mick’s blog

The Cosmos with NGC 7217

January 7, 2019

NGC 7217 is an unbarred spiral galaxy in the constellation Pegasus.

NGC 7217 is a gas-poor system whose main features are the presence of several rings of stars concentric to its nucleus: three main ones –the outermost one being of the most prominent and the one that features most of the gas and star formation of this galaxy  plus several others inside the innermost one discovered with the help of the Hubble Space Telescope; a feature that suggests NGC 7217’s central regions have suffered several starbursts. There is also a very large and massive spheroid that extends beyond its disk.

Other noteworthy features this galaxy has are the presence of a number of stars rotating in the opposite direction around the galaxy’s center to most of them and two distinct stellar populations: one of intermediate age on its innermost regions and a younger, metal-poor version on its outermost ones.

It has been suggested these features were caused by a merger with another galaxy and, in fact, computer simulations show that NGC 7217 could have been a large lenticular galaxy that merged with one or two smaller gas-rich ones of late Hubble type becoming the spiral galaxy we see today.; however right now this galaxy is isolated in space, with no nearby major companions. More recent research, however, presents a somewhat different scenario in which NGC 7217’s massive bulge and halo would have been formed in a merger and the disk formed later (and is still growing) either accreting gas from the intergalactic medium or smaller gas-rich galaxies, or most likely from a previously existing reserve.

see full post...

Kenny Loggins Day

January 7, 2019

Kenneth Clark Loggins (born January 7, 1948) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. His early songwriting compositions were recorded with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 1970, which led to seven albums, performing as the group Loggins and Messina from 1972 to 1977. As a solo artist, Loggins experienced a string of soundtrack successes, including an Academy Award nomination for “Footloose” in 1984. His early soundtrack contributions date back to the film A Star Is Born in 1976, and for much of the 1980s and 1990s, he was known as “The Soundtrack King”.Finally Home was released in 2013, shortly after Loggins formed the group Blue Sky Riders with Gary Burr and Georgia Middleman.

Loggins was born in Everett, Washington, and is the youngest of three brothers. His mother was Lina (née Massie), a homemaker, and his father, Robert George Loggins, was a salesman. They lived in Detroit and Seattle before settling in Alhambra, California. Loggins attended San Gabriel Mission High School, graduating in 1966. He formed a band called the Second Helping that released three singles during 1968 and 1969 on Viva Records. Greg Shaw described the efforts as “excellent punky folk-pop records” that were written by Loggins who was likely to be the bandleader and singer as well; Shaw included “Let Me In” on both Highs in the Mid-Sixties, Volume 2 and the Pebbles, Volume 9 CD.

Loggins had a short gig playing guitar for the New Improved Electric Prunes in 1969 before writing four songs for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which were included in their Uncle Charlie & His Dog Teddy album. During his early twenties, he was part of the band Gator Creek with Mike Deasy. The first recorded version of “Danny’s Song” (later recorded by Loggins and Messina and a No. 7 Hot 100 hit for Anne Murray in 1973) was included on their only album, released on Mercury Records.

see full post...

Chano Pozo Day

January 7, 2019

Luciano Pozo González (January 7, 1915 in Havana – December 3, 1948 in New York City), known professionally as Chano Pozo was a Cuban jazz percussionist, singer, dancer, and composer. Despite only living to age 33, he played a major role in the founding of Latin jazz. He co-wrote some of Dizzy Gillespie’s Latin-flavored compositions, such as “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo“, and was the first Latin percussionist in Gillespie’s band.

Luciano “Chano” Pozo González was born in Havana to Cecelio González and Carnación Pozo. Chano grew up with three sisters and a brother, as well as his older half brother, Félix Chappottín, who would later become one of the great Cuban soneros. The family struggled with poverty throughout his youth. His mother died when Chano was eleven, and Cecelio took his family to live with his long-time mistress, Natalia, who was Felix’s mother.

Chano showed an early interest in playing drums, and performed ably in Afro-Cuban religious ceremonies in which drumming was a key element. The family lived for many years at El África Solar (Africa neighborhood), a former slave quarters, by all accounts a foul and dangerous place, where it was said even the police were afraid to venture. In this environment criminal activities flourished, and Chano learned the ways of the street as means of survival. He dropped out of school after the third grade and earned a solid reputation as a rowdy tough guy, big for his age and exceptionally fit. He spent his days playing drums, fighting, drinking, and engaging in petty criminal activities, the latter of which landed him a stint in a youth reformatory. No official records document the crime he was sentenced for, though at least one account has him causing the accidental death of a foreign tourist, adding to a record of thievery, assault, and truancy. At the age of 13, Chano was sent to the reformatory in Guanajay, where he learned reading and writing, auto body repair, and honed his already exceptional skills playing a variety of drums.

