Blew notes
Jazziversaries August 23rd

Bobby Watson(sax, alto) 1953 :: Birth day greetings to Bobby Watson. Bobby is an American post-bop jazz alto saxophonist, composer, producer, and educator. Watson now has 26 recordings as a leader. He appears on nearly 100 other recordings as either co-leader or in a supporting role. Watson has recorded more than 100 original compositions and his long-time publisher.

After graduating in 1975, he moved to New York City and joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. The Jazz Messengers, sometimes referred to as the “University of Blakey,” served as the ultimate “postgraduate school” for ambitious young players. He performed with the Jazz Messengers from 1977 to 1981, eventually becoming the musical director for the group.

After completing his tenure as a Jazz Messenger, Watson became a much-sought after musician, working along the way with many notable musicians, including: drummers Max Roach and Louis Hayes, fellow saxophonists George Coleman and Branford Marsalis, multi-instrumentalist Sam Rivers and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. In addition to working with a variety of instrumentalists, Watson has served in a supporting role for a number of distinguished and stylistically varied vocalists including: Joe Williams, Dianne Reeves, Lou Rawls, Betty Carter, and Carmen Lundy, and has performed as a sideman with Carlos Santana, George Coleman, Rufus and Chaka Khan, Bob Belden and John Hicks.

Later, in association with bassist Curtis Lundy and drummer Victor Lewis, Watson started the first edition of Horizon, an acoustic quintet modeled after the Jazz Messengers but with its own slightly more modern twist. The group recorded several titles for the Blue Note and Columbia record labels.

In addition to his work as leader of Horizon, Watson also led a group known as the High court of Swing (a tribute to the music of Johnny Hodges), The Tailor-Made Big Band (16 pieces in all) and is a founding member of the 29th Street Saxophone Quartet, an all-horn, four-piece group with alto saxophonist Ed Jackson, tenor saxophonist Rich Rothenberg, and baritone saxophonist Jim Hartog. Watson also composed an original song for the soundtrack of Robert De Niro’sA Bronx Tale (1993).

A resident of New York for most of his professional life, Watson served as a member of the adjunct faculty and taught private saxophone at William Patterson University from 1985 to 1986 and the Manhattan School of Music from 1996 to 1999. He is currently involved with the Thelonious Monk Institute’s yearly “Jazz in America” high school outreach program.

In 2000, he was approached to return to his native midwestern surroundings on the Kansas-Missouri border. Watson was selected as the first William D. and Mary Grant/Missouri, Distinguished Professorship in Jazz Studies. The past six years he has served as the director of jazz studies at the University of Missouri–Kansas City Conservatory of Music although he still manages to balance live engagements around the world with his teaching responsibilities. Watson’s ensembles at UMKC have garnered several awards and national recognition.

Brad Mehldau (piano) 1970 :: Happy birthday to Brad Mehldau. Brad is an American jazz pianist.

Mehldau has led the Brad Mehldau Trio since the mid 1990s. The group features bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard. Mehldau has also performed with many renowned artists, including Joshua Redman, Charles Lloyd, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Peter Bernstein, Christian McBride, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, Brian Blade, Jimmy Cobb, classical vocalists Renée Fleming and Anne Sofie von Otter, and singer-songwriters Chris Thile, John Mayer and Elliott Smith.

While a sophomore in high school, he won Berklee College’s Best All-Around Musician Award. Mehldau moved to New York in 1988 to study jazz at The New School, studying under Fred Hersch, Junior Mance and Kenny Werner.

Mehldau went on to play as sideman with a variety of musicians, most notably with the Joshua Redman Quartet featuring bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade. Mehldau formed his own Trio in 1994, with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jorge Rossy, and later Jeff Ballard, who succeeded Rossy in 2005. In addition to his Trio work, Mehldau collaborated with guitarist Pat Metheny, releasing two albums with him and embarking on a worldwide tour along with Grenadier and Ballard. In 2012, Mehldau joined drummer Mark Guiliana for a synthesizer-oriented duo project called “Mehliana”, and launched a tour in 2013, alternating performances with another duo project of Mehldau’s featuring Chris Thile.

Recording primarily for Nonesuch Records, Mehldau plays original compositions, jazz standards and jazz arrangements of popular music, especially rock music. With his Trio, he has recorded arrangements of the music of Nick Drake, The Beatles, Radiohead and Paul Simon among others, and recorded Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” on his 2008 album, Live. Mehldau has also expressed an interest in and knowledge of philosophy, in particular of music and art.

Martial Solal (piano) 1927 :: Many happy returns to Martial Solal. Martial is a French jazz pianist and composer, who is probably most widely known for the music he wrote for Jean-Luc Godard’s debut feature film À bout de souffle (1960).

After settling in Paris in 1950, he soon began working with leading musicians including Django Reinhardt and expatriates from the United States like Sidney Bechet and Don Byas. He formed a quartet (occasionally also leading a big band) in the late 1950s, although he had been recording as a leader since 1953. Solal then began composing film music, eventually providing over twenty scores.

In 1963 he made a much admired appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island; the Newport ‘63 album purporting to be a recording of this gig is actually a studio recreation. At this time, his regular trio featured bassist Guy Pedersen and drummer Daniel Humair. From 1968 he regularly performed and recorded with Lee Konitz in Europe and the United States of America.

