Alberta Hunter Day

April 1, 2020

Alberta Hunter (April 1, 1895 – October 17, 1984) was an American jazz singer and songwriter who had a successful career from the early 1920s to the late 1950s, and then stopped performing. After twenty years of working as a nurse, in 1977 Hunter successfully resumed her popular singing career until her death.

Hunter was born in Memphis, Tennessee, to Laura Peterson, who worked as a maid in a Memphis brothel, and Charles Hunter, a Pullman porter. Hunter said she never knew her father. She attended Grant Elementary School, off Auction Street, which she called Auction School, in Memphis. She attended school until around age 15.

One of her first notable experiences as an artist was at the Panama Club, a white-owned club with a white-only clientele that had a chain in Chicago, New York and other large cities. Hunter’s first act was in an upstairs room, far from the main event; thus, she began developing as an artist in front of a cabaret crowd. “The crowd wouldn’t stay downstairs. They’d go upstairs to hear us sing the blues. That’s where I would stand and make up verses and sing as I go along.” Many claim her appeal was based on her gift for improvising lyrics to satisfy the audience. Her big break came when she was booked at Dreamland Cafe, singing with King Oliver and his band.

She peeled potatoes by day and hounded club owners by night, determined to land a singing job. Her persistence paid off, and Hunter began a climb from some of the city’s lowest dives to a headlining job at its most prestigious venue for black entertainers, the Dreamland ballroom. She had a five-year association with the Dreamland, beginning in 1917, and her salary rose to $35 a week.

She first toured Europe in 1917, performing in Paris and London. The Europeans treated her as an artist, showing her respect and even reverence, which made a great impression on her.

Her career as singer and songwriter flourished in the 1920s and 1930s, and she appeared in clubs and on stage in musicals in both New York and London. The songs she wrote include the critically acclaimed “Downhearted Blues” (1922).

She recorded several records with Perry Bradford from 1922 to 1927.

Hunter recorded prolifically during the 1920s, starting with sessions for Black Swan in 1921, Paramount in 1922–1924, Gennett in 1924, OKeh in 1925–1926, Victor in 1927 and Columbia in 1929. While still working for Paramount, she also recorded for Harmograph Records under the pseudonym May Alix.

Hunter wrote “Downhearted Blues” with Lovie Austin and recorded the track for Ink Williams at Paramount Records. She received only $368 in royalties. Williams had secretly sold the recording rights to Columbia Records in a deal in which all royalties were paid to him. The song became a big hit for Columbia, with Bessie Smith as the vocalist. This record sold almost 1 million copies. Hunter learned what Williams had done and stopped recording for him.

 

In 1928, Hunter played Queenie opposite Paul Robeson in the first London production of Show Boat at Drury Lane. She subsequently performed in nightclubsthroughout Europe and appeared for the 1934 winter season with Jack Jackson‘s society orchestra at the Dorchester, in London. One of her recordings with Jackson is “Miss Otis Regrets“.[17]

While at the Dorchester, she made several HMV recordings with the orchestra and appeared in Radio Parade of 1935 (1934),[17] the first British theatrical film to feature the short-lived Dufaycolor, but only Hunter’s segment was in color. She spent the late 1930s fulfilling engagements on both sides of the Atlantic and the early 1940s performing at home.

Hunter eventually moved to New York City. She performed with Bricktop and recorded with Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. She continued to perform on both sides of the Atlantic, and as the head of the U.S.O.’s first black show, until her mother’s death.

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World Music with Tamikrest

April 1, 2020

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Daily Roots with Vernon Buckley

April 1, 2020

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The Cosmos with Sagittarius A

March 31, 2020

This enigmatic region, about 26,000 light years away toward the constellation of the Archer (Sagittarius), glows in every type of light that we can see. In the featured image, high-energy X-ray emission captured by NASA’s orbiting Chandra X-Ray Observatory appears in green and blue, while low-energy radio emission captured by SARAO‘s ground-based MeerKATtelescope array is colored red. Just on the right of the colorful central region lies Sagittarius A (Sag A), a strong radio source that coincides with Sag A*, our Galaxy’s central supermassive black hole. Hot gas surrounds Sag A, as well as a series of parallel radio filaments known as the Arc, seen just left of the image center. Numerous unusual single radio filaments are visible around the image. Many stars orbit in and around Sag A, as well as numerous small black holes and dense stellar cores known as neutron stars and white dwarfs. The Milky Way’s central supermassive black hole is currently being imaged by the Event Horizon Telescope.

