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Archive for Monday, October 12, 2009

PBS documentary explores Latin music

October 12, 2009

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Like all survey histories, “Latin Music USA” (8 p.m., PBS, check local listings) is tantalizing, entertaining and a little frustrating. With so much ground to cover, you can’t help but feel that some musical giants are getting shortchanged. On the other hand, for viewers who learning about Machito, Tito Puente, Willie Colon, Tejano music and reggaeton for the first time, “Latin Music” is a rhythmic revelation, a delicious sampler that will have viewers scouring record stores, or iTunes, for years to come.

Part 1, “Bridges,” covers the rise of Cuban sounds in the New York music scene and the hipster paradise of the Palladium Ballroom, where New Yorkers of every strata gaped at the fluid practitioners of the mambo. After post-bebop jazz became more cerebral and less commercial, Latin flavors kept a big band sound in the top 40 as Eisenhower-era suburbanites embraced Perez Prado and his danceable cha cha music.

“The Salsa Revolution” (9 p.m.) chronicles the rise of a New York sound that conquered the world in the 1970s (even as it was being ignored by many Americans at the time).

Next week’s “Latin Music” shifts coasts and locations to cover “The Chicano Wave” and concludes with “Divas and Superstars,” a look at pop superstars from Gloria Estefan to Shakira.

• Much like “Heroes” (7 p.m., NBC), Fox’s “Prison Break” kicked off as a cult hit and then became increasingly less popular as its story became more convoluted. And now, both head-scratchers share a common star. Robert Knepper, who played “T-bag” on “Break,” is now Samuel, the mysterious head of a mystical family of misfit toys. And he seems bent on recruiting one of the “Heroes” favorites. On another front, Claire discovers that her seemingly normal roommate (Madeline Zima) may be more or less than she seems, while Peter loses one ability only to gain another. But whether it’s of any use is anybody’s guess.

• The eight-part series “Gone Too Far” (9 p.m., MTV) offers young addicts a new chance for recovery. Hosted by Adam “DJ AM,” who died of an apparent overdose Aug. 28.

• “Broke: The New American Dream” (8 p.m., Documentary) looks at the social and cultural forces behind the recent financial debacle.

• In the “we’re rich, and you’re not!” spirit that defines Bravo, “Million Dollar Listing” (10 p.m., Bravo) returns for another annoying season.

Tonight’s other highlights

• A wealthy dad blames his son’s condition on his ill-gotten gains on “House” (7 p.m., Fox).

• Charles comes to terms with his brother on “Lincoln Heights” (7 p.m., ABC Family).

• An office hostage drama results in “Trauma” (7 p.m., NBC).

• Not even a Mexican vacation can keep Lightman from the truth on “Lie to Me” (8 p.m., Fox).

• What happens at ComicCon doesn’t always stay there on “Greek” (8 p.m., ABC Family).

• The city’s least popular man is found dead on “CSI: Miami” (9 p.m., CBS).

• One plot twist too many on “Castle” (9 p.m., ABC).

Cult choice

A movie director (Marcello Mastroianni) muses on life and his next movie in director Federico Fellini’s 1963 fantasy “8-1/2” (12:45 p.m., TCM).

Series notes

First impressions on “How I Met Your Mother” (7 p.m., CBS) ... “Dancing with the Stars” (7 p.m., ABC) continues without DeLay.

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