In recent years, Martial Solal has continued to perform and record with his trio. Throughout his career he has performed solo, and during 1993-94 he gave thirty solo concerts for French Radio, a selection of performances from which were subsequently released in a 2-CD set Improvise Pour Musique France by JMS Records.

Solal has also written a piano method book entitled Jazz Works.

Terje Rypdal (guitar) 1947 :: Many happy returns to TerjeRypdal. Terje is a Norwegian guitarist and composer. Most of his music has been released on albums of the German record label ECM. Rypdal has collaborated both as a guitarist and as a composer with other ECM artists such as KetilBjørnstad and David Darling. Over the years, he has been an important member in the Norwegian jazz community, and has also given show concerts with guitarists Ronni Le Tekrø and MadsEriksen as “N3”.

The son of a composer and orchestra leader, Rypdal studied classical piano and trumpet as a child, and then taught himself to play guitar as he entered his teens. Starting out as a Hank Marvin-influenced rock guitarist with The Vanguards, Rypdal turned towards jazz in 1968 and joined Jan Garbarek’s group and later George Russell’s sextet and orchestra. An important step towards international attention was his participation in the free jazz festival in Baden-Baden, Germany in 1969, where he was part of a band led by Lester Bowie. During his musical studies at Oslo university and conservatory, he led the orchestra of the Norwegian version of the musical Hair. He has often been recorded on the ECM record label, both jazz-oriented material and classical compositions (some of which do not feature Rypdal’s guitar).

His compositions “Last Nite” and “Mystery Man” were featured in the Michael Mann film Heat, and included on the soundtrack of the same name.

Jazziversaires August 22nd

John Lee Hooker (guitar) 1917 - 2001 :: John Lee Hooker was a highly influential American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist.

Hooker began his life as the son of a sharecropper, William Hooker, and rose to prominence performing his own unique style of what was originally a unique brand of country blues. He developed a ‘talking blues’ style that was his trademark. Though similar to the early Delta blues, his music was metrically free. John Lee Hooker could be said to embody his own unique genre of the blues, often incorporating the boogie-woogie piano style and a driving rhythm into his blues guitar playing and singing. His best known songs include “Boogie Chillen’” (1948), “I’m in the Mood” (1951) and “Boom Boom” (1962), the first two reaching #1 on the Billboard R&B chart.

Hooker’s recording career began in 1948 when his agent placed a demo, made by Hooker, with the Bihari brothers, owners of the Modern Records label. The company initially released an up-tempo number, Boogie Chillen’, which became Hooker’s first hit single. Though they were not songwriters, the Biharis often purchased or claimed co-authorship of songs that appeared on their labels, thus securing songwriting royalties for themselves, in addition to their own streams of income.

Sometimes these songs were older tunes that Hooker renamed, as with B.B. King’s Rock Me Baby, anonymous jams B.B.’s Boogie, or songs by employees (bandleader Vince Weaver). The Biharis used a number of pseudonyms for songwriting credits: Jules was credited as Jules Taub; Joe as Joe Josea; and Sam as Sam Ling. One song by John Lee Hooker, Down Child, is solely credited to Taub, with Hooker receiving no credit. Another, Turn Over a New Leaf is credited to Hooker and Ling.

In 1949, Hooker was recorded performing in an informal setting for Detroit jazz enthusiasts. His repertoire included down-home and spiritual tunes that he would not record commercially. The recorded set has been made available in the album Jack O’Diamonds.

Despite being illiterate, Hooker was a prolific lyricist. In addition to adapting the occasionally traditional blues lyric (such as “if I was chief of police, I would run her right out of town”), he freely invented many of his songs from scratch. Recording studios in the 1950s rarely paid black musicians more than a pittance, so Hooker would spend the night wandering from studio to studio, coming up with new songs or variations on his songs for each studio. Because of his recording contract, he would record these songs under obvious pseudonyms such as John Lee Booker, notably for Chess Records and Chance Records in 1951/52, as Johnny Lee for De Luxe Records in 1953/54 as John Lee, and even John Lee Cooker, or as Texas Slim, Delta John, Birmingham Sam and his Magic Guitar, Johnny Williams, or The Boogie Man.

His early solo songs were recorded under Bernie Besman. John Lee Hooker rarely played on a standard beat, changing tempo to fit the needs of the song. This often made it difficult to use backing musicians who were not accustomed to Hooker’s musical vagaries. As a result, Besman would record Hooker, in addition to playing guitar and singing, stomping along with the music on a wooden pallet. For much of this time period he recorded and toured with Eddie Kirkland, who was still performing until his death in a car accident in 2011. Later sessions for the VeeJay label in Chicago used studio musicians on most of his recordings, including Eddie Taylor, who could handle his musical idiosyncrasies very well. His biggest UK hit, “Boom Boom”, (originally released on VeeJay) was recorded with a horn section.

Hooker recorded over 100 albums. He lived the last years of his life in Long Beach, California. In 1997, he opened a nightclub in San Francisco’s Fillmore District called John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom Room, after one of his hits.

Among his many awards, Hooker has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 1991 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Two of his songs, “Boogie Chillen” and “Boom Boom” were included in the list of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. “Boogie Chillen” was included as one of the Songs of the Century. He was also inducted in 1980 into the Blues Hall of Fame. In 2000, Hooker was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Malachi Favors(bass, acoustic) 1937 -2004 :: Malachi Favors  was a noted American jazz bassist best known for his work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago.

