Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Birthday: Earl "Fatha" Hines & Donna Summer

Earl "Fatha" Hines, (December 28, 1903 – April 22, 1983) was "one of a small number of pianists whose playing shaped the history of jazz". He got his professional start with Lois Deppe & his 'Symphonian Serenaders' in the "Liederhaus", a Pittsburgh nightclub. He has also played with Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, Duke Ellington and a string of the "who's who" of the Jazz world.

While touring the United States in the early 1940's with his own band, Hines and members of his band took time off to front Duke Ellington's band while Ellington was ill. Members of the Hines' band's late-night jam-sessions laid the seeds for the upcoming 'revolution' in jazz, Bebop. Duke Ellington later said that "the seeds of bop were in Earl Hines's piano style".


LaDonna Adrian Gaines (born December 31, 1948), known by her stage name, Donna Summer is a singer/songwriter who gained prominence and notoriety during the disco era of the 1970s with the majority of her early work produced by the team of Giorgio Moroder and Pete Belotte, earning the title "The Queen of Disco". She is a 5 time Grammy winner and has sold over 130 million records to date.

Summer was the first artist to have three consecutive double albums reach number one on the US Billboard chart and she had four number-one singles within a thirteen-month period.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

R.I.P. Teena Marie

Singer Teena Marie, the "Ivory Queen of Soul", also known as Lady T, passed away today in her California home from an unspecified cause. She was found unresponsive by daughter Alia Rose. Marie was a protégée of funk artist Rick James, and she was also a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer.

Personally, i'm pretty saddened by the news of the loss of another great in music. I saw her performing live years ago and to see her play the bass guitar like a true master. I will miss her voice, presence and skill as an artist.

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Manichean: Lacerus Rising

Here's some local Houston talent from a new friend of mine named Cory Sinclair and his band called The Manichean, which means "pertaining to a strongly dualistic worldview." During the summer I purchased a copy of their Whispers EP which has the original version of this tune. Yesterday they dropped remix versions of this track which I already thought was good and should be on some major motion picture sountrack.

Check out the original and one of the remixes that really caught my ear. After a quick listen, treat yourself to the full maxi on their Bandcamp page. Enjoy!

Sydnee Jane & The Jane-ettes: Another Look

Just had to post this pic of these fine and talented ladies, Sydnee Jane & The Jane-ettes because I think it's pretty dope. While you're gawkin' like I am, peep the video...

Follow them on Twitter:

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

B-New: Meet The Jeweler

I first met B-New at my friends' artists showcase a few months back at one of the local venues. I have to give this guy mad props on his showmanship and delivery (along with the bangin' tracks). I was behind the board rockin' away as this dude killed it like he's been in the game for awhile. See video segment...

I recently caught up with him again to see he's been putting in work to make a bigger name for himself. One of his latest ventures is his Meet The Jeweler project that dropped this past summer. Keep your ears open for future works by this up and coming artist reppin' Houston. Oh yeah...almost forget to mention this is a FREE download on his Bandcamp page. Grab it while you can. Enjoy!

B-New: Meet The Jeweler (Bandcamp Page)

Follow him on Twitter: @BNewCoolAmerica

Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Birthday: Beethoven & Billy Gibbons

Ludwig van Beethoven (December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer and pianist. He is considered to have been the most crucial figure in the transitional period between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western classical music, and remains one of the most famous and influential composers of all time.


Billy Gibbons (born December 16, 1949) is a musician, actor and car customizer, best known as the guitarist of the Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top. He is also the lead singer and composer for many of the band's songs. Gibbons is known for playing his Gretsch Billy Bo guitar and his famous 1959 Gibson Les Paul guitar known as Pearly Gates. Gibbons has a Bass vocal range, spanning E1 to E♭5, one of the widest ranges in Rock. He is noted for using a Mexican peso coin as a guitar pick and uses many pinch harmonics in his solos.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Happy Birthday: Joe Williams, Dionne Warwick, Frank Sinatra, Sheila E

Joe Williams (December 12, 1918 – March 29, 1999) was a well-known jazz vocalist, a baritone singing a mixture of blues, ballads, popular songs, and jazz standards.

Williams has worked with the likes of Jazz vibraphonist Lionel Hampton and most notably with the Count Basie Orchestra where he got his biggest break and toured Europe with the ensemble in the 1950's. He later had a recurring television role in the 1980's on the hit sitcom The Cosby Show playing "Grandpa Al" Hanks, the father of Claire Huxtable.


