mick’s blog

Kenny Drew Jr Day

June 14, 2018

Kenny Drew Jr. (June 14, 1958 – August 3, 2014) was an American jazz pianist. His music is known for its hard-swinging bluesy sound and large, two-handed rooty chords contrasting with fast runs. The son of jazz pianist Kenny Drew, he did not credit his father as an influence.

His initial study was in classical music with his mother and grandmother. In his teens he became interested in jazz and pop, but initially worked in funk bands. Later he went into jazz piano and in 1990 won the Great American Jazz Piano competition in Jacksonville, Florida. Drew continued to perform jazz, but he also performed some chamber music. His style has some similarities to his father’s, but is different enough to generally avoid comparison; he was considered the more eclectic of the two men.

Drew attended Iona College in New Rochelle, New York, for a period during 1977 to 1978. There, he became pianist for the Iona College Singers, an entertainment troop promoting the college’s name and goodwill among local high schools, retirement homes and the like in the Northeast region of the USA.

Drew cited Thelonious Monk as an influence and like Monk often recorded (and performed) solo.

Drew died at home in St. Petersburg, Florida, on August 3, 2014

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Junior Walker Day

June 14, 2018

Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. (June 14, 1931 – November 23, 1995), known by the stage name Junior Walker, styled as Jr. Walker, was an American musician. His group, Jr. Walker & The All Stars, were signed to Motown‘s Soul label in the 1960s, and became one of the company’s signature acts.

Walker was born Autry DeWalt Mixon Jr. in Blytheville, Arkansas, and grew up in South Bend, Indiana. His saxophone style was the anchor for the band’s overall sound. The other original members of the group were drummer Tony Washington, guitarist Willie Woods, and keyboardist Vic Thomas.

His career started when he developed his own band in the mid-1950s as the “Jumping Jacks.” His longtime friend Billy Nicks (1935–2017) (drummer) formed his own team, the “Rhythm Rockers.” Periodically, Nicks would sit in on Jumping Jack’s shows, and Walker would sit in on the Rhythm Rockers shows.

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World Music with Amadu Bansang Jobarteh

June 14, 2018

Amadu Bansang Jobarteh (kora, voice) was a jali: an oral historian and hereditary praise singer from among the Mandinka people of Gambia, West Africa. Amadu’s family background clearly illustrates the hereditary nature of jalis in West African society. In the late 1800s, and at the request of a Gambian chief, Amadu’s father Jali Fili Jobarteh emigrated from Mali and settled with his family in the town of Bansang. Although the father played koni, his children learned the kora, which was the favored instrument in that area of Gambia.

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Daily Roots with Sly & Robbie

June 14, 2018

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The Cosmos with NGC 6164

June 13, 2018

NGC 6164-5 imaged at Gemini South. The emission nebula NGC 6164-5 is a rectangular, bipolar cloud with rounded corners and a diagonal bar producing an inverted S-shaped appearance. It lies about 1,300 parsecs (4,200 light-years) away in the constellation Norma. The nebula measures about 1.3 parsecs (4.2 light-years) across, and contains gases ejected by the star HD 148937 at its heart. This star is 40 times more massive than the Sun, and at about three to four million years of age, is past the middle of its life span. Stars this massive usually live to be only about six million years old, so HD 148397 is aging fast. It will likely end its life in a violent supernova explosion.

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Attila Zoller Day

June 13, 2018

Attila Cornelius Zoller (June 13, 1927 – January 25, 1998) was a jazz guitarist born in Hungary. After World War II, he escaped the Soviet takeover of Hungary by fleeing through the mountains on foot into Austria. In 1959, he moved to the U.S., where he spent the rest of his life as a musician and teacher.