Favors primarily played the double bass, but also played the electric bass guitar, banjo, zither, gong, and other instruments. He began playing double bass at age fifteen and began performing professionally upon graduating high school. Early performances included work with Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. By 1965, he was a founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a member of Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band.

At some point he added the word “Maghostut” to his name and because of this he is commonly listed as “Malachi FavorsMaghostut.” Musically he is most associated with bebop, hard bop, and particularly free jazz.

Favors was a protégé of Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware. His first known recording was a 1953 session with tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. He made an LP with Chicago pianist Andrew Hill (1957). He began working with Roscoe Mitchell in 1966; this group eventually became the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Favors also worked outside the group, with artists including Sunny Murrary, Archie Shepp, and Dewey Redman.

Prominent records include Natural and the Spiritual (solo bass, 1977) and Sightsong (duets with Muhal Richard Abrams, 1975). In 1994 he played with Roman Bunka (Oud) at Berlin Jazz Fest and recorded the German Critics Poll Winner album Color me Cairo.

Sonny Thompson(piano) 1923 - 1989 :: Sonny Thonpson was an American R&B bandleader and pianist, popular in the 1940s and 1950s.

Born Alfonso Thompson in Centreville, Mississippi, he began recording in 1946, and in 1948 achieved two #1 R&B chart hits on the Miracle label – “Long Gone (Parts I and II)” and “Late Freight”, both featuring saxophonist Eddie Chamblee. The follow-ups “Blue Dreams” and “Still Gone” were smaller hits.

By 1952 he had moved on to King Records. There, he had further R&B Top 10 successes with the singer Lula Reed, the biggest hit being “I’ll Drown in My Tears” (Thompson married Reed sometime in the early 1950s). He continued to work as a session musician, and to perform with Reed into the early 1960s. He also had success as a songwriter, often co-writing with blues guitarist, Freddie King.

Vernon Reid(guitar) 1958 :: Born day greetings to Vernon Reid. Vernon is an English-born American guitarist, songwriter, composer, and bandleader. Best known as the founder and primary songwriter of the rock band Living Colour, Reid was named #66 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Reid is best known for leading Living Colour. Early versions of the group formed in New York City in 1983, but the personnel solidified in 1985-86, and Reid led the group for about another decade.

Among the highlights: a double platinum-selling debut album Vivid, released in 1988; its gold-certified successor, Time’s Up, released 1990; two consecutive Grammy Awards in the category of Best Hard Rock Performance; opening for the Rolling Stones’ 1989 “Steel Wheels” tour; and appearing on the first Lollapalooza tour in the summer of 1991. Living Colour broke up in 1995 but eventually reformed in 2000. Since then, they have released two more albums; Collideøscope in October 2003 on Sanctuary Records and The Chair in the Doorway in September 2009 on Megaforce Records.

In addition to his work with Living Colour, Reid has been engaged in a number of other projects. He released Mistaken Identity, his first solo album, in 1996 and has collaborated with the choreographers Bill T. Jones on Still/Here and Donald Byrd on Jazztrain. He performed “Party ‘TilThe End of Time” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) with The Roots, an end of the 2000 millennium tribute featuring the music of Prince’s album 1999. He also composed and performed “Bring Your Beats” a children’s program for BAM.

Reid has also undertaken significant work as a record producer, including two Grammy-nominated albums: Papa (1999) by the African vocalist Salif Keita and Memphis Blood: The Sun Sessions (2001) by guitarist James Blood Ulmer. Ulmer’s subsequent albums, No Escape from the Blues: The Electric Lady Sessions (2003), Birthright (2005), and Bad Blood in the City: The Piety Street Sessions (2007), were also produced by Reid.

In March 2007, Reid played with JamaaladeenTacuma, and G. Calvin Weston at Tonic in NYC, and Tritone in Philadelphia, which led them to record as Free Form Funky Freqs with the recording entitled Urban Mythology Volume 1.

Carolina Slim(guitar) 1923-1953 ::  Carolina Slim was an American Piedmont blues guitarist and singer. His best known tracks were “Black Cat Trail” and “I’ll Never Walk in Your Door”. He used various pseudonyms during his relatively brief recording career, including Country Paul, Jammin’ Jim, Lazy Slim Jim and Paul Howard. In total he recorded 27 songs, but details of his life outside of his music career are scant, and the exact reasons concerning the usage of differing names are also unclear.

In 1950, he relocated to Newark, New Jersey, and made his recording debut for the Savoy label, billed as Carolina Slim. His first single was “Black Chariot Blues” b/w “Mama’s Boogie”, recorded on July 24, 1950, and released on Acorn Records (Acorn 3015), a subsidiary of Savoy. In 1951 and 1952, he recorded eight tracks for the King label in New York, this time using the name of Country Paul. Henry Glover met Slim at these recordings, and later commented that Slim was “a very sickly young man at the time”. Slim’s style blended Piedmont blues, prominent in songs such as “Carolina Boogie” and his cover version of Fuller’s “Rag Mama Rag”, with the influence of Hopkins meaning that he increasingly veered towards Texas blues. Occasionally, Slim incorporated a washboard as well as his more regular guitar, as if to emphasise his Carolina rootstock.

