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Archive for the ‘Modern’ Category

A-Z Ladies of Music T

T is for jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington. Terri got her first drum set at age 7. The set had belonged to her grandfather Matt Carrington who played with Fats Waller and Chuck Berry. She played her first major performance at age 11 at the Wichita Jazz Festival. By 12 she’d earned a full scholarship to the Berklee College of Music. In the late 80’s, Terri gained recognition as the house drummer on “The Arsenio Hall Show.” Terri also  toured extensively with Herbie Hancock. In 2011, she recorded an album with “The Mosaic Project,” an all-star, all female jazz ensemble. This is Terri playing “Virtual Hornets” from Herbie Hancock’s “Future to Future.”

My daughter and I monkeyed around with music lessons last summer but next month she will be starting proper piano lessons. She is 7  just like Terri Lyne was when she started. I think she’ll be pretty good at it but even if she’s not, my Facebook audience can expect videos of my budding young Beethoven. Be kind with your comments folks, nowadays she reads all her press!


Oscar Brown Jr

Oscar Brown Jr was a singer, songwriter, playwright, poet, and civil rights activist. At one point he even ran for political office in Illinois. He started his music career when gospel singer Mahalia Jackson recorded one of his compositions. His first recording experience was on Max Roach’s 1960 release “We Insist – Freedom Now!” He released his first and most successful solo album “Sin And Soul” the same year. The song “Lone Ranger” is from his 1974 album “Brother Where Are You?” It was one of my favorite songs when I was a kid.

There’s been lots of talk in the news lately about the shocking racial prejudice that’s still running rampant in the US today. It makes me smile a bit because the only people who get to enjoy the privilege of being shocked by that news are the people who don’t deal with discrimination on an (almost) daily basis. It’s like most of America is the housewife who has pulled out the refrigerator for spring cleaning and is shocked by the mess she finds there. We Affirmative-Action types are like the cats who always have our noses to the grating. We get to smell the dead mouse under there all the time.

Steve Gadd In The House Of Mouse

By the time Steve Gadd was 11 he had already appeared on The Mickey Mouse Club and sat in with Dizzy Gillespie! Since then he’s worked with many greats in rock, pop, and jazz like Steely Dan, Chick Corea, Joe Cocker, and Paul McCartney. Here he is demonstrating the skill that has kept him in such high demand for so many decades.

I don’t remember Steve Gadd’s episode of the Mickey Mouse Club but I must have seen it. I’m pretty sure I saw them all. In fact my mother was one of the original Mouseketeers! Okay she wasn’t but I had ya going there for a split second didn’t I? She had me going for months! I would rush home from school every day to watch the show hoping to catch a glimpse of my mom in those mouse ears but I never saw her. “Keep watching,” she’d say “I’m in the later shows.” I must have watched most of two seasons before she finally copped to the deception. By then I was hooked on the show, and probably in need of intense psychotherapy. But on the nerdy upside, I know that Steve’s episode would have been on Talent Roundup Friday and I can sing you the whole “Talent Rodeo” theme song if pressed. (Any takers? No?) Unfortunately they don’t have original version on You Tube so here’s the Tuesday Guest Star theme instead. There are a billion Mouseketeers in this shot but trust me when I tell you that none of them are my Beautiful Mom!

Larry Young Directs My Eyes To Paris

Almost every article I read about Larry Young says that he was under rated. I personally think if he’d lived long enough he would have gotten the recognition he so richly deserved. Then again James Dean only needed 3 major film roles to become a legend so who knows. The song “Paris Eyes” is from Larry’s 4th album “Into Somethin'” (1964).

In the second half of the 20th century jazz fell out of favor here in the States but it was still wildly popular in Western Europe. Many artists migrated to countries like France when work became hard to find here. I looked and it turns out France is still a pretty big jazz mecca even today. There is a jazz festival almost every week there!

