mick’s blog

Ed Shaughnessy

January 29, 2018

Ed Shaughnessy Day

Edwin Thomas Shaughnessy (January 29, 1929 – May 24, 2013) was a swing music and jazz drummer best known for his long association with Doc Severinsen and The Tonight Show Band on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

Shaughnessy was born in Jersey City, New Jersey and grew up in the New York City area, working in the 1940s with George Shearing, Jack Teagarden, and Charlie Ventura. In the 1950s he worked in the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey bands. In the 1960s he played for Count Basie prior to joining The Tonight Show Band. He was the drummer on Bashin’: The Unpredictable Jimmy Smith in 1962 which featured big band arrangements by Oliver Nelson, including the pop hit “Walk on the Wild Side” which peaked at #21 on the Billboard chart. Shaughnessy recorded extensively throughout his career and was known for his drum competitions with Buddy Rich.


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Eddie Taylor

January 29, 2018

Eddie Taylor Day

Eddie Taylor (January 29, 1923 – December 25, 1985) was an American electric blues guitarist and singer.

Born Edward Taylor in Benoit, Mississippi, as a boy Taylor taught himself to play the guitar. He spent his early years playing at venues around Leland, Mississippi, where he taught his friend Jimmy Reed to play the guitar. With a guitar style deeply rooted in the Mississippi Delta tradition, Taylor moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1949.

Taylor never achieved the stardom of some of his contemporaries in the Chicago blues scene, he was nevertheless an integral part of that era. He is especially noted as a main accompanist for Jimmy Reed; he also worked for John Lee Hooker, Big Walter Horton, Sam Lay, and others. Earwig Music Company recorded him with Kansas City Red and Big John Wrencher for the album Original Chicago Blues. He later teamed up Earring George Mayweather, and they jointly recorded several tracks, including “You’ll Always Have a Home” and “Don’t Knock at My Door”.


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World Music with Minor Empire

January 29, 2018

World Music from Turkey with Minor Empire

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Daily Roots with Bob Marley

January 29, 2018

Daily Roots with Bob Marley


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MAROONS aka Mojo Roots at St Paul Winter Carnival 1-25-18

January 28, 2018

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BEAU KOO JACKS Perform Sunday 1-28-18 @ Amsterdam Bar for Walker West Music School

January 27, 2018

BEAU KOO JACKS Sunday 1-28-18 5-550pm one set only
The only New Orleans R&B Mardi Gras group in town.
Performing a Benefit for the Walker West Music School & Tom Zosel Memorial
at the Amsterdam Bar in St Paul
featuring Van Nixon, Jamie Carter, David Hamilton, Todd Matheson, Paul Strickland, Larry McCabe, Art Haynes and mick laBriola. 8 piece strong with 3 horns. Tom Zosel will be there haunting us with his Illuminating Spirit & Contagious Vibe. You go dude!

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The Cosmos with Roberts Quartet NGC 87, NGC 88, NGC 89 and NGC 92

January 27, 2018

The Cosmos with Roberts Quartet
NGC 87, NGC 88, NGC 89 and NGC 92
Robert’s Quartet is a compact galaxy group approximately 160 million light-years away in the constellation Phoenix. It is a family of four very different galaxies in the process of colliding and merging. Its members are NGC 87, NGC 88, NGC 89 and NGC 92, discovered by John Herschel on the 30 September 1834.

The quartet is one of the best examples of compact galaxy groups, because such groups contain four to eight galaxies in a very small region.[according to whom?] They are excellent laboratories for the study of galactic interactions and their effects, in particular on the formation of stars. The quartet has a total visual magnitude of almost 13.[citation needed] The brightest member of the group is NGC 92, having the blue magnitude of 13.8. On the sky, the four galaxies are all within a circle of radius of 1.6 arcmin, corresponding to about 75,000 light-years.[citation needed] It was named by Halton Arp and Barry F. Madore, who compiled A Catalogue of Southern Peculiar Galaxies and Associations in 1987.