His recordings were not hugely popular, but sold in sufficient amounts for him to retain his recording contract. In June 1952, Slim recorded four more tracks for Savoy, but these were to be his final offerings.

Carolina Slim died in Newark, New Jersey, from a heart attack suffered whilst undergoing surgery on a back complaint. He was 30 years old.

auradacity-of:

iwriteaboutfeminism:

The start of the school year in Ferguson was pushed back another week, to Aug. 25th. In the meantime, children are able to spend the day at the library or local churches. 

The Balance

Lauryn Hill - Black Rage (Rough)
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knowledgeequalsblackpower:

Lauryn Hill - “Black Rage”

Black rage is founded on dreaming and draining 
Threatening your freedom 
To stop your complaining 
Poisoning your water 
While they say it’s raining 
Then call you mad 
For complaining, complaining 
Old time bureaucracy 
Drugging the youth 
Black rage is founded on blocking the truth 
Murder and crime 
Compromise and distortion 
Sacrifice, sacrifice 
Who makes this fortune? 
Greed, falsely called progress 
Such human contortion 
Black rage is founded on these kinds of things 

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Maya Angelou (via purplebuddhaproject)

latinosexuality:

via moyazb

Jazziversaries August 21

Art Farmer(flugelhorn) 1928-1999  ::  Art Farmer was an American jazz trumpeter and flugelhorn player. He also played flumpet, a trumpet–flugelhorn combination specially designed for him. He and his identical twin brother, double bassist Addison Farmer, started playing professionally while in high school. Art gained greater attention after the release of a recording of his composition “Farmer’s Market” in 1952. He subsequently moved from Los Angeles to New York, where he performed and recorded with musicians such as Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, and Gigi Gryce and became known principally as a bebop player.

As Farmer’s reputation grew, he expanded from bebop into more experimental forms through working with composers such as George Russell and Teddy Charles. He went on to join Gerry Mulligan’s quartet and, with Benny Golson, to co-found the Jazztet. Continuing to develop his own sound, Farmer switched from trumpet to the warmer flugelhorn in the early 1960s, and he helped to establish the flugelhorn as a soloist’s instrument in jazz. He settled in Europe in 1968 and continued to tour internationally until his death. Farmer recorded more than 50 albums under his own name, a dozen with the Jazztet, and dozens more with other leaders. His playing is known for its individuality – most noticeably, its lyricism, warmth of tone and sensitivity.

Addison Farmer(bass) 1928-1963 ::Addison Farmer  was an American jazz bassist. He was the twin brother of Art Farmer.

Addison was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He took bass lessons from Fred Zimmermann, and studied at Juilliard and the Manhattan School of Music. By late 1945, he was with Johnny Alston and His Orchestra recording for the Bihari Brothers’ Modern Music label backing Jeanne De Metz and shortly after, on the Blue Moon label. Other band members for those recording dates included Al “Cake” Wichard and King Fleming. He later recorded with Teddy Edwards’s band. He played in several groups with his brother, including in ensembles led by Benny Golson and Gigi Gryce. He also played with Jay McShann, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. He recorded extensively for the jazz label Prestige.

Count Basie(piano) 1904 -1984 :: William James “Count” Basie (August 21, 1904 – April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. His mother taught him to play the piano and he started performing in his teens. Dropping out of school, he learned to operate lights for vaudeville and to improvise accompaniment for silent films at a local movie theater in his home town of Red Bank, New Jersey. By 16, he increasingly played jazz piano at parties, resorts and other venues. 

Around 1920, Basie went to Harlem, a hotbed of jazz, where he lived down the block from the Alhambra Theater. Early after his arrival, he bumped into Sonny Greer, who was by then the drummer for the Washingtonians, Duke Ellington’s early band. Soon, Basie met many of the Harlem musicians who were “making the scene,” including Willie “the Lion” Smith and James P. Johnson.

Basie toured in several acts between 1925 and 1927, including Katie Krippen and Her Kiddies as part of the Hippity Hop show; on the Keith, the Columbia Burlesque, and the Theater Owners Bookers Association (T.O.B.A.) vaudeville circuits; and as a soloist and accompanist to blues singers Katie Krippen and Gonzelle White. His touring took him to Kansas City, St. Louis, New Orleans, and Chicago. Throughout his tours, Basie met many great jazz musicians, including Louis Armstrong.Before he was 20 years old, he toured extensively on the Keith and TOBA vaudeville circuits as a solo pianist, accompanist, and music director for blues singers, dancers, and comedians. This provided an early training that was to prove significant in his later career.

In 1929 Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten’s ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington’s or Fletcher Henderson’s. Where the Blue Devils were “snappier” and more “bluesy,” the Moten band was classier and more respected, and played in the “Kansas City stomp” style. In addition to playing piano, Basie was co-arranger with Eddie Durham, who notated the music. Their “Moten Swing”, which Basie claimed credit for, was widely acclaimed and was an invaluable contribution to the development of swing music, and at one performance at the Pearl Theatre in Philadelphia in December 1932, the theatre opened its door to allow anybody in to hear the band perform. During a stay in Chicago, Basie recorded with the band. He occasionally played four-hand piano and dual pianos with Moten, who also conducted. The band improved with several personnel changes, including the addition of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster.

