.

The World of Confirmation , music by Charlie Parker , lyrics by Eddie Jefferson , has been recorded by many instrumentalists and vocalists.

With a line that says "Everyday was Spring to Me," this melancholy Brazilian song is one of the highlights on a Brasil 66 album entitled " Equinox " audio clip at that link.

Listen also to two audio clips from Miriam Makeba. Controversy , words and music by Prince , begins our mini-birthday tribute to the Purple One , who tragically passed away last month, but whose birthday we will celebrate on June 7th.

I have already listed several Prince classics on "My Favorite Songs" list: Am I straight or gay? Prince was very protective of his recorded music, so check out the link to a live version here.

This coming week, I will begin what has now become an annual Summer series: Cotton Tail chord changes at that link was composed by Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington , but "vocalese" lyrics were added later by J.

Hendricks of Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross audio clip here. It was recorded in a classic rendition by the Duke listen to an audio clip here and also in a Duke session with three violinists Stephane Grappelli , Svend Asmussen , and Ray Nance.

Stay tuned for a Mega-Duke Tribute , coming up in December. I also love a Wes Montgomery blazing guitar version; listen to an audio clip of that rendition here.

The Greatest Hits " The original track never hit the Billboard Dance Chart , but it provides the kind of chill rhythmic pulse best for sensual dancing.

Listen to an audio clip from the classic Rosemary Clooney rendition. Listen to an audio clip of this jazzy cartoon theme, from one of my favorite childhood cartoons, here.

The theme features certain phrases that are quintessentially Horner such unique phrases are a hallmark of virtually all composers, whether for the concert stage or the silver screen.

Gone too soon, James Horner left a body of work that has withstood the test of time. Coventry Carol is a traditional English carol from the sixteenth century whose words are attributed to Robert Croo.

I always associated this gorgeous, haunting carol with the alternate version of " Away in a Manger ," because it was recorded in a medley by the Living Strings featured on an album, " The Spirit of Christmas ," which I finally got after about 35 years of searching for it!

Crazy , music and lyrics by Willie Nelson , was performed as a classic country song by the late, great Patsy Cline listen to audio clip here.

Nelson himself has recorded the song several times; listen to one audio clip here. The song went to 1 on the Billboard Hot and reached the peak of the Dance Club chart on September 13, due to a few stylish dance remixes.

Check out the original video single , the Pat. Happy birthday, Queen Bee! One of my all-time favorite Elton songs, this one still rocks.

And Happy Birthday, Sir Elton! Cute , composed by Neil Hefti , is one of those familiar tracks that has been heard everywhere, thanks to the famous chart Hefti wrote for the Count Basie Orchestra , featuring the fabulous fills of drummer Sonny Payne , who was born on this date in The most memorable cinematic treatment of this tune, where one can see Music as Comedy and Comedy as Music, can be found in " Cinderfella "; watch how Jerry Lewis Does the Dishes.

They dominated that chart with this song and its companion tracks "Everybody Dance" and "You Can Get By" for 8 weeks in the fall of The double-sided hits held the 1 spot on the Billboard Dance Disco Chart for six weeks in the summer of Dancer , words and music by Gino Soccio , appeared on his debut album, " Outline.

In all my years of being an on-again, off-again mobile DJ till the late s, and Gema LaBoccetta ought to know since she was one of my DJ partners back in the day!

But the Disco era sported a variety of creative tempos and rhythms , which have influenced all dance music since, from hip hop to house to techno.

This track, however, dispenses with social commentary, and is unapologetically propulsive in its beat and simple in its "message": Try to take it higher.

Listen to an audio clip featuring the London Philharmonia Orchestra , another featuring Eugene Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra , and also a performance by pianist Vladimir Horowitz.

The film stars Pierce Brosnan and Linda Hamilton and some truly explosive special effects. And any film that carries the name " Dante " the name of our cat has something special indeed.

But one of the sweetest versions was recorded by Tony Bennett on a very early album, his first for Columbia , " Cloud 7 " audio clip at that link. The great Chuck Wayne is the featured guitarist on the album.

The score for this classic science fiction film was remarkable for its revolutionary use of the theremin. Dead End Street features the words and music of D.

Raleigh, with a gritty monologue by Lou Rawls , who performs the tune to soul perfection. When this Classic 45 came out, I took an instant liking to it because Lou Rawls referred to the wind as " The Hawk ," a phrase my family had used for years.

