mick’s blog

Pray

November 30, 2021

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The Cozmos with L L Pegasi

November 30, 2021

What created the strange spiral structure on the upper left? No one is sure, although it is likely related to a star in a binary star system entering the planetary nebula phase, when its outer atmosphere is ejected. The huge spiral spans about a third of a light year across and, winding four or five complete turns, has a regularity that is without precedent. Given the expansion rate of the spiral gas, a new layer must appear about every 800 years, a close match to the time it takes for the two stars to orbit each other. The star system that created it is most commonly known as LL Pegasi, but also AFGL 3068 and IRAS 23166+1655. The featured image was taken in near-infrared light by the Hubble Space Telescope. Why the spiral glows is itself a mystery, with a leading hypothesis being illumination by light reflected from nearby stars.

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Shuggie Otis

November 30, 2021

Johnny Shuggie Otis (born Johnny Alexander Veliotes, Jr.; November 30, 1953) is an American singer-songwriter, recording artist, and multi-instrumentalist.

Otis’s composition “Strawberry Letter 23” (as recorded by The Brothers Johnson) topped the Billboard R&B chart and reached #5 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977. He also achieved commercial success with his 1974 single “Inspiration Information” (from the album of the same title), reaching #56 on the R&B chart.

Born in Los Angeles, California, Otis is the son of rhythm and blues pioneer, musician, bandleader, and impresario Johnny Otis, who was of Greekdescent, and his wife Phyllis Walker, who was of African American and Filipino descent. The name “Shuggie” (short for “sugar,” according to his mother) was coined by Phyllis when he was a newborn. Otis began playing guitar when he was two years old and performing professionally with his father’s band at the age of eleven, often disguising himself with dark glasses and a false mustache so that he could play with his father’s band in after-hours nightclubs.

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Benny Moten

November 30, 2021

Benny Moten (November 30, 1916 – March 27, 1977) was an American jazz bassist.

Moten had a long career as a sideman from the early 1940s, including with Hot Lips Page, Jerry Jerome, Red Allen (1942–49, 1955–65 intermittently), Eddie South, Stuff Smith, Arnett Cobb, Ella Fitzgerald, Wilbur De Paris (1956–57), Buster Bailey, Roy Eldridge, and Dakota Staton (1961–63). Though he never recorded as a leader, he continued performing nearly until the time of his death.

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Brownie McGhee

November 30, 2021

Walter Brown “Brownie” McGhee (November 30, 1915 – February 16, 1996) was an American folk music and Piedmont blues singer and guitarist, best known for his collaboration with the harmonica player Sonny Terry.

McGhee was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, and grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee. At about the age of four he contracted polio, which incapacitated his right leg. His brother Granville “Sticks”(or “Stick”) McGhee, who also later became a musician and composed the famous song “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-o-Dee,” was nicknamed for pushing young Brownie around in a cart. Their father, George McGhee, was a factory worker, known around University Avenue for playing guitar and singing. Brownie’s uncle made him a guitar from a tin marshmallow box and a piece of board.

McGhee spent much of his youth immersed in music, singing with a local harmony group, the Golden Voices Gospel Quartet, and teaching himself to play guitar. He also played the five-string banjo and ukulele and studied piano. Surgery funded by the March of Dimes enabled McGhee to walk.

At age 22, McGhee became a traveling musician, working in the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and befriending Blind Boy Fuller, whose guitar playing influenced him greatly. After Fuller’s death in 1941, J. B. Long of Columbia Records promoted McGhee as “Blind Boy Fuller No. 2.” By that time, McGhee was recording for Columbia’s subsidiary Okeh Records in Chicago, but his real success came after he moved to New York in 1942, when he teamed up with Sonny Terry, whom he had known since 1939, when Terry was Fuller’s harmonica player. The pairing was an overnight success. They recorded and toured together until around 1980. As a duo, Terry and McGhee did most of their work from 1958 until 1980, spending 11 months of each year touring and recording dozens of albums.

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Robert Nighthawk

November 30, 2021

Robert Lee McCollum (November 30, 1909 – November 5, 1967) was an American blues musician who played and recorded under the pseudonyms Robert Lee McCoy and Robert Nighthawk. He was the father of the blues musician Sam Carr. Nighthawk was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983.