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Bill Ware Day

January 27, 2018

Bill Ware Day
Bill Ware III born William Anthony Ware III (b. January 28, 1959, East Orange, New Jersey) is an American jazz vibraphonist.
Ware played bass and piano early in his career, playing at the Harlem Jazzmobile. After spending several years playing Latin jazz, he formed his own Latin Jazz group, AM Sleep. He joined the Jazz Passengers in 1987, and in 1990 put together a group of sidemen as the Club Bird All-Stars, who accompanied him on a tour of Japan. Alongside this, he played with Groove Collective and Steely Dan in the first half of the 1990s. Later in the decade he teamed up with fellow former Jazz Passengers, Brad Jones and E. J. Rodriguez, in the ensemble Vibes. His 2001 tribute to Duke Ellington was recorded with Marc Ribot on guitar. Deborah Harry guested on his 2002 effort Four. In the mid-2000s, Ware did several projects blending jazz with Western classical musicas well as 5 film scores (with fellow Jazz Passengers bandmate Roy Nathanson).


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Ronnie Scott Day

January 27, 2018

Ronnie Scott Day
Ronnie Scott OBE (born Ronald Schatt, 28 January 1927 – 23 December 1996) was an English jazz tenor saxophonist and jazz club owner.
Ronnie Scott was born in Aldgate, East London, into a Jewish family. His father Joseph Schatt was of Russian extraction and his mother Sylvia’s family attended the Portuguese synagogue in Alie Street. Ronnie Scott attended the Central Foundation Boys’ School.

Scott began playing in small jazz clubs at the age of 16, his claim to fame then being that he was taught to play by “Vera Lynn’s father-in-law!”. Scott toured with trumpeter Johnny Claes from 1944 to 1945, and with Ted Heath in 1946. He also worked with Ambrose, Cab Kaye and Tito Burns. Scott was involved in the short-lived musicians’ co-operative Club Eleven band and club (1948–50), with Johnny Dankworth and others. He was a member of the generation of British musicians who worked on the Cunard liner Queen Mary (intermittently from 1946 to around 1950) in order to visit New York City and hear the new jazz music that was emerging directly. Scott was among the earliest British musicians to be influenced in his playing style by Charlie Parker and other bebop musicians.

In 1952, Scott joined Jack Parnell’s orchestra, and from 1953 to 1956 led his own nine-piece group and quintet which featured among others Pete King, with whom he later opened his jazz club, Victor Feldman, Hank Shaw and Phil Seamen. Scott co-led The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes from 1957 to 1959, and was leader of a quartet that included Stan Tracey (1960–67).

During this period Scott also did occasional session work; his best-known work here is the solo on The Beatles’ “Lady Madonna”. Scott also played on film scores, including the score for Fear Is the Key, composed by Roy Budd. Scott continued to be in demand for guest appearances in later years, such as providing the tenor sax solo on Phil Collins’s 1981 hit single “I Missed Again”.

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John Williams Day

January 27, 2018

John Williams Day
John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932 Floral Park, NY) is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. With a career spanning over six decades, he has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history, including the Star Wars series, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman: The Movie, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, the Indiana Jones series, the first two Home Alone films, the first two Jurassic Park films, Schindler’s List, and the first three Harry Potter films. Williams has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but three of his feature films. Other notable works by Williams include theme music for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, “The Mission” theme used by NBC News, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the incidental music for the first season of Gilligan’s Island. Williams has also composed numerous classical concertos and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments. From 1980 to 1993, he served as the Boston Pops’s principal conductor, and is currently the orchestra’s laureate conductor.

Williams has won 23 Grammy Awards, seven British Academy Film Awards, five Academy Awards, and four Golden Globe Awards. With 51 Academy Award nominations, Williams is the second most-nominated individual, after Walt Disney. In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams’s score to 1977’s Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time. The soundtrack to Star Wars was additionally preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”. Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams composed the score for eight of the top twenty highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation).