Sadly, the three-time Grammy winner passed away today. Listen to audio clips of the monologue and song here. The Dead Pool "San Francisco Night" [YouTube link], composed by Lalo Schifrin , is featured over the end credits for the film , which was the fifth and final installment in the "Dirty Harry" series.

And Happy Birthday , Chick! With lead vocals by Tony-Award winning " Best Actor in a Musical ," Ben Platt , the song is an inspiring call to "let the sun come streaming in" when "the dark comes crashing through.

Listen to audio clips from Fred Astaire who starred in the film , Dinah Shore , and, for jazz guitar fans, the great Wes Montgomery.

Deck the Halls is another great Christmas standard. Deep Impact "A Distant Discovery" [YouTube link], composed by James Horner , is the central theme of the film , which had an all-star cast, echoing the approach of many of the " disaster films " of the s.

I love an instrumental version by the "Dark Angel of the Fiddle," jazz violinist Eddie South audio clip at that link.

Both versions feature a guest rap from Jay-Z. Delirious , words and music by Prince , was a notable single from the Prince and the Revolution album ," Demetrius and the Gladiators "Prelude" [YouTube link] features a score composed by Franz Waxman , who had two tough acts to follow: This film was a " sword and sandal " sequel the stupendous epic, " The Robe ," which was actually filmed twice: The sequel picks up where " The Robe " leaves off.

Listen up to 2: Desafinado , music by Antonio Carlos Jobim , lyrics by Newton Mendoca , made a huge impact when it was introduced to American audiences by tenor saxophonist Stan Getz and guitarist Charlie Byrd on their album " Jazz Samba " audio clip at that link.

The song is also featured on the soundtrack to the film, " Goldfish Memory. Finally, here is an audio clip of this lovely bossa nova , played on piano by Jobim himself.

Despacito , words and music by Luis "Fonsi" Rodriguez , Erika Ender , and Ramon Ayala , is the song of the summer, indeed maybe for the year as a whole, given that it is the first song to reach 3.

Check out the official music video and one that uses "Despicable Me" characters to showcase the lyrics. Watch the Oscar telecast tonight to see if it wins its category.

Dare I say it: This song really makes me feel happy. Listen to an audio clip from the soundtrack here and to full-length cues here especially the lovely version with piano and violin.

Check out the full video version as well , in keeping with the Summer Dance Party theme that started way back in June.

Dim All the Lights was written and recorded by the " Queen of Disco ," Donna Summer , the five-time Grammy Award winner who died today at the age of Featured on her hugely successful " Bad Girls " album, this song, produced by Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte , was a massive hit in Its classic balladic intro shifts into the disco beat for which Summer was so famous.

And the gal had amazing pipes; she was raised on gospel and electrified fans with her remarkably powerful vocal gifts. This particular song, for example, contains the longest sustained note in an American Top 40 hit ever sung by a female artist.

For the next few days, I will be offering a tribute in song that celebrates the continuing influence of Donna Summer on so many of the kaleidoscopic sounds of pop music to this day.

Check out this selection on YouTube: His jazzy score to this Australian film is all the more significant because it features the trumpet work of the only Miles Davis , who also stars in the film and received co-composing credits.

Check out the music video on YouTube and a YouTube live performance too, and the full album line-up with audio samples.

Today is the last repeating date [ Disco Inferno , music and lyrics by L. Kersey , was one of the hottest dance cuts featured on the soundtrack of " Saturday Night Fever " nice Travolta interview at that link.

And it also reminds us that the soundtrack brought together not only music from the Bee Gees, but music from an era. The soundtrack may not have even been nominated for an Oscar, but it took the Grammy for " Album of the Year.

But my favorite version remains the one recorded by immortal jazz guitarist Joe Pass , who was born on this date in It remains my favorite Pass album of all time.

Listen to audio clips of the Pass recording and the MJQ recording. Djangology [YouTube link] was composed by the legendary gypsy jazz guitarist , Django Reinhardt , who was born on this date in He was one of the first Europeans to contribute significantly to an American musical idiom , especially with his initial work as a member of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France which featured another immortal musician: And for a man who suffered with two paralyzed fingers on his left hand , Django played more notes with a thumb and two fingers than most others with full-functioning digits!

He would have been perfect for an interview in Folks! From his album, " The Original Musiquarium " listen to the audio clip at that link , it features the incomparable be-bop jazz trumpeter, " Mr.

