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RANDY WALDMAN's career spans more than 40 years, and he's performed and toured with many of the biggest names in the jazz, pop and R&B worlds. His work can be heard on hundreds of movies, television shows, and albums. Randy has been Barbra Streisand's pianist and musical director for over 30 years and is featured on many of her albums, movies, and live performances. He won a Grammy for co-arranging "Somewhere" on Streisand's The Broadway Album, and he received a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Arrangement for The Manhattan Transfer's track, "Code of Ethics" from their album Bodies and Souls. He also toured with George Benson for seven years as his pianist, conductor and arranger. Waldman has worked with the brightest stars in the music firmament, from Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney to Michael Bublé and Quincy Jones.

You love the old Kanye? Yeah, a lot of us do, but today a question was posited that I never thought to ask, and it was the work of Mr. West that gave us the answer. Can you "rap" with a guitar? Not just rap-rock, but actually vocalize the raps using only strings? The answer is yes, and Striking Matches just did it. This week, the duo of Sarah Zimmerman and Justin Davis released an all-guitar version of Kanye's 2005 hit, "Gold Digger". Watch the video (directed by Josh Kranich) below!

This month, the new crime drama, Armed arrived in select theaters, a film written, directed by, and starring Mario Van Peebles. Armed follows the story of Chief (Van Peebles), a former U.S. Marshall, who has fallen on hard times after a raid that went horribly wrong. As Chief struggles to get his life back on track, a former colleague reappears in his life and explains that all of the survivors from his unit are suffering similarly and that there may be a larger conspiracy at hand. Now comes word that the official soundtrack album by the composers and team at Signature Tracks, led by co-founders Russell Howard, Adam Malka, and David Lasman is available on most digital platforms including iTunes and Spotify

There's those songs that just strike the right chord - the ones that each listener can attach to a certain memory... a single moment in time. For me, Bill Withers' 1977 hit "Lovely Day" brings to mind the summer of 2004 - a summer in which I went back in time to work on the set of the Fox Searchlight picture, "Roll Bounce" (yes, the one with Lil Bow Wow). The song was played frequently on the set, but also featured heavily in the film's marketing. An iconic song that always captures a certain warmth, it's been covered many times over the decades, and this week brings one of the best versions yet, with José James joining voices with Lalah Hathaway on new duet version.

"Halls of Justice Painted Green/Money Talking..." 

As Metallica's legendary album "...And Justice For All" celebrates its 30th anniversary, you're gonna want to set aside a little bit of that green (around $11 or so) for the new LADY JUSTICE Pop! Vinyl figure from Funko! Just-announced, this iconic statue is brought to life once more as a 3 3/4" vinyl figure in a way that only the folks at Funko can. My friends at Entertainment Earth just put pre-orders online, with an expected ship date of November... just in time for the November 2 release of the expanded edition versions of the album. Sadly, word on the street is that Jason Newsted's mighty basslines may still be missing (or at least barely audible).

For those that missed it this year due to its "hiatus," Chicago Open Air will be back in 2019 presenting a new event called "A Day in the Park." The event will take place at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois during the weekend of May 17-19. Danny Wimmer Presents revealed the news in an announcement that I received this morning along with details on their spring 2019 music festivals - including the debut of the new Sonic Temple Art + Music Festival in Ohio and a new "destination" musc fest that will be coming to North Carolina. Stay tuned for more details as I have it...

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