The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

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The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union last month, the seaside town of Port Talbot in Wales eagerly went along with the move. Brexit was approved by some 57 percent of the town's residents.

Now some of them are wondering if they made the wrong decision.

The June 23 Brexit vote has raised questions about the fate of the troubled Port Talbot Works, Britain's largest surviving steel plant — a huge, steam-belching facility that has long been the town's biggest employer.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in Cairo, completing the penultimate leg of its attempt to circumnavigate the globe using only the power of the sun.

The trip over the Mediterranean included a breathtaking flyover of the Pyramids. Check it out:

President Obama is challenging Americans to have an honest and open-hearted conversation about race and law enforcement. But even as he sits down at the White House with police and civil rights activists, Obama is mindful of the limits of that approach.

"I've seen how inadequate words can be in bringing about lasting change," the president said Tuesday at a memorial service for five law officers killed last week in Dallas. "I've seen how inadequate my own words have been."

Mice watching Orson Welles movies may help scientists explain human consciousness.

At least that's one premise of the Allen Brain Observatory, which launched Wednesday and lets anyone with an Internet connection study a mouse brain as it responds to visual information.

The FBI says it is giving up on the D.B. Cooper investigation, 45 years after the mysterious hijacker parachuted into the night with $200,000 in a briefcase, becoming an instant folk figure.

"Following one of the longest and most exhaustive investigations in our history," the FBI's Ayn Dietrich-Williams said in a statement, "the FBI redirected resources allocated to the D.B. Cooper case in order to focus on other investigative priorities."

This is the first in a series of essays concerning our collective future. The goal is to bring forth some of the main issues humanity faces today, as we move forward to uncertain times. In an effort to be as thorough as possible, we will consider two kinds of threats: those due to natural disasters and those that are man-made. The idea is to expose some of the dangers and possible mechanisms that have been proposed to deal with these issues. My intention is not to offer a detailed analysis for each threat — but to invite reflection and, hopefully, action.


Time Is On Their Side: Ageless Jazz Drumming

Mar 6, 2013

I've been listening to two very good new albums led by drummers. After learning that both men are in their early 70s, I can't help but wonder how I process that fact in what I hear.

"Killer" Ray Appleton (b. 1941) and Barry Altschul (b. 1943) practice different styles. But they both came of musical age in the hard-bop era, spent many years living in Europe and eventually returned to New York. In other words, they've each got a lot of experience.

The new album from Appleton, Naptown Legacy, which is old-school in almost all good ways. It's unselfconscious, head-solo-head hard bop for three tightly-arranged horns and rhythm section. (Tenor saxophonist Todd Herbert even affects a lot of Blue Train-era Coltrane mannerisms, a bit disconcerting for my taste.) It's a program of standards and tunes by Appleton's fellow Indianapolis natives Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard and J.J. Johnson. It wouldn't be out of place on Blue Note or Riverside c. 1961, and that's apparently the intended effect: Even the cover art, track listing, slim bi-fold packaging and liner notes are formatted to evoke the LPs of the era.

You get the sense that this is Appleton's bread and butter, and highly present in the mix, he struts all over this record. His fills aren't virtuosic in a jaw-dropping way; on tunes like "Backlash" and "Fatback" he's happy to take a good beat and play it essentially the entire song. (Does anyone do that any more in jazz?) Simplicity can be deceptive, though, and attention to detail is where Appleton shines. His splaying ride cymbal, his ease with accents and commentary, his hookup with conguero Little Johnny Rivero — these sorts of things set this music apart from its imitations. Could this be attributed to finely-honed touch and timing cultivated over decades, a sense of swing deeply embedded from a young age? Whatever it is, it reminds me how infectious the heralded recordings of a half century ago remain today.

Altschul is often thought of as belonging to a different era and community. His early recordings were with musicians like Paul Bley, Sam Rivers, Anthony Braxton and the band Circle (with Braxton, Chick Corea and Dave Holland). Altschul's known for his avant-garde or free jazz playing — specifically, for melding a driving bebop pattern with further out improvisations, an idea known as freebop. On his new trio recording, bassist Joe Fonda and tenor saxophonist Jon Irabagon are game, and they straddle the lines between uptempo bebop and free improvisation with authority.

The 3dom Factor is ultimately Altschul's showcase,which he uses to demonstrate a wide range of styles. His funk groove ("Papa's Funkish Dance") and old-time shuffle ("Natal Chart"), his literal bells and whistles, his sense for loosening or unwinding a beat. It's his music, too: The band reinterprets original compositions from throughout his discography (and Carla Bley's "Ictus"). They're tuneful and worth paying attention to, although he still doesn't really consider himself much of a composer:

I'm a drummer, man. All I want to do is play. So any music I write, or that I thought about writing, or that I contribute to a band, was to stimulate a playing attitude, someplace to have fun in, to maybe be interesting, to be challenging, but I do not try to make a mark as a composer.

That's from an extensive recent interview with fellow percussionist Harris Eisenstadt. Like Appleton, Altschul is quite happy playing others' music, and doesn't prioritize leading a band, so much so that he hadn't recorded as a leader since 1985.

In my mind, these two albums are overdue returns, career-portrait recitals from veteran masters. Their experience isn't the only lens we have into these artists, but it seems like an important one here. Do you have any favorite albums by elder statesmen and women in jazz? Let us know in the comments section.

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