Listen to an audio clip of that Club House rendition, and to the original and best version by Steely Dan. He started doing covers and doing a comic Musical Vlog on YouTube in his early years, and later joined up with young prospects doing covers of his songs [YouTube links].

Today, in celebration of the th anniversary of the birth of the King of Swing , I feature this wonderful tune from his remarkable discography.

An audio clip of the original mix can be heard here. The boy band has grown up, but still has a flair for the rhythmic and the melodic.

Check out the video single and a nice saxed-up sexy Dave Aude dance remix [YouTube links]. Also check out their recent appearance on "The Tonight Show" where they performed one of their golden goldies , " I Want it That Way " with toy instruments [YouTube links].

Christopher , was a hot dance hit for Shawn Christopher who was highlighted last time out. Listen to an audio clip here which, unfortunately, never gets to the vocals!

It was performed to Disco Diva Perfection by Sylvester. Watch and listen to this infectious 80s track at YouTube. Listen to audio clips of versions by Billy Eckstine , Etta James , and Frank Sinatra who does a mid-tempo swing version as well.

It was also recorded by Rosabel, featuring Debbie Jacobs audio clip at that link. This hot dance track was featured on the soundtrack of the film " Ruthless People.

Doralice , words and music by Dorival Caymmi and Antonio Almeida , is another great selection from one of my favorite all-time albums: Down the Line , composed and performed by jazz guitarist Jim Hall , appears on his album, " Commitment.

It is a tour de force performance. No audio clips are available on the web. Do Ya Wanna Funk? Some films, such as " Kiss Me, Guido ," have satirized the commonality here, playing with the equally ambiguous acronym "GWM": I post it today as a tribute to the people of that great city of jazz , and to all those who are dealing with the horrific tragedy of Hurricane Katrina.

Listen to an audio clip of a live rendition from Satchmo , a soulful version by clarinetist Pete Fountain , and a vocal version by another New Orleans native, Harry Connick, Jr.

Dragnet is credited to Miklos Rozsa from whom the " dum-de-dum-dum " motif was drawn, first heard in " The Killers " and Walter Schumann.

George and the Dragonet ," YouTube clip at that link. And so concludes our TV Theme Tribute. Tonight, enjoy the 60th Primetime Emmy Awards!

The Complete Reprise Recordings ," released in My heart the flower. Rio hosts the Summer Olympics , and if, in the Opening Ceremonies, there is not a single mention of Jobim and all the other magnificent Brazilian artists who gave birth to this lilting melodic genre, impacting American music, and music throughout the world: In any event, celebrate this Sinatra-Jobim collaboration [YouTube link].

And for those who would like the DVD collection of all four "Man and His Music" television specials, one of which featured Jobim, check it out on Amazon.

Not a typical country music fan, I still marvel at the fact that so much of what is genuinely American music, owes its origins to the blues.

Check it out on YouTube , and also, their take on " Tennessee Whiskey. Jeter misses Opening Day , despite having started for 16 of the last 17 years.

Still, baseball is back in New York today, Big Time! Beat , words and music by Enrique A. Garcia , was the first international single released by Miami Sound Machine , led by Gloria Estefan , from their first English-language album, " Eyes of Innocence " The song reached the top 20 of the U.

The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan ". Check out the original video single , the full 12" extended mix , and a Mylo vs.

No "James Bond Theme" [YouTube link], composed by Monty Norman though authorship has always been a source of controversy , is the signature James Bond theme , first featured in this premier franchise film and heard in virtually all of the "official" Bond films thereafter.

It boasts a classic, jazzy John Barry arrangement another YouTube link. Listen to an audio clip here and here. But Johnny Mercer gave it lyrics, which Ella Fitzgerald sang with divine grace.

Earthquake "Main Title" , [YouTube link], composed by John Williams , is the classic "disaster film theme" when the genre was hot as was this film in For a composer who has mastered virtually every genre, we celebrate his 84th birthday.

Easy Living , words and music by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger , has been recorded by countless artists. Listen to audio clips performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Eugene Ormandy and the Minnesota Orchestra, with commentary by Deems Taylor.

Have a Happy and a Healthy Fourth! Listen to audio clips here. El Cid "Love Theme: El Cid "Prelude" [audio clip at that link], composed by Miklos Rozsa , is a stirring theme from this heroic soundtrack from the film starring Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren.

Also listen to the clip at this amazon. Electric Storm is an electric guitar extravaganza, composed and performed by Sean Mercer , who just so happens to be hubby to my pal, Ilana.

