Thursday, December 31, 2009

Who's Bad?!

They say you should give a person flowers while they are still living. It necessarily doesn't have to be flowers in the literal sense. But it means to pay tribute and honor a person before they make their transition to the spirit world. I did my part in paying tribute to the legend Michael Jackson back in 2007 with a few friends. Here's the tribute mix that I did days before which was available to those with paid admission to the event. Only difference now is, I added Auld Lang Syne to the beginning since this is the last day of the year, and we move forward to 2010.

Michael Joseph Jackson
(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

2009 Rap Up

Notorious MC....SKILLZ (a.k.a. Mad Skillz) does it again with this years Rap Up, which consists of lyrics mentioning key events that happened throughout the year. Now-a-days you can normally catch him on tour with DJ Jazzy Jeff as his mixshow MC.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

They Don't Care

This is the remix i'll be releasing as a single pretty soon off my DILLA JACKSON mixtape. Send me an email if you would like a copy. ENJOY!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Vinyl Junkie

Many record enthusiasts feel this way about the picture above. But for one guy living in Pittsburgh, this statement is proven to speak volumes.....literally. After watching this video in amazement, I'm sure many record collectors around the world would give him the undisputed tile of being the 'Ultimate Vinyl Junkie'.

Paul Mawhinney was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Over the years he has amassed what has become the world’s largest record collection. Due to health issues and a struggling record industry Paul is being forced to sell his collection. This is the story of a man and his records.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Totally Radical 80's

To put it in the words of the iconic legend, Michael Jackson...."Remember the time"...when the music was great, the parties were a blast, and there were clothing trends that were great for that time. I wish we could rewind the hands of time to take us back to that great era, which sadly was near the closing of the greatest period, the 20th Century that is, for music and the arts. Since we can't go back, we can at least play the tunes from one of the great eras of urban music and make it a memorable night, in more ways than one.

Grab a few of your friends, put on your leggings, B-Boy gear, acid washed jeans, Peter Pan boots, skinny jeans, and all the fabulous 80's gear and come have a TOTALLY RADICAL night of old school fun like we used to. Don't forget to say "rad", "dope", "awesome", "bogus", and all other key phrases. For more info on this event, log on to: Sound Therapy RSVP.

To get you warmed up, here's another mix done by yours truly...DJ KOOL EMDEE!



Monday, November 9, 2009

Carnival Sundays @ Isis

Houston's biggest world party will be at Isis, 1010 Prarie @ Main each and every Sunday night starting Nov. 15, 2009. DJ Kool Emdee will be in the mix spinning Reggae, Soca, classic Hip-Hop, House, Salsa, Merengue, Bhangra, and various World Beat tunes. Hosted by Fyre Kyle and other weekly special guest hosts. Drink specials and Caribbean cuisine. For more info and to be a guest host contact Emdee 832.724.8815 or T. Piper 713.409.6427 and log on to

Carnival Sundays Mix by DJ Kool Emdee

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happy Birthday: Angelo Moore of Fishbone

DJ Kool Emdee & Angelo Moore

Angelo Christoper Moore, born November 5, 1965 in Los Angeles, California, also known as Dr. Madd Vibe, is a founding member, lead singer and saxophonist of the band Fishbone. He is also a poet and performance poetry concerts at clubs, poetry festivals, and cafes. In 1993 he released a poetry anthology titled "Dr. Madd Vibe's Comprehensive Linkology". In 1997 he released his first CD also titled, "Dr. Madd Vibe's Comprehensive Linkology", as well as his first video titled, "The Delusional Quandaries Of Dr. Madd Vibe", and in 2000 he released another CD/video set Called "The Yin-Yang Thang". Later in 2006 he released another CD called, "Dr. madd Vibe's Medicine Cabinet".

Back again....been moving.

Sorry folks for the delay b/c i've been moving to another house. You know the whole moving furniture, transfer utilities, yadda....yadda....yadda. I finally got my internet connection back up today and back online. Hope you enjoy my next posts.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Soul Blendz (Vol. 1 - 3)

I want to start this post off by saying thanks to those who supported my NuSoul Blendz mix series that ran for ten volumes. This time I plan to focus on Soul as a whole by blending classic Soul from the past to Soul of today. For so long the term "neo-soul" has been used and there are many debates that have come with the term. "Neo" added to the front of a word means that something died and is reborn or brought back to life again. I'm here to say that Soul never died, it only transformed, so there's no need for it to be "neo".

Here are the track listings for the first three volumes in my Soul Blendz series.

Soul Blendz

1. Myra Barnes - Message To The Soul Sisters
2. Curtis Mayfield - Do Do Wap Is Strong In Here (Ashley Beedle Re-Edit)
3. Afta-1 - Believe
4. Chaka Khan - Ain't Nobody
5. Jean Carne - Don't Let It Go To Your Head
6. Flyt - Free (Kira Neris Remix)
7. Plantlife - When She Smiles She Lights The Sky (4Hero Remix)
8. Razoof ft. Lady Alma - Jah Is Watching You
9. Leelah James - Clean Up Woman
10. The Astronotes ft. Kissey Asplund & Replife - Space Water Babies
11. Joy Denalane - Let Go
12. Marvin Gaye - Falling In Love Again
13. Bill Withers - Who Is He & What Is He To You
14. Ernie Hines - Our Generation
15. Rare Essence - No Ordinary Love (Go-Go Version)
16. David Sha - One Minute

Soul Blendz II

1. Deep Rooted - Soul Vibe
2. Replife - Spirit (Dilla Shines Thru)
3. Moka Only ft. Kissey Asplund - Drip Drop
4. Brittany Bosco - Glitch
5. Finale - Paid Homage (R.I.P. J-Dilla)
6. Mr. Complex ft. Pharoahe Monch - Scream & Shout
7. Tanya Morgan - Bang N Boogie
8. Cuba Aftermarket ft. Musinah - Without Regrets
9. Choklate - Suns Out
10. Marley Marl ft. Kev Brown & Grap Luva - What Ruling Means
11. Rashaan Ahmad - Fairy Tale
12. Andre Orefjard ft. Emma - I'll Do That (The Booty Mix)
13. Red Astaire ft. Caretta Bell - You Dead Wrong
14. Suff Daddy ft. Kissey Asplund & Bless 1 - 99 Bottles
15. Skull Snaps Meet Steinski - It's A New Day (Soul Bus)
16. Prisma ft. Amanda Diva - I Got Soul
17. Mass Influence - All Out
18. Jaspects ft. Janelle Monae - 2012
19. PPP ft. Coultraine - Ain't No If's or Maybe's
20. Miss Jack Davey ft. Blu - iFEEL
21. Stacy Epps - Deep

Soul Blendz III

1. Vinia Mojica - Idols
2. Grooveman Spot ft. Musinah - Down To You
3. Zo! & Asylum 7 - Overdue Process
4. Dudley Perkins ft. Jimetta Rose - Divinely Free
5. Electric Wire Hustle ft. Stacy Epps & Georgia Anne Muldrow - This World
6. Brittany Bosco - City of Nowhere
7. Sa Ra Creative Partners - Spacefruit
8. Little Dragon - Fortune (Afta-1 Remix)
9. Curtis Mayfield - Tripping Out
10. Kev Brown - Hennessey Pt.3
11. Eric Roberson - The Newness
12. Deep Rooted - Round & Round
13. Hanna & Beatr8 - Better Than Nothing
14. Jazzanova ft. Phonte - So Far From Home
15. Deborah Jordon ft. Replife - Home
16. Tom Brock - There's Nothing

Mixed by DJ Kool Emdee

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Happy Birthday: Celia Cruz & Dizzy Gillespie

Celia Cruz
(October 21, 1925 — July 16, 2003)

Celia Cruz (born in Havana, Cuba as Úrsula Hilaria Celia de la Caridad Cruz Alfonso on October 21, 1925) was a Cuban salsa singer, and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, with twenty-three gold albums to her name. She was renowned internationally as the "Queen of Salsa" as well as "La Guarachera de Cuba".

