mick’s blog

Music for Surviving the Pandemic and Realizing Racial Justice

August 14, 2020

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The Cosmos with NGC 5189

August 14, 2020

When a star like our Sun is dying, it will cast off its outer layers, usually into a simple overall shape. Sometimes this shape is a sphere, sometimes a double lobe, and sometimes a ring or a helix. In the case of planetary nebula NGC 5189, however, besides an overall “Z” shape (the featured image is flipped horizontally and so appears as an “S”), no such simple structure has emerged. To help find out why, the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope has observed NGC 5189 in great detail. Previous findings indicated the existence of multiple epochs of material outflow, including a recent one that created a bright but distorted torus running horizontally across image center. Hubble results appear consistent with a hypothesis that the dying star is part of a binary star system with a precessing symmetry axis. NGC 5189 spans about three light years and lies about 3,000 light years away toward the southern constellation of the Fly (Musca).

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David Crosby Day

August 14, 2020

David Van Cortlandt Crosby (born August 14, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and musician. In addition to his solo career, he was a founding member of both the Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Crosby joined the Byrds in 1964. The band gave Bob Dylan his first number one hit in April 1965 with “Mr. Tambourine Man“. Crosby appeared on the Byrds’ first five albums, and produced the original lineup’s 1973 reunion album. In 1967 he joined Buffalo Springfield on stage at the Monterey Pop Festival, which contributed to his dismissal from the Byrds. He subsequently formed Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1968 with Stephen Stills (of Buffalo Springfield) and Graham Nash of the Hollies. After the release of their debut album CSN won the Grammy Award for Best New Artist of 1969. Neil Young joined the group for live appearances, their second concert being Woodstock, before recording their second album Déjà Vu. Meant to be a group that could collaborate freely, Crosby and Nash recorded three gold albums in the 1970s, while the core trio of CSN remained active from 1976 until 2016. CSNY reunions took place in each decade from the 1970s through the 2000s.

Songs Crosby wrote or co-wrote include “Lady Friend“, “Why“, and “Eight Miles High” with the Byrds and “Guinnevere“, “Wooden Ships“, “Shadow Captain”, and “In My Dreams” with Crosby, Stills & Nash. He wrote “Almost Cut My Hair” and the title track “Déjà Vu” for Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young‘s 1970 album. He is known for his use of alternate guitar tunings and jazz influences. He has released six solo albums, five of which have charted. Additionally he formed a jazz influenced trio with his son James Raymond and guitarist Jeff Pevar in CPR. Crosby’s work with the Byrds and CSN(Y) has sold over 35 million albums.

Crosby has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice: once for his work in the Byrds and again for his work with CSN. Five albums he contributed to are included in Rolling Stones The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, three with the Byrds and two with CSN(Y). He is outspoken politically and has been depicted as emblematic of the 1960s’ countercultureCrosby is the subject of the 2019 documentary David Crosby: Remember My Name, which was produced by Cameron Crowe.  

David Van Cortlandt Crosby was born in Los Angeles, California. His parents were Aliph Van Cortlandt Whitehead (a descendant of the prominent Van Cortlandt family) and Floyd Crosby, an Academy Award–winning cinematographer and descendant of the Van Rensselaer family. He is also the younger brother of musician Ethan Crosby. Growing up in California, he attended several schools, including the University Elementary School in Los Angeles, the Crane Country Day School in Montecito, and Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara for the rest of his elementary school and junior high. At Crane, he starred in HMS Pinafore and other musicals but was asked not to return because of his lack of academic progress. He graduated from the Cate Schoolin Carpinteria, completing his secondary studies by correspondence.

 

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Ben Sidran Day

August 14, 2020

Ben Hirsh Sidran (born August 14, 1943) is an American jazz and rock keyboardist, producer, label owner, and music writer. Early in his career he was a member of the Steve Miller Band.

Sidran was raised in Racine, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1961, where he became a member of The Ardells with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs. When Miller and Scaggs left Wisconsin for the West Coast, Sidran stayed behind to earn a degree in English literature. After graduating in 1966, he enrolled in the University of Sussex, England, to pursue a PhD. While in England, he was a session musician for Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Peter Frampton, and Charlie Watts.

Sidran joined Steve Miller as keyboardist and songwriter on recording projects, appearing on the albums Brave New World, Your Saving Grace, Number 5, and Recall the Beginning…A Journey from Eden. He produced Recall the Beginning and co-wrote the hit song “Space Cowboy.” In 1988, he produced Miller’s jazz album Born 2B Blue. He has also produced albums for Mose AllisonVan Morrison Rickie Lee Jones and Diana Ross.

Sidran returned to Madison, Wisconsin, in 1971 and has spent most of his life there. He taught courses at the university (on the business of music) and beginning in 1981 hosted jazz radio programs for NPR (including the Peabody Award-winning Jazz Alive series) and TV programs for VH1 (where his New Visions series in the early 1990s won the Ace Award).