When the band voted Moten out, Basie took over for several months, calling the group “Count Basie and his Cherry Blossoms.” When his own band folded, he rejoined Moten with a newly re-organized band. When Moten died in 1935 after a surgical procedure, the band unsuccessfully tried to stay together but couldn’t make a go of it.

Basie formed a new band that year, which included many Moten alumni, with the important addition of tenor player Lester Young. They played at the Reno Club and sometimes were broadcast on local radio. Late one night with time to fill, the band started improvising. Basie liked the results and named the piece “One O’Clock Jump.” According to Basie, “we hit it with the rhythm section and went into the riffs, and the riffs just stuck. We set the thing up front in D-flat, and then we just went on playing in F.” It became his signature tune.

That year Basie formed his own jazz orchestra, and in 1936 took them to Chicago for a long engagement and their first recording. He led the group for almost 50 years, creating innovations like the use of two “split” tenor saxophones, emphasizing the rhythm section, riffing with a big band, using arrangers to broaden their sound, and others. Many notable musicians came to prominence under his direction, including the tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, the guitarist Freddie Green, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry “Sweets” Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie’s theme songs were “One O’Clock Jump,” developed in 1935 in the early days of his band, and “April In Paris”.

Malachi Thompson(trumpet) 1949 - 2006  ::  Malachi Thompson was an American avant-garde jazz trumpet player.

Born in Princeton, Kentucky, Malachi Thompson moved to Chicago as a child. He credited his interest in the trumpet to hearing Count Basie’s band at the Regal Theatre when he was 11 years old. Thompson worked in the rhythm and blues scene on Chicago’s South Side as a teen. In 1968, he joined the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), spending some time in the AACM big band. He performed and toured with the Operation Breadbasket Big Band, which was affiliated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Thompson graduated from Governors State University in 1974 with a degree in music composition.

He worked with saxophonists Joe Henderson, Jackie McLean, Frank Foster, and Archie Shepp, among other musicians, while living in New York City. Thompson formed his “Freebop” band in 1978, and eventually relocated to Washington, D.C. He also worked with Lester Bowie’s Hot Trumpets Repertory Company and formed Africa Brass, a group inspired by traditional New Orleans brass bands.

With a goal of preserving the Sutherland Theater on Chicago’s South Side, he founded the Sutherland Community Arts Initiative, a non-profit corporation, in 1991. He also wrote incidental music for a play about the theater

Savannah Churchill(vocal) 1919 -1974 :: Savannah Churchill was a successful American singer of pop, jazz, and blues music in the 1940s and 1950s.

Born Savannah Valentine to Creole parents, she was raised in Brooklyn, and started singing in 1941 to support her family after her husband David Churchill was killed in a car accident. Her first recordings, including the risqué “Fat Meat Is Good Meat”, were issued on Beacon Records in 1942. These were followed the next year by recordings on Capitol with the Benny Carter Orchestra, including her first hit “Hurry, Hurry”.

In 1945 she signed with Manor Records, and that year “Daddy Daddy” reached # 3 on the R&B chart. Two years later she had her only R&B # 1 with “I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You)”, which topped the charts for eight weeks. The record was billed as being with vocal group The Sentimentalists, who soon renamed themselves The Four Tunes. Subsequent recordings with The Four Tunes, including “Time Out For Tears” (# 10 R&B, # 24 pop) and “I Want To Cry”, both in 1948, were also successful.

Billed as “Sex-Sational”, she performed to much acclaim, and appeared in the movies Miracle in Harlem (1948) and Souls of Sin (1949). She toured widely with backing vocal group The Striders, including a visit to Hawaii in 1954. From 1949 she recorded with Regal, RCA Victor and Decca Records, recording the original version of “Shake A Hand”, later a big hit for Faye Adams, and also recording with the Ray Charles Singers. In 1956 she was one of the first artists signed to the Argo label, set up as a subsidiary to Chess Records.

Tragedy struck later in 1956 to end her career. She was singing on stage in a club, when a drunken man fell on top of her from a balcony above, causing severe debilitating injuries from which she would never fully recover.

Jazziversaries August 20th

Isaac Hayes(vocalist) 1942 -2008 :: Issac Hayes was an American songwriter, musician, singer, actor, and voice actor. Hayes was one of the creative influences behind the southern soul music label Stax Records, where he served both as an in-house songwriter and as a record producer, teaming with his partner David Porter during the mid-1960s. Hayes, Porter, Bill Withers, the Sherman Brothers, Steve Cropper, and John Fogerty were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005 in recognition of writing scores of notable songs for themselves, the duo Sam & Dave, Carla Thomas, and others.

The hit song “Soul Man”, written by Hayes and Porter and first performed by Sam & Dave, has been recognized as one of the most influential songs of the past 50 years by the Grammy Hall of Fame. It was also honored by The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, by Rolling Stone magazine, and by the RIAA as one of the Songs of the Century.

During the late 1960s, Hayes also began recording music and he had several successful soul albums such as Hot Buttered Soul (1969) and Black Moses (1971). In addition to his work in popular music, he worked as a composer of musical scores for motion pictures.

He is well known for his musical score for the film Shaft (1971). For the “Theme from Shaft”, he was awarded the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1972. He became the third African-American, after Sidney Poitier and Hattie McDaniel, to win an Academy Award in any competitive field covered by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He also won two Grammy Awards for that same year. Later, he was given his third Grammy for his music album Black Moses.

