Friday, Jun. 18, 2010

Randy Jackson's Short List

For eight seasons of American Idol, Jackson, a Grammy-winning producer, has assessed the sound, moves and "pitchiness" of would-be superstars. As the race to become the ninth American idol heats up, Jackson's MTV show, America's Best Dance Crew, returns for its fifth season. When he's not sitting at the judges' table, Jackson might be found scouting new music or cracking up over a video on Funny or Die.

Piano man

Music means everything to me, and the pianist Keith Jarrett is a musician for all seasons. Whether it's his versions of Baroque masterpieces, his work in a jazz trio or his live solo concerts, I love, love, love this great artist. His music paints pictures and emotions in such vivid color — every time I hear him, I am enthralled and amazed.

Divine creations

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the greatest architects ever to walk the planet. He designed as if the Greek or Roman gods were guiding his hands, and each of his structures tells a fascinating story. His legacy lives on. The Guggenheim Museum in New York City — need I say more?

A standout film

One movie that stands out in my mind, heart and soul is Babel. In my opinion, it's a brilliant work. The symbolism portrayed in each story is astounding, and the movie reminds me that there's still so much work to be done on the human mind-set.

New sounds

I feel it's my responsibility to turn people on to great music. Here are two artists you need to be aware of: the Rev. Smokie Norful, a brilliantly talented gospel artist, and the Paper Tongues, a terrific new rock band out of Charlotte, N.C., with an amazing lead singer.

Laugh track

In the mad world that we live in today, if you're looking for comic relief, log on to It will give you the laugh support you need.