Dizzy Gillespie
(October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993)

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina on October 21, 1917. Together with Charlie Parker, he was a major figure in the development of Bebop and modern Jazz. He taught and influenced many other musicians, including trumpeters Miles Davis, Fats Navarro, Clifford Brown, Arturo Sandoval, Lee Morgan, and John Faddis.

In addition to featuring in the epochal moments in Bebop, he was instrumental in founding Afro-Cuban Jazz, the modern Jazz version of what early-jazz pioneer Jelly Roll Morton referred to as the "Spanish Tinge". Gillespie was a trumpet virtuoso and gifted improviser, building on the virtuoso style of Roy Eldridge but adding layers of harmonic complexity previously unknown in jazz. Dizzy's beret and horn-rimmed spectacles, his scat singing, his bent horn, pouched cheeks and his light-hearted personality were essential in popularizing bebop.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Happy Birthday: Fela Kuti

Fela Kuti
(October 15, 1938 - August 2, 1997)

Born Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria, "Fela" is the father of "Afro-Beat", a human rights and political activist, and also a composer who's music was later influenced by James Brown and the Black Power movement after a visit to the United States in 1969 with his band Koola Lobitos. Fela would later change the name of the band to Nigeria '70. After the Immigration and Naturalization Service was being tipped off by a promoter who said Fela and his band were in the U.S. without work permits, the band then performed a quick recording session in Los Angeles that would later be released as The ’69 Los Angeles Sessions.

Fela and his band, renamed Africa '70', returned to Nigeria. He then formed the Kalakuta Republic, a commune, a recording studio, and a home for many connected to the band that he later declared independent from the Nigerian state. Fela set up a nightclub in the Empire Hotel, named the Afro-Spot and then the Afrika Shrine, where he performed regularly. Fela also changed his middle name to Anikulapo (meaning "he who carries death in his pouch"),[3] stating that his original middle name of Ransome was a slave name. The recordings continued, and the music became more politically motivated. Fela's music became very popular among the Nigerian public and Africans in general. In fact, he made the decision to sing in Pidgin English so that his music could be enjoyed by individuals all over Africa, where the local languages spoken are very diverse and numerous. As popular as Fela's music had become in Nigeria and elsewhere, it was also very unpopular with the ruling government, and raids on the Kalakuta Republic were frequent.

In 1977 Fela and the Afrika ’70 released the hit album Zombie, a scathing attack on Nigerian soldiers using the zombie metaphor to describe the methods of the Nigerian military. The album was a smash hit with the people and infuriated the government, setting off a vicious attack against the Kalakuta Republic, during which one thousand soldiers attacked the commune. Fela was severely beaten, and his elderly mother was thrown from a window, causing fatal injuries. The Kalakuta Republic was burned, and Fela's studio, instruments, and master tapes were destroyed. Fela claimed that he would have been killed if it were not for the intervention of a commanding officer as he was being beaten. Fela's response to the attack was to deliver his mother's coffin to the main army barrack in Lagos and write two songs, "Coffin for Head of State" and "Unknown Soldier," referencing the official inquiry that claimed the commune had been destroyed by an unknown soldier.

Afrobeat is a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan" African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masakela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Afrobeat is also characterized by having vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The endless groove is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. His band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups using this instrument only use one. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip-hop. Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over 10 minutes in length, some reaching the 20- or even 30-minute marks, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language.

Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the Underground Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power.

For more info, log on to:

Freebie Mix

As a DJ, and with me having 33 years of experience, you still need means to help promote yourself. With that in mind, here's another FREE mix for my readers and supporters. This is the only job I have, so keep me in mind for your upcoming events. Enjoy!

Freebie Mix

1. Mary J. Blige - Love Intro
2. Mary J. Blige - Be Happy (Emdee SML Remix)
3. Simbad ft. Steelo - Soul Fever
4. Havana - Shine
5. Aaliyah - Rock The Boat (Emdee's Afta-1 Remix)
6. DJ Spinna ft. Phonte - Dillagence
7. Nina Simone - See-Line Woman (J. Viewz Remix)
8. Stetsasonic - Go Stetsa I (DJ E-Swift Remix)
9. Jackson 5 - Dancing Machine (Miami Mix)
10. Plantlife - When She Smiles She Lights The Sky (4Hero Remix)
11. The O'Jays - For The Love of Money
12. Curtis Mayfield & The Notations - Super People
13. Ladybug Mecca - Dogg Starr
14. Grooveman Spot ft. Count Bass D - Benzaiten Love (DJ Mitsu Remix)
15. Jazz Liberatorz ft. Fat Lip & T.Love - Genius At Work
16. Little Dragon - Test
17. The Foreign Exchange - Brave New World
18. Talib Kweli - Eat To Live
19. Georgia Anne Muldrow - Cruel World
20. Jill Scott ft. 4Hero - Gotta Get Up (Another Day)
21. Sara Tavares - Balance'

Download: Freebie Mix

Mixed by: DJ Kool Emdee

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Coffee Shop Mix: NuJazz Session III

This is another installment in my Coffee Shop series. As we approach the winter months, this is a CD you should get your hands on. It starts out with a nice steady groove, then turns up a little to get funky....but for only two tracks though. After the funk hits your system, it's time to bring it back down a few notches to put you back into an easygoing mode. Send your request to get it by emailing me at

Coffee Shop Mix: NuJazz Session III

1. The Funky Lowlives - Float Through Stars (Boozoo Bajou Remix)
2. DJ Day - Got To Get It Right (1st Step)
3. Thievery Corporation - The Numbers Game
4. Mr. Scruff - So Long
5. The Clonious ft. Dorian Concept - 693 Balloons
6. Willie Bobo - Evil Ways (Karriem Riggins Remix)
7. Afro Elements - Stop You're Killing Me
8. Aaron Jerome ft. Yungun - Late Night Mission
9. Inverse Cinematics - Interplanetary Motivations
10. DJ Cam - Dieu Reconnaitra Les Siens
11. UKO - Sunbeams
12. Kira Neris - Sweet Twilight
13. Fat Jon - Romantic Misery
14. Soul Patrol - Slow Groove
15. Boozoo Bajou - Tonschraube

Mixed by DJ Kool Emdee

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sun, Moon, & Stars

Here's a freebie for my readers who like Acid Jazz (Trip-Hop,Lo-Fi,NuJazz). The subject for this mix is dealing with outer space. Enjoy!