Sagittarius A* (pronounced “Sagittarius A-Star”, abbreviated Sgr A*) is a bright and very compact astronomical radio source at the center of the Milky Way, near the border of the constellations Sagittarius and Scorpius about 5.6° south of the ecliptic. It is the location of a supermassive black hole, similar to those generally accepted to be at the centers of most if not all spiral and elliptical galaxies.

Observations of a number of stars orbiting around Sagittarius A*, most notably the star S2, have been used to provide evidence for the presence of, and produce data about, the Milky Way’s hypothesized central supermassive black hole, and have led scientists to conclude that Sagittarius A* is beyond any reasonable doubt the site of that black hole.

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Etta Baker Day

March 31, 2020

Etta Baker (March 31, 1913 – September 23, 2006) was an American Piedmont blues guitarist and singer from North Carolina.

She was born Etta Lucille Reid in Caldwell County, North Carolina, of African-American, Native American, and European-American heritage. She began playing the guitar at the age of three. She was taught by her father, Boone Reid, a longtime player of the Piedmont blues on several instruments. He was her only musical instructor. She played both the 6-string and the 12-string acoustic guitar and the five-string banjo. Baker played the Piedmont blues for nearly ninety years.

The family moved to Keysville, Virginia, in 1916. There were eight Reid children, four girls and four boys. All but one survived into adulthood. Boone Reid worked a series of jobs during the 1910s and 1920s, occasionally taking work in factories and shipyards in other states. The rest of the family lived with an uncle. By the time Etta Reid was fourteen, the entire family worked on a tobacco farm in southern Virginia, which meant that they were together. She dropped out of school after tenth grade.

Baker was first recorded in the summer of 1956, after she and her father happened across the folksinger Paul Clayton while visiting the Cone mansion, in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, near their home in Morganton. Baker’s father asked Clayton to listen to his daughter playing her signature “One Dime Blues”. Clayton was impressed and arrived at the Baker house with his tape recorder the next day, recording several songs. Clayton recorded five solo guitar pieces by Baker, which were released as part of the 1956 album Instrumental Music of the Southern Appalachians, which was one of the first commercially released recordings of African American banjo music.

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Freddie Green Day

March 31, 2020

Frederick William Green (March 31, 1911 – March 1, 1987) was an American swing jazz guitarist who played rhythm guitar with the Count Basie Orchestra for almost fifty years.

Green was born in Charleston, South Carolina on March 31, 1911. He was exposed to music from an early age, and learned the banjo before picking up the guitar in his early teenage years. A friend of his father by the name of Sam Walker taught a young Freddie to read music, and keenly encouraged him to keep up his guitar playing. Walker gave Freddie what was perhaps his first gig, playing with a local community group with whom Walker was an organizer. Another member of the group was William “Cat” Anderson, who went on to become an established trumpeter, working with notable figures such as Duke Ellington.

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Big Maceo Day

March 31, 2020

Major Merriweather (March 31, 1905 – February 23, 1953), better known as Big Maceo Merriweather, was an American pianist and singer. He was mainly active in Chicago through the 1940s.

Born in Newnan, Georgia, he was a self-taught pianist. In the 1920s, he moved to Detroit, Michigan, to begin his music career. He moved to Chicago in 1941, where he made the acquaintance of Tampa Red. Red introduced him to Lester Melrose of RCA Victor and its subsidiary label Bluebird Records, who signed Merriweather to a recording contract.

His first record was “Worried Life Blues” (1941), which became a blues hit and remained his signature piece. The song had elements derived from Sleepy John Estes‘ “Someday, Baby”. Other classic piano blues recordings followed, such as “Chicago Breakdown”, “Texas Stomp”, and “Detroit Jump“. His piano style was developed from players like Leroy Carr and Roosevelt Sykes and from the boogie-woogie style of Meade Lux Lewis and Albert Ammons. He in turn influenced other musicians, such as Little Johnny Jones and Henry Gray, the latter of whom credited Merriweather with helping him launch his career as a blues pianist.