Zoller was born in Visegrád, Hungary in 1927. As a child, he learned violin from his father, a professional violinist. While in school, he played flugelhorn and bass before choosing guitar. He dropped out of school and played in jazz clubs in Budapest while Russia occupied Hungary. He fled Hungary in 1948 as the Soviet Union was establishing communist military rule. He escaped on foot, carrying his guitar through the mountains into Austria. He settled in Vienna, became an Austrian citizen, and started a jazz group with accordionist Vera Auer.

In the 1950s, Zoller moved to Germany and played with German musicians Jutta Hipp and Hans Koller. When American jazz musicians passed through, such as Oscar Pettiford and Lee Konitz, they persuaded him to move to the United States. He moved to the U.S. after receiving a scholarship to the Lenox School of Jazz. One of his teachers was guitarist Jim Hall and his roommate was Ornette Coleman, who got him interested in free jazz.

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Wild Bill Moore Day

June 13, 2018

Wild Bill Moore (born William M. Moore, June 13, 1918 – August 1, 1983) was an American R&B and jazz tenor saxophone player. Moore earned a modest hit on the Hot R&B charts with “We’re Gonna Rock, We’re Gonna Roll”, which also was one of the earliest rock and roll records.

Moore was born in Detroit Michigan and began playing the alto saxophone at an early age. However, prior to his musical career, he was an amateur boxer, winning Michigan’s Golden Gloves light heavyweight championship in 1937, before briefly turning professional. By the early 1940s, Moore abandoned his boxing career in favor of music, and was inspired by musicians Chu Berry and Illinois Jacquet to switch to tenor saxophone. In 1944, he made his recording debut, accompanying Christine Chatman, the wife of Memphis Slim, for Decca Records. Between 1945 and 1947, Moore was performing and recording in Los Angeles with Slim Gaillard, Jack McVea, Big Joe Turner, Dexter Gordon, and played on Helen Humes’ hit recording, “Be-Baba-Leba”

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Don Cheatham Day

June 13, 2018

Adolphus Anthony Cheatham, better known as Doc Cheatham (June 13, 1905 – June 2, 1997), was a jazz trumpeter, singer, and bandleader.

After having played in some of the leading jazz groups from the 1920s on, Cheatham enjoyed renewed acclaim in later decades of his career. He himself agreed with the critical assessment that he was probably the only jazz musician to create his best work after the age of 70.

Cheatham was born in Nashville, Tennessee of African, Cherokee and Choctaw heritage. He noted there was no jazz music there in his youth; like many in the United States he was introduced to the style by early recordings and touring groups at the end of the 1910s. He abandoned his family’s plans for him to be a pharmacist (although retaining the medically inspired nickname “Doc”) to play music, initially playing soprano and tenor saxophone in addition to trumpet in Nashville’s African American Vaudeville theater. Cheatham later toured in band accompanying blues singers on the Theater Owners Booking Association circuit. His early jazz influences included Henry Busse and Johnny Dunn, but when he moved to Chicago in 1924 he heard King Oliver. Oliver’s playing was a revelation to Cheatham. Cheatham followed the jazz King around. Oliver gave young Cheatham a mute which Cheatham treasured and performed with for the rest of his career. A further revelation came the following year when Louis Armstrong returned to Chicago. Armstrong would be a lifelong influence on Cheatham.

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World Music with Slonovski Bal

June 13, 2018

Slonovski Bal plays the sounds of the central European Balkans, blending the music of the Gypsies with a unique mix of European, Slavic, Turkish and Mediterranean cultures, representing the fine tradition of the oriental brass band music. Slonovski bal means “the Elephant’s Ball” in Serbian.

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Daily Roots with Playing for Change

June 13, 2018

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The Cosmos with NGC 660

June 12, 2018

NGC 660 is classified as a “polar ring galaxy“, meaning that it has a belt of gas and stars around its centre that it ripped from a near neighbour during a clash about one billion years ago. The first polar ring galaxy was observed in 1978 and only around a dozen more have been discovered since then, making them something of a cosmic rarity.

