Billboard Bits: Dudley Moore, Zappa, Early Day Miners

News on Dudley Moore, Frank Zappa, Early Day Miners

DudleyBritish actor and accomplished pianist Dudley Moore, who became an unlikely Hollywood heart-throb portraying a cuddly pipsqueak whose charm melted hearts in "10" and "Arthur," died today (March 27) at his home in New Jersey, a spokesperson said. He was 66 and had been suffering from the brain disorder progressive supranuclear palsy.

Music was Moore's entree into public performance, first as a chorister and organist in his parish church in Dagenham, near London, and then in 1960 as a young Oxford graduate recruited for the hit four-man comedy review "Beyond the Fringe."

"Fringe," which played two years in London and then moved to Broadway, was perhaps the greatest assembly of young comic talent in Britain in this century. Moore was teamed with Alan Bennett, later a successful playwright; Jonathan Miller, the cerebral opera producer and medical doctor, and Peter Cook, a surreal comic talent and a famously dissipated talent. One of Moore's celebrated contributions to the show was his impersonation of the pianist Dame Myra Hess, playing a bombastic version of "Colonel Bogey's March" which he couldn't seem to end.

Even after the 1979 film "Arthur" made Moore a Hollywood star, music remained a part of his life, both as a jazz pianist and as a parodist. He recorded several albums, including the 1980 Virgin set "Come Again," with Cook. "I can't imagine not having music in my life, playing for myself or for other people. If I was asked, 'Which would you give up,' I'd have to say acting," he said in a 1988 interview.

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Frank ZappaRykodisc will on April 23 rerelease six titles by Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention on two three-CD sets, Billboard Bulletin reports. One set will compile the Mothers' first three albums -- "Freak Out!," "Absolutely Free," and "We're Only in It for the Money" -- first issued in 1966-67. The other will compile the late Zappa's mainly instrumental works "Hot Rats" (1969) and "Waka/Jawaka," and "The Grand Wazoo" (both from 1972). The collections will feature new slipcase art by longtime Mothers illustrator Cal Schenkel.

At the time of his death, Zappa was working toward refurbishing his catalog and compiling unreleased material. According to the biography on Rykodisc's official Web site, "his legacy will, for years to come, include a treasure of new releases which will contain previously unheard recordings, created from these miles of magnetic recording tape, with more of his uniquely idiosyncratic and absolutely irreplaceable musical vision."

-- Chris Morris, L.A.

EDMBloomington, Ind.-based rock act Early Day Miners will release its second album, "Let Us Garlands Bring," May 7 via Bloomington's Secretly Canadian label. The set, produced by group member Dan Burton at his Grotto Studio, is the follow-up to 2000's acclaimed "Placer Found," released by Western Vinyl. The latter label will release "Let Us Garlands Bring" on double vinyl, with the non-CD track "Upstate."

The new album expands on its predecessor's stark instrumental landscapes, from the gorgeous "Santa Carolina" to the more aggressive "Offshore," which recalls the recent, edgier work by Red House Painters. The core group of guitarist/vocalist Burton, guitarist Joe Brumley, drummer Rory Leitch, and bassist Matt Lindblom are here accompanied by cellist Molly Kien and violinist Maggie Polk. Early Day Miners begin a short U.S. tour with labelmate Songs: Ohia Saturday (March 30) in Bloomington.

The group's collaboration with like-minded outfit Unwed Sailor and photographer Chris Bennett, "Stateless," is available now from The Great Vitamin Mystery label. The five-song set features music written as an accompaniment to footage Bennett shot traveling in the United States and Europe, which is also bundled on the CD.

Here are Early Day Miners' tour dates:

March 30: Bloomington, Ind. (Space 101)
April 1: Louisville, Ky. (Aslan's How Art Gallery)
April 3: Cleveland (Grog Shop)
April 4: Meadville, Pa. (Allegheny College)
April 5: Richmond, Va. (Hole in the Wall)
April 6: Harrisonburg, Va. (Court Sq. Theater)
April 7: Wilmington, N.C. (Third Floor)
April 8: Washington, D.C. (Metro)
April 9: Cambridge, Mass. (Middle East)
April 10: New York (Knitting Factory)
April 11: Alfred, N.Y. (Alfred University)
April 12: Chicago (Schuba's)

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

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