In Tune with June

Amy Lou Adams is an actress who was born in Italy but was raised in Colorado. She is the fourth of seven siblings, is the middle child and has four brothers and two sisters. Her father served in the United States Army. After leaving the army, her father sang in nightclubs and restaurants. Adams has described going to her father’s shows and drinking Shirley Temples at the bar (remember Shirley Temple?) as among her fondest childhood memories. Her parents wrote amateur plays and Adams was enthusiastic about them and invariably played the lead. She valued her upbringing for teaching her love and compassion. Adams was not academically inclined but was interested in the creative arts. Adams met the actor and painter Darren Le Gallo in 2001 and the two became engaged shortly thereafter. Two years later, Amy Lou gave birth to their daughter. It’s interesting that Adams find little value in the concept of celebrity. She attracts little gossip and strives to keep a healthy life-work balance. She says that motherhood has made her calmer.

Adams has joined other actors in calling for equal pay in the film industry. She is certainly a star but is not really a celebrity only because she doesn’t want to be. In the HBO series, Sharp Object, some critics call her performance “transfixing.” Here’s a happy surprise –she’s still married to Darren Le Gallo and despite much acclaim for receiving accolades for both her comedic and dramatic performances including a Golden Globe and other film awards, she manages to handle it all. As of last year, Adams is among the highest paid actresses in the world. Go girl!

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My son-in-law, Michael, was glad to learn that I was going to feature an idol of his, Elvis Costello. He said that he was “one of his favorite artists.” I’ll have to find out if Michael knows that Costello’s birth name was Declan Patrick MacManus. Costello tried five other names before settling on the name most of us recognize. Elvis Costello was born in 1954 in London and is of Irish descent on his father’s side. He is the son of Lilian Alda and Ross MacManus, a jazz trumpeter. When he was 16 years old, Costello moved with his Liverpool-born mother where he formed his band. Costello’s first broadcast recording was with his father in a TV commercial. His father sang the song and his son backed the vocals. By the end of the 70’s, Costello was firmly established as both a performer and a songwriter. Elvis Costello has been married three times. What truly interested me in learning about the multi-talented man was his marriage to my favorite jazz singer and pianist Diana Kroll. Where did they get married – of course, at the home of Elton John. And, please give a special hug from me to your wife. Her records have given me many pleasurable moments.

Kroll gave birth in 2003 to twin sons. As a personal aside, I’ve been interested in twins since my daughter Jolie gave birth to twins. My twin granddaughters, now 26 years old, have developed into very fine productive young women. Kroll and Costello’s twins are now only 12. I’ll bet that they both are extremely musical. No question!

In 2012, Costello played ukulele, mandolin, guitar and added backing vocals on Diana Kroll’s studio album, Glad Rag Doll.

Elvis Costello was “raised in England but feels at home in Manhattan.” Welcome, Elvis Costello, and bring us your music. In all, he has made 278 appearances in New York City. “There is something in his music that is caustic, smart, fast-talking but with moments of deep compassion and sublime beauty.” And, please give a special hug from me to your wife. Her records have given me many pleasurable moments.

She must like her name because she continues to use her birth name Maria Schneider. The 57-year-old formed her jazz orchestra in 1992, appearing weekly in Greenwich Village. She surely prepared herself.

Born in Minnesota, Schneider studied music theory and composition at the university where she earned a Master’s degree in Music. She collaborated with Gil Evans and assisted him as he scored the film, The Color of Money. Her orchestra has performed at jazz festivals and concert halls in Europe, South America and Asia. Whew! The lady is a composer, bandleader and musician. In 2013 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota. Eventually, she became the most acclaimed composer and bandleader of her generation. The composer, bandleader, musician has many award-winning albums including 10 Grammy awards. Here’s an unusual fact. Her album, Winter Morning Walks, was accompanied by poetry. The lady has been a strong advocate against big data companies. Their impact on music and culture is reflected in her music, including a piece entitled, “Data Lords” commissioned by the U.S. Library of Congress. And here’s a surprise: Schneider is an avid birdwatcher. I’m familiar with that because my friend, Betty Comora, herself a singer and bandleader, was married to Owen, a serious birdwatcher, too! Schneider enlisted band members to contribute bird calls to many bird related songs on her albums.

Ms. Schneider, 57, is the youngest woman ever to be selected for the National Endowment for the Arts award and the rare recipient who’s still in the prime of her career. Hooray!
My original plan was to include the artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center in this month’s“In Tune.” However, I learned so much about Wynton Marsalis to limit all the info. That musician who was born to a musical family fascinated me so I’m going to, hopefully, fascinate my readers to look next month.

At Lincoln Center, Wynton Marsalis minds traditions even while looking ahead. Please read “In Tune” in September. I should add that I was at the inaugural season of Jazz at Lincoln Center (August 1991 to May 1992). Still have the program. It’s loaded with so much amazing information which I will share with you next month.

You can e-mail June Sturz at

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