As a musician and a producer he has released over 35 solo recordings. His written works include the book Black Talk (on the sociology of black music in America), the memoir A Life in the Music, published in 2003 and detailing his musical career, </ref> Talking Jazz, a collection of his historic interviews with jazz musicians, There Was a Fire: Jews, Music and the American Dream, a cultural history of the Jewish contribution to American popular music during the 20th century and a finalist for the 2012 National Jewish Book Award and The Ballad of Tommy LiPuma.

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Son Seals Day

August 14, 2020

Frank “Son” Seals (August 13, 1942 – December 20, 2004) was an American electric blues guitarist and singer. In 2009, Seals was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Seals was born in Osceola, Arkansas, where his father, Jim “Son” Seals, owned a small juke joint, called the Dipsy Doodle Club. He began performing professionally by the age of 13, first as a drummer with Robert Nighthawk and later as a guitarist. At age 16, he began to play at the T-99, a local upper-echelon club, with his brother-in-law Walter “Little Walter” Jefferson. He played there with prominent blues musicians, including Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, and Rosco Gordon. Their varying styles contributed to the development of Seals’s own playing techniques. While playing at the T-99, he was also introduced to countrywestern music by Jimmy Grubbs, who occasionally asked Seals to play the drums or guitar with his group. At the age of 19, Seals formed his own band, Son Seals and the Upsetters, to fill in at the Rebel Club, in Osceola.The band members were Johnny Moore (“Old Man Horse”) on piano; Alvin Goodberry on drums, guitar, bass, or piano; Little Bob Robinson on vocals; and Walter Lee “Skinny Dynamo” Harris on piano. Shortly thereafter, a man from Little Rock, Arkansas, came to find “Little Walter” for a gig at his club, but when Walter turned it down the offer went to Seals.

In 1971, Seals moved to Chicago. His career took off after he was discovered by Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records at the Flamingo Club on Chicago’s South Side. His debut album, The Son Seals Blues Band, was released in 1973. The album included “Your Love Is Like a Cancer” and “Hot Sauce”. It was followed by Midnight Son (1976) and Live and Burning (1978). Seals released several albums in the next two decades, all but one on Alligator Records, including Chicago Fire (1980), Bad Axe (1984), Living in the Danger Zone (1991), Nothing but the Truth (1994) and Live: Spontaneous Combustion (1996). He received W.C. Handy Awards in 1985, 1987, and 2001.

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Eddie Costa Day

August 14, 2020

Edwin James Costa (August 14, 1930 – July 28, 1962) was an American jazz pianist, vibraphonist, composer and arranger. In 1957 he was chosen as Down Beat jazz critics’ new star on piano and vibes – the first time that one artist won two categories in the same year. He became known for his percussive, driving piano style that concentrated on the lower octaves of the keyboard.

Costa had an eight-year recording career, during which he appeared on more than 100 albums; five of these were under his own leadership. As a sideman he appeared in orchestras led by Manny Albam, Gil Evans, Woody Herman and others; played in smaller groups led by musicians including Tal Farlow, Coleman Hawkins, Gunther Schuller, and Phil Woods; and accompanied vocalists including Tony Bennett and Chris Connor. Costa died, aged 31, in a car accident in New York City.

Eddie Costa was born in Atlas, Pennsylvania, near Mount Carmel, in Northumberland County. He was taught and influenced on piano by his older, musically trained brother, Bill, and a local piano teacher. Eddie took paid jobs as a pianist from the age of 15.

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Stuff Smith Day

August 14, 2020

Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith (August 14, 1909 – September 25, 1967), better known as Stuff Smith, was an American jazz violinist. He is well known for the song “If You’re a Viper” (the original title was “You’se a Viper”).

Smith was, along with Stéphane Grappelli, Michel Warlop, Svend Asmussen and Joe Venuti, one of jazz music’s preeminent violinists of the swing era.

He was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, United States in 1909, and studied violin with his father. Smith cited Louis Armstrong as his primary influence and inspiration to play jazz, and like Armstrong, was a vocalist as well as instrumentalist. In the 1920s, he played in Texas as a member of Alphonse Trent‘s band. After moving to New York City he performed regularly with his sextet at the Onyx Club starting in 1935, and also with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and later, Sun Ra.

After being signed to Vocalion Records in 1936, he had a hit with “I’se a Muggin'” and was billed as Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys. He recorded for Vocalion in 1936, Decca in 1937, and Varsity in 1939–1940.