Solar Travel

1. Soul Drummers - Space & Time (Phil Asher Mix)
2. Minus 8 - Starlight
3. Zeb - The Water & The Sun
4. Galaxy 2 Galaxy - Jupiter Jazz
5. 4 Hero - Sunspots
6. Inverse Cinematics - Sundrops
7. LTJ Bukem - Suspended Space
8. Modaji - Starbursts Over Orion
9. Nor Elle - Red Sky
10. Artemis - Astral Sunset
11. Lemongrass - Moonwalk

If you like this mix: Download

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Posse Kutz: Vol. One

There's nothing like classic Hip-Hop, as many will tend to think. This is one of the main reasons why I do what I do in my own contributions to the world of Hip-Hop culture. This is a mix of Hip-Hop crews that got together forming bigger collectives, or those who had already formed a "posse" with having enough original members. In this first volume, you will find two of the biggest Hip-Hop anthems dedicated to stopping the violence, as well as one of the first groups classified as a Hip-Hop posse, who also had a pioneering female MC named Sha Rock, and Nas' (formerly Nasty Nas) first appearance on record.

Posse Kutz: Vol. One

1. Funky 4 + 1 More - That's The Joint
2. Spoonie Gee & The Treacherous Three - New Rap Language
3. Breakestra ft. Chali 2na, Soup, Double K, Wolf, & Munyunga Jackson - Family Rap
4. De La Soul ft. Jungle Brothers, Q-Tip, Queen Latifah, & Monie Love - Buddy
5. A Tribe Called Quest ft. Leaders of the New School - Scenario
6. Stop The Violence Movement - Self Destruction
7. West Coast All-Stars - We're All In The Same Gang
8. Krush Groove All-Stars - Krush Groovin'
9. LL Cool J ft. Method Man, Redman, DMX, & Canibus - 4,3,2,1
10. Marley Marl ft. The Juice Crew - The Symphony
11. Crooklyn Dodgers - Crooklyn
12. Gangstarr ft. Nice & Smooth - DWYK
13. Snoop Dogg ft. The Dogg Pound - It Ain't No Fun
14. Main Source ft. Nas, Joe Fatal, & Akinyele - Live @ The Barbeque (Orig. Cookout)

Funky 4 + 1 More

Wonderful Stevie

This is the first installment from my Stevie Wonder tribute series. I consider Mr. Wonder to be the greatest songwriter and composer, incorporating many different styles of music into his collage of sounds.

Wonderful Stevie

1. Too High
2. Superstition
3. Sir Duke
4. I Wish
5. Boogie On Reggae Woman
6. That Girl
7. I Love You Too Much
8. Higher Ground
9. Happy Birthday
10. Do I Do ft. Dizzie Gillespie
11. Another Star
12. As
13. Bird of Beauty
14. Don't You Worry Bout A Thing
15. Master Blaster
16. Golden Lady

Here's the second installment that consists of his ballads. A great selection of tunes when spending time with that special someone you love.

Wonderful Stevie: The Ballads

1. I Just Called To Say I Love You
2. You Are The Sunshine of My Life
3. With Each Beat of My Heart
4. Knocks Me Off My Feet
5. Give Your Love
6. For Your Love
7. My Cherie Amor
8. Seems So Long
9. True Love
10. Joy Inside My Tears
11. Creepin'
12. Rocket Love
13. Send One Your Love
14. Overjoyed
15. You & I (We Can Conquer The World
16. Ribbon In The Sky
17. These Three Words

Tribute Mixes to Nina Simone

Here are two mixes recently added to my tribute series, made up of original tracks, and remixes of music done by the "High Priestess of Soul", Nina Simone.

Nina Unmixed

1. Sinnerman
2. See-Line Woman
3. I Want A Litlle Sugar In My Bowl
4. I Put A Spell On You
5. To Love Someone
6. My Baby Just Cares For Me
7. Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair
8. Feeling Good
9. Ne Me Quitte Pas (If You Go Away)
10. Mood Indigo
11. Ain't Got No, I Got Life
12. Mississippi Goddamn
13. Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter
14. Strange Fruit
15. To Be Young, Gifted, & Black
16. Revolution
17. Here Comes The Sun

Nina Remixed

1. I Can't See Nobody (Daniel Y Remix)
2. O-O-oh Child (Nicodemus Remix)
3. Westwind (Organica Remix)
4. Go To Hell (Mowo Remix)
5. Obeah Woman (DJ Logic Remix)
6. Gimme Some (Mike Mangini Remix)
7. See-Line Woman (Masters At Work Remix)
8. Here Comes The Sun (Francois K Remix)
9. Turn Me On (Tony Humphries Got U Turned On Dub)
10. Sinnerman (Felix Da Housecat Heavenly House Mix)
11. Funkier Than A Mosquito's Tweeter (3 Jazzeems All Styles Remix)
12. My Man's Gone Now (DJ Wally Remix)
13. Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair (Jaffa Remix)
14. Feeling Good (Joe Claussell Remix)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Independence Day to Nigeria

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria was declared and recognized as an independent republic, breaking away from rule by the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the eighth most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black.

Today i'm paying tribute to one of Nigeria's sons, Chief Oliver De Coque, born Oliver Sunday Akanite on April 14, 1947 in Ezinifite, Anambra State. De Coque, a prolific platinum selling guitarist who popularised the "Ogene" dance inspiring style of Nigerian Highlife, recorded no fewer than 73 albums in his life time. Some of his major hits include "Biri Ka Mbiri, and "Identity."

De Coque had a music career that spanned over four decades, gaining him many awards and honors. In 1995 the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi crowned him the King of Highlife music. From a 2005 interview, here's his take on how he thinks music should be:

"When a musician is cordial and peaceful, the message comes. It has been so for me. I make elaborations in my message particularly so that it will be explosive and the audience will understand it clearly. I let people know that in this world, what must be, must be, so long as they believe in God. So nobody can erase his destiny no matter the type of soap or sponge he uses."

I had the privilege to open for Mr. De Coque in Los Angeles in 2005.

Chief Oliver De Coque
April 14, 1947 - June 21, 2008

Monday, September 28, 2009

Give The Drummer Some

Having grown up in a musical family who listened to Jazz, Funk, Soul, Reggae, and many other genres, i've heard plenty of pioneering artists and the best that music had to offer in the 20th century. Many regard that time as the greatest period in history for the arts. During this period we have seen the origins of many genres that housed many well noted legends in vocal and instrumental categories. In this post, I am paying homage to a few of the greatest drummers in traditional African rhythms, Soul, Funk, Jazz, Latin, & Rock, from Africa, the U.S., and Latin countries.

The title of this post stems from a phrase James Brown is known to have said on one of his records (which led to the song being titled) to let the band know to give a "break" for his drummer Clyde Stubblefield, who is known as The Funky Drummer...

Clyde Stubblefield

Known largely for working with James Brown. His drum groove on James Brown's "Funky Drummer" may be the world's most sampled record. Other works by James Brown that Stubblefield played on include: "Cold Sweat", "There Was A Time", "I Got The Feelin'", "Say It Loud - I'm Black and I'm Proud", "Ain't It Funky Now", "Mother Popcorn", the album Sex Machine, and the remix of "Give It Up, or Turnit Loose" on In The Jungle Groove.

Max Roach

A pioneer of bebop and an one of the inventors the hard bop style of drumming, he has worked with many of the greatest jazz musicians, including Coleman Hawkins, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus, Sonny Rollins and Clifford Brown.