Dionne Warwick (born December 12, 1940) is an American singer and actress who became a United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and a United States Ambassador of Health.

Best known for her partnership with Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Warwick ranks among the 40 biggest hit makers of the entire rock era (1955 - 2009), based on the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. According to Billboard Magazine, Warwick ranks second only to Aretha Franklin as the most charted female vocalist with 56 singles making the Billboard Hot 100 between 1962 and 1998. Warwick is the sister of singer Dee Dee Warwick, and also related to singers Whitney Houston (cousin) and Cissy Houston (aunt, Whitney's mother).


Frank Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was a singer and actor. Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became a successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, being the idol of the "bobby soxers." His professional career had stalled by the 1950s, but it was reborn in 1954 after he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (for his performance in From Here to Eternity).

He signed with Capitol Records and released several albums, such as In the Wee Small Hours, Songs for Swingin' Lovers, Come Fly with Me, Only the Lonely and Nice 'n' Easy. Sinatra left Capitol to found his own record label, Reprise Records (finding success with albums such as Ring-A-Ding-Ding, Sinatra at the Sands and Francis Albert Sinatra & Antonio Carlos Jobim), toured internationally, and was a founding member of the Rat Pack.

In 1965, Sinatra recorded the retrospective September of My Years, starred in the Emmy-winning television special Frank Sinatra: A Man and His Music, and scored hits with "Strangers in the Night" and "My Way". Sinatra retired for the first time in 1971. Two years later, however, he came out of retirement and in 1973 recorded several albums, scored a Top 40 hit with "(Theme From) New York, New York" in 1980, and toured both within the United States and internationally, using his Las Vegas shows as a home base.


Sheila Escovedo (born December 12, 1957), known by her stage name Sheila E., is a drummer and percussionist, perhaps best known for her work with Prince and Ringo Starr. Sheila E. is the daughter of percussionist Pete Escovedo, with whom she frequently performs.

She made her recording debut with jazz bassist Alphonso Johnson on "Yesterday's Dream" in 1976. By her early twenties she had already played with George Duke, Lionel Richie, Marvin Gaye, Herbie Hancock, and Diana Ross. She also plays violin and guitar.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy Birthday: Brenda Lee & Jermaine Jackson

Brenda Mae Tarpley (born December 11, 1944), better known as Brenda Lee, is a performer who sang rockabilly, pop and country music, and had 37 US chart hits during the 1960s, a number surpassed only by The Beatles, Ray Charles and Connie Francis. She is best known for her 1960 hit "I'm Sorry", and 1958's "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree", a US holiday standard for more than 50 years.

At 4 ft 9 inches tall, she received the nickname Little Miss Dynamite in 1957 after recording the song "Dynamite"; and was one of the earliest pop stars to have a major contemporary international following.


Jermaine Jackson (born December 11, 1954) is an American singer, bassist, composer, a member of The Jackson 5, older brother of American pop stars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson and occasional film director. He also produced and recorded duets with American singer Whitney Houston in her early years as a recording artist.

Here's my favorite track by Jermaine written and produced by the legendary Stevie Wonder (he also provided background vocals on this track). Pay close attention and you'll hear Wonder's signature sound.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Duke Hugh: St. Louis To Madrid Remixes

I got this St. Louis To Madrid EP a month ago and feel I should have posted it sooner. Although, even if I wait a year these tracks would still be fresh from the preservatives added consisting of new classic material with no additives to make it junk.

I made a previous post about Duke Hugh a few months ago, and now he gives his spin on Olivier Daysoul and Oddisse's Mr. St. Louis EP released mid October. I plan to post more on Washington DC native Olivier Daysoul in the future. Be sure to visit both Bandcamp pages and support them. It's very well worth the cash. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday: Sammy Davis Jr., Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson, Sinead O'Conner

Entertainer Sammy Davis, Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was primarily a dancer and singer, Davis was a childhood vaudevillian, and became known for his performances on Broadway and in Las Vegas, as a recording artist, television and film star, and as a member of Frank Sinatra's "Rat Pack".