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Flamenco Fridays with Sabicas

August 14, 2020

Malagueñas derive from local variety of the Fandangos, a type of dance that, with different regional variations and even different names, became very popular in great part of Spain in the 18th century. Although nowadays malagueñas are a typical instance of “cante libre”, performed at libitum and normally not used for the dance, folkloric fandangos were originally sung and played at a fast speed, with a rhythmic pattern in 6
8
, to accompany dance. Some of these primitive fandangos from Málaga, called Verdiales are still performed nowadays at folkloric gatherings by large non-professional groups called “Pandas”, which use a high number of guitars, “bandurrias” (a sort of mandoline), violins, and tambourines.

 

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Daily Roots with Chenley Duffus

August 14, 2020

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Music for Surviving the Pandemic and Realizing Racial Justice

August 13, 2020

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The Cosmos with the Milky Way New Mexico

August 13, 2020

What planets are those behind that unusual rock spire? Saturn (lower left) and Jupiter.  This month, after sunset, the bright planetary duo are quite prominent toward the southeast.  Now your view of our Solar System’s largest planets might not include a picturesque hoodoo in the foreground, nor the spectacular central band of our Milky Way Galaxy across the background, but should be quite eye-catching anyway.  The featured image is a composite of consecutive foreground and background exposures all taken in late May with the same camera and from the same location — the badlands of the  Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness in the San Juan Basin in New Mexico, USA.  The rock spire, informally dubbed ‘Alien Throne’, stands about 3 meters tall. Saturn and Jupiter will remain visible together after sunset for several months.

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Dan Fogelberg Day

August 13, 2020

Daniel Grayling Fogelberg (August 13, 1951 – December 16, 2007) was an American musician, songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. He is known for his 1980s songs, including “Longer” (1979), “Same Old Lang Syne” (1980), and “Leader of the Band” (1982).

Dan Fogelberg was born in Peoria, Illinois. He was the youngest of three sons born to Margaret (née Irvine), a classically trained pianist, and Lawrence Peter Fogelberg, a high school band director at Peoria’s Woodruff High School and Pekin Community High School. Dan’s mother was a Scottish immigrant, and his father was of Swedish descent. His father would later be the inspiration for the song “Leader of the Band“. Dan often related his memory of his father allowing him to “conduct” the school band when he was only four years old. At the time, Fogelberg senior was band director at Bradley University in Peoria.

Using a Mel Bay course book, Dan taught himself to play a Hawaiian slide guitar that his grandfather had given him. He also learned to play the piano. At age 14, he joined a band, The Clan, which covered The Beatles. His second band was another cover band, The Coachmen, who, in 1967, released two singles written by Fogelberg. They were cut at Golden Voice Recording studio in South Pekin, Illinois, and released on Ledger Record’s label: “Maybe Time Will Let Me Forget” and “Don’t Want to Lose Her”.

After graduating from Woodruff High School in 1969, Fogelberg studied theater arts and painting at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaignwhile playing local venues with a folk-rock band, The Ship. He began performing as a solo acoustic player in area cafes. One of these included the Red Herring, which is where he made his first solo recordings as part of a folk festival in 1971. He was discovered by Irving Azoff, who started his music management career promoting another Champaign-Urbana act, REO Speedwagon. Azoff sent him to Nashville, Tennessee, to hone his skills. There he became a session musician and recorded his first album with producer Norbert Putnam. In 1972, Fogelberg released his debut album Home Free to lukewarm response, although it eventually reached platinum status.

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Benny Bailey Day

August 13, 2020

Ernest HaroldBennyBailey (13 August 1925 – 14 April 2005) was an American jazz trumpeter.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Bailey briefly studied flute and piano before turning to trumpet. He attended the Cleveland Conservatory of Music. He was influenced by Cleveland native Tadd Dameron and had a significant influence on other Cleveland musicians, such as Albert Ayler, Bob Cunningham, Bobby Few, Bill Hardman, and Frank Wright. Bailey played with Tony Lovano, father of Joe Lovano.

In the early 1940s he worked with Bull Moose Jackson and Scatman Crothers. He later worked with Dizzy Gillespie and toured with Lionel Hampton. During a European tour with Hampton he remained in Europe and spent time in Sweden, where he worked with Harry Arnold‘s big band.He preferred big bands over small groups, and he became associated with several big bands in Europe, including the Kenny Clarke/Francy Boland Big Band. His time with Quincy Jones led to a brief return to the United States in 1960. He was invited to the studio as part of Freddie Redd‘s sextet to record Redd’s Blues after meeting the pianist during a tour in Sweden. He returned to Europe, first to Germany, then the Netherlands, where he settled permanently.

In 1969 he played on Eddie Harris and Les McCann‘s album Swiss Movement, recorded live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, although it was not his usual style of music. In 1988 he worked with British clarinetist Tony Coe[1] and recorded albums until 2000 when he was in his mid-70s.

Bailey died at home in Amsterdam on April 14, 2005.