Unfortunately, NGC 660’s polar ring cannot be seen in this image, but has plenty of other features that make it of interest to astronomers – its central bulge is strangely off-kilter and, perhaps more intriguingly, it is thought to harbour exceptionally large amounts of dark matter. In addition, in late 2012 astronomers observed a massive outburst emanating from NGC 660 that was around ten times as bright as a supernova explosion. This burst was thought to be caused by a massive jet shooting out of the supermassive black hole at the centre of the galaxy.

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Peter Beets Day

June 12, 2018

Peter Beets (born 12 June 1971) is a Dutch jazz pianist. He has shared the stage with musicians including Chick Corea, Wynton Marsalis, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Coleman, Johnny Griffin, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel and John Clayton. Beets recorded with Jeff Hamilton and Curtis Fullerand in 2001 he released his New York Trio, which was the start of his international career.

Beets was born in The Hague on 12 June 1971. His mother is a music teacher and his father a jazz-playing gynaecologist with a love of Oscar Peterson and Art Blakey. This musical family, which includes two elder brothers, Marius and Alexander, moved in 1972 to Groenlo.

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Chick Corea Day

June 12, 2018

Armando AnthonyChickCorea (born June 12, 1941) is an American jazz pianist/electric keyboardist and composer. His compositions “Spain“, “500 Miles High“, “La Fiesta” and “Windows“, are considered jazz standards. As a member of Miles Davis‘s band in the late 1960s, he participated in the birth of jazz fusion. In the 1970s he formed the fusion band Return to Forever. With Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, and Keith Jarrett, he has been described as one of the major jazz piano voices to emerge in the post-John Coltrane era.

Corea continued to pursue other collaborations and to explore musical styles throughout the 1980s and 1990s. He is also known for promoting and fundraising for a number of social issues.

Armando Corea was born in Chelsea, Massachusetts. He is of southern Italian and Spanish descent. His father, a jazz trumpeter who led a Dixieland band in Boston in the 1930s and 1940s, introduced him to the piano at the age of four. Surrounded by jazz, he was influenced at an early age by bebop and Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Horace Silver, and Lester Young. At eight he took up drums, which would influence his use of the piano as a percussion instrument.

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World Music with Jacky Molard

June 12, 2018

Jacky Molard is one of the key musicians in the rebirth of Breton music. He plays various instruments, including fiddle, guitar and bass. He is also a reputable composer and producer.

Jacky Molard was behind some of the most groups in recent Breton history, such as Den, Archetype, Triptique, Bal Tribal. He was also a member of now legendary bands: Gwerz and Pennou Skoulm, as well as Procession Celtique, the Alain Genty Band and Erik Marchand’s band. From France.

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Daily Roots with Steel Pulse

June 12, 2018

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The Cosmos with GGD 27

June 11, 2018

In the direction of the constellation of Sagittarius, some 5,500 light-years away in the southern Milky Way, is a chaotic caldron of stellar birth known as GGD 27. While such stellar nurseries are sprinkled liberally throughout our Milky Way Galaxy, GGD 27 presents an especially compelling snapshot of stellar birth.

At first glance it looks like chaos. However, this seemingly random cloud of gas and dust is home to several nascent stars interacting in complex, but predictable ways. Millions of years from now the prenatal cloud of gas and dust will disperse and a cluster of stars will emerge much like a butterfly from its chrysalis. Until then this beautiful cloud will slowly (by human standards) evolve and allow astronomers to explore the complex process of star birth.

The new infrared Gemini image peers deep into GGD 27 where a massive developing star (called a protostar) dominates the central region of the nebula. Identified as GGD 27-ILL this future star already glows several thousand times brighter than our Sun and powers a bipolar outflow where gas streams away at supersonic speeds propelled by intense magnetic fields. Other forming stars in the area complicate the scene while adding to its beauty.