During this time he became a devotee of Santería. Also known as “La Regla de Ocha”, this is an Afro-Caribbean religion derived from traditional beliefs of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. Developed among Afro-Cuban slaves, the religion began as a blending of these West African spiritual beliefs and Catholic doctrine. Yoruba deities were identified with Catholic saints to fool the slave owners, as the Spanish colonialists had forbidden the practice of African religions. Chano pledged allegiance to the Catholic Saint Barbara, identified widely with Shango, the Yoruba god of fire and thunder, and took him as his personal protector. Both Shango and St. Barbara had associations with the color red, and for the rest of his life Chano would often carry a red scarf signifying his allegiance.

see full post...

Henry Red Allen Day

January 7, 2019

Henry James “Red” Allen (January 7, 1908 – April 17, 1967) was an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist whose style has been claimed to be the first to fully incorporate the innovations of Louis Armstrong.

Allen was born in the Algiers neighborhood of New Orleans, Louisiana, the son of the bandleader Henry Allen. He took early trumpet lessons from Peter Bocage and Manuel Manetta.

Allen’s career began in Sidney Desvigne‘s Southern Syncopators. He was playing professionally by 1924 with the Excelsior Brass Band and the jazz dance bands of Sam Morgan, George Lewis and John Casimir. After playing on riverboats on the Mississippi River, he went to Chicago in 1927 to join King Oliver‘s band. Around this time he made recordings on the side in the band of Clarence Williams. After returning briefly to New Orleans, where he worked with the bands of Fate Marable and Fats Pichon, he was offered a recording contract with Victor Records and went to New York City, where he joined the Luis Russell band, which was later fronted by Louis Armstrong in the late 1930s.

In 1929 Allen joined Luis Russell’s Orchestra, in which he was a featured soloist until 1932. He took part in recording sessions that year organized by Eddie Condon, some of which featured Fats Waller and Tommy Dorsey. He also made a series of recordings in late 1931 with Don Redman. In 1933 he joined Fletcher Henderson‘s Orchestra, in which he stayed until 1934. He played with Lucky Millinder‘s Mills Blue Rhythm Band from 1934 to 1937, when he returned to Russell for three more years, by which time Russell’s orchestra was fronted by Louis Armstrong. Allen seldom received any solo space on recordings with Armstrong but was prominently featured in the band’s live performances, even getting billing as a featured attraction.

see full post...

Bobo Jenkins Day

January 7, 2019

Bobo Jenkins (January 7, 1916 – August 14, 1984) was an American Detroit blues and electric blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. He also built and set up his own recording studio and record label in Detroit. Jenkins is best known for his recordings of “Democrat Blues” and “Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night”.

He was born John Pickens Jenkins in Forkland, Alabama. His father, a sharecropper, died when John was not yet one year old, and the boy grew up with his mother and uncle. He left home before the age of 12, and arrived in Memphis, Tennessee. He had a wife at the age of 14, the first of ten marriages. Jenkins took casual work in the Mississippi Delta for several years and then enrolled in the United States Army. Following his 1944 military discharge, he relocated to Detroit, working for Packard and managing a garage, before spending twenty-seven years working for Chrysler.

 

see full post...

World Music with Debashish Bhattacharya

January 7, 2019

see full post...

Daily Roots with Bob Andy

January 7, 2019

see full post...

The Cosmos with NGC 2174

January 6, 2019

n celebration of the 24th anniversary of the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (on April 24, 1990) astronomers have taken an infrared-light portrait of a roiling region of starbirth located 6,400 light-years away.

The Hubble mosaic unveils a collection of carved knots of gas and dust in a small portion of the Monkey Head Nebula (also known as NGC 2174 and Sharpless Sh2-252). The nebula is a star-forming region that hosts dusky dust clouds silhouetted against glowing gas.

Massive, newly formed stars near the center of the nebula (and toward the right in this image) are blasting away at dust within the nebula. Ultraviolet light from these bright stars helps carve the dust into giant pillars. The nebula is mostly composed of hydrogen gas, which becomes ionized by the ultraviolet radiation.

As the interstellar dust particles are warmed from the radiation from the stars in the center of the nebula, they heat up and begin to glow at infrared wavelengths.

The image demonstrates Hubble’s powerful infrared vision and offers a tantalizing hint of what scientists can expect from the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope.

see full post...

Maurice “Mobetta” Brown Day

January 6, 2019

Maurice “Mobetta” Brown (born January 6, 1981) originally from Harvey, Illinois is a Grammy Award-winning American jazz trumpeter, producer and composer. As a member of Tedeschi Trucks Band, he shared the 2011 Grammy for Best Blues Album (Revelator).