In 1992, in recognition of humanitarian work there, he was crowned the honorary king of the Ada, Ghana region. He also acted in motion pictures and television, such as in the movies Truck Turner and I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, and as Gandolf “Gandy” Fitch in the TV series The Rockford Files (1974–1980). From 1997 to 2005, he lent his distinctive, deep voice to the character “Chef” on the animated TV series South Park.

His influences are Percy Mayfield, Big Joe Turner, James Brown, Jerry Butler, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, Marvin Gaye, Otis Redding, and psychedelic soul groups like The Chambers Brothers and Sly and the Family Stone. Allmusic.com says that Isaac Hayes is responsible for the evolution of disco and rap.

On August 5, 2003, Hayes was honored as a BMI Icon at the 2003 BMI Urban Awards for his enduring influence on generations of music makers.Throughout his songwriting career, Hayes received five BMI R&B Awards, two BMI Pop Awards, two BMI Urban Awards and six Million-Air citations. As of 2008, his songs generated more than 12 million performances.

Jack Teagarden(trombone) 1905-1964 ::  Weldon Leo “Jack” Teagardenknown as “Big T” and “The Swingin’ Gate”, was a jazz trombonist, bandleader, composer, and vocalist, regarded as the “Father of Jazz Trombone”.

Teagarden’s trombone style was largely self-taught, and he developed many unusual alternative positions and novel special effects on the instrument. He is usually considered the most innovative jazz trombone stylist of the pre-bebop era — Pee Wee Russell once called him “the best trombone player in the world”—and did much to expand the role of the instrument beyond the old tailgate style role of the early New Orleans brass bands. Chief among his contributions to the language of jazz trombonists was his ability to interject the blues or merely a “blue feeling” into virtually any piece of music.

By 1920 Teagarden was playing professionally in San Antonio, including with the band of pianist Peck Kelley. In the mid-1920s he started traveling widely around the United States in a quick succession of different bands. In 1927, he went to New York City where he worked with several bands. By 1928 he played for the Ben Pollack band.

Within a year of the commencement of his recording career, he became a regular vocalist, first doing blues material (“Beale Street Blues”, for example), and later doing popular songs. He is often mentioned as one of the best jazz vocalists of the era; his singing style is quite like his trombone playing, in terms of improvisation (in the same way that Louis Armstrong sang quite like he played trumpet). His singing is best remembered for duets with Louis Armstrong and Johnny Mercer.

In the late 1920s he recorded with such notable bandleaders and sidemen as Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Jimmy McPartland, MezzMezzrow, Glenn Miller, and Eddie Condon. Glenn Miller and Teagarden collaborated to provide lyrics and a verse to Spencer Williams’ Basin Street Blues, which in that amended form became one of the numbers that Teagarden played until the end of his days.

In the early 1930s Teagarden was based in Chicago, for some time playing with the band of WingyManone. In 1946 Teagarden joined Louis Armstrong’s All Stars. Armstrong and Teagarden’s work together shows a wonderful rapport, in particular their duet on “Rockin’ Chair”. In late 1951 Teagarden left to again lead his own band, then co-led a band with Earl Hines, then again with a group under his own name with whom he toured Japan in 1958 and 1959.

Teagarden appeared in the movies Birth of the Blues (1941), The Strip (1951), The Glass Wall (1953), and Jazz on a Summer’s Day (1960), the latter a documentary film of the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. He was an admired recording artist, featured on RCA Victor, Columbia, Decca, Capitol, and MGM Records discs. As a jazz artist he won the 1944 Esquire magazine Gold Award, was highly rated in the Metronome polls of 1937-42 and 1945, and was selected for the Playboy magazine All Star Band, 1957-60.

Teagarden was the featured performer at the Newport Jazz Festival of 1957. Saturday Review wrote in 1964 that he “walked with artistic dignity all his life,” and the same year Newsweek praised his “mature approach to trombone jazz.”

Jimmy Raney(guitar, electric) 1927-1995  :: Jimmy Raney was an American jazz guitarist born in Louisville, Kentucky, most notable for his work from 1951 to 1952 and 1962 to 1963 with Stan Getz and for his work from 1953 to 1954 with the Red Norvo trio, replacing Tal Farlow. In 1954 and 1955 he won the Down Beat critics poll for guitar. Raney has worked in a variety of jazz mediums, including cool jazz, bebop, post bop, hard bop and mainstream jazz.

In 1946 he worked for a time as guitarist with the Max Miller Quartet at Elmer’s in Chicago, his first paying gig. Raney also worked in the Artie Shaw Orchestra and collaborated with Woody Herman for nine months in 1948. He also collaborated and recorded with Buddy DeFranco, Al Haig and later on with Bob Brookmeyer. In 1967 alcoholism and other professional difficulties led him to leave New York City and return to his native Louisville. He resurfaced in the 1970s and also did work with his son Doug, who is also a guitarist.

Raney suffered for thirty years from Ménière’s disease, a degenerative condition that eventually led to near complete deafness in both ears, although this did not stop him from playing. He died of heart failure in Louisville on May 10, 1995, just short of his 68th birthday. His obituary in the New York Times called him “one of the most gifted and influential postwar jazz guitarists in the world”


Joya Sherrill(vocalist) 1927-2010  ::Joya Sherrill was an American jazz vocalist and children’s television show host.