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Big Eye Louis Nelson Day

January 27, 2018

Big Eye Louis Nelson Day
“Big Eye” Louis Nelson Delisle (28 January 1885 – 20 August 1949) was an early twentieth-century Dixieland jazz clarinetist in New Orleans, Louisiana. He also played string bass, banjo, and accordion professionally on occasion.
Nelson Delisle was born into a family who were Creoles of Color. He spent most of his life in New Orleans, Louisiana.
He studied clarinet with the elder Lorenzo Tio.
By the age of 15, Delisle was working professionally in the music venues of Storyville, an area of brothels and clubs. He developed an early style of hot playing in the earliest days of jazz, and was an important influence on such later New Orleans jazz clarinetists as Johnny Dodds and Jimmie Noone.
In his early career “Big Eye” often played a C clarinet, as opposed to the more common B♭; the C was also used by other New Orleans clarinetists of the era, such as Alcide Nunez.
In 1917, Delisle joined the reconstituted Original Creole Orchestra that included Freddie Keppard and Bill Johnson. The band had disbanded in Boston in the spring of that year but was reassembled in New York City in the fall of the same year. Big Eye replaced clarinetist George Baquet, who had toured with the group in vaudeville. After a short while, Big Eye was replaced by Jimmie Noone. Big Eye was the regular clarinetist with the Jones & Collins Astoria Hot Eight but did not play on their 1929 recording sessions.

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World Fusion with Celtic/Folk Welsh group Bob Delyn a’r Ebillion

January 27, 2018

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Daily Roots with the Stingers 1-28-18

January 27, 2018

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“Consciousness Altering Cultures in Harmony” SONG OF WONDER Concert SYNOPSIS

March 7, 2016

“Consciousness Altering Cultures in Harmony”
by mick laBriola 3-7-16
A Concert with Voices of Sepharad and Nirmala Rajasekar
Saturday March 5th 2016 final season performance
Rochester Civic Theater

This was the final concert in a series of performances occurring the week of March 1st 2016 for the SONG OF WONDER collaboration. This series initiating in 2014 in Minneapolis, MN and surrounding communities.

SONG OF WONDER is a combination of the Jewish Sephardic group Voices of Sepharad-VOS David Jordan Harris-vocals, David Burk-guitar/oud and myself (minus our violinist David Stenshoel). Combined with the Carnatic Ensemble of Nirmala Rajasekar-Veena/Vocals with Thanjavur Murugaboopathi-Mridangam, Sowmya Rachakonda-vocals and Priya Kanajam-vocals. The project has attempted to present music of each cultural genre, plus ambitiously combining the two cultural musics into a pastiche of a curious culminating endeavor or “Curried Couscous Gumbo.”

Since I am the percussionist for VOS (since 1986) I am vibrantly eager to explore the multi-varried cultural influences of the Sephardim; whose culture was reprehensibly dispersed from Spain in 1492 to dozens of countries in Europe, the Levant and as far east as Iraq, Iran, Bukhara and even China.

I have always had a deep passion for East Indian music particularly Classical Hindustani and Carnatic music. Over my decades of studying rhythm I had only briefly studied Tabla with Pandit Veejay Shankar, Gopal Mishra and Rushi Vakil (at the Rhythm Riders Institute in Gujarat, India). In addition with a mere few lessons with the Mridangam player for Alarmel Valli in the late 1980’s. Needless to say I never became a Tabla or Mridangam player of classical Indian music. I think it’s takes a daily regime of 4 hours practice for at least a decade, just to initiate the process of such an enormous journey. And I think I may have ruined my hands for tabla at an early age learning Conga & Bongo drums and rigorously performing like a maniac!

When the collaboration began with Nirmala’s Carnatic ensemble I felt I would be rhythmically challenged at a minimum and mysteriously mystified in general by their beautiful music. The TALA system of rhythm in Carnatic music is vast, consisting of hundreds of variations that when performed as a solo can last an undetermined duration. My rhythmic vocabulary seemed to me like Addition/Subtraction in math, compared to the Mridangam math of Calculus & Logarithm systems. “Good luck mick!”
Each ensemble had pieces of music to present in our concert individually, as well as the blending of the two genres to create a new found meeting ground for experimentation and application of each ensembles music. So I decided to play bass guitar on a blended number, AGALDECHA a Sephardic piece borrowed from the 10th c. poet Abraham ibn Ezrah. That way Nirmala’s mridangam player Boopathi, could be featured including displaying his Konnakol (verbal rhythm syllabicating). I also had an opportunity to help with drones on the bass for other Carnatic pieces. This was great opportunity to play something other than a percussion instrument. As it was I had brought out an arsenal of instruments including dumbeck (egyptian), djembe (american), riqq (egyptian), def (turkish) and cajon (Spanish). I felt in order to present a varying array of color and sound, in contrast to the mridangam, I would need a variety of drums. Even though any one of my instruments can produce a spectacular spectrum of sound and articulation. The question was “Am I capable of executing this on one instrument or not? Duh!”