Since I love to dream and I also love to travel, I naturally started planning my fabulous Fake French vacation immediately. Here’s the fascinating thing though, it turns out a trip to France is not nearly as expensive as I thought it would be. If I saved just a bit I could actually swing it! Here’s the even more amazing part, even the cheap hotels in France are gorgeous! Check this place out:

Fancy French Hotel

That’s a hotel in my price range! I ain’t rich so trust me that’s Paris’ answer to Motel Six or “Motel Six” as they call it in French. (No really, look it up!) Now I just have to find French food in my price range. I must be sure to highlight the question “Where is the Stuckeys” in my phrase book. I bet chili dogs in France are superb!

Ah The Bill Evans Of The Night. What Beautiful Music…!

Bill Evans’ take on this 1945 Jerome Kern tune is awesome. “Up With The Lark” is from the movie “Centennial Summer.” Kern’s score was nominated for an Oscar that year but “The Jolson Story” won.

Well alright one more but this is the last one and then… well I’ll probably listen to them both again. This was filmed near the end of Bill’s life. He looks older than his years but his hands seem oddly smooth and youthful to me. Law’ but he plays beautifully!

I go to bed late but I am almost always up with the larks. I tend to use motherhood to explain away my sleeplessness but really it’s just plain old insomnia. The girlie is slightly resistant to going to bed. For example tonight’s bed time dialog went something like this:

“Mommy, can I read you just one more book before I go upstairs?”

“Alright but it has to be a really short book.”

“Okay, just let me get a pencil and some paper and I’ll write one!”

Once we read a pre-written book, she went to bed without any drama and she’ll stay that way until well after sun up tomorrow.

I, on the other hand will still be up for hours and I’ll probably be awake again before rosy dawn touches the horizon. I don’t actually get out of bed though because waking up early makes you a perfectly acceptable insomniac but getting up early makes you a morning person and I shudder at the thought of becoming one of those!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job Dr. Early

Me after reading the video title: Bobby Troup? Hey, is that… OMG it is! “Emergency’s” Dr. Joe Early sings!?

Me *while* watching the video: BAHAHAHAHA! Wicked!

Me *after* watching the video: Wow, he’s really really… not that good is he? There’s only like half an octave in this song and he’s still straining for the top notes.

Me after a bit of research: Wow Dr. Joe Early wrote “Route 66!” He was married to nurse Dixie McCall (Julie London) and she sings too! She, on the other hand, is good!

Bobby Troup was quite an accomplished pianist and composer long before he joined the cast of the long running TV series “Emergency.” His biggest comercial success was the song “Route 66.” He also produced his wife Julie London’s biggest hit “Cry Me A River” which is one of my favorite songs.

A professor of mine once called my class “first generation Sesame Street feminists.” She explained that “Sesame Street” was the first show to model gender equality so, unlike generations before us, the concept of feminism was not foreign to us. We readily embraced the term and proudly called ourselves feminists. I think it’s interesting that most younger women would hesitate to call themselves feminists even though, when asked, they still believe in the same ideals. I’m sad to see the unifying term fall out of favor but I guess labels really don’t matter as long as GIRL POWER reigns supreme!

And now in the interest of equal air time, here is my response from the early days of feminism:

Ahmad Jamal and Grand Theft Moments

Ahmad Jamal has been cited as one of the most important influences on the development of jazz after 1945. He recorded this song for his 1970 album “The Awakening.”

Nelson wrote “Stolen Moments” for a 1960 Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis album called “Trane Whistle.” No one thought much of it at the time of the album’s release but it quickly became a jazz standard. Two sets of lyrics were written for the song years later but I prefer it unsung.

I listened to this song while thinking about moments that have been stolen from me. We all have those but happily mine have been few and relatively minor. I listened again thinking about all the stolen moments of pure pleasure I’ve had in my life. I have to say it works both ways. I might just have to pick up “The Awakening” to listen to as I drive to Ann Arbor next weekend to steal a few moments with some dear friends.

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