Certain artistic characteristics were repeated throughout the region, namely a preference for angular, linear patterns, and three-dimensional ceramics.

Notable handicrafts include clay pottery from the valley of Oaxaca and the village of Tonala. Colorfully embroidered cotton garments, cotton or wool shawls and outer garments, and colorful baskets and rugs are seen everywhere.

Mexico is also known for its pre-Columbian architecture , especially for public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures.

Following the conquest, the first artistic efforts were directed at evangelization and the related task of building churches. The Spanish initially co-opted many indigenous stonemasons and sculptors to build churches, monuments and other religious art, such as altars.

The prevailing style during this era was Baroque. In the period from independence to the early 20th century, Mexican fine arts continued to be largely influenced by European traditions.

After the Mexican Revolution , a new generation of Mexican artists led a vibrant national movement that incorporated political, historic and folk themes in their work.

Their grand murals often displayed on public buildings, promoted social ideals. Rufino Tamayo and Frida Kahlo produced more personal works with abstract elements.

Mexican literature has its antecedents in the literature of the indigenous settlements of Mesoamerica. The most well known prehispanic poet is Netzahualcoyotl.

Modern Mexican literature is influenced by the concepts of the Spanish colonialization of Mesoamerica. Mexico is the most Spanish -speaking country in the world.

The government recognizes 62 indigenous Amerindian languages as national languages. For instance, the words tomato, chocolate, coyote , and avocado are Nahuatl in origin.

Mesoamerican architecture in Mexico is best known for its public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures, several of which are the largest monuments in the world.

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is reputed to have declared the Puuc -style architecture of the Maya as the best in the Western Hemisphere.

The New Spanish Baroque dominated in early colonial Mexico. The Academy of San Carlos , founded in , was the first major art academy in the Americas.

The academy promoted Neoclassicism , focusing on Greek and Roman art and architecture. His architectural legacy lies in the redesigning of the Castillo de Chapultepec and creating the Paseo de la Reforma.

This intervention, financed largely by France, was brief, but it began a period of French influence in architecture and culture.

The style was emphasized during the presidency of Porfirio Diaz who was a pronounced francophile. Notable works from the Porfiriato include the Palacio de Correos and a large network of railways.

After the Mexican Revolution in , idealization of the indigenous and the traditional symbolized attempts to reach into the past and retrieve what had been lost in the race toward modernization.

Enrique Norten , the founder of TEN Arquitectos, has been awarded several honors for his work in modern architecture. The history of Mexican cinema dates to the beginning of the 20th century when several enthusiasts of the new medium documented historical events — most particularly the Mexican Revolution.

The Golden Age of Mexican cinema is the name given to the period between and , where the quality and economic success of the cinema of Mexico reached its peak.

Mexicans celebrate their Independence from Spain on September 16, and other holidays with festivals known as "Fiestas". Many Mexican cities, towns, and villages hold a yearly festival to commemorate their local patron saints.

During these festivities, the people pray and burn candles to honor their saints in churches decorated with flowers and colorful utensils.

They also hold large parades, fireworks, dance competitions, beauty pageant contest, party and buy refreshments in the marketplaces and public squares.

In the smaller towns and villages, soccer, and boxing are also celebrated during the festivities. It honors the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, which is celebrated on December In the last decade, all the celebrations happening from mid-December to the beginning of January have been linked together in what has been called the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon.

Epiphany on the evening of January 5 marks the Twelfth Night of Christmas and is when the figurines of the three wise men are added to the nativity scene.

Rather, it is the three wise men who are the bearers of gifts, who leave presents in or near the shoes of small children. The Day of the Dead incorporates pre-Columbian beliefs with Christian elements.

The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. There is an idea behind this day that suggests the living must attend to the dead so that the dead will protect the living.

Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls , marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

The gifts presented turn the graveyard from a dull and sorrowful place to an intimate and hospitable environment to celebrate the dead.

In modern Mexico and particularly in the larger cities and in the North, local traditions are now being observed and intertwined with the greater North American Santa Claus tradition, as well as with other holidays such as Halloween , due to Americanization via film and television, creating an economy of gifting tradition that spans from Christmas Day until January 6.

It is created to look like popular people, animals, or fictional characters. Once made it is painted with bright colors and filled with candy or small toys.

It is then hung from the ceiling. The children then gather the candy and small toys. Mexican cuisine is known for its blending of Indigenous and European cultures.

