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Al Jarreau…

One of the truly greats passed yesterday… Had seen him in concert at least half a dozen times through the years. His voice had a range and versatility beyond anyone else in the Jazz and Fusion arena.

My personal favorite song by Al Jarreau –

 
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Posted by on February 13, 2017 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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The Best Jazz Pianist You Have Never Heard Of – Cyrus Chestnut

Cyrus Chestnut was born in Baltimore, and lives in the Washington-Baltimore area. I have seen him play 4 or 5 times, with my appreciation of what he is doing rising each and every time. I would call his style “austere”, with clean beautifully struck notes.First time I listened to Cyrus was in the late 80’s at the Treaty of Paris Restaurant in Annapolis Maryland. My group of 6 was in another room – We asked for and got a table in the room with the trio. That was a delight!

He is one of the most requested pianists among recording musicians, including  Freddy Cole,Bette Midler, Jon Hendricks, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Scott, Chick Corea, Isaac Hayes, Kevin Mahogany, Dizzy Gillespie, and opera diva Kathleen Battle. If you have heard Anita Baker, chances are you heard Cyrus.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2016 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Prince Dead – Prince Rogers Nelson 1958-2016

A shock. At 57 years of age, Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead at his home.

Prince, the legendary musician who brought us countless hits, such as “Purple Rain” and “When Doves Cry,” has died. He was 57.

The singer’s publicist confirmed the tragic news to The Huffington Post on Thursday.

“It is with profound sadness that I am confirming that the legendary, iconic performer, Prince Rogers Nelson, has died at his Paisley Park residence this morning at the age of 57,” the rep said in a statement. “There are no further details as to the cause of death at this time.”

TMZ was the first to report the news.

Earlier this week, the performer was treated for the flu aft er his plane made an emergency landing.

A representative for Prince told TMZ that the singer was feeling under the weather during his shows last week and began to feel worse on the plane. After the emergency landing, he was treated at a hospital and released three hours later.

Born Prince Rogers Nelson (after the Prince Roger Trio) on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the multi-talented performer has been called “one of the most naturally gifted artists of all time,” by Rolling Stone.

Prince was first signed to a record deal with Warner Brother Records when he was just a teenager. In 1978, he released his debut album, “For You,” followed by “Dirty Mind” in 1980 and “Controversy in ‘81.

But it was his 1982 album, “1999,” that really thrust Prince into the spotlight. The album, which went platinum, featured the Top 10 singles “Little Red Corvette,” “Delirious,” and of course, “1999.”

In 1984, Prince starred in “Purple Rain,” a film for which he created the soundtrack and original score. The artist won an Academy Award for Best original Song Score and the film took home the award for Best Original Musical. “Purple Rain,” the album, which featured the songs “When Doves Cry” and “Let’s Go Crazy” (as well as the title track), spent 24 weeks on the top of the chart and sold over 13 million copies.

The artist would go on to act in a number of other films, including “Under the Cherry Moon” (1986) and “Graffiti Bridge” (1990), and appear in a 2014 episode of “New Girl.”

By 1989, with the release of his 11th album, “Batman,” Prince had become one of the most successful pop artists in America. He gained success at a time when stars like Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Michael Jackson were dominating the industry, yet thanks to his ability to constantly transform, he managed to carve out a unique spot for himself.

Prince went so far as to change his name to the unpronounceable symbol O(+> in 1993, which Rolling Stone dubbed one of “the boldest career moves in rock history.” The artist used the moniker until 2000. Fans and media alike were confused by the symbol, and often referred to the singer as “the artist formerly known as Prince.” The icon famously referenced his symbolic name with his guitar during his epic Super Bowl Performance years later in 2007. The performance is hands down one of the most memorable in Super Bowl history.

After a few years of staying out of the spotlight, Prince performed at the Grammys with Beyonce in February 2004. The two played a medley of hits, including his “Purple Rain” and “Let’s Go Crazy,” along with Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love.” The following month, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Prince also released the Grammy Award-winning album “Musicology” in 2004, with the accompanying Musicology Live 2004ever tour, which grossed a whopping $87.4 million.

 

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Maurice White – Founder of Earth, Wind, and Fire

EW&F was basically the soundtrack of the 70’s…

Earth, Wind & Fire Founder Maurice White Dead At 74

Maurice White, the founder of Earth, Wind & Fire, died in Los Angeles on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. White was 74.

“My brother, hero and best friend Maurice White passed away peacefully last night in his sleep,” Verdine White said in a statement on Earth, Wind & Fire’s Facebook page. “While the world has lost another great musician and legend, our family asks that our privacy is respected as we start what will be a very difficult and life changing transition in our lives. Thank you for your prayers and well wishes.”

White was born in Memphis, Tennessee on December 19, 1941. The famed singer, producer and drummer founded Earth, Wind & Fire in the 1960s. The Grammy-winning band produced many well-known hits, among them “Shining Star,” “Boogie Wonderland, “That’s The Way Of The World” and “September.”

White was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 20 years ago and the band continued to perform without him.