Roach's most significant innovations came in the 1940s, when he and jazz drummer Kenny Clarke devised a new concept of musical time. By playing the beat-by-beat pulse of standard 4/4 time on the "ride" cymbal instead of on the thudding bass drum, Roach and Clarke developed a flexible, flowing rhythmic pattern that allowed soloists to play freely. The new approach also left space for the drummer to insert dramatic accents on the snare drum, "crash" cymbal and other components of the trap set.

By matching his rhythmic attack with a tune's melody, Roach brought a newfound subtlety of expression to his instrument. He often shifted the dynamic emphasis from one part of his drum kit to another within a single phrase, creating a sense of tonal color and rhythmic surprise. The idea was to shatter musical conventions and take full advantage of the drummer's unique position. "In no other society", Roach once observed, "do they have one person play with all four limbs."

Kenny Clarke

An early innovator of the bebop style of drumming, as well as an inventor of the hard bop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of Be-Bop, which in turn led to modern jazz. While in New York, he played with the major innovators of the emerging bop style, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Curly Russell and others, as well as musicians of the prior generation, including Sidney Bechet.

In the 1930s, while working in the bands of Edgar Hayes and Roy Eldridge, Clarke began experimenting with moving the time-keeping role from the combination of snare drum or hi-hat and bass drum to embellished quarter notes on the ride cymbal- the familiar "ding-ding-da-ding" pattern, which Clarke is often credited with inventing.

Art Blakey

Along with Kenny Clarke and Max Roach, he was one of the inventors of the modern bebop style of drumming. He is known as a powerful musician and a vital groover; his brand of bluesy, funky hard bop was (and remains) profoundly influential on mainstream Jazz. For more than 30 years his band the Jazz Messengers included many young musicians who went on to become prominent names in jazz.

From his earliest recording sessions with Eckstine, and particularly in his historic sessions with Monk in 1947, Blakey exuded power and originality, creating a dark cymbal sound punctuated by frequent loud snare- and bass-drum accents in triplets or cross-rhythms. Although Blakey discouraged comparison of his own music with African drumming, he adopted several African devices after his visit in 1948–9, including rapping on the side of the drum and using his elbow on the tom-tom to alter the pitch. His much-imitated trademark, the forceful closing of the hi-hat on every second and fourth beat, was part of his style from 1950–51.

Art Blakey appeared on an episode of The Cosby Show.

Mongo Santamaria

Afro-Cuban Latin-Jazz percussionist is famous for composing the Jazz standard "Afro Blue" and was an integral figure in the fusion of Afro-Cuban rhythms with R&B and Soul, paving the way for the "boogaloo" era of the late 1960s. His 1963 hit rendition of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1998.

Carlos "Patato" Valdes

He invented and patented the tunable conga drum (earlier drums had nailed heads) which revolutionized use of the instrument. For over 60 years Carlos "Patato" Valdez demonstrated how a musician could combine technical skill with superb showmanship. His conga playing demonstrated the fusing of melody and rhythm, and his keen understanding of rhythm is rooted in dancing. Patato even mastered the art of actually dancing ON TOP of his congas during his performances, to the delight of the audience.

Patato has recorded and toured with Tito Puente', Miguelito Valdes, Perez Prado, Beny More, 'Cachao' Lopez, Machito, Herbie Mann, Kenny Dorham, Cal Tjader, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Dizzy Gillespie, Quincy Jones, and Mario Bauza. Patato acted in and composed the title song of the Bill Cosby Show.

Willie Bobo

Made his name in Latin Jazz, specifically Afro-Cuban Jazz, in the 1960s and '70s, with the timbales becoming his favoured instrument. He met Mongo Santamaria shortly after his arrival in New York and studied with him while acting as his translator, and later at age 19 joined Tito Puente for four years.

His first major exposure was when he joined George Shearing's band on the album The Shearing Spell. After leaving Shearing, Cal Tjader asked Bobo and Santamaria to become part of the Cal Tjader Modern Mambo Quintet, who released several albums as the mambo craze reached fever pitch in the late '50s. Reuniting with his mentor Santamaria in 1960, the pair released the album Sabroso! for the Fantasy label. After the runaway success of Tjader's Soul Sauce, in which he was heavily involved, Bobo formed a new band with the backing of Verve Records, releasing Spanish Grease, of which the title track is probably his most well known tune. Highly successful at this attempt, Bobo released a further seven albums with Verve.

Billy Cobham

Acclaimed as one of Jazz fusion's greatest drummers and regarded as one of the best drummers in the world, Cobham is one of the first drummers to play open handed lead: a drummer that can lead (or ride) with either hand and begin or end a beat or fill with either hand (most drummers lead with 1 hand). He was also one of the first drummers to play with 3 or more snare and/or bass drums and multiple hi-hats.

He has worked with trumpeter Miles Davis, pianists Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver, also playing or recording with saxophonist Stanley Turrentine, organist Shirley Scott, and guitarist George Benson. In 1971, with fellow Davis alumnus guitarist John McLaughlin, Cobham co-founded Mahavishnu Orchestra, a definitive jazz fusion ensemble.

Tito Puente

Puente is often credited as "El Rey" (the King) of the timbales and "The King of Latin Music". He is best known for dance-oriented mambo and Latin jazz compositions that helped keep his career going for 50 years. He and his music appear in many films such as The Mambo Kings and Fernando Trueba's Calle 54. He guest starred on several television shows including The Cosby Show and The Simpsons.

Tony Allen

As drummer and musical director of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s band Africa 70 from 1968 to 1979, Tony Allen was one of the primary co-founders of the genre of Afrobeat music. Fela once stated that, "without Tony Allen, there would be no Afrobeat."

A self-taught musician, Allen began to play drum-kit at the age of eighteen, while working as an engineer for a Nigerian radio station. Allen was influenced by music his father listened to (Juju, traditional Yoruba ceremonial music), but also American jazz, & the growing highlife scene in Nigeria and Ghana. Allen worked hard to develop a unique voice on the drums- feverishly studying LP's & magazine articles by Max Roach & Art Blakey, but also revolutionary Ghanaian drummer Guy Warren (now Kofi Ghanaba-who developed a highly sought sound that mixed tribal Ghanaian drumming with bop- working with Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Max Roach).

In 1964, Fela Ransome Kuti invited Allen to audition for a jazz-highlife band he was forming. Kuti and Allen had played together as sidemen in the Lagos circuit. Fela complimented Allen’s unique sound: "How come you are the only guy in Nigeria who plays like this - jazz and highlife?" Thus Allen became an original member of Kuti’s "Koola Lobitos" highlife-jazz band.

In 1969, following a turbulent and educational trip to the U.S., Fela and the newly renamed Africa ’70 band developed a new militant African sound- mixing the heavy groove and universal appeal of James Brown’s soul with jazz, highlife, and the polyrhythmic template of Yoruba conventions. Allen developed a novel style to compliment Fela’s new African groove that blended these disparate genres.

Post-Fela, Allen developed a hybrid sound, deconstructing & fusing Afrobeat with electronica, dub, R&B, and rap. Allen refers to this synthesis as afrofunk.

Guy Warren or Kofi Ghanaba

a Ghanaian musician, best known as the inventor of Afro-jazz and as a member of The Tempos. He worked with leading jazz musicians such as Max Roach, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young and Charlie Parker.

