mick’s blog

Fairuz

November 21, 2020

Nouhad Wadie’ Haddad (Arabic: نهاد وديع حداد‎; born November 20, 1934), known as Fairuz (Arabic: فيروز), also spelled Fairouz, Feyrouz or Fayrouz, is a Lebanese singer. She is considered by many as one of the leading vocalists and most famous singers in the history of Arab world. Fairuz is considered the musical icon of Lebanon, comparable to Edith Piaf in France, Elvis Presley in the United States and Lys Assiain Switzerland.

Fairuz began her musical career as a teenager at the national radio station in Lebanon in the late 1940s as a chorus member. Her first major hit “Itab” came in 1952 which made her an instant star in the Arab world.In the summer of 1957, Fairuz held her first live performance at the Baalbeck International Festival where she was awarded with the honor of “Cavalier”, the highest medal for artistic achievement by Lebanese president Camille Chamoun.

Fairuz’s fame spread throughout the Arab world in the 1950s and 1960s and she would perform outside of Lebanon in various Arab capitals Damascus, Amman, Cairo, Rabat, Algiers, and Tunis. She has received multiple recognitions and awards throughout her career including a Lebanese memorial stamp issued in 1969, the Key to the Holy City awarded by the Jerusalem Cultural Committee, the Jordanian Medal of Honor presented by King Hussein of Jordan, the Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres (Order of Arts and Letters) awarded by French President François Mitterrand in 1988, the Highest Artistic Distinction, awarded by Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Chevalier de la Legion d’honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honor) awarded by French President Jacques Chirac and Honorary Doctorate from the American University of Beirut in 2005.

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Charlie Palmieri

November 21, 2020

Carlos ManuelCharliePalmieri (November 21, 1927 – September 12, 1988) was a renowned bandleader and musical director of salsa music. He was known as the “Giant of the Keyboards”.

Palmieri’s parents migrated to New York from Ponce, Puerto Rico in 1926 and settled down in the South Bronx where Palmieri was born. As a child, Palmieri taught himself to play the piano by ear. He attended the public school system. At age 7, his father enrolled him at The Juilliard School, where he took piano lessons. By the time Palmieri was 14 years old, he and his 5-year-old brother, Eddie, participated in many talent contests, often winning prizes. It was at this time that his godfather introduced him to the music of the Latin bands – an experience which inspired him to become a musician.

In 1943, when still only 16 years old and still in high school, he made his professional debut as a piano player for the Osario Selasie Band. He graduated from high school in 1946, and immediately went to play for various bands. He made his recording debut with the song “Se Va La Rumba” as a member of the Rafael Muñiz Band.

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Coleman Hawkins

November 21, 2020

Coleman Randolph Hawkins (November 21, 1904 – May 19, 1969 St Joseph, MO), nicknamed “Hawk” and sometimes “Bean”, was an American jazz tenor saxophonist. One of the first prominent jazz musicians on his instrument, as Joachim E. Berendt explained: “there were some tenor players before him, but the instrument was not an acknowledged jazz horn”. Hawkins biographer John Chilton described the prevalent styles of tenor saxophone solos prior to Hawkins as “mooing” and “rubbery belches.” Hawkins cited as influences Happy Caldwell, Stump Evans, and Prince Robinson, although he was the first to tailor his method of improvisation to the saxophone rather than imitate the techniques of the clarinet. Hawkins’ virtuosic, arpeggiated approach to improvisation, with his characteristic rich, emotional, loud, and vibrato-laden tonal style, was the main influence on a generation of tenor players that included Chu Berry, Charlie Barnet, Tex Beneke, Ben Webster, Vido Musso, Herschel Evans, Buddy Tate, and Don Byas, and through them the later tenormen, Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Flip Phillips, Ike Quebec, Al Sears, Paul Gonsalves, and Lucky Thompson. While Hawkins became well known with swing music during the big band era, he had a role in the development of bebop in the 1940s.

Fellow saxophonist Lester Young, known as “Pres”, commented in a 1959 interview with The Jazz Review: “As far as I’m concerned, I think Coleman Hawkins was the President first, right? As far as myself, I think I’m the second one.” Miles Davis once said: “When I heard Hawk, I learned to play ballads.

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World Music with Hamza el Din

November 21, 2020

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Daily Roots with Augustus Pablo

November 21, 2020

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Surviving the Pandemic and Realizing Racial Justice

November 20, 2020

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The Cosmos with OH 231.8+04.2

November 20, 2020

The Calabash Nebula, pictured here — which has the technical name OH 231.8+04.2 — is a spectacular example of the death of a low-mass star like the Sun. This image taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the star going through a rapid transformation from a red giant to a planetary nebula, during which it blows its outer layers of gas and dust out into the surrounding space. The recently ejected material is spat out in opposite directions with immense speed — the gas shown in yellow is moving close to a million kilometres an hour. Astronomers rarely capture a star in this phase of its evolution because it occurs within the blink of an eye — in astronomical terms. Over the next thousand years the nebula is expected to evolve into a fully fledged planetary nebula. The nebula is also known as the Rotten Egg Nebula because it contains a lot of sulphur, an element that, when combined with other elements, smells like a rotten egg — but luckily, it resides over 5000 light-years away in the constellation of Puppis (The Poop deck).