Popular dishes include tacos , enchiladas , mole sauce , atole , tamales , and pozole. Popular beverages include water flavored with a variety of fruit juices, and cinnamon-flavored hot chocolate prepared with milk or water and blended until it becomes frothed using a traditional wooden tool called a molinillo.

Alcoholic beverages native to Mexico include mescal , pulque , and tequila. Mexican beer is also popular in Mexico and are exported.

There are international award-winning Mexican wineries that produce and export wine. The most important and frequently used spices in Mexican cuisine are chili powder , cumin , oregano , cilantro , epazote , cinnamon , and cocoa.

Next to corn , rice is the most common grain in Mexican cuisine. According to food writer Karen Hursh Graber, the initial introduction of rice to Spain from North Africa in the 14th century led to the Spanish introduction of rice to Mexico at the port of Veracruz in the s.

The cuisine of Southeastern Mexico has quite a bit of Caribbean influence, given its geographical location.

In contemporary times, various world cuisines have become popular in Mexico, thus adopting a Mexican fusion.

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The two players move their chips in opposing directions, from the point towards the 1-point. Points 1 through 6 are called the home board or inner board, and points 7 through 12 are called the outer board.

The 7-point is referred to as the bar point, and the point as the midpoint. To start the game, each player rolls one die, and the player with the higher number moves first using the numbers shown on both dice.

If the players roll the same number, they must roll again. Both dice must land completely flat on the right-hand side of the gameboard.

The players then take alternate turns, rolling two dice at the beginning of each turn. After rolling the dice, players must, if possible, move their checkers according to the number shown on each die.

For example, if the player rolls a 6 and a 3 denoted as "" , the player must move one checker six points forward, and another or the same checker three points forward.

The same checker may be moved twice, as long as the two moves can be made separately and legally: If a player rolls two of the same number, called doubles, that player must play each die twice.

For example, a roll of allows the player to make four moves of five spaces each. On any roll, a player must move according to the numbers on both dice if it is at all possible to do so.

If one or both numbers do not allow a legal move, the player forfeits that portion of the roll and his or her turn ends. If moves can be made according to either one die or the other, but not both, the higher number must be used.

If one die is unable to be moved, but such a move is made possible by the moving of the other die, that move is compulsory. It may also land on a point occupied by exactly one opposing checker, or "blot".

In this case, the blot has been "hit", and is placed in the middle of the board on the bar that divides the two sides of the playing surface.

A checker may never land on a point occupied by two or more opposing checkers; thus, no point is ever occupied by checkers from both players simultaneously.

Checkers may not enter on a point occupied by two or more opposing checkers. Checkers can enter on unoccupied points, or on points occupied by a single opposing checker; in the latter case, the single checker is hit and placed on the bar.

More than one checker can be on the bar at a time. A player may not move any other checkers until all checkers on the bar belonging to that player have re-entered the board.

A roll of 1 may be used to bear off a checker from the 1-point, a 2 from the 2-point, and so on. When bearing off, a player may also move a lower die roll before the higher even if that means the full value of the higher die is not fully utilized.

For example, if a player has exactly one checker remaining on the 6-point, and rolls a 6 and a 1, the player may move the 6-point checker one place to the 5-point with the lower die roll of 1, and then bear that checker off the 5-point using the die roll of 6; this is sometimes useful tactically.

As before, if there is a way to use all moves showing on the dice, by moving checkers within the home board or bearing them off, the player must do so.

If the opponent has not yet borne off any checkers when the game ends, the winner scores a gammon , which counts for double stakes.

To speed up match play and to provide an added dimension for strategy, a doubling cube is usually used.

The doubling cube is not a die to be rolled but rather a marker with the numbers 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and 64 inscribed on its sides, to denote the current stake.

At the start of each game, the doubling cube is placed on the bar with the number 64 showing; the cube is then said to be "centered, on 1". When the cube is centered, the player about to roll may propose that the game be played for twice the current stakes.

Their opponent must either accept "take" the doubled stakes or resign "drop" the game immediately. Whenever a player accepts doubled stakes, the cube is placed on their side of the board with the corresponding power of two facing upward, to indicate that the right to re-double belongs exclusively to the player who last accepted a double.

For instance, if the cube showed the number 2 and a player wanted to redouble the stakes to put it at 4, the opponent choosing to drop the redouble would lose two, or twice the original stake.

There is no limit on the number of redoubles. Although 64 is the highest number depicted on the doubling cube, the stakes may rise to , , and so on.