He is also known by the honorary title Odomankoma Kyrema, meaning the Divine Drummer. Max Roach called him far more advanced than anyone of the time.

Babatunde Olatunji

Nigerian drummer, educator, social activist and recording artist, Olatunji was introduced to traditional African music and drumming at an early age. In the 1950s, while attending New York University to study public administration, he started a small percussion group to earn money on the side while he continued his studies.

Olatunji won a following among jazz musicians, notably creating a strong relationship with John Coltrane and Columbia Records A&R man John Hammond who signed him to the Columbia label in 1957. With Coltrane's help, he founded the Olatunji Center for African Culture in Harlem. In 1959 Olatunji released his first of six records on the Columbia label, called Drums of Passion. In 1969, Carlos Santana had a major hit with his cover version of this first album's "Jin-go-lo-ba," which Santana recorded on his debut album, Santana, as "Jingo." Olatunji favoured a big percussion sound, and his records typically featured more than 20 players, unusual for a percussion based ensemble. Drums of Passion became a major hit and remains in print; it introduced many Americans to world music. Drums of Passion also served as the band's name. Notable band members included; Clark Terry, Bill Lee, Horace Silver, Yusef Lateef, Sikiru Adepoju and Charles Lloyd, among others.

Olatunji recorded with many other prominent musicians, including Cannonball Adderley (on his African Waltz album), Horace Silver, Quincy Jones, Pee Wee Ellis, Stevie Wonder, Randy Weston, and with Max Roach and Abbey Lincoln on the pivotal Freedom Now Suite aka We Insist, and with Grateful Dead member Mickey Hart on his Grammy winning Planet Drum projects. Olatunji composed music for the Broadway theatrical and Hollywood film productions of Raisin in the Sun. He assisted Bill Lee with the music for his son Spike Lee's hit film She's Gotta Have It.

Buddy Miles

George "Buddy" Miles was known as a child prodigy, originally playing drums in his father, George Miles, Sr.'s, jazz band, The Bebops, beginning at age 12. Miles Sr. had played upright bass with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Charlie Parker and Dexter Gordon.

Miles was most known as a member of Jimi Hendrix's Band of Gypsys from 1969 through to January 1970.

Rashied Ali

A free jazz and avant-garde jazz drummer best known for playing with John Coltrane in the last years of Coltrane's life. He has also recorded or performed with Pharoah Sanders, Alice Coltrane, Arthur Rhames, James Blood Ulmer and many others. Among his credits are the last recorded work of John Coltrane's life (The Olatunji Concert) and Interstellar Space, an album of duets with Coltrane recorded earlier in 1967. Ali "became important in stimulating the most avant-garde kinds of jazz activities".

Idris Muhammad

He is known for his funky playing style, has released a number of albums as leader, and has played with a number of jazz legends including Lou Donaldson, Johnny Griffin, Pharoah Sanders and Grover Washington, Jr. He has been touring and recording with pianist Ahmad Jamal since 1995. At 15 years-old, one of Muhammad's earliest recorded sessions as a drummer was on Fats Domino's 1956 smash hit "Blueberry Hill".

Elvin Jones

One of the great jazz drummers of the post-bop era who was a member of the John Coltrane quartet, a celebrated recording phase, appearing on such albums as A Love Supreme. Following his work with John Coltrane, Jones led several small groups, some under the name The Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. He recorded with both of his brothers during his career, jazz musicians Hank Jones and Thad Jones.

Elvin began his professional career in 1949 with a short-lived gig in Detroit's Grand River Street club. Eventually he went on to play with artists such as Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, and Wardell Gray. In 1955, after a failed audition for the Benny Goodman band, he found work in New York, joining Charles Mingus's band, and releasing a record called J is for Jazz.

In 1960, he joined with the classic John Coltrane Quartet, which also included bassist Jimmy Garrison and pianist McCoy Tyner. Jones and Coltrane often played extended duet passages, both giving and taking energy through their instruments. This band is widely considered to have redefined "swing" (the rhythmic feel of jazz) in much the same way that Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and others did during earlier stages of jazz's development. Elvin Jones' sense of timing, polyrhythms, dynamics, timbre, and legato phrasing - as well as the sheer mass of sound he produced - brought the drumset to the foreground. Jones was touted by Life Magazine as "the world's greatest rhythmic drummer", and his free-flowing style was a major influence on many leading rock drummers.

Papa Ladji Camara

He was born June 15, 1923, in Norassoba, Guinea, West Africa. Papa's fate was revealed to his parents by his maternal grandfather before he ever entered this world. His grandfather said that through the great sacrifices his family will have to endure, this third child would become one of the greatest drummers this world would ever know. His gift will take him from his native Guinea to Mali, Senegal, Europe, and America and in fact, throughout the world.

Ladji is known mostly for his work with various African dance companies, mainly Les Ballet Africans. Amongst his multiple performances around the world, he has also performed with the likes of dancer/choreographer Katherine Dunham, Babatunde Olatunji, Yusef Lateef, Mongo Santamaria, Nina Simone, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, and Alvin Ailey.

After going thru more music, I had to add more to this post.

Papa Jo Jones

I had to ask myself, "how could you forget to post one of the most influential drummers in the history of Jazz?" If you took a peek at the video clip, you should see why Papa Jo was well deserving of that title. Excellent showmanship, technique, precision, and his smooth transitions with polyrhythms, and not forgetting how he also changes it up by playing without his drum sticks, then goes back to playing with them flawlessly.

Jones worked as a drummer and tap-dancer at carnival shows until joining Walter Page's band, the Blue Devils in Oklahoma City in the late 1920s. He recorded with trumpeter Lloyd Hunter's Serenaders in 1931, and later joined pianist Count Basie's band in 1933. Jones, Basie, guitarist Freddie Green and bassist Walter Page are one of the more important rhythm sections in jazz.

He was one of the first drummers to promote the use of brushes on drums and shifting the role of timekeeping from the bass drum to the hi-hat cymbal. Jones is regarded as the premier jazz drummer of the Swing era, and the transitional figure between classic and modern jazz drumming. In contrast to big band drummer Gene Krupa's loud, insistent pounding of the bass drum on each beat, Jones often omitted bass drum playing altogether. Jones also continued a ride rhythm on high-hat while it was continuously opening and closing instead of the common practice of striking it while it was closed. Jones's style influenced the modern jazz drummer's tendency to play timekeeping rhythms on a suspended cymbal that is now known as the ride cymbal.

He had an incalculable influence on major drummers such as Buddy Rich, Kenny Clarke, Roy Haynes, Max Roach, and Louie Bellson. Jones performed regularly in later years at the West End Jazz Club at 116th and Broadway in New York City. These performances were generally very well attended by other drummers such as Max Roach and Roy Haynes, coming to pay court to an influential master.

Roy Haynes

Haynes is one of the most recorded drummers in jazz and in his over 60-year career has played in a wide range of styles ranging from swing and bebop to jazz fusion and avant-garde jazz. He has a highly expressive, personal style ("Snap Crackle" was a nickname given him in the 1950s) and is known to foster a deep engagement in his bandmates.

