Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Bird House

June 27, 2014

Bird House

In the early Fifties, jazz saxophone great Charlie Parker (“Bird”) lived at 151 Avenue B, across from Tompkins Square Park in New York’s East Village, with Chan Richardson and their children. Chan remembered:

“Yeah, we lived opposite Tompkin Square Park and Bird, a lot of Ukrainians, some gypsies, Hassidic Jews, and Bird used to hang out at the neighborhood bars and nobody knew who he was. I mean that he was Charlie Parker, you know. Well, they knew his name, but they didn’t know he was Bird, and they just called him Charlie, and he would go down the bar with the other old Ukrainian guys and hanging out and and then he’d come home and bring home Kaboshi. You know (laughing). He fit in wherever he went.”

– Chan Parker, interviewed by Ken Burns, May, 1998

There is a Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Tompkins Square Park each summer.

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Hangover

June 12, 2014

Hangover

Korean novelty pop star Psy (Park Jae-sang) hosts LA’s Snoop Dogg (Calvin Broadus, Jr.) on a binge-drinking tour of Seoul in a new music video. The hard part must have been convincing Snoop to forgo his customary herb for Korea’s potent soju (소주) distilled spirits, the best-selling booze in the world.

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Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’

June 2, 2014

Herb Jeffries, ‘Bronze Buckaroo’

Herb Jeffries, who sang with Duke Ellington and starred in early black westerns as the singing “Bronze Buckaroo,” died last week. He was believed to be 100 years old.

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Johnny Cash

May 8, 2014

Johnny Cash, interviewed by Barney Hoskyns, October 1996.  Animation by Patrick Smith of Blend Films for Blank on Blank (PBS Digital).

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Gabriel García Márquez, 1927 — 2014

April 19, 2014

Columbia writer Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez (“Gabo”) died this week. His books have “no word misplaced” and inspired countless readers, writers, and songwriters. That’s Colombian singer Shakira above with a song from the film version of El amor en los tiempos del cólera (Love in the Time of Cholera). Cuban singer Oscar Chavez (below) sings about Márquez’s fictional town of Macondo.

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Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith, 1921 — 2014

April 10, 2014

Arthur 'Guitar Boogie' Smith, 1921 -- 2014

Musician and songwriter Arthur Smith died on April third.  He composed or collaborated on hundreds of songs but is best known for two, “Guitar Boogie” and “Feuding Banjos.”

More:

“Arthur Smith, guitarist who wrote ‘Guitar Boogie’ and ‘Duelin’ Banjos,’ dies at 93,” Terence McArdle, Washington Post

“Remembering the late great Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith,” David Menconi, Charlotte News & Observer

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Does Repetition Make It Music?

April 5, 2014

“In fact, repetition is so powerfully linked with musicality that its application can dramatically transform apparently non-musical materials into song,” writes Elizabeth Margulis.  Yusef Lateef (above) agrees.

More:

“One more time,” Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis, Aeon

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Happy Birthday, Marvin Gaye

April 2, 2014

Singer Marvin Gaye was born on April 2, 1939. In his set at the the 1964 T.A.M.I Show (above) he performed four of his early hits: “Stubborn Kind of Fellow,” “Pride and Joy,” “Can I Get a Witness,”and “Hitch Hike.” The dancers are goofy but the band, Jack Nitzsche‘s Wrecking Crew, includes Hal Blaine, Tommy Tedesco, Leon Russell,  Glen Campbell, and Plas Johnson.

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Sevastapol

March 29, 2014

Sevastapol

To generations of American musicians “Sevastapol” hasn’t referred to a place in Crimea but to a guitar tuning, also called “Open D” (DADF#AD low to high). Liverpool-born Henry Worrall was teaching guitar at the Ohio Female College in 1855 when he wrote and published a piece commemorating the Siege of Sevastapol in the Crimean War. “Sebastopol: A descriptive fantaisie for the guitar,” specified Open D, and the sprightly march helped spread the tuning.

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Texas Town’s Request to Ted Nugent: Play ‘Far, Far Away’

March 26, 2014

Texas Town's Request to Ted Nugent: Play 'Far, Far Away'

The city of Longview Texas paid $16,250 to keep Ted Nugent from appearing at its municipal Fourth of July celebration. City leaders concluded that Mr. Nugent’s act was not the family-friendly entertainment they had in mind, but his agent claimed their preliminary talks constituted a verbal contract, so the town paid Mr. Nugent a “kill fee.” The 65-year-old rocker, once known for his guitar playing, now stays in the public eye through his racist comments, questionable lyrics, and gun-happy right-wing views.

More:

“Longview pays off rocker Ted Nugent to not perform,” Richard Yeakley, Longview News-Journal

“Rejection slip from Longview gig has Nugent hot as a firecracker,” Bud Kennedy, Fort Worth Star Telegram

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Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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