John Elroy Sanford (December 9, 1922 – October 11, 1991), better known by his stage name Redd Foxx, was an American comedian and actor, best known for his starring role on the sitcom Sanford and Son. In the 1940s, he was an associate of Malcolm Little, later known as Malcolm X. In Malcolm's autobiography, Foxx is referred to as "Chicago Red, the funniest dishwasher on this earth." Foxx earned the nickname due to his reddish hair and complexion. His stage surname was taken from baseball star Jimmie Foxx.


Clerow Wilson, Jr. (December 8, 1933 – November 25, 1998), known professionally as Flip Wilson, was a comedian and actor. A routine titled "Columbus," from the album Cowboys and Colored People, brought Wilson to Hollywood industry attention and would lead to the development of his own television show. Wilson was the first African American entertainer to host his own weekly variety series, The Flip Wilson Show. The popular series earned Wilson a Golden Globe and two Emmy Awards.


Singer/songwriter Sinead O'Conner (December 8, 1966) rose to fame in the late 1980s with her debut album The Lion and the Cobra and achieved worldwide success in 1990 with a cover of the song "Nothing Compares 2 U", written by Prince in the 1980's for The Family.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Birthday: Ira Gershwin & Dave Brubeck

Ira Gershwin (December 6, 1896 – August 17, 1983) was an American lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. With George he wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows, featuring songs such as "I Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You", "The Man I Love" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", and the opera Porgy and Bess.

The success the brothers had with their collaborative works has often overshadowed the creative role that Ira played. However, his mastery of songwriting continued after the early death of George. He wrote additional hit songs with composers Jerome Kern ("Long Ago (and Far Away)"), Kurt Weill and Harold Arlen.

His critically acclaimed book Lyrics on Several Occasions of 1959, an amalgam of autobiography and annotated anthology, is an important source for studying the art of the lyricist in the golden age of American popular song.


Dave Brubeck (born December 6, 1920) is a jazz pianist who has written a number of jazz standards, including "In Your Own Sweet Way" and "The Duke". Brubeck's style ranges from refined to bombastic, reflecting his mother's attempts at classical training and his improvisational skills. His music is known for employing unusual time signatures, and superimposing contrasting rhythms, meters, and tonalities.

His long-time musical partner, alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, wrote the Dave Brubeck Quartet's best remembered piece, "Take Five", which is in 5/4 time and has endured as a jazz classic on the top-selling jazz album of all time, Time Out. Brubeck experimented with time signatures throughout his career, recording "Pick Up Sticks" in 6/4, "Unsquare Dance" in 7/4, and "Blue Rondo à la Turk" in 9/8. He is also a respected composer of orchestral and sacred music, and wrote soundtracks for television such as Mr. Broadway and the animated mini-series This Is America, Charlie Brown.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Happy Birthday: Little Richard, Ozzy Osbourne & Jay-Z

Little Richard (December 5, 1932), the undisputed King of Rock-n-Roll, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the 1950s. He began his recording career on October 16, 1951 by imitating the gospel-influenced style of late-1940s jump blues artist Billy Wright, who was a friend of his that set him up with the opportunity to record.

In 1955, under the guidance of Robert "Bumps" Blackwell, Richard began recording in a style he had been performing onstage for years, featuring varied rhythm (derived from everything from drum beats he would hear in his voice to the sounds of trains he would hear thundering by him as a child), a heavy backbeat, funky saxophone grooves, over-the-top Gospel-style singing, moans, screams, and other emotive inflections, accompanied by a combination of boogie-woogie and rhythm and blues music. This new music, which included an original injection of funk into the rock and roll beat, inspired many of the greatest recording artists of the twentieth century, including James Brown, Otis Redding, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Jackson, and generations of other rhythm & blues, rock, and soul music artists.

In October 1951, Richard began recording jump blues records for RCA Camden. In October 1953, he began recording with Peacock Records. Records were released each year from 1951–54, but none were significant hits. Richard recorded a demo for gospel/R&B label Specialty Records on February 9, 1955. Specialty's owner, Art Rupe, loaned him money to buy out his contract from Peacock Records and placed his career in the hands of Specialty's A&R man Robert "Bumps" Blackwell. Richard told Rupe he liked Fats Domino's sound, so Rupe and Blackwell booked Cosimo Matassa's J & M Recording Studio in New Orleans, and hired studio musicians who had worked with Domino (including Earl Palmer on drums and Lee Allen on sax) rather than members of Richard's road band on many of the mid-1