Haynes began his full time professional career in 1945. From 1947 to 1949 he worked with saxophonist Lester Young, and from 1949 to 1952 was a member of saxophonist Charlie Parker's quintet. He also recorded at the time with pianist Bud Powell and saxophonists Wardell Gray, and Stan Getz. From 1953 to 1958 he toured with singer Sarah Vaughan. Haynes went on to work with more experimental musicians, like saxophonists John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy, or pianists Chick Corea and Andrew Hill.

Haynes has recorded or performed with Gary Burton, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Henry Grimes, Christian McBride, Jackie McLean, Chick Corea, Pat Metheny, Thelonious Monk, Gerry Mulligan, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins, Horace Tapscott and many others. He has also led his own groups, some performing under the name Hip Ensemble. His most recent recordings as a leader are Fountain of Youth and Whereas, both of which have been nominated for a Grammy Award. He continues to perform worldwide.

Philly Joe Jones

Known as the drummer for the Miles Davis Quintet. Davis also described Jones' style of playing as "that Philly Joe lick". In 1947 he became the house drummer at Café Society in New York City, where he played with the leading bebop players of the day. The most important influence on Jones among them was Tadd Dameron.

Jones then toured and recorded with Miles Davis Quintet from 1955 to 1957 — a band that became known as "The Quintet", and is regarded by many as one of the greatest groups in the history of jazz. From 1958 onwards he worked as a leader, but continued to work as a sideman with other musicians, including Bill Evans and Hank Mobley. Miles acknowledged Jones as his favorite drummer, while Evans openly admitted Jones as being his all-time favorite drummer.

Narada Michael Walden

With a music career spanning more than three decades, Walden got a huge boost by playing with John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, after replacing Billy Cobham. He has a signature drum pattern known by other drummers as the "10 note drum lick/fill", which is a combination of bass kicks, snare taps, and toms in a specific pattern.

Along with his skills as a session drummer, Walden is also a gifted songwriter, producer, and vocalist. Billboard Magazine lists him as one of the Top 10 Producers of All Time. This multi-Grammy Award winning and Emmy Award winning artist has written and/or produced for Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, George Michael, Sting, Wild Orchid, Tevin Campbell, Angela Bofill, Steve Winwood, Regina Belle, Andy Vargas, Debelah Morgan, Jermaine Stewart, and many more, leading to him becoming a multi-platinum selling artist on various projects.

Walden also adds to his resume by working on the soundtracks The Bodyguard and Stuart Little, as well as the Emmy Award winning theme for the 1988 Olympics, "One Moment In Time".

Happy Birthday: Ben E. King

Soul singer/song-writer Ben E. King, born Benjamin Earl Nelson in Henderson, North Carolina on Sept.28, 1938, later relocated to Harlem, NYC with his family at the age of nine. He got his music career started in 1958 with a doo-wop group called The Five Crowns, who would later replace the orignal members of The Drifters after their manager fired all of the members. Nelson co-wrote the first hit by the new version of The Drifters, "There Goes My Baby" (1959). He also sang lead, using his birth name, on "Save the Last Dance for Me", a song written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, "Dance With Me", "This Magic Moment", "I Count the Tears" and "Lonely Winds". King only recorded ten songs with The Drifters, including a non-single called "Temptation" which was later redone by Johnny Moore.

In 1960, he left the Drifters after failing to gain a salary increase and what he felt to be a fairer share of the group's royalties. At this point he assumed the more memorable stage name Ben E. King in preparation for a successful solo career. Remaining on Atlantic Records, King scored his first solo hit with the ballad "Spanish Harlem" (1961). "Stand by Me" was his next recording. Written by King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Stand by Me" was voted one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). "Stand by Me", "There Goes My Baby" and "Spanish Harlem" were named as three of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll and were all given a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, as well as "Save The Last Dance For Me". His other well known songs were "Don't Play That Song (You Lied)" (which was covered by Aretha Franklin in the 1970s), "Amor", "Seven Letters", "How Can I Forget", "On the Horizon", "Young Boy Blues", "I (Who Have Nothing)", "First Taste of Love", "Here Comes the Night", "Ecstasy", That's When It Hurts , Down Home , River of Tears , Do It in the Name of Love , and It's All Over .

In the summer of 1963, King had a top 30 national hit with "I (Who Have Nothing)", a song that reached the Top 10 on New York's radio station, WMCA. The song has been covered many times, notably by Luther Vandross & Martha Wash, John Lennon, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones, Sylvester James, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Jedi Mind Tricks, and most recently by American Idol contestant Jordin Sparks, during the March 20, 2007 and May 15, 2007 telecasts. King's records continued to place well on the Billboard Hot 100 chart until 1965. British pop bands began to dominate the pop music scene, but King still continued to make R&B hits and minor Pop hits. King's other hits were "What is Soul?" (1967), "Supernatural Thing, Part 1" (1975), and the re-issue in 1986 of "Stand by Me", following the song's use as the theme music to Stand By Me movie.

Throughout his career he has achieved five number one hits, which were "There Goes My Baby", "Save The Last Dance For Me", "Stand By Me", "Supernatural Thing", and the 1986 re-issue of "Stand By Me". He also earned twelve Top 10 hits and Twenty four Top 40 hits, from 1959 to 1986. He has also been inducted to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a Drifters member and nominated for his career as a solo artist but not yet accepted.

Currently, King is active in his charitable foundation, the Stand By Me Foundation. He has been a resident of Teaneck, New Jersey since the late 1960s.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Happy Belated: Jelly Roll Morton, Ray Charles, & John Coltrane

Things have been pretty busy for me lately as I work to make a better life for myself and further my career in music. As the saying goes, "better late than never", but on this note, please forgive my tardiness. These are talented and pioneering figures who will always deserve full honor for their contributions to the world of music.

Pianist Jelly Roll Morton, born Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe in New Orleans, La. on Sept. 20, 1885 (although there is a baptismal certificate issued in 1894 lists his date of birth as October 20, 1890) was credited as being the first serious Jazz composer, however in 1902, Morton outright claimed he invented Jazz.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early Jazz, Morton's talents also included arranger, bandleader, and Vaudeville comedian. Around 1904 Morton started touring the American south with minstrel shows and composed several tunes. By 1910, Morton got to Chicago, and to New York City in 1911, where future stride greats James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith caught his act, years before the blues were widely played in the North.

By 1914 he had started writing down his compositions, and in 1915 his "Jelly Roll Blues" was arguably the first jazz composition ever published. Morton went on to compose other Ragtime (or "rags"), Jazz, & Jazz-Blues tunes like "Wolverine Blues","Black Bottom Stomp","Buddy Boldens Blues", and "Tiger Rag" (a tune that imitated the sound of a tiger's roar).

Morton moved back to Chicago in 1923 where he published a series of piano rolls and later on records. In 1926, Morton succeeded in getting a contract to make recordings for Victor Records. This gave him a chance to bring a well-rehearsed band to play his arrangements in Victor's Chicago recording studios. These recordings by Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers are regarded as classics of 1920s jazz. The Red Hot Peppers featured such other New Orleans jazz luminaries as Kid Ory, Omer Simeon, George Mitchell, Johnny St. Cyr, Barney Bigard, Johnny Dodds, and Baby Dodds. Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers were one of the first acts booked on tours by MCA.