“Everybody knows that he has Parkison’s,” Verdine said in 2013. “Thank you for your prayers and wishes. It was a pivotal moment for the three of us, having to go out without him and he gave us his blessings.”

 
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Posted by on February 5, 2016 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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Chuck Brown – Godfather of Go Go

Used to be, you could tell what city you were in by the music on the radio. CATV and the homogenization of channels after major radio companies consolidated the small local stations – pretty much killed that.

Chuck Brown was a DC institution. I heard Chuck Brown play the first time back in the 70’s, and have heard him play probably 15 or 20 times since. For years he played the “Cabaret” circuit – yet another institution peculiar to DC.

The he started playing a new type of music – Go Go.

Two things you needed to go to a Go Go Club…

Your dancing shoes – and a willingness to boogie all night.

RIP Chuck!

And –

 
 

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Donald “Duck” Dunn

Back in he 60’s, you wanted to make music – you needed a band. There wasn’t any electronic machinery to make appropriate noises at pre-planned intervals. There wa no wizard circuitry to cover up the fact that your lead couldn’t sing…

1970 Pic of Booker T and the MGs. From left to tight Al Jackson, Jr., Booker T. Jones, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Steve Cropper.

That band for a lot of famous groups either on or associated with the STAX Label was Booker T and the MGs, who individually or as a group backed up just about anyone who was anyone in Southern Rock or Southern R&B for over 20 years. They and the Funk Brothers out of Detroit (the Motown Sound machine) defined not only soul or R&B music – but often played with rock groups. A short list of R&B Greats these guys backed included  Otis ReddingSam & DaveAlbert KingJohnnie TaylorEddie FloydThe Staple SingersWilson Pickett, and Delaney & Bonnie. A session player for the group was Isaac Hayes. Among the groups they influenced were the Beatles.

The distinctive sound of the group came from the Hammond B-3 and later the H-3 Organ, played by Booker T, and Issac Hayes – combined with the tightest base line possible laid down by Donald “Duck” Dunn, who would also play as bass for the The Blues BrothersMuddy WatersFreddie KingAlbert KingNeil YoungJerry Lee LewisEric ClaptonTom PettyCreedence Clearwater RevivalWilson PickettSam & DaveGuy SebastianRod StewartBob DylanRoy BuchananArthur Conley, Stephen Stills, and Eric Clapton.

Dunn used a sunburst Fender Precision bass with a rosewood fretboard and a red pickguard. In 1998, Dunn collaborated with Fender to produce a signature Precision Bass, a candy apple red-colored model based on the late 1950s style, with a gold anodized pickguard, a split-coil humbucking pickup and vintage hardware. The Duck Dunn P-Bass became the basis for a Skyline Series signature bass made by Chicago bass company Lakland a few years later, which is still available.

Booker T and MGs Bassist Dunn Dies

Bass player and songwriter Donald “Duck” Dunn, a member of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame band Booker T. and the MGs and the Blues Brothers band, has died in Tokyo. He was 70. Dunn was in Tokyo for a series of shows. News of his death was posted on the Facebook site of his friend and fellow musician Steve Cropper, who was on the same tour. Cropper said Dunn died in his sleep.

A spokeswoman for Tokyo Blue Note, the last venue Dunn played, confirmed he died alone early today. She had no further details. Dunn, who was born in Memphis, Tenn., in 1941, performed on recordings with Eric Clapton, Neil Young, and many others, and specialized in blues, gospel, and soul. He played himself in the 1980 hit movie, The Blues Brothers. He received a lifetime achievement Grammy award in 2007 for his work with Booker T. and the MGs.

No “Green Onions” for this – I think a little “Time is Tight” is in order –

 
 

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Earl Scruggs

May seem a bit strange that a black urban guy likes Bluegrass – but I come by it honestly. My Dad was a West Virginia “Hillbilly” who listened to Bluegrass every Sunday on the radio when one of the local AM stations did a special show. And I am not ashamed to say that as a kid I enjoyed the hell out of trekking up and down those hills when we went to visit that side of the family – and have been known to take a trip up there when in need of a little solitude and reevaluation.

There are Master Musicians, and when you listen to them – it really doesn’t matter what the style of music is. Earl Scruggs 3 finger down Banjo style that he invented is used now by about 80% of the people who play Banjo.

Here’s an original Earl Scruggs/Lester Flatt piece from the 40’s –

Earl Scruggs remembered by Dierks Bentley, Steve Martin

 It may be impossible to overstate the importance of bluegrass legend Earl Scruggs to American music. A pioneering banjo player who helped create modern country music, his sound is instantly recognizable and as intrinsically wrapped in the tapestry of the genre as Johnny Cash’s baritone or Hank Williams’ heartbreak.

Scruggs died Wednesday morning at age 88 of natural causes. The legacy he helped build with bandleader Bill Monroe, guitarist Lester Flatt and the rest of the Blue Grass Boys was evident all around Nashville, where he died in an area hospital. His string-bending, mind-blowing way of picking helped transform a regional sound into a national passion. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Music, From Way Back When to Now

 

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