mick’s blog

Grachan Moncur III Day

June 3, 2018

Grachan Moncur III (born June 3, 1937) is an American jazz trombonist. He is the son of jazz bassist Grachan Moncur II and the nephew of jazz saxophonist Al Cooper.

Born in New York City (his father’s father was from the Bahamas)[1] and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Grachan Moncur III began playing the cello at the age of nine, and switched to the trombonewhen he was 11. In high school he attended the Laurinburg Institute in North Carolina, the private school where Dizzy Gillespie had studied. While still at school he began sitting in with touring jazz musicians on their way through town, including Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, with whom he formed a lasting friendship.

After high school Moncur toured with Ray Charles (1959–62), Art Farmer and Benny Golson‘s Jazztet (1962), and Sonny Rollins. He took part in two classic Jackie McLean albums in the early 1960s, One Step Beyond and Destination… Out!, to which he also contributed the bulk of compositions and which led to two influential albums of his own for Blue Note Records, Evolution (1963) with Jackie McLean and Lee Morgan, and Some Other Stuff (1964) with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.

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Memphis Minnie Day

June 3, 2018

Lizzie Douglas (June 3, 1897 – August 6, 1973), known as Memphis Minnie, was a blues guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter whose recording career lasted from the 1920s to the 1950s. She recorded around 200 songs, some of the best known being “Bumble Bee”, “Nothing in Rambling”, and “Me and My Chauffeur Blues“.

Douglas was born on June 3, 1897, in Algiers, Louisiana. She was the eldest of 13 siblings. Her parents, Abe and Gertrude Douglas, nicknamed her Kid when she was young, and her family called her that throughout her childhood. It is reported that she disliked the name Lizzie. When she first began performing, she played under the name Kid Douglas.

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Josephine Baker Day

June 3, 2018

Josephine Baker (born Freda Josephine McDonald; 3 June 1906 – 12 April 1975) was an American-born French entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent. Her career was centered primarily in Europe, mostly in her adopted France. During her early career she was renowned as a dancer, and was among the most celebrated performers to headline the revues of the Folies Bergère in Paris. Her performance in the revue Un Vent de Foliein 1927 caused a sensation in Paris. Her costume, consisting of only a girdle of bananas, became her most iconic image and a symbol of the Jazz Ageand the 1920s.

Baker was celebrated by artists and intellectuals of the era, who variously dubbed her the “Black Pearl”, the “Bronze Venus”, and the “Creole Goddess”. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, she renounced her U.S. citizenship and became a French national after her marriage to French industrialist Jean Lion in 1937. She raised her children in France. “I have two loves,” the artist once said, “my country and Paris.”

Baker was the first person of color to become a world-wide entertainer and to star in a major motion picture, the 1934 Marc Allégret film Zouzou.

She was also known for aiding the French Resistance during World War II. After the war, she was awarded the Croix de guerre by the French military, and was named a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by General Charles de Gaulle.

Baker was born as Freda Josephine McDonald in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother, Carrie, was adopted in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1886 by Richard and Elvira McDonald, both of whom were former slaves of African and Native American descent. Josephine Baker’s estate identifies vaudeville drummer Eddie Carson as her natural father despite evidence to the contrary.

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World Music with Wimme Saari

June 3, 2018

Wimme Saari, better known as Wimme, was born in 1959 in Kelottijärvi, Enontekiö. Wimme is a modern interpreter of the Sami yoik, combining colorful grittiness of traditional yoiking elements with original improvisations. In the last few decades yoik in general has undergone some changes; in fact Wimme’s yoiking could be called free yoik. In his yoik, he constructs intense, clear melodic arches and stretches his voice from a sweet falsetto to a grave baritone. But the old yoik is still there: Wimme has recaptured the essence of the ancient yoik, and even the clever voice technique of the animal yoiks.

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Daily Roots with Sister Awa

June 3, 2018

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The Cosmos with NGC 2467

June 2, 2018

Area surrounding the stellar cluster NGC 2467, located in the southern constellation of Puppis (“The Stern”). With an age of a few million years at most, it is a very active stellar nursery, where new stars are born continuously from large clouds of dust and gas. The image, looking like a colourful cosmic ghost or a gigantic celestial Mandrill, contains the open clusters Haffner 18 (centre) and Haffner 19 (middle right: it is located inside the smaller pink region — the lower eye of the Mandrill), as well as vast areas of ionised gas. The bright star at the centre of the largest pink region on the bottom of the image is HD 64315, a massive young star that is helping shaping the structure of the whole nebular region.

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Charlie Watts Day

June 2, 2018

Charles Robert Watts (born 2 June 1941) is an English drummer, best known as a member of the Rolling Stones. Originally trained as a graphic artist, he started playing drums in London’s rhythm and blues clubs, where he met Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, and Keith Richards. In 1963, he joined their group, the Rolling Stones, as drummer, while doubling as designer of their record sleeves and tour stages. He has also toured with his own group, the Charlie Watts Quintet, and appeared at London’s prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club with the Charlie Watts Tentet.