When our ensemble initially presented our project in 2014, we found a way in which to successfully perform our program, and mutually felt that we accomplished a wonderful production. Each time we re emerged through practice, dialogue and performances; we continually achieved a more advanced outcome; “Feeling like we were indeed getting somewhere.”

We concluded our World Fusion presentation with a Carnatic piece labeled “Naagendra-Cosmic Dance of Shiva” with a concluding all percussion solo and duet. I really was terrified about this, knowing the vast complexity of the mridangam in relationship to my rhythm instruments and my limited knowledge of each instrument. Here I was next to a Master Mridangam player, a very humbling experience for sure. We would conclude each concert with a percussion duet, ending each performance with the usual TeHi (concluding repeated phrases-3x’s). However no matter how many times we rehearsed this TeHi pattern it would vary show to show. I would discuss this with my group and we all agreed we could not easily find the downbeat each time as it was performed by Boopathi. It was becoming a bit stressful for me but each time we ended a show everything seemed to work out fine. Still there was always a possibility of mick not ending on the last note with Boopathi, and I certainly did not want this to happen. Even though it did happen once.

So here we are with the last show of our short week of performing and I’m sure we all wanted a fabulous outcome. I had been talking with Nirmala and she is always so gracious and kind to us gringos. The two of us discussed the healing energy of music and how much the world needs these awesome vibrations emanating out there in our universe; as I had also shared this in a conversation with Sowmya one of the singers the day before. While reviewing the performance with Nirmala she gave me her beautiful smile with her very curious Indian mannerism and said, “You are an old soul who has this knowledge deep inside of you.” And I then felt so illuminated and humbled. Every performance VOS shared with Nirmala found her to be so giving and empowering with us. Nirmala and Boopathi would give so much of themselves to us with sheer kindness and empathy; and the desire to explore, experiment and constantly strive to stretch the boundaries of our limitations. It was all so gently uplifting and powerfully magical.

By the end of the performance some more magic occurred in the percussion solos, followed by the percussionists trading of 8’s, 4’s, 2’s & 1’s; all Culminating into an ecstatic TEHI finale.

After the show I was greeted with an abundance of enthusiasm, gratefulness and pure joy. Audience members approached all musicians in the lobby with jubilation and a sense of astonishment. As I thanked the East Indian players for their outstanding support and energetic force, Nirmala said she thought I went into a trance during my percussion solo and said “It is a gift.” Namaste! Much love!

vos nirmala insturments

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Comparison of DW and Sonor Drums

February 21, 2016
Published on Drummer Cafe Community Forum 2-20-16

dw black drumsDW vs SONOR DRUMS

I own a DW Black piano finish Fast Tom Kit with die cast hoops from the 90’s; 10-12-14-16-20 kick. Hardware is very easy to replace. Durable built like a tank with a loud, punchy, wide open overall sound with a dance band attack, this kit can take a beating and still comes up stellar. Great for Rock n Roll, Reggae, African and Latin music. A working mans kit for sure. I have implemented so many tom heads on the DW’s, and it has been very challenging to say the least. I keep going back to Evans G1 or 2 as a lighter single ply head like a Remo Ambassador, do not accommodate well to the DW’s. I call DW’s, Ayottes and Phatties that I own, the BIG BOOM BOOM KITS.