Sherrill began her career with Duke Ellington in 1942, aged 17, later becoming a member of his orchestra from 1944 to 1946. She had a hit with Ellington’s tune “I’m Beginning to See the Light”. Subsequently, she worked as a soloist, performing with Rex Stewart, Ray Nance, and others into the 1960s. She returned to Ellington for 1959’s A Drum Is a Woman. She toured the U.S. in 1959 and then took a role in the Broadway show The Long Dream. She toured with Benny Goodman in the USSR in 1962 and then returned to sing with Ellington in 1963.

From 1970 to 1982 she had a children’s television show, Time for Joya, later called Joya’s Fun School. Later in the 1980s she hosted a children’s show in the Middle East.

Jazziversaries August 19th

Earl Gaines (vocal) 1935-2009 :: Earl Gaines was an American soul blues and electric blues singer. Born in Decatur, Alabama, he sang lead vocals on the hit single “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day)”, accredited to Louis Brooks and his Hi-Toppers, before undertaking a low-key solo career. In the latter capacity he had minor success with “The Best of Luck to You” (1966) and “Hymn Number 5” (1973). Noted as the best R&B singer from Nashville, Gaines was also known for his lengthy career.

After moving from his hometown in his teenage years, and relocating to Nashville, Tennessee, Gaines found employment as both a singer and occasional drummer. Via work he did for local songwriter, Ted Jarrett, Gaines moved from singing in clubs to meeting Louis Brooks. Brooks led the instrumental Hi-Toppers, who had a recording contract with the Excello label. Their subsequent joint recording, “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours a Day),” peaked at #2 on the US R&B chart in 1955. It was Gaines biggest hit, but his name was not credited on the record.

Breaking away from the confines of the group, Gaines became part of the 1955 R&B Caravan of Stars, with Bo Diddley, Big Joe Turner, and Etta James. Their tour culminated with an appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Without any tangible success, Gaines recorded for the Champion and Poncello labels for another few years, as well as joining Bill Doggett’s band as lead vocalist. In 1963, he joined Bill “Hoss” Allen’s repertoire of artists, and by 1966 had issued the album, The Best of Luck to You, seeing the title track reach the Top 40 in the US R&B chart. He appeared on the television program The !!!! Beat, and later released material for King and Sound Stage 7, including his cover version of “Hymn Number 5”. Recordings made between 1967 and 1973 for De Luxe were reissued in 1998. On many of his De Luxe recordings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gaines was backed by Freddy Robinson’s orchestra.

In 1975, Gaines recorded “Drowning On Dry Land” for Ace, before leaving the music industry for almost a decade and a half, to work as a truck driver.He finally re-emerged in 1989 with the album House Party.

In the 1990s Gaines worked with Roscoe Shelton and Clifford Curry. On Appaloosa Records, Gaines issued I Believe in Your Love (1995), and in 1997 he reunited with Curry and Shelton for a collaborative live album. He released Everything’s Gonna Be Alright in 1998. Gaines work was on the 2005 Grammy Award winning Night Train To Nashville: Music City Rhythm & Blues, 1945–1970, an exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. His own albums The Different Feelings of Blues and Soul (2005) and Nothin’ But the Blues (2008) followed, the latter released on the Ecko label.

Lyle “Spud” Murphy (bandleader) 1908-2005 :: Lyle Stephanovic,  better known as Spud Murphy, was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and arranger.

Born MikoStefanovic to Serbian émigré parents in Berlin, Germany, Murphy grew up in Salt Lake City, Utah, where he took the name of a childhood friend. Murphy studied clarinet and saxophone when young and took trumpet lessons from Red Nichols’s father. He worked with Jimmy Joy in 1927-28 and with Ross Gorman and Slim Lamar (on oboe) in 1928. He worked in the early 1930s as saxophonist-arranger for Austin Wylie, Jan Garber, Mal Hallett, and Joe Haymes, then became a staff arranger for Benny Goodman from 1935 to 1937. At the same time he also contributed charts to the Casa Loma Orchestra, Isham Jones, Les Brown and many others.

From 1937 to 1940 Murphy led a big band, and recorded for Decca Records and Bluebird Records in 1938-39. In the 1940s he relocated to Los Angeles, where he did work in the studios and with film music, in addition to authoring and teaching the 1200-page “System of Horizontal Composition” (a.k.a. “Equal Interval System”). He recorded two jazz albums in the 1950s, but his later career was focused on classical and film music.

In 2003, orchestra leader Dean Mora, a close friend of Murphy’s, recorded some two dozen of his arrangements in a tribute CD, Goblin Market.

Eddie Durham(multi-instrumentalist)1906-1987  :: Eduard “Eddie” Durham was an American jazz guitarist, trombonist, composer and musical arranger of the swing music medium born in San Marcos, Texas, probably best known for his work with musicians like Cab Calloway, Willie Bryant, Andy Kirk, Glenn Miller, Jimmie Lunceford and Count Basie, among others.

He is the co-composer (with Edgar Battle) of the tune “Topsy”, recorded by the Count Basie Orchestra and later by many others. He also was the arranger for Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood”. He is also credited for recording the world’s first jazz electric guitar solo with a Gibson ES-150 guitar in 1938 on Lester Young’s Kansas City Five sessions. Other electric guitars had been recorded that year by other players, including George Barnes with Big Bill Broonzy. Eddie Durham was also the mentor for one Charlie Christian.