Brown was born in Harvey, Illinois and grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. He met Wynton Marsalis in the 8th grade while performing at a seminar attended by Marsalis. While attending Hillcrest High School in Country Club Hills, Brown was chosen to participate in the National High School GRAMMY Band, which led Ramsey Lewis to begin hiring Brown to perform with his band.

 

Brown began college at Northern Illinois University, then transferred to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, studying under jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste. After winning first place in the National Miles Davis Trumpet Competition, he moved to New Orleans, where he led a regular Tuesday night residency at the Snug Harbor jazz club and released his first album, “Hip to Bop”.

After Hurricane Katrina, Brown relocated back to Chicago, then to New York City. He currently splits time between his residence in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

see full post...

Earl Scruggs Day

January 6, 2019

Earl Eugene Scruggs (January 6, 1924 – March 28, 2012) was an American musician noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo picking style, now called “Scruggs style“, that is a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. His three-finger style of playing was radically different from the ways the five-string banjo had been historically played. He popularized the instrument in several genres of music and elevated the banjo from its role as a background rhythm instrument, or a comedian’s prop, into featured solo status.

Scruggs’ career began at age 21 when he was hired to play in a group called “Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys”. The name “bluegrass” eventually became the eponym for the entire genre of country music now known by that title. Despite considerable success with Monroe, performing on the Grand Ole Opry and recording classic hits like “Blue Moon of Kentucky“, Scruggs resigned from the group in 1946 due to their exhausting touring schedule. Band member Lester Flatt resigned as well, and he and Scruggs later paired up in a new group called “Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys“. Scruggs’ banjo instrumental called “Foggy Mountain Breakdown“, released in 1949, became an enduring hit, and had a rebirth of popularity to a younger generation when it was featured in the 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde. The song won two Grammy Awards and, in 2005, was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry of works of unusual merit.

Scruggs was born January 6, 1924, in Flint Hill, Cleveland County, North Carolina, a small community just outside of Boiling Springs, about 10 miles west of Shelby. His father, George Elam Scruggs, was a farmer and a bookkeeper who died of a protracted illness when Earl was four years old. Upon his death, Scruggs’ mother, Georgia Lula Rupee (called Lula), was left to take care of the farm and five children, of which Earl was the youngest.

Scruggs is noted for popularizing a three-finger banjo-picking style now called “Scruggs style” that has become a defining characteristic of bluegrass music. Prior to Scruggs, most banjo players used the frailing or clawhammer technique, which consists of holding the fingers bent like a claw and moving the entire hand in a downward motion so that the strings are struck with the back of the middle fingernail. This motion is followed by striking the thumb on a single string. The three-finger style of playing is radically different from frailing; the hand itself remains stationary and only the fingers and thumb move, somewhat similar to classical guitar technique.Scruggs style also involves using picks on three digits, each plucking three individual stings — downward with the thumb, then upward with the index and middle finger in sequence. When done skillfully and in rapid sequence, the style allows any digit (though usually the thumb) to play a melody, while the other two digits play arpeggiosof the melody line. The use of picks gives each note a louder percussive attack, creating an exciting effect, described by The New York Times as “like thumbtacks plinking rhythmically on a tin roof”.

see full post...

World Music with Gato Preto

January 6, 2019

Gato Preto (“Black Cat” in Portuguese) is a music project from rapper Gata Misteriosa (Mozambique/Portugal) and DJ/producer Lee Bass (Ghana/Germany).

see full post...

Daily Roots with Jackie Mittoo

January 6, 2019

see full post...

The Cosmos with NGC 2282

January 5, 2019

NGC 2282 (pictured here). Not much research has been carried out regarding this region, but its size and distance have been determined; it lurks about 5,500 light-years from Earth, and spans approximately 5 light-years across.

Found in the constellation of Monoceros, NGC 2282 is believed to be the site of ongoing star formation activity, perhaps giving life to a few hundred stars. Many of which are somewhere between 5 and 10 million years old, basically newborns. What’s more is that at least 9% are pre main-sequence.

Based on their infrared signature, research indicates that the cluster is situated on the outskirts of a molecular cloud, which may aid in the formation of the reflection nebula this image — taken by Adam Block of the Mount Lemmon Sky Center — brilliantly displays.

see full post...

Paul Wertico Day

January 5, 2019

Paul Wertico (born January 5, 1953 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American drummer. He gained recognition as a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 until 2001, leaving the group to spend more time with his family and to pursue other musical interests.