In 2006, Watts was elected into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame; in the same year, Vanity Fair elected him into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. In the estimation of noted music critic Robert Christgau, Watts is “rock’s greatest drummer.” In 2016, he was ranked 12th on Rolling Stones “100 Greatest Drummers of All Time” list.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMYYCO_hwAs

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Jimmy Jones Day

June 2, 2018

James Jones (June 2, 1937 – August 2, 2012) was an American singer-songwriter who moved to New York City while a teenager. According to Allmusic journalist Steve Huey, “best known for his 1960 R&B smash, ‘Handy Man,’ Jones sang in a smooth yet soulful falsetto modeled on the likes of Clyde McPhatter and Sam Cooke.”

Jones was born in Birmingham, Alabama. His first job in the entertainment industry was as a tap dancer. He joined a doo-wop group named the Berliners in 1954. They later changed their name to Sparks of Rhythm. In 1955 Jones co-wrote “Handy Man“, which was recorded by the Sparks of Rhythm in 1956 (after Jones left the group). After recording with other groups, Jones went solo and, in 1959, teamed up with Otis Blackwell who reworked “Handy Man” which Jones recorded on the MGM subsidiary Cub Records. When the flute player did not show up for the session, Blackwell famously whistled on the recording. “Handy Man”, released in 1959, gave Jones his first US and UK hit single. It went to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1960, and peaked at No. 3 in the UK Singles Chart. It introduced a rock falsetto singing style to the British audience and later scored hits for Del Shannon and James Taylor.

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Valaida Snow Day

June 2, 2018

Valaida Snow (June 2, 1904 – May 30, 1956) was an African-American jazz musician and entertainer.

She was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Raised on the road in a show-business family, she learned to play cello, bass, banjo, violin, mandolin, harp, accordion, clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone by the time she was 15. She also sang and danced.

Valaida Snow appeared in a Swedish advertisement when she toured Scandinavia.

After focusing on the trumpet, she quickly became so famous at the instrument that she was named “Little Louis” after Louis Armstrong, who called her the world’s second best jazz trumpet player besides himself. Contemporary critics Krin Gabbard and Will Friedwald have commented on her approach to playing like Armstrong. Gabbard said she developed a “distinctly Armstrongian style” and Friedwald said she “mimicked” Armstrong. In a 1928 performance in Chicago at the Sunset Café, Snow played the trumpet, sang. Then seven pairs of shoes were placed in a row at the front of the stage, and she danced in each pair for one chorus. The dances and shoes to match were: soft-shoe, adagio shoes, tap shoes, Dutch clogs, Chinese straw sandals, Turkish slippers, and the last pair, Russian boots. “When Louis Armstrong saw the show one night, he continued clapping after others had stopped and remarked, ‘Boy I never saw anything that great’.

 

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World Music with FATOUMATA DIAWARA

June 2, 2018

Malian vocalist

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Daily Roots with the Melodians

June 2, 2018

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The Cosmos with N44

June 1, 2018

Southern part of the spectacular N44 H II region in the Large Magellanic Cloud. The green colour indicates areas that are particularly hot. The field measures 27.5 x 26.5 square arcminutes. North is up and East is left.

N44 is an emission nebula with superbubble structure located in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way in the constellation Dorado. Originally catalogued in Karl Henize‘s “Catalogue of H-alpha emission stars and nebulae in the Magellanic Clouds” of 1956, it is approximately 1,000 light-years wide and 160,000-170,000 light-years distant.N44 has a smaller bubble structure inside known as N44F. The superbubble structure of N44 itself is shaped by the radiation pressure of a 40-star group located near its center; the stars are blue-white, very luminous, and incredibly powerful. N44F has been shaped in a similar manner; it has a hot, massive central star with an unusually powerful stellar wind that moves at 7 million kilometers per hour. This is because it loses material at 100 million times the rate of the Sun, or approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000 tons per year. However, varying density in the N44 nebula has caused the formation of several dust pillars that may conceal star formation. This variable density is likely caused by previous supernovae in the vicinity of N44; many of the stars that have shaped it will eventually also end as supernovae. The past effects of supernovae are also confirmed by the fact that N44 emits x-rays.

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Ron Wood Day

June 1, 2018

Ronald David Wood (born 1 June 1947) is an English rock musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, artist, author and radio personality best known as a member of The Rolling Stones since 1975, as well as a member of Faces and the Jeff Beck Group.

Wood began his career in 1964, when he joined The Birds on guitar. He then joined the mod group The Creation, but remained with the group only for a short time and appeared on a small number of singles. Wood joined the Jeff Beck Group in 1967 as a bass player. The band released two albums, Truth and Beck-Ola, which became moderate successes.

The group split in 1969, and Wood departed along with lead vocalist Rod Stewart to join former Small Faces members Ronnie Lane, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones in a new group named Faces. The group found great success in the UK and mainland Europe, though were relegated to cult status in the United States. Faces released its debut album, First Step, in 1970. The group went on to release Long Player and A Nod Is As Good As a Wink… to a Blind Horse in 1971. Their last LP, titled Ooh La La, was released in 1973.