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Duane Allman

November 20, 2020

Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American rock guitarist, session musician, and founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band.

Born in Nashville, Tennessee, Allman began playing the guitar at age 14. The Allman Brothers Band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969,and achieved its greatest success in the early 1970s. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band and in particular for his expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills. A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Duane Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Herbie Mann, Wilson Pickett, and Boz Scaggs. He also contributed greatly to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, by Derek and the Dominos. He died following a motorcycle crash in 1971, at the age of 24.

In 2003, he was ranked number 2 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In 2011, he was ranked number 9. His guitar tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest of all time by Guitar Player.Duane Allman’s skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music. He is still referred to by his nickname “Skydog”. Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash shortly after the release and initial success of At Fillmore East. On October 29, 1971, while the band was on a break from touring and recording, Allman was riding his Harley-Davidson Sportster motorcycle at high speed on Hillcrest Avenue, in the western part of Macon. As he approached Bartlett Street, a flatbed boom truck stopped suddenly in the intersection, forcing him to swerve sharply. He struck either the back of the truck or the ball on the crane and was thrown from the motorcycle, which landed on top of him and skidded another 90 feet (27 m) with him pinned underneath it, crushing his internal organs. He was alive when he was taken to a hospital, but despite immediate medical treatment, he died several hours later from massive internal injuries.

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Meredith Monk

November 20, 2020

Meredith Jane Monk (born November 20, 1942) is an American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker, and choreographer.

From the 1960s onwards, Monk has created multi-disciplinary works which combine music, theatre, and dance, recording extensively for ECM Records. In 1991, Monk composed Atlas, an opera, commissioned and produced by the Houston Opera and the American Music Theater Festival. Her music has been used in films by the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski, 1998) and Jean-Luc Godard (Nouvelle Vague, 1990 and Notre musique, 2004). Trip hop musician DJ Shadow sampled Monk’s “Dolmen Music” on the song “Midnight in a Perfect World.” In 2015, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

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Dr. John

November 20, 2020

Malcolm John Rebennack Jr. (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019), better known by his stage name Dr. John, was an American singer and songwriter. His music combined blues, pop, jazz, boogie-woogie, funk, and rock and roll.

Active as a session musician from the late 1950s until his death, he gained a following in the late 1960s after the release of his album Gris-Gris and his appearance at the Bath Festival of Blues and Progressive Music. He typically performed a lively, theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes, and voodoo ceremonies. Rebennack recorded thirty studio albums and nine live albums, as well as contributing to thousands of other musicians’ recordings. In 1973 he achieved a top-10 hit single with “Right Place, Wrong Time“.

The winner of six Grammy Awards, Rebennack was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame by singer John Legend in March 2011. In May 2013, Rebennack received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University.

Rebennack was born in New Orleans on November 20, 1941. He was the son of Dorothy (Cronin) and Malcolm John Rebennack, and had German, Irish, Spanish, English, and French heritage. His father ran an appliance shop in the East End of New Orleans, fixing radios and televisions and selling records. Growing up in the 3rd Ward of New Orleans, he found early musical inspiration in the minstrel tunes sung by his grandfather and a number of aunts, uncles, sister, and cousins who played piano. He did not take music lessons before his teens and endured only a short stint in choir before getting kicked out. His father exposed him as a young boy to jazz musicians King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, who later inspired his 2014 release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. Throughout his adolescence, his father’s connections enabled him access to the recording rooms of rock artists, including Little Richard and Guitar Slim. Later he began to perform in New Orleans clubs, mainly on guitar, and played on stage with various local artists.

When he was about 13 years old, Rebennack met Professor Longhair. Impressed by the professor’s flamboyant attire and striking musical style,Rebennack soon began performing with him, and began his life as a professional musician. He later recalled that his debut in the studio, in about 1955 or 1956, came when he was signed as a songwriter and artist by Eddie Mesner at Aladdin Records. He joined the musicians’ union at the end of 1957, with the help of Danny Kessler, and then considered himself to be a professional musician.

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Flamenco Fridays with José Valencia

November 20, 2020

Although “soleá” rhythm is heavy and slow, measure is similar to “bulerías” and “alegrías” (with other character). Considering music theory, rhythm would start on the pulse that is marked as 3, as way of following the lyrics of the song. Therefore, it would be a three beat rhythm with a changed accent, better said, a twelve pulse rhythm: 3+2+2+2+3.