His style influenced practically every postwar blues pianist of note. His most famous song, “Worried Life Blues”, is a staple of the blues repertoire, with artists such as Eric Clapton performing it regularly in concert. It was in the first batch of songs inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in the category Classic Blues Recordings – Singles or Album Tracks, alongside “Stormy Monday“, ‘Sweet Home Chicago“, “Dust My Broom“, and “Hellhound on My Trail

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Johann Sebastian Bach Day

March 31, 2020

Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March [O.S. 21 March] 1685 – 28 July 1750) was a German composer and musician of the Baroque period. He is known for instrumental compositions such as the Brandenburg Concertos and the Goldberg Variations, and for vocal music such as the St Matthew Passion and the Mass in B minor. Since the 19th-century Bach Revival he is generally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.

The Bach family already counted several composers when Johann Sebastian was born as the last child of a city musician in Eisenach. After being orphaned at age 10, he lived for five years with his eldest brother Johann Christoph, after which he continued his musical formation in Lüneburg. From 1703 he was back in Thuringia, working as a musician for Protestant churches in Arnstadt and Mühlhausen and, for longer stretches of time, at courts in Weimar, where he expanded his organ repertory, and Köthen, where he was mostly engaged with chamber music. From 1723 he was employed as Thomaskantor (cantor at St. Thomas) in Leipzig. He composed music for the principal Lutheran churches of the city, and for its university’s student ensemble Collegium Musicum. From 1726 he published some of his keyboard and organ music. In Leipzig, as had happened during some of his earlier positions, he had difficult relations with his employer, a situation that was little remedied when he was granted the title of court composer by his sovereign, Augustus, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland, in 1736. In the last decades of his life he reworked and extended many of his earlier compositions. He died of complications after eye surgery in 1750 at the age of 65.

Bach enriched established German styles through his mastery of counterpoint, harmonic and motivic organisation, and his adaptation of rhythms, forms, and textures from abroad, particularly from Italy and France. Bach’s compositions include hundreds of cantatas, both sacred and secular. He composed Latin church music, Passions, oratorios, and motets. He often adopted Lutheran hymns, not only in his larger vocal works, but for instance also in his four-part chorales and his sacred songs. He wrote extensively for organ and for other keyboard instruments. He composed concertos, for instance for violin and for harpsichord, and suites, as chamber music as well as for orchestra. Many of his works employ the genres of canon and fugue.

Throughout the 18th century Bach was primarily valued as organist, while his keyboard music, such as The Well-Tempered Clavier, was appreciated for its didactic qualities. The 19th century saw the publication of some major Bach biographies, and by the end of that century all of his known music had been printed. Dissemination of scholarship on the composer continued through periodicals (and later also websites) exclusively devoted to him, and other publications such as the Bach-Werke-Verzeichnis (BWV, a numbered catalogue of his works) and new critical editions of his compositions. His music was further popularised through a multitude of arrangements, including, for instance, the Air on the G String, and of recordings, such as three different box sets with complete performances of the composer’s oeuvre marking the 250th anniversary of his death.

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World Music with Lisa Gerrard

March 31, 2020

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Daily Roots with Johnny Dread

March 31, 2020

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Prince Ea Coronavirus Music

March 30, 2020

 

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The Cosmos with NGV 4618

March 30, 2020

NGC 4618 was discovered on April 9, 1787, by the German-British astronomer William Herschel, who also discovered Uranus in 1781. Only a year before discovering NGC 4618, Herschel theorized that the “foggy” objects astronomers were seeing in the night sky were likely to be large star clusters located much farther away than the individual stars he could easily discern.

Since Herschel proposed his theory, astronomers have come to understand that what he was seeing was a galaxy. NGC 4618, classified as a barred spiral galaxy, has the special distinction among other spiral galaxies of only having one arm rotating around the center of the galaxy.

Located about 21 million light-years from our galaxy in the constellation Canes Venatici, NGC 4618 has a diameter of about one-third that of the Milky Way. Together with its neighbor, NGC 4625, it forms an interacting galaxy pair, which means that the two galaxies are close enough to influence each other gravitationally. These interactions may result in the two (or more) galaxies merging together to form a new formation, such as a ring galaxy.