In money games, a player is often permitted to " beaver " when offered the cube, doubling the value of the game again, while retaining possession of the cube.

A variant of the doubling cube "beaver" is the " raccoon ". Players who doubled their opponent, seeing the opponent beaver the cube, may in turn then double the stakes once again "raccoon" as part of that cube phase before any dice are rolled.

The opponent retains the doubling cube. White doubles Black to 2 points, Black accepts then beavers the cube to 4 points; White, confident of a win, raccoons the cube to 8 points, while Black retains the cube.

Such a move adds greatly to the risk of having to face the doubling cube coming back at 8 times its original value when first doubling the opponent offered at 2 points, counter offered at 16 points should the luck of the dice change.

Some players may opt to invoke The Murphy rule or the "automatic double rule". If both opponents roll the same opening number, the doubling cube is incremented on each occasion yet remains in the middle of the board, available to either player.

The Murphy rule may be invoked with a maximum number of automatic doubles allowed and that limit is agreed to prior to a game or match commencing.

When a player decides to double the opponent, the value is then a double of whatever face value is shown e. The Murphy rule is not an official rule in backgammon and is rarely, if ever, seen in use at officially sanctioned tournaments.

The Jacoby rule , named after Oswald Jacoby , allows gammons and backgammons to count for their respective double and triple values only if the cube has already been offered and accepted.

This encourages a player with a large lead to double, possibly ending the game, rather than to play it to conclusion hoping for a gammon or backgammon.

The Jacoby rule is widely used in money play but is not used in match play. The Crawford rule , named after John R. Crawford , is designed to make match play more equitable for the player in the lead.

Whether the game is worth one point or two, the trailing player must win to continue the match. To balance the situation, the Crawford rule requires that when a player first reaches a score one point short of winning, neither player may use the doubling cube for the following game, called the Crawford game.

After the Crawford game, normal use of the doubling cube resumes. The Crawford rule is routinely used in tournament match play. If the Crawford rule is in effect, then another option is the Holland rule , named after Tim Holland , which stipulates that after the Crawford game, a player cannot double until after at least two rolls have been played by each side.

It was common in tournament play in the s but is now rarely used. There are many variants of standard backgammon rules.

Some are played primarily throughout one geographic region, and others add new tactical elements to the game.

Acey-deucey is a variant of backgammon in which players start with no checkers on the board, and must bear them on at the beginning of the game. The roll of is given special consideration, allowing the player, after moving the 1 and the 2, to select any desired doubles move.

A player also receives an extra turn after a roll of or of doubles. Hypergammon is a variant of backgammon in which players have only three checkers on the board, starting with one each on the , and points.

The game has been strongly solved , meaning that exact equities are available for all 32 million possible positions.

There are also different starting positions. Nackgammon is a variant of backgammon invented by Nick "Nack" Ballard [14] in which players start with one less checker on the six point and midpoint and two checkers on the 23 point.

Russian backgammon is a variant described in as: In this variant, doubles are more powerful: Gul Bara and Tapa are also variants of the game popular in southeastern Europe and Turkey.

The play will iterate among Backgammon, Gul Bara, and Tapa until one of the players reaches a score of 7 or 5. Coan ki is an ancient Chinese board game that is very similar.

Plakoto , Fevga and Portes are three versions of backgammon played in Greece. Together, the three are referred to as Tavli. Other minor variants to the standard game are common among casual players in certain regions.

For instance, only allowing a maximum of five checkers on any point Britain [19] or disallowing "hit-and-run" in your home board Middle East.

Backgammon has an established opening theory , although it is less detailed than that of chess. The tree of positions expands rapidly because of the number of possible dice rolls and the moves available on each turn.

Recent computer analysis has offered more insight on opening plays, but the midgame is reached quickly. After the opening, backgammon players frequently rely on some established general strategies, combining and switching among them to adapt to the changing conditions of a game.

Strategies can derive from that. The most direct one is simply to avoid being hit, trapped, or held in a stand-off.

A "running game" describes a strategy of moving as quickly as possible around the board, and is most successful when a player is already ahead in the race.

The "priming game" involves building a wall of checkers, called a prime, covering a number of consecutive points. This obstructs opposing checkers that are behind the prime.

A checker trapped behind a six-point prime cannot escape until the prime is broken. Because the opponent has difficulty re-entering from the bar or escaping, a player can quickly gain a running advantage and win the game, often with a gammon.

The backgame is generally used only to salvage a game wherein a player is already significantly behind. Product description CD Amazon.

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