After Pat Metheny heard the Simon and Bard Group with Wertico and bassist Steve Rodby, he invited both to join his band. During his time with Metheny, Wertico played on ten albums and four videos, appeared on television, and toured around the world. He won seven Grammy Awards (for “Best Jazz Fusion Performance,” “Best Contemporary Jazz Performance,” and “Best Rock Instrumental Performance”), magazine polls, and received several gold records.

He formed the Paul Wertico Trio and collaborated with Larry Coryell, Kurt Elling, and Jeff Berlin. From 2000 to 2007, he was a member of SBB, the platinum-record-winning Polish progressive rockband. Wertico was a member of the Larry Coryell Power Trio until Coryell’s death in 2017.

see full post...

Elizabeth Cotten Day

January 5, 2019

Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten (née Nevills) (January 5, 1893 – June 29, 1987) was an American blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter. A self-taught left-handed guitarist, Cotten developed her own original style. She played a guitar strung for a right-handed player, but played it upside down, as she was left-handed. This position required her to play the bass lines with her fingers and the melody with her thumb. Her signature alternating bass style has become known as “Cotten picking”.

Cotten was born in 1893 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to a musical family. Her parents were George Nevill (also spelled Nevills) and Louisa (or Louise) Price Nevill. Elizabeth was the youngest of five children. At age seven, she began to play her older brother’s banjo. “From that day on,” she said, “nobody had no peace in that house.” By the age of eight, she was playing songs. At the age of 11, after scraping together some money as a domestic helper, she bought her own guitar. The guitar, a Sears and Roebuck brand instrument, cost $3.75 (equivalent to $105 in 2018). Although self-taught, she became proficient at playing the instrument. By her early teens she was writing her own songs, one of which, “Freight Train“, became one of her most recognized. She wrote the song in remembrance of a nearby train that she could hear from her childhood home. The 1956 UK recording of the song by Chas McDevitt and Nancy Whiskey was a major hit and is credited as one of the main influences on the rise of skiffle in the UK.

see full post...

World Music with Alioune Kassé

January 5, 2019

Alioune Kassé was born in Dakar, Senegal. He belongs to the Tukulor ethnic group and is a writer, composer and player.

see full post...

Daily Roots with the Wailing Souls

January 5, 2019

see full post...

World Fusion with Senyawa

January 4, 2019

It’s hard to describe the music of Indonesian group Senyawa. The duo makes experimental music that crosses various musical boundaries. Singer Rully Shabara uses various forms of vocals, ranging from shamanic throat sounds to whispered lyrics in various layers. Multi-instrumentalist Wukir Suryadi plays a wide range of musical instruments that include conventional ones as well as homemade devices.

see full post...

The Cosmos with NGC 5084

January 4, 2019

NGC 5084 is a lenticular galaxy in the constellation of Virgo. It is located at a distance of circa 80 million light years from Earth, which, given its apparent dimensions, means that NGC 5084 is at least 200,000 light years across. It is one of the largest and most massive galaxies in the Virgo Supercluster. It was discovered by William Herschel on March 10, 1785. The galaxy is seen nearly edge-on, with inclination 86°, and features a warped disk and large quantities of HI gas extending along the disk, probably accumulated after multiple accretions of smaller galaxies.

see full post...

John McLaughlin Day

January 4, 2019

John McLaughlin (born 4 January 1942), also known as Mahavishnu John McLaughlin, is an English guitarist, bandleader and composer. His music includes many genres of jazz which he coupled with elements of rock, Indian classical music, Western classical music, flamenco and blues to become one of the pioneering figures in fusion.

After contributing to several key British groups of the early 1960s McLaughlin made Extrapolation, his first album as a bandleader, in 1969. He then moved to the U.S., where he played with Tony Williams‘s group Lifetime and then with Miles Davis on his electric jazz-fusion albums In a Silent Way, Bitches Brew, Jack Johnson, and On the Corner.

His 1970s electric band, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, performed a technically virtuosic and complex style of music that fused electric jazz and rock with Indian influences.

McLaughlin has been cited as an influence by a number of prominent musicians. He is a Grammy Award winner and has been awarded multiple “Guitarist of the Year” and “Best Jazz Guitarist” awards from magazines such as DownBeat and Guitar Player based on reader polls. In 2003, he was ranked 49th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time“. In 2009, DownBeat included McLaughlin in its unranked list of “75 Great Guitarists”, in the “Modern Jazz Maestros” category. In 2012, Guitar World magazine ranked him #63 on its top 100 list. In 2010, guitarist Jeff Beck called him “the best guitarist alive”. McLaughlin was also referred to as the best guitarist alive by Pat Metheny. 

 

see full post...

Interviews