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Norah Jones Day

March 30, 2020

Norah Jones (born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar; March 30, 1979) is an American singer, songwriter and pianist. She has won multiple awards and has sold more than 50 million records worldwide. Billboard named her the top jazz artist of the 2000s decade. She has won nine Grammy Awards and was ranked 60th on Billboard magazine’s artists of the 2000s decade chart.

In 2002, Jones launched her solo music career with the release of Come Away with Me, which was a fusion of jazz with country, blues, folk and pop. It was certified Diamond, selling over 27 million copies. The record earned Jones five Grammy Awards, including the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist. Her subsequent studio albums — Feels Like Home, released in 2004, Not Too Late, released in 2007, and 2009’s The Fall all gained Platinum status, selling over a million copies each. They were also generally well received by critics. Jones’s fifth studio album, Little Broken Hearts, was released on April 27, 2012; her sixth, Day Breaks, was released on October 7, 2016. Her seventh studio album, Pick Me Up Off the Floor, is slated to be released May 8, 2020. Jones made her feature film debut as an actress in My Blueberry Nights, which was released in 2007 and was directed by Wong Kar-Wai. Jones is the daughter of Indian sitar master and composer Ravi Shankar, and is the half-sister of fellow musician Anoushka Shankar. Jones was born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar on March 30, 1979 in Manhattan, New York, to American concert producer Sue Jones and Indian musician Ravi Shankar.

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Tracy Chapman Day

March 30, 2020

Tracy Chapman (born March 30, 1964) is an American singer-songwriter, known for her hits “Fast Car” and “Give Me One Reason“, along with other singles “Talkin’ ’bout a Revolution“, “Baby Can I Hold You“, “Crossroads“, “New Beginning“, and “Telling Stories“. She is a multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award–winning artist.

Chapman was signed to Elektra Records by Bob Krasnow in 1987. The following year she released her critically acclaimed debut album Tracy Chapman, which became a multi-platinum worldwide hit. The album earned Chapman six Grammy Award nominations, including Album of the Year, three of which she won, including Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for her single “Fast Car”, and Best New Artist. Chapman released her second album Crossroads the following year, which garnered her an additional Grammy nomination. Since then, Chapman has experienced further success with six more studio albums, which include her multi-platinum fourth album New Beginning, for which she won a fourth Grammy Award, for Best Rock Song, for its lead single “Give Me One Reason”. Chapman’s most recent album is Our Bright Future, released in 2008.

Chapman was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her parents divorced when she was four years of age. She was raised by her mother, who bought her music-loving three-year-old daughter a ukulele despite having little money. Chapman began playing the guitar and writing songs at age eight. She says that she may have been first inspired to play the guitar by the television show Hee Haw.

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Eric Clapton Day

March 30, 2020

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time. Clapton ranked second in Rolling Stones list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Timeand fourth in Gibsons “Top 50 Guitarists of All Time”. He was also named number five in Time magazine’s list of “The 10 Best Electric Guitar Players” in 2009.

In the mid-1960s Clapton left the Yardbirds to play with John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers. Immediately after leaving Mayall, Clapton formed the power trio Cream with drummer Ginger Baker and bassist Jack Bruce, in which Clapton played sustained blues improvisations and “arty, blues-based psychedelic pop”. After Cream broke up, he formed blues rock band Blind Faith with Baker, Steve Winwood, and Ric Grech. Clapton’s solo career began in the 1970s, where his work bore the influence of the mellow style of J. J. Cale and the reggae of Bob Marley. His version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” helped reggae reach a mass market. Two of his most popular recordings were “Layla“, recorded with Derek and the Dominos; and Robert Johnson‘s “Crossroads“, recorded with Cream. Following the death of his son Conor in 1991, Clapton’s grief was expressed in the song “Tears in Heaven“, which appeared on his Unplugged album.

Clapton has been the recipient of 18 Grammy Awards, and the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE at Buckingham Palace for services to music. He has received four Ivor Novello Awards from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In his solo career, Clapton has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling musicians of all time. In 1998, Clapton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, founded the Crossroads Centre on Antigua, a medical facility for recovering substance abusers.

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Lanny Morgan Day

March 30, 2020

Lanny Morgan (born March 30, 1934, Des Moines, Iowa) is an American jazz alto saxophonist chiefly active on the West Coast jazz scene.