McCollum was born in Helena, Arkansas. He left home at an early age and became a busking musician. After a period traveling through southern Mississippi, he settled for a time in Memphis, Tennessee, where he played with local orchestras and musicians, such as the Memphis Jug Band. A particular influence during this period was Houston Stackhouse, from whom he learned to play slide guitar and with whom he performed on the radio in Jackson, Mississippi.

After further travels through Mississippi, he found it advisable to take his mother’s name. As Robert Lee McCoy, he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in the mid-1930s. Local musicians with whom he played included Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams, and Sonny Boy Williamson. This led to two recording dates in 1938, the four musicians recording together at the Victor Records studio in Aurora, Illinois. He also recorded under his own name, including “Prowling Night-Hawk” (recorded 5 May 1937), from which he took his later pseudonym. These sessions led to the other musicians pursuing Chicago blues careers.

But McCoy continued his rambling life, playing and recording (for Victor/Bluebird Records and Decca Records) solo and with various other musicians, under various names. Kansas City Red was his drummer from the early 1940s to around 1946.[8] He recorded Kansas City Red’s song “The Moon Is Rising”

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World Music with Imarhan

November 30, 2021

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Daily Roots with Horace Martin

November 30, 2021

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The Cozmos with NGC 1317

November 29, 2021

In this image the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope peers into the spiral galaxy NGC 1317 in the constellation Fornax, more than 50 million light-years from Earth. This galaxy is one of a pair, but NGC 1317’s rowdy larger neighbour NGC 1316 lies outside Hubble’s field of view. Despite the absence here of its neighbouring galaxy, NGC 1317 is accompanied in this image by two objects from very different parts of the Universe. The bright point ringed with a criss-cross pattern is a star from our own galaxy surrounded by diffraction spikes, whereas the redder elongated smudge is a distant galaxy lying far beyond NGC 1317. The data presented in this image are from a vast observing campaign of hundreds of observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. Combined with data from the ALMA array in the Atacama desert, these observations help astronomers chart the connections between vast clouds of cold gas and the fiercely hot young stars that form within them. ALMA’s unparalleled sensitivity at long wavelengths identified vast reservoirs of cold gas throughout the local Universe, and Hubble’s sharp vision pinpointed clusters of young stars, as well as measuring their ages and masses.  Often the most exciting astronomical discoveries require this kind of telescope teamwork, with cutting-edge facilities working together and providing astronomers with information across the electromagnetic spectrum. The same applies to future telescopes, with Hubble’s observations laying the groundwork for future science with the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope. Links Video One of a Pair

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John Lamb

November 29, 2021

John Lamb (born November 29, 1933) is an American jazz double bassist who was a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

Born in Vero Beach, Florida, Lamb grew up as a child who loved playing music, specializing in the tuba. He left high school to join the United States Air Force as a musician for their military band. He was stationed in Texas and then Montana, where the long winters left him ample time to practice. When the band’s usual string bass player was unavailable for a gig in 1951, the bandmaster asked Lamb if he could play the bass; Lamb immediately said yes, and before long became the band’s new string bassist. He credited his tuba experience for giving him the “feel” to pick up string bass quickly without any prior experience.

Lamb joined Duke Ellington’s orchestra in 1964, and toured with them for three years. Lamb was more of a fan of Miles Davis and Red Garland when he was with Ellington, later saying, “I was very young and very cocky. I thought I knew more than Duke at that time…I have more time today to reflect on the things that were accomplished back then, and the places we traveled to and all the wonderful people that we met. So one has to be careful what one does in his young years, because if they’re fortunate to live long, it all comes back.” In 1966 Lamb performed with Ellington and Sam Woodyard for artist Joan Miró at the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

Lamb later moved to St. Petersburg, Florida and taught music in public schools as well as St. Petersburg College. Alphonso Johnson was one of Lamb’s students. Lamb was awarded the Jazz Club of Sarasota’s “Satchmo Award” for service to jazz.

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Billy Hart

November 29, 2021

Billy Hart (born November 29, 1940) is an American jazz drummer and educator.

Hart was born in Washington, D.C., where early on in his career he performed with Otis Redding and Sam and Dave and then with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn. He was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–68).[1] Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York City, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.

Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock‘s sextet (1969–73) and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–74), Stan Getz (1974–77), and Quest (1980s), in addition to freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972’s On the Corner)

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John Mayall

November 29, 2021

John Mayall, OBE (born 29 November 1933) is an English blues singer, guitarist, organist and songwriter, whose musical career spans over sixty years. In the 1960s, he was the founder of John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, a band which has counted among its members some of the most famous blues and blues rock musicians.