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Baby Boy Warren Day

August 13, 2020

Baby Boy Warren (August 13, 1919 – July 1, 1977) was an American blues singer and guitarist who was a leading figure on the Detroit blues scene in the 1950s.

He was born Robert Henry Warren in Lake Providence, Louisiana, in 1919, and at the age of three months moved with his parents to Memphis, Tennessee. He was interested in music from an early age, and was working occasionally as a musician from around 1931, when he dropped out of school, having learned to play guitar from two of his older brothers. In the 1930s, he worked in W. C. Handy Park, Memphis, with Howling Wolf, Robert Jr. Lockwood and Little Buddy Doyle and he appeared on the radio show King Biscuit Time, broadcast from Helena, Arkansas, with Sonny Boy Williamson around 1941. In 1942, he moved to Detroit, where he worked for General Motors while also performing as a musician.

Warren’s first recording sessions were in 1949 and 1950 in Detroit, with the five resulting singles being released on a number of labels. Tracks recorded at a 1954 session accompanied by Sonny Boy Williamson were released on Joe Von Battle‘s JVB label and by Excello Records. Further sessions the same year resulted in a single on the Blue Lake label, with Boogie Woogie Red on piano and Calvin Frazier on guitar, and a reworking of the Robert Johnson song “Stop Breakin’ Down” for the Drummond label.

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George Shearing Day

August 13, 2020

Sir George Albert Shearing, OBE (13 August 1919 – 14 February 2011) was a British jazz pianist who for many years led a popular jazz group that recorded for Discovery Records, MGM Records and Capitol Records. The composer of over 300 titles, including the jazz standards “Lullaby of Birdland” and “Conception“, and had multiple albums on the Billboard charts during the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. He died of heart failure in New York City, at the age of 91.

Born in Battersea, London, Shearing was the youngest of nine children. He was born blind to working-class parents: his father delivered coal and his mother cleaned trains in the evening. He started to learn piano at the age of three and began formal training at Linden Lodge School for the Blind, where he spent four years.

Though he was offered several scholarships, Shearing opted to perform at a local pub, the Mason’s Arms in Lambeth, for “25 bob a week” playing piano and accordion. He joined an all-blind band, Claude Bampton’s Blind Orchestra, during that time, and was influenced by the records of Teddy Wilson and Fats Waller. Shearing made his first BBC radio broadcast during this time, after befriending Leonard Feather, with whom he started recording in 1937.

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Big Chief Russell Moore Day

August 13, 2020

Big Chief Russell Moore (August 13, 1912 – December 15, 1983) was an American jazz trombonist. Moore was a Pima American Indian, born in Komatke, Arizona and lived in Blue Island, Illinois from age twelve, where he studied trumpet, piano, drums, French horn, and trombone. He moved to Los Angeles in the early 1930s, where he worked freelance with Lionel Hampton (1935), Eddie Barefield, and others. After moving to New Orleans in 1939, he worked with Oscar Celestin, Kid Rena, A.J. Piron, Paul Barbarin, Ernie Fields, Harlan Leonard, and Noble Sissle.

He played with Louis Armstrong‘s last big band in 1944–47, and worked freelance on the Dixieland jazz circuit thereafter. In the 1950s he played with Ruby Braff, Pee Wee Russell, Eddie Condon, Wild Bill Davison, Jimmy McPartland, Tony Parenti, Mezz Mezzrow, Sidney Bechet, and Buck Clayton. He returned to play in the Louis Armstrong All-Stars in 1964–65, but fell ill and had to leave the group. After recovering he led a Dixieland group of his own, which toured Canada repeatedly.

Moore had been working with pianist Eddie Wilcox shortly before Wilcox died in 1968. Moore played with Cozy Cole in 1977 and Keith Smith in 1981. He recorded as a leader in 1953 for Vogue and Trutone, and in 1973 for Jazz Art.

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World Music with Qwanqwa

August 13, 2020

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Daily Roots with Maurice Wellington

August 13, 2020

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Music for Surviving the Pandemic and Realizing Racial Justice

August 12, 2020

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The Cosmos with NGC 1614

August 12, 2020

NGC 1614, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope,  is an eccentrically-shaped galaxy ablaze with activity. The galaxy resides about 200 million light-years from Earth and is nestled in the southern constellation of Eridanus (The River).

NGC 1614 is the result of a past galactic merger which created its peculiar appearance. The cosmic collision also drove a turbulent flow of interstellar gas from the smaller of the two galaxies involved  into the nucleus of the larger one, resulting in a burst of star formation which started in the core and slowly spread outwards through the galaxy.

Owing to its turbulent past and its current appearance, astronomers classify NGC 1614 as a peculiar galaxy, a starburst galaxy, and a luminous infrared galaxy. Luminous infrared galaxies are among the most luminous objects in the local Universe — and NGC 1614 is, in fact, the second most luminous galaxy within 250 million light-years.

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