Morgan was raised in Los Angeles. In the 1950s he played with Charlie Barnet, Si Zentner, Terry Gibbs, and Bob Florence, then did a stint in the U.S. military, for which reason he had to turn down an offer to play in the orchestra of Stan Kenton. From 1960-65 he played in Maynard Ferguson‘s orchestra; after a few years in New York City he returned to Los Angeles in 1969, where he played frequently in the studios, was a member of Supersax, and played in the big bands of Bill Berry, Bob Florence, and Bill Holman. Morgan also played on sessions for Nancy Sinatra.

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SonnyBoy Williamson John Lee Curtis Day

March 30, 2020

John Lee Curtis “Sonny Boy” Williamson (March 30, 1914 – June 1, 1948) was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter. He is often regarded as the pioneer of the blues harp as a solo instrument. He played on hundreds of recordings by many pre–World War II blues artists. Under his own name, he was one of the most recorded blues musicians of the 1930s and 1940s and is closely associated with Chicago producer Lester Melrose and Bluebird Records. His popular songs, original or adapted, include “Good Morning, School Girl“, “Sugar Mama“, “Early in the Morning“, and “Stop Breaking Down“.

Williamson’s harmonica style was a great influence on postwar performers. Later in his career, he was a mentor to many up-and-coming blues musicians who moved to Chicago, including Muddy Waters. In an attempt to capitalize on Williamson’s fame, Aleck “Rice” Miller began recording and performing as Sonny Boy Williamson in the early 1940s, and later, to distinguish the two, John Lee Williamson came to be known as Sonny Boy Williamson I or “the original Sonny Boy”.

Williamson was born in Madison County, Tennessee, near Jackson, in 1914. His original recordings are in the country blues style, but he soon demonstrated skill at making the harmonica a lead instrument for the blues and popularized it for the first time in a more urban blues setting. He has been called “the father of modern blues harp”. While in his teens he joined Yank Rachell and Sleepy John Estes, playing with them in Tennessee and Arkansas. In 1934 he settled in Chicago.

Williamson first recorded in 1937, for Bluebird Records, and his first recording, “Good Morning, School Girl“, became a standard. He was popular among black audiences throughout the southern United States and in Midwestern industrial cities, such as Detroit and Chicago, and his name was synonymous with the blues harmonica for the next decade. Other well-known recordings of his include “Sugar Mama Blues“, “Shake the Boogie”, “You Better Cut That Out”, “Sloppy Drunk”, “Early in the Morning“, “Stop Breaking Down“, and “Hoodoo Hoodoo” (also known as “Hoodoo Man Blues”). In 1947, “Shake the Boogie” made number 4 on Billboards Race Records chart. Williamson’s style influenced many blues harmonica performers, including Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells, Sonny Terry, Little Walter, and Snooky Pryor. He was the most widely heard and influential blues harmonica player of his generation. His music was also influential on many of his non-harmonica-playing contemporaries and successors, including Muddy Waters (who played guitar with Williamson in the mid-1940s) and Jimmy Rogers (whose first recording in 1946 was as a harmonica player, performing an uncanny imitation of Williamson’s style). These and other artists, both blues and rock, have helped popularize his songs through subsequent recordings.

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World Music with Arsen Petrosyan

March 30, 2020

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Daily Roots with O’Yaba

March 30, 2020

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The Cosmos with NGC 2835

March 29, 2020

NGC 2835 is an intermediate spiral galaxy located in the constellation Hydra. It is located at a distance of circa 35 million light years from Earth, which, given its apparent dimensions, means that NGC 2835 is about 65,000 light years across. It was discovered by Wilhelm Tempel on April 13, 1884.NGC 2835 is located only 18.5 degrees from the galactic plane.

NGC 2835 is seen nearly face-on. The galaxy features four or five spiral arms, visible in near infrared due to their population II stars. The spiral arms have also numerous HII regions and stellar associations, the larger of which are 5 arcseconds across. Although the galaxy is quite symmetric, the northern arms have HII regions that appear brighter than the southern ones. Also the southern arms appear less developed in their outer parts than the north ones.The star formation rate in NGC 2835 is 0.4 M per year and the total stellar mass of the galaxy is low, at 7.6×109 M. In the centre of NGC 2835 lies a supermassive black hole whose mass is estimated to be 3-10 million (106.72±0.3) M, based on the spiral arm pitch angle.

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