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Daily Roots with the Upsetters

November 20, 2020

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Surviving the Pandemic and Realizing Racial Justice

November 19, 2020

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The Cosmos with NGC 1015

November 19, 2020

This stunning image from Hubble shows the majestic galaxy NGC 1015, found nestled within the constellation of Cetus (The Whale) 118 million light-years from Earth. In this image, we see NGC 1015 face-on, with its beautifully symmetrical swirling arms and bright central bulge creating a scene akin to a sparkling Catherine wheel firework. NGC 1015 has a bright, fairly large centre and smooth, tightly wound spiral arms and a central “bar” of gas and stars. This shape leads NGC 1015 to be classified as a barred spiral galaxy — just like our home, the Milky Way. Bars are found in around two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, and the arms of this galaxy swirl outwards from a pale yellow ring encircling the bar itself. Scientists believe that any hungry black holes lurking at the centre of barred spirals funnel gas and energy from the outer arms into the core via these glowing bars, feeding the black hole, fueling star birth at the centre and building up the galaxy’s central bulge. In 2009, a Type Ia supernova named SN 2009ig was spotted in NGC 1015 — one of the bright dots to the upper right of the galaxy’s centre. These types of supernovae are extremely important: they are all caused by exploding white dwarfs which have companion stars, and always peak at the same brightness — 5 billion times brighter than the Sun. Knowing the true brightness of these events, and comparing this with their apparent brightness, gives astronomers a unique chance to measure distances in the Universe.

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George Freeman

November 19, 2020

November 19th 1980

As a musical director, George Freeman is well versed in selecting players, communicating concepts and orchestrating powerful shows. His solo full-length debut, Make It Happen, reveals a musical crossroads of jazz, pop, R&B, gospel and neo-soul. Slow burning grooves underscore supple melodies, articulate arpeggios and dynamic keyboard dexterity as the keyboardist, producer and bandleader who plays behind a celebrated roster of musical luminaries steps into the spotlight to showcase his own artistry.

Songs from Make It Happen, like “Tengo Un Amor”, “Two Step” and others currently play on both national and international jazz radio and internet stations. In 2015, George’s first single release from the album “Night Lights” placed 26th on the Billboard Smooth Jazz National Airplay Chart, and stayed on the chart for nine weeks. Making his home in the North Carolina town of Fayetteville, George is a prime player in a vital creative community that includes saxophonist Jeanette Harris who is featured on a reinterpretation of the Anita Baker hit “Sweet Love” included on Make It Happen. “I look for people who are open minded; who aren’t locked into one thing,” George says. “Talent and capability, that goes without saying, but I enjoy good spirited people who are easy to work with.” Born to a musical family, George says that singing in church was a key factor in his education.

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Kenny Werner

November 19, 2020

Kenny Werner (born November 19, 1951) is an American jazz pianist, composer, and author. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 19, 1951 and then growing up in Oceanside, Long Island, Werner began playing and performing at a young age, first recording on television at the age of 11. Although he studied classical piano as a child, he enjoyed playing anything he heard on the radio and improvisation was his true calling. In high school and his first years of college he attended the Manhattan School of Music as a classical piano major.

His aptitude for improvisation led him to the Berklee College of Music in 1970, where he met and studied with his first piano/spiritual teacher, Madame Chaloff. From Boston, Werner traveled to Brazil with the saxophonist Victor Assis Brasil. There he met Assis’s twin brother, Brazilian pianist Joao Assis Brasil. His studies with Joao and Madame Chaloff would lead to the writing of the book Effortless Mastery.

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Joe Hunter

November 19, 2020

Joseph Edward Hunter (November 19, 1927 – February 2, 2007) was an American musician and keyboardist, known for his recording session work with Motown Records‘ in-house studio band, the Funk Brothers. One of the original Funk Brothers, Hunter served as band director for the band from 1959 until 1964, when he left Motown and was replaced by Earl Van Dyke.

Hunter was born in Jackson, Tennessee, United States. Though his time with the Funk Brothers was short, his keyboard playing was integral to the “Motown Sound” . Hunter left a lasting impression on future Motown session musicians, and artists such as Stevie Wonder.[citation needed] He also produced and arranged various soul tracks during the 1960s. He was involved with Pied Piper Productions. Some artists that Hunter can be affiliated with are Dennis Edwards, The Hesitations, Freddy Butler and John Lee Hooker.

Hunter’s influences include Art Tatum, Sergei Rachmaninov, and Nat King Cole. Among the many records he played piano on are “Shop Around” by The Miracles (though the Gerald Posner book, Motown, credited Berry Gordy, Jr), “Do You Love Me” by The Contours, “Pride and Joy” by Marvin Gaye, and “Heat Wave” and “Come and Get These Memories” by Martha & the Vandellas.

Joe Hunter died of natural causes on February 2, 2007, at the age of 79. He was a full-time musician in the Detroit area at the time of his death. He is survived by his son Joe jr, daughter Michelle, and three grand children Joe III, Nathan and Isaac.

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Tommy Dorsey

November 19, 2020

Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956 Mahanoy Plane, PA) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the big band era. He was known as the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing” because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. His theme song was “I’m Getting Sentimental Over You“. His technical skill on the trombone gave him renown among other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. He is best remembered for standards such as “Opus One“, “Song of India“, “Marie”, “On Treasure Island”, and his biggest hit single, “I’ll Never Smile Again“.

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World Music with Lakha Khan

November 19, 2020

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Daily Roots with Robert Marley

November 19, 2020

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Interviews