I own two SONOR Designer Bubinga kits one Birch one Light Maple. Birch 12-14-18 kick with 14×6.5 snare and the Maple 12-13-16-18 kick. The Sonors are a quieter Controlled sound kit overall. All very durable and sturdy but with a higher quality custom furniture finish and very precision and heavy hardware but parts are very difficult to replace and or order and don’t let me forget the SONOR non standard drum key (very weird). The sound is certainly wonderful for vintage jazz, R&B, Blues, New Orleans or really any genre of music including theater, dance company music or church/synagogue settings. The SONORs have a brighter tom sound, tuned to pitch similar to the 50’s jazz standard of tuning, they are awesome sounding. I use Remo Ambassadors and frankly they are unusually astounding sounding on these kits. My 1965 Slingerlands have a similar sound but a bit louder with of course the vintage flimsy hardware that was standard back in those days. From about 1969 to 1980’s I had to tie my kick drum to my drum throne because there was no way it would ever stay in place with my wild bronco drumming approach.

So to conclude DW big-loud-great hardware-difficult to tune-reliable-tuning more limited. SONOR quieter sound-beautiful tone-pitch oriented-artistic look-great hardware but difficult to replace-easy to tune-generally more flexible tuning capability! In conclusion I found the kick drums of both brands very easy to tune and accommodate as well as the snare drums.

Does this help?
Good Luck Amigos

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Rhythm Roots Workshop

February 12, 2016
clear springs 20162-1-16 thru 2-12-16

Residency in Action at Clear Springs Elementary in Minnetonka, MN!

Students earning their wings with cultural rhythms!

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Residencies, Workshops and Drum-O-Rama events available

August 22, 2012

All of these services are available for your enjoyment and education!

In addition to educational formats; Performances, Theater & Dance Accompaniment, Recording, Production, Motivational Therapy, Stained Glass Artist, Artist Interviews and Writing. (more…)

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Positive Vibrations: Strictly One Drop Roots Reggae

May 29, 2012

POSITIVE VIBRATIONS is a new Roots Band  of veteran Twin Cities Reggae musicians.  Covering many former musical projects; including the Maroons, Macumba, Ipso Facto, Shangoya and many more. There is a crucial need for the powerful Roots groove to come back to the Twin Cities. Whether it be Dub, Lovers Rock, Rockers or the vital ONE DROP; audiences can now enjoy, sit back, dance comfortably and ride the magnanimous Bass & Drum riddem!! Dis ere is the essence of  the Reggae Vibration.

Band is also available for backing professional Reggae artists from Jamaica and the international arena.

Please contact mick for bookings. (more…)

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MOJO ROOTS now available for bookings in the Twin Cities

January 23, 2012

Performing every 2d and 4th Wednesday at the Whiskey Junction in Minneapolis

MOJO ROOTS have been performing  for the past 14 years; providing a musical alternative to the home grown, agriculturally provocative, party-down atmosphere of the Minnesota State Fair; performing nightly at Cafe Caribe. In fact the group was created by mick laBriola to exclusively work only at the State Fair with a few special-event exceptions. Recently Markiss, MOJO ROOTS guitarist and lead man, has moved back to the Twin Cities. As a result the trio is ready to get-down and shake up the local music scene, with an enticing aura of exuberance and boogie down jams coagulating Blues, R & B, Reggae, Ska, Second Line, Funk, Soul and International Rhythms. In addition MOJO ROOTS can, on demand, provide exclusive  genre performances accordingly. In other words we can perform an all Blues or Reggae set or sets for whatever occasion.

Starting in February 2012 we well perform every 2d and 4th  Wednesday at Whiskey Junction http://thewhiskeyjunction.com/  in the historic West Bank in south Minneapolis; alternating Wednesdays with the Lost Marbles.

Check us out and I’m sure you will dig our eclectic mix of old school jams.

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Apply for a Grant to Bring mick laBriola to Your School

December 2, 2011

Crookston ResidencyCurrently there are Grants available to bring Artists into your school.

mick laBriola has been educating and entertaining children in schools, since the creation of his first Assembly Program called the Maroons (music of the English speaking Caribbean) back in 1986. Since then mick has created two additional Assembly Programs, Karibuni (music of the Congo) and Maqam (music of the middle east) to further educate audiences about Culture & Music.

In 1994 mick joined the roster of Artists with the Minnesota State Arts Board, and created a Residency-Workshop program called a Rhythm Roots Workshop working in dozens of schools over the years; and providing all instruments to all students for the duration of the Residency.

Please look into a possible Grants for your school through either of the following organizations:

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