In November 1928, Morton got married to Mabel Bertrand and moved to New York City, where he continued to record for Victor. With the Great Depression and the near collapse of the phonograph record industry in 1931, Morton's recording contract was not renewed by Victor. He continued playing in New York, briefly had a radio show in 1934, then was reduced to touring in the band of a traveling burlesque act while his compositions were recorded by Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman and others, though he received no royalties from these recordings.

In 1935 moved to Washington D.C. and would become manager and piano player of a local nightclub called at various times the "Blue Moon Inn", "Jungle Inn", and "Music Box". Morton was also the master of ceremonies, bouncer, and bartender of the club. He was only in Washington for a few years, however it was during his brief residency at the Music Box that folklorist Alan Lomax first heard Morton playing piano in the bar. In May 1938, Lomax invited Morton to record music and interviews for the Library of Congress. The sessions, originally intended as a short interview with musical examples for use by music researchers in the Library of Congress, soon expanded to record more than eight hours of Morton talking and playing piano. Despite the low fidelity of these non-commercial recordings, their musical and historical importance attracted jazz fans, and they have helped to ensure Morton's place in jazz history. These interviews, released in various forms over the years, were released on an eight-CD boxed set in 2005, The Complete Library of Congress Recordings. This collection won two Grammy Awards. The same year, Morton was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

Jelly Roll Morton died on July 10, 1941 in Los Angeles, aged 51 or 56.

Jazz saxophonist and composer John William "Trane" Coltrane born in Hamlet, North Carolina on September 23, 1926, and grew up in High Point NC. In June 1943 he moved to Philadelphia PA, enlisted in the Navy in 1945, and played in the Navy jazz band once he was stationed in Hawaii. Coltrane returned to civilian life in 1946 and began jazz theory studies with Philadelphia guitarist and composer Dennis Sandole, which he continued his studies with him until the early 1950s. Originally an altoist, during this time Coltrane also began playing tenor saxophone with the Eddie Vinson Band. Coltrane later referred to this point in his life as a time when "a wider area of listening opened up for me. There were many things that people like Hawk, and Ben, and Tab Smith were doing in the '40s that I didn't understand, but that I felt emotionally."

An important moment in Coltrane's musical development occurred on June 5, 1945, when he saw Charlie Parker perform for the first time. He would later recall that moment by saying: "the first time I heard Bird play, it hit me right between the eyes." Parker became an early idol to Coltrane, and they played together on occasion in the late 1940s. Although there are recordings of Coltrane from as early as 1945, his peers at the time did not recognize 'genius' in the young musician, though he was a member of groups led by Dizzy Gillespie, Earl Bostic and Johnny Hodges in the early- to mid-1950s.

Coltrane was freelancing in Philadelphia in the summer of 1955 while studying with guitarist Dennis Sandole when he received a call from trumpeter Miles Davis. Davis, whose success during the late forties had been followed by several years of decline in activity and reputation, due in part to his struggles with heroin addiction, was again active, and was about to form a quintet. Coltrane was with this edition of the Davis band (known as the "First Great Quintet" to distinguish it from Davis's later group with Wayne Shorter) from October 1955 through April 1957 (with a few absences), a period during which Davis released several influential recordings which revealed the first signs of Coltrane's growing ability. This classic First Quintet, best represented by two marathon recording sessions for Prestige in 1956 that resulted in the albums issued as Cookin', Relaxin', Workin', and Steamin', some of the most treasured titles in Davis's early discography, disbanded in mid April.

During the later part of 1957 Coltrane worked with Thelonious Monk at New York’s Five Spot, a legendary jazz club, and played in Monk's quartet (July-December 1957), but owing to contractual conflicts took part in only one official studio recording session with this group. A private recording made by Juanita Naima Coltrane Live at the Five Spot-Discovery! of a 1958 reunion of the group was issued by Blue Note Records in 1993. Blue Train, Coltrane's sole date as leader for Blue Note Records, featuring trumpeter Lee Morgan, bassist Paul Chambers, and trombonist Curtis Fuller, is often considered his best album from this period. Four of its five tracks are original Coltrane compositions, and several of them, notably the title track, "Moment's Notice" and "Lazy Bird", have become standards. Both tunes employed the first examples of Coltrane's chord substitution cycles known as Coltrane changes.

Coltrane rejoined Miles Davis in his group in January 1958, by then was a sextet. He stayed with Davis until April 1960, working with alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley; pianists Red Garland, Bill Evans, and Wynton Kelly; bassist Paul Chambers; and drummers Philly Joe Jones and Jimmy Cobb. During this time he participated in Davis' sessions Milestones and Kind of Blue, and the live recordings, Miles & Monk at Newport and Jazz at the Plaza.

Coltrane formed his first group, a quartet, in 1960 for an appearance at the Jazz Gallery in New York City. After moving through different personnel including Steve Kuhn, Pete La Roca, and Billy Higgins, the lineup stabilized in the fall with pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Steve Davis, and drummer Elvin Jones. Also recorded in the same sessions were the later released albums Coltrane's Sound and Coltrane Plays the Blues. Still with Atlantic Records, for whom he had recorded Giant Steps, his first record with his new group was also his debut playing the soprano saxophone, the hugely successful My Favorite Things.

Before completing his contract with Atlantic Records, Coltrane recorded Ole' Coltrane. Coltrane would later go on to record more albums on the newly found Impulse! Records with whom he would record with the "Classic Quartet". By late 1961 while having residency at the Village Vanguard, Coltranes music took a new direction. Both critics and other musicians were divided over his "new thing" and would call his new direction "Anti-Jazz".

After a few changes with the "Classic Quartet" staff in 1962, and more changes in his musical style, John Coltrane's Classic Quartet produced their most famous record titled A Love Supreme. In later years, his compositions would continue to progress in styles, notably into "Free Jazz" and "Avant-Guarde", as well as the players and influences of his music.

Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. As his career progressed, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane, and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist. He influenced innumerable musicians, and remains one of the most significant tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He received many awards, among them a posthumous Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 for his "masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz."

John Coltrane died July 17, 1967 in Long Island, NY of liver cancer at the age of 40.

Ray Charles Robinson born on Sept. 23, 1930 in Albany, GA, known by his stage name Ray Charles, was a singer-songwriter, bandleader, pianist, and played the alto sax. When he was an infant, his family would move to a poor section of Greenville, Fl. Charles started to lose his sight at the age of five, but went completely blind by the age of seven. He attended school at the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind in St. Augustine, Florida from 1937-1945 where he developed his musical gift that he is known and remembered for today.

In school, Charles was taught only classical music, but he wanted to play what he heard on the radio, jazz and blues. While at school, he became the school's premiere musician. On Fridays, the South Campus Literary Society held assemblies where Charles would play piano and sang popular songs. On Halloween and Washington's birthday the Colored Department of the school had socials where Charles would play. It was here he established "RC Robinson and the Shop Boys" and sang his own arrangement, Jingle Bell Boogie.

Later, Charles would move to Tallahassee, Fl, in which he saw the city as musically exciting and sat in with the Florida A&M University student band. He played with Nat Adderley and Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley and began playing gigs with Lawyer Smith and his Band in 1943 at the Red Bird Club and DeLuxe Clubs in Frenchtown and roadhouses around Tallahassee as well as the Governor's Ball.