Ginger Baker(drums) 1939 :: Happy birthday tot eh British blues drumming legend Ginger Baker. Peter Edward “Ginger” Baker is an English drummer who played with Cream and Blind Faith. He is also known for his numerous associations with World music, mainly the use of African influences. He has also had other collaborations such as with Gary Moore, Hawkwind and Public Image Ltd.

Baker’s drumming attracted attention for its flamboyance, showmanship and his use of two bass drums instead of the conventional single bass kick drum (following a similar set-up used by Louie Bellson during his days with Duke Ellington). Although a firmly established rock drummer and praised as “Rock’s first superstar drummer”, he prefers being called a jazz drummer. Baker’s influence has extended to drummers of both genres, including Billy Cobham, Peter Criss, Bill Ward, Ian Paice, Nick Mason, and John Bonham. AllMusic has described him as “the most influential percussionist of the 1960s” and stated that “virtually every drummer of every heavy metal band that has followed since that time has sought to emulate some aspect of Baker’s playing.”

While at times performing in a similar way to Keith Moon from The Who, Baker also employs a more restrained style influenced by the British jazz groups he heard during the late 1950s and early 1960s. In his early days as a drummer, he performed lengthy drum solos, the best known being the five-minute drum solo “Toad” from Cream’s debut album Fresh Cream (1966). He is also noted for using a variety of other percussion instruments and for his application of African rhythms. He would often emphasize the flam, a drum rudiment in which both sticks attack the drumhead at almost the same time, giving a heavy thunderous sound.

He lived in Nigeria from 1970 until 1976. Baker sat in for Kuti during recording sessions in 1971 and these were released by Regal Zonophone as Live! (FelaKuti album) (1971)’ Fela also appeared with Ginger Baker on Stratavarious (1972) alongside Bobby Gass, a pseudonym for Bobby Tench from The Jeff Beck Group. Stratavarious was later re-issued as part of the compilation Do What You Like. Baker formed Baker Gurvitz Army in 1974 and recorded three albums with them before the band broke up in 1976.

In 1992 Baker played with the hard-rock group Masters of Reality on the album Sunrise on the Sufferbus, yielding the top-ten hit “She Got Me (When She Got Her Dress On)”.

In 1994 he formed The Ginger Baker Trio and joined the bassist known as Googe in Masters of Reality formed by producer, singer and guitarist Chris Goss.

In 1994 Baker joined BBM, a short-lived power trio with the lineup of Baker, Jack Bruce and Irish blues rock guitarist Gary Moore. On 3 May 2005 Baker was reunited with Eric Clapton and Bruce for a series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and Madison Square Garden. The London concerts were recorded and released as Royal Albert Hall London May 2–3–5–6 2005 (2005), In a Rolling Stone article written in 2009, Bruce is quoted as saying: “It’s a knife-edge thing between me and Ginger. Nowadays, we’re happily co-existing in different continents [Bruce lives in Britain, Baker in South Africa]…although I was thinking of asking him to move. He’s still a bit too close.”

Jimmy Rowles(piano) 1918-1996  ::  Jimmy Rowles (born James George Hunter)  was an American jazz pianist, vocalist, and composer. As a bandleader and accompanist, he explored various styles including swing and cool jazz.

After moving to Los Angeles, he joined Lester Young’s group in 1942. Rowles also worked with Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Les Brown, Tommy Dorsey, and Tony Bennett, and as a studio musician.

In the 1950s and 1960s, he frequently played behind Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee, and in the 1980s he succeeded Paul Smith as Ella Fitzgerald’s accompanist. Rowles had first performed with Fitzgerald at the Mocambo nightclub in Hollywood, Los Angeles, in late 1956. He had appeared on several recording sessions with her in the 1960s, before joining her for nearly three years in 1981. Rowles appeared on Fitzgerald’s final collaboration with Nelson Riddle, The Best Is Yet to Come in 1982. Fitzgerald recorded Rowles and Johnny Mercer’s song “Baby, Don’t You Quit Now” on her final album, All That Jazz, released in 1989.

Rowles’ piano work was featured prominently on the DePatie-Freleng Enterprises cartoon series The Ant and the Aardvark (1969-1971), which utilized a jazz score for its theme and musical cues.

In 1973, Rowles settled in New York City, where he performed and/or recorded with Zoot Sims and Stan Getz, among others. By 1983, he worked with Diana Krall in Los Angeles, shortly after she moved from the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He developed her playing abilities and encouraged her to add singing to her repertoire.

He composed several jazz pieces, the best known being “The Peacocks,” which Rowles sings in his gravelly voice on the 1975 album of the same name. The piece is performed on the alto flute by Gary Foster on Foster’s album, Make Your Own Fun.Rowles also performed on this album. The song is also featured on Foster’s Perfect Circularity, and a version with lyrics by Norma Winstone is performed by Winstone, accompanied by Rowles, on her 1993 album Well Kept Secret, under the title ‘A Timeless Place’. Guitarist John McLaughlin also recorded a version of “The Peacocks” on his 1995 album The Promise.

In 1994, he accompanied jazz singer Jeri Brown on the only album containing only his own compositions, A Timeless Place.