As the group began to split, Wood started several solo projects, eventually recording his first solo LP, I’ve Got My Own Album to Do, in 1974. The album featured bandmate McLagan as well as former Beatle George Harrison and Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones, a longtime friend of Wood’s. Richards soon invited Wood to join the Rolling Stones, after the departure of Mick Taylor. Wood joined in 1975 and has remained a member ever since.

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Herbie Lovelle Day

June 1, 2018

Herbie Lovelle (1 June 1924 – April 8, 2009) was an American drummer, who played jazz, R&B, rock, and folk. He was also a studio musician and an actor.

Lovelle’s uncle was the drummer Arthur Herbert. Lovelle began his career with the trumpeter, singer and band leader Hot Lips Page in the late 1940s, then played in the 1950s with the saxophonist Hal Singer, Johnny Moore‘s Three Blazers and the pianist Earl Hines. Through working for both Lucky Thompson and Jimmy Rushing of Count Basie’s Orchestra, he became house drummer at the Savoy Ballroom in New York City for much of the 1950s. He toured with the tenor saxophonist Arnett Cobb and the pianist Teddy Wilson in 1954. In 1959 he contributed to the pianist Paul Curry’s album Paul Curry Presents the Friends of Fats, released on the Golden Crest label.

In the early years of television, he performed with the King Guion Orchestra on the Jerry Lester Show and the Ed Sullivan Show. In 1966, he was the lead drummer for the Sammy Davis, Jr. TV show.

Lovelle began playing more R&B in the 1950s and worked as a studio musician, often with Sam Taylor. He played on albums by Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan), Pearls Before Swine, Eric Andersen, David Blue, John Denver, Tom Rush, B. B. King, John Martyn (Stormbringer!), the Strangeloves, the McCoys, and the Monkees. He continued working as a studio musician well into the 1980s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnDFjMTLiDM

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Lafayette Leake Day

June 1, 2018

Lafayette Leake (June 1, 1919 – August 14, 1990) was a blues and jazz pianist, organist, vocalist and composer who played for Chess Records as a session musician, and as a member of the Big Three Trio, during the formative years of Chicago blues. He played piano on many of Chuck Berry‘s recordings.

Leake was born in Winona, Missouri, in 1919. Information about his early years is sparse, but in the early 1950s he joined the Big Three Trio (replacing Leonard Caston) and began his association with Chess Records, where he worked closely with bassist, producer, and songwriter Willie Dixon.

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World Music with Los Gitanos del Albaicín

June 1, 2018

World Music on Flamenco Fridays

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Daily Roots with Honey Boy Martin

June 1, 2018

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The Cosmos with NGC 6744

May 31, 2018

Beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 6744 is nearly 175,000 light-years across, larger than our own Milky Way. It lies some 30 million light-years distant in the southern constellation Pavo, its galactic disk tilted towards our line of sight. This Hubble close-up of the nearby island universe spans about 24,000 light-years across NGC 6744’s central region in a detailed portrait that combines visible light and ultraviolet image data. The giant galaxy’s yellowish core is dominated by the visible light from old, cool stars. Beyond the core are pinkish star forming regions and young star clusters scattered along the inner spiral arms. The young star clusters are bright at ultraviolet wavelengths, shown in blue and magenta hues.

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Louis Hayes Day

May 31, 2018

Louis Hayes (born May 31, 1937) is an American jazz drummer.

His father played drums and piano and his mother played the piano. He refers to the early influence of hearing jazz, especially hearing big bands on the radio. His main influence was Philly Joe Jones and he was mentored by Jo Jones. His three main associations were with Horace Silver‘s Quintet (1956–1959), the Cannonball Adderley Quintet (1959–1965), and the Oscar Peterson Trio (1965–1967). Hayes often joined Sam Jones, both with Adderley and Peterson, and in freelance settings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOeWQUvWSys

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Albert “Tootie” Heath Day

May 31, 2018

AlbertTootieHeath (born May 31, 1935) is an American jazz hard bop drummer, the brother of tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath and the double-bassist Percy Heath.

He first recorded in 1957 with John Coltrane. From 1958 to 1974 he worked with, among others, J. J. Johnson, Wes Montgomery, Art Farmer and Benny Golson‘s Jazztet, Cedar Walton, Bobby Timmons, Kenny Drew, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, Johnny Griffin, Herbie Hancock, Friedrich Gulda, Nina Simone, and Yusef Lateef. In 1975, he, Jimmy and Percy formed the Heath Brothers. He remained with the group until 1978, then left to freelance. He has recorded extensively throughout his career.

Among his many workshop and classroom teaching assignments, Tootie Heath is a regular instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop.

Tootie Heath is now the producer and leader of The Whole Drum Truth, a jazz drum ensemble featuring Ben Riley, Ed Thigpen, Jackie Williams, Billy Hart, Charlie Persip, Leroy Williams and Louis Hayes.

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Interviews