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Hazel Scott Day

June 11, 2018

Hazel Dorothy Scott (June 11, 1920 – October 2, 1981) was a Trinidadian-born jazz and classical pianist and singer; she also performed as herself in several films.

Born in Port of Spain, Hazel was taken at the age of four by her mother to New York City. Recognized early as a musical prodigy, Scott was given scholarships from the age of eight to study at the Juilliard School. She began performing in a jazz band in her teens and was performing on radio at age 16.

She was prominent as a jazz singer throughout the 1930s and 1940s. In 1950, she became the first black person to have a TV show, The Hazel Scott Show,[1] featuring a variety of entertainment. Her career in America faltered after she testified before the House Un-American Activities Committeeduring the McCarthy era. Scott subsequently moved to Paris in the late 1950s and performed in France, not returning to the United States until 1967.

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Bernard Purdie Day

June 11, 2018

Bernard Lee “Pretty” Purdie (born June 11, 1939) is an American drummer, considered an influential and innovative funk musician. He is known for his precise musical time keeping and his signature use of triplets against a half-time backbeat: the “Purdie Shuffle.” He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2013.

Purdie recorded Soul Drums (1968) as a band leader and although he went on to record Alexander’s Ragtime Band, the album remained unreleased until Soul Drums was reissued on CD in 2009 with the Alexander’s Ragtime Band sessions. Other solo albums include Purdie Good (1971), Soul Is … Pretty Purdie (1972) and the soundtrack for the blaxploitation film Lialeh (1973).

In the mid-1990s he was a member of The 3B’s, with Bross Townsend and Bob Cunningham.

Purdie was born on June 11, 1939 in Elkton, Maryland, US, the eleventh of fifteen children. At an early age he began hitting cans with sticks and learned the elements of drumming techniques from overhearing lessons being given by Leonard Heywood. He later took lessons from Heywood and played in Heywood’s big band. Purdie’s other influences at that time were Papa Jo Jones, Buddy Rich, Gene Krupa, Joe Marshall, Art Blakey, as well as Cozy Cole, Sticks Evans, Panama Francis, Louis Bellson, and Herbie Lovelle.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESpGlYrVlb4

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Shelly Manne Day

June 11, 2018

Sheldon “Shelly” Manne (June 11, 1920 – September 26, 1984), was an American jazz drummer. Most frequently associated with West Coast jazz, he was known for his versatility and also played in a number of other styles, including Dixieland, swing, bebop, avant-garde jazz and fusion, as well as contributing to the musical background of hundreds of Hollywood films and television programs.

Manne’s father and uncles were drummers. In his youth he admired many of the leading swing drummers of the day, especially Jo Jones and Dave Tough. Billy Gladstone, a colleague of Manne’s father and the most admired percussionist on the New York theatrical scene, offered the teenage Shelly tips and encouragement. From that time, Manne rapidly developed his style in the clubs of 52nd Street in New York in the late 1930s and 1940s. His first professional job with a known big band was with the Bobby Byrne Orchestra in 1940.In those years, as he became known, he recorded with jazz stars like Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Shavers, and Don Byas. He also worked with a number of musicians mainly associated with Duke Ellington, like Johnny Hodges, Harry Carney, Lawrence Brown, and Rex Stewart.

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World Music with Orchestre National de Barbés

June 11, 2018

Orchestre National de Barbés is a piece of North Africa stranded in the heart of Paris. In English, the name means The National Barbés Orchestra, implying that Barbés is a nation unto itself. It is a sentiment that few who visit the neighborhood would dispute.

The band’s story started in Belcourt, a working class section of Algiers, Algeria at the peak of the 1980 baby boom. Youcef Boukella’s older brothers listened to rock and bossa nova, people watched Cairo film classics on TV and tuned to Kabyl folk music on the radio. Outside the Belcourt alleyways, there were street peddlers, muezzins, Gnawa street performers, shaabi concerts, and ghetto blasters playing reggae, funk and raï.

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Interviews