Born in Macclesfield, Cheshire in 1933, Mayall was the son of Murray Mayall, a guitarist and jazz music enthusiast. From an early age, John was drawn to the sounds of American blues players such as Lead Belly, Albert Ammons, Pinetop Smith and Eddie Lang, and taught himself to play the piano, guitars, and harmonica.

Mayall spent three years in Korea for national service and, during a period of leave, he bought his first electric guitar. Back in England, he enrolled at Manchester College of Art (now part of Manchester Metropolitan University) and started playing with a semi-professional band, The Powerhouse Four. After graduation, he obtained a job as an art designer but continued to play with local musicians. In 1963, he opted for a full-time musical career and moved to London.

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Billy Strayhorn

November 29, 2021

William Thomas Strayhorn (November 29, 1915 – May 31, 1967) was an American jazz composer, pianist, lyricist, and arranger, who collaborated with bandleader and composer Duke Ellington for nearly three decades. His compositions include “Take the ‘A’ Train“, “Chelsea Bridge“, “A Flower Is a Lovesome Thing”, and “Lush Life“.

Strayhorn was born in Dayton, Ohio, United States. His family soon moved to the Homewood section of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. However, his mother’s family came from Hillsborough, North Carolina, and she sent him there to protect him from his father’s drunken sprees. Strayhorn spent many months of his childhood at his grandparents’ house in Hillsborough. In an interview, Strayhorn said that his grandmother was his primary influence during the first ten years of his life. He became interested in music while living with her, playing hymns on her piano, and playing records on her Victrola record player.

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World Music with Aurelio Martinez

November 29, 2021

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Daily Roots with Hugh Mundell

November 29, 2021

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The Cozmos with NGC 3314

November 28, 2021

The image shows a pair of overlapping spiral galaxies, NGC 3314a and b, in the top left, caught in a majestic cosmic dance — captured by ESO’s VLT Survey Telescope (VST). But don’t let the perspective fool you! They are, in fact, not interacting at all. The two galaxies, located between 117 and 140 million light-years away in the constellation of Hydra, are actually physically unrelated and only appear to overlap when viewed from Earth. This unique alignment gives astronomers the opportunity to measure many properties of the galaxies, such as how dust absorbs starlight, and hence gain insight into their composition and evolution. There is another hidden secret in this picture if you look closely at the lower right region: beyond this stunning cosmic dance you will find a faint yellowish smudge, the signature of an ultra-diffuse galaxy (UDG). UDGs are objects as large as the Milky Way but with 100 – 1000 times fewer stars. These galaxies are extremely faint and lack star-forming gas, which makes them appear almost like a smudge in the night sky. This UDG, named UDG 32, is one of the faintest and most spread out galaxies in the Hydra I cluster. This image was taken as part of a much larger project, the VST Early-type Galaxy Survey (VEGAS), whose goal is to investigate very faint structures in galaxy clusters — large groups of galaxies held together by gravity. The study, led by Enrichetta Iodice from the Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica in Italy, suggests that UDG 32 may have formed out of the filaments stemming from NGC 3314a, but more observations are needed to confirm this.

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Randy Newman

November 28, 2021

Randall Stuart Newman (born November 28, 1943) is an American singer-songwriter, arranger, composer, and pianist known for his Southern-accented singing style, early Americana-influenced soul songs (often with mordant or satirical lyrics), and various film scores. His best-known songs as a recording artist are “Short People” (1977), “I Love L.A.” (1983), and “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (1995), while other artists have enjoyed more success with cover versions of his “Mama Told Me Not to Come” (1966), “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” (1968) and “You Can Leave Your Hat On” (1972).

Born in Los Angeles to an extended family of Hollywood film composers, Newman began his songwriting career at the age of 17, penning hits for acts such as the Fleetwoods, Cilla Black, Gene Pitney, and the Alan Price Set. In 1968, he made his formal debut as a solo artist with the album Randy Newman, produced by Lenny Waronker and Van Dyke Parks. Four of Newman’s non-soundtrack albums have charted in the US top 40: Sail Away(1972), Good Old Boys (1974), Little Criminals (1977), and Harps and Angels (2008).