After his mother died in 1945, Charles did not return to school. He lived in Jacksonville with a couple who were friends of his mother. For over a year, he played the piano for bands at the Ritz Theatre in LaVilla, earning $4 a night. Charles moved to Orlando, then Tampa, where he played with a southern band called "The Florida Playboys". This is where Charles began his reputation of always wearing sunglasses that were made by designer Billy Stickles.[12]

Charles had always played for other people, but he wanted a band that was his own. He decided to leave Florida for a large city, but Chicago and New York City were too big. He moved to Seattle in 1947 and soon started recording, first for the label Swing Time Records, achieving his first hit with the 1949 "Confession Blues". The song soared to #2 on the R&B charts. He followed his first recording with his only other hit with Swingtime, "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand" in 1951. It hit #5 on the R&B charts. He then signed with Ahmet Ertegün at Atlantic Records a year later. When he entered show business, his name was shortened to Ray Charles to avoid confusion with boxer Sugar Ray Robinson. Almost immediately after signing with Atlantic, Charles scored his first hit singles with the label with "It Should Have Been Me" and the Ertegün-composed "Mess Around", both making the charts in 1953. But it was Charles' "I Got A Woman" (composed with band mate Renald Richard)[13] that brought the musician to national prominence. The song reached the top of Billboard's R&B singles chart in 1955 and from there until 1959, Charles would have a series of R&B chart-toppers including "This Little Girl of Mine", "Lonely Avenue", "Mary Ann", "Drown in My Own Tears" and the #5 hit "The Night Time (Is the Right Time)", which were compiled on his Atlantic releases Hallelujah, I Love Her So, Yes Indeed!, and The Genius Sings the Blues. During this time of transition, he recruited a young girl group from Philadelphia named The Cookies as his background singing group, recording with them in New York and changing their name to the Raelettes in the process.

In 1959, Charles crossed over to top 30 radio with the release of his impromptu blues number, "What'd I Say", which was initially conceived while Charles was in concert. The song would reach number 1 on the R&B list and would become Charles' first top ten single on the pop charts, peaking at number 6. Charles would also record The Genius of Ray Charles, before leaving Atlantic for a more lucrative deal with ABC Records in 1959. Hit songs such as "Georgia On My Mind" (US #1), "Hit the Road Jack" (US #1) and "Unchain My Heart" (US #9) helped him transition to pop success and his landmark 1962 album, Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music and its sequel Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music, Vol. 2, helped to bring country into the mainstream of music. He also had major pop hits in 1963 with "Busted" (US #4) and "Take These Chains From My Heart" (US #8), and also scoring a Top 20 hit four years later, in 1967, with "Here We Go Again" (US #15) (which would later be duetted with Norah Jones in 2004).

During the late 1960s and into the 1970s, Charles' releases were hit-or-miss,[8] with some big hits and critically acclaimed work. His version of "Georgia On My Mind" was proclaimed the state song of Georgia on April 24, 1979, with Charles performing it on the floor of the state legislature.[8] He also had success with his unique version of "America the Beautiful."

In November 1977 Charles appeared as the host of NBC's Saturday Night Live. In the 1980s a number of other events increased Charles' recognition among young audiences. He made a cameo appearance in the popular 1980 film The Blues Brothers. In 1985, "The Right Time" was featured in the episode "Happy Anniversary" of The Cosby Show on NBC. The next year in 1986, he sang "America The Beautiful" at Wrestlemania 2. In a Pepsi Cola commercial of the early 1990s, Charles popularized the catchphrase "You Got the Right One, Baby!" plus he helped in the song "We Are the World" a touching song for USA for Africa.

Despite his support of Martin Luther King, Jr. in the 1960s and his support for the American Civil Rights Movement, Charles courted controversy when he toured South Africa in 1981, during an international boycott of the country because of its apartheid policy. In 1989, Charles recorded a cover version of the Japanese band Southern All Stars' song "Itoshi no Ellie" as "Ellie My Love" for a Suntory TV advertisement, reaching #3 on Japan's Oricon chart. Eventually, it sold more than 400,000 copies, and became that year's best-selling single performed by a Western artist for the Japanese music market.

In the late '80s and early '90s, Charles made appearances on The Super Dave Osbourne Show, where he performed and appeared in a few vignettes where he was somehow driving a car, often as Super Dave's chauffeur. At the height of his newfound fame in the early nineties, Charles did guest vocals for quite a few projects. He also appeared (with Chaka Khan) on long time friend Quincy Jones' hit "I'll Be Good to You" in 1990, from Jones' album Back on the Block.

Following Jim Henson's death in 1990, Ray Charles appeared in the one-hour CBS tribute, The Muppets Celebrate Jim Henson. He gave a short speech about the deceased, stating that Henson "took a simple song and a piece of felt and turned it into a moment of great power". Charles was referring to the song "It's Not Easy Being Green", which Charles later performed with the rest of the Muppet cast in a tribute to Henson's legacy.

For years to come, Ray Charles made several more TV and movie appearances, as well as headlining concerts. In 2003 Charles performed "Georgia On My Mind" and "America the Beautiful" at a televised annual electronic media journalist banquet held in Washington, D.C., at what may have been his final performance in public. Ray Charles' final public appearance came on April 30, 2004, at the dedication of his music studio as a historic landmark in the city of Los Angeles. He died on June 10, 2004 at 11:35 a.m. of liver cancer at his home in Beverly Hills, California.

His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries: B.B. King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, including five for Ray Charles for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for "Here We Go Again" with Norah Jones, and Best Gospel Performance for "Heaven Help Us All" with Gladys Knight; he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B.B. King.

The album included a version of Harold Arlen's "Over the Rainbow", sung as a duet by Charles and Johnny Mathis; that recording was later played at his memorial service.[17]

Two more posthumous albums, Genius & Friends (2005) and Ray Sings, Basie Swings (2006), were released. Genius & Friends consisted of duets recorded from 1997-2005 with artists who were personally chosen by Ray Charles. Ray Sings, Basie Swings consists of archived vocals of Ray Charles from live mid-1970s performances added to new instrumental tracks recorded by the contemporary Count Basie Orchestra and other musicians for this album. Charles' vocals recorded from the concert mixing board were added to new accompaniments to create a "fantasy concert" recording. Gregg Field, who had performed as a drummer with both Charles and Basie, produced this album.

Besides winning 17 Grammy Awards in his career (including five posthumously), Charles was also honored in many other ways. In 1979, he was one of the first honorees of the Georgia State Music Hall of Fame being recognized for being a musician born in the state. Ray's version of "Georgia On My Mind" was made into the official state song for Georgia. In 1981, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was one of the first inductees to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame at its inaugural ceremony in 1986. He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1986. In 1987, he was awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1991, he was inducted to the Rhythm & Blues Foundation. In 1998 he was awarded the Polar Music Prize together with Ravi Shankar in Stockholm, Sweden. In 2004 he was inducted to the Jazz Hall of Fame, and inducted to the National Black Sports & Entertainment Hall of Fame. Also in 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him #10 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Grammy Awards of 2005 were dedicated to Charles. On December 7, 2007, Ray Charles Plaza was opened in Albany, Georgia, with a revolving, lighted bronze sculpture of Charles seated at a piano. On December 26, 2007, Ray Charles was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame. Additionally, Charles was presented with the George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement, during the 1991 UCLA Spring Sing.