Since the 1980s, Newman has worked mostly as a film composer. He has scored nine DisneyPixar animated films, including all four Toy Story films (1995–2019), A Bug’s Life (1998), both Monsters, Inc. films (2001–2013), and the first and third Cars films (2006, 2017), as well as Disney’s James and the Giant Peach (1996) and The Princess and the Frog (2009). His other film scores include Ragtime (1981), The Natural (1984), Awakenings(1990), Pleasantville (1998), Meet the Parents (2000), Seabiscuit (2003), and Marriage Story (2019).

Newman has received twenty-two Academy Award nominations in the Best Original Score and Best Original Song categories and has won twice in the latter category, contributing to the Newmans being the most nominated Academy Award extended family, with a collective 92 nominations in various music categories. He has also won three Emmys, seven Grammy Awards and the Governor’s Award from the Recording Academy. In 2007, he was recognized by the Walt Disney Company as a Disney Legend. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002 and to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013.

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Roy McCurdy

November 28, 2021

Roy McCurdy (born November 28, 1936) is a jazz drummer.

Before joining Cannonball Adderley‘s Quintet in 1965 and staying with the band until Adderley’s death in 1975, he had played with Chuck and Gap Mangione in the Jazz Brothers (1960–1961), as well as with Bobby Timmons, Betty Carter and Sonny Rollins (1963–1964), appearing on the classic 1963 album Sonny Meets Hawk!

He attended the Eastman School of Music from sixteen to eighteen, during which time he also played professionally with Roy Eldridge and with Eddie Vinson at seventeen. In 1960 he joined the Art FarmerBenny Golson Jazztet and remained for two years.

Among the influences he cites Louie Bellson, Shelly Manne, Sam Woodyard, Buddy Rich, Papa Jo Jones, Philly Joe Jones and the bands of Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford and Lionel Hampton.

He has also played and/or recorded with Count Basie, Wes Montgomery, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Carmen McRae, Joe Williams, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Art Pepper, and the jazz rock group Blood, Sweat and Tears, etc.

He appears on the classic 1983 recording Jackson, Johnson, Brown & Company featuring Milt Jackson on vibes, J. J. Johnson on trombone, Ray Brown on bass, Tom Ranier on piano, and John Collins on guitar.

As of 2010, McCurdy is an Adjunct Professor in the Jazz Studies Department of the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, California.

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Gato Barbieri

November 28, 2021

LeandroGatoBarbieri (28 November 1932 – 2 April 2016) was an Argentine jazz tenor saxophonist who rose to fame during the free jazzmovement in the 1960s and is known for his Latin jazz recordings of the 1970s. His nickname, Gato, is Spanish for “cat”.

Born to a family of musicians, Barbieri began playing music after hearing Charlie Parker‘s “Now’s the Time”. He played the clarinet and later the alto saxophone while performing with Argentine pianist Lalo Schifrin in the late 1950s. By the early 1960s, while playing in Rome, he also worked with the trumpeter Don Cherry. By now influenced by John Coltrane‘s late recordings, as well as those from other free jazz saxophonists such as Albert Aylerand Pharoah Sanders, he began to develop the warm and gritty tone with which he is associated. In the late 1960s, he was fusing music from South America into his playing and contributed to multi-artist projects like Charlie Haden‘s Liberation Music Orchestra and Carla Bley‘s Escalator Over The Hill. His score for Bernardo Bertolucci‘s 1972 film Last Tango in Paris earned him a Grammy Award and led to a record deal with Impulse! Records.

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Gigi Gryce

November 28, 2021

Gigi Gryce (born George General Grice Jr.; November 28, 1925 – March 14, 1983 Pensacola, FL), later Basheer Qusim, was an American jazz saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist, composer, arranger, and educator.

While his performing career was relatively short, much of his work as a player, composer, and arranger was quite influential and well-recognized during his time. However, Gryce abruptly ended his jazz career in the 1960s. This, in addition to his nature as a very private person, has resulted in very little knowledge of Gryce today. Several of his compositions have been covered extensively (“Minority“, “Social Call”, “Nica’s Tempo”) and have become minor jazz standards. Gryce’s compositional bent includes harmonic choices similar to those of contemporaries Benny Golson, Tadd Dameron and Horace Silver. Gryce’s playing, arranging, and composing are most associated with the classic hard bop era (roughly 1953–1965). He was a well-educated composer and musician, and wrote some classical works as a student at the Boston Conservatory. As a jazz musician and composer he was very much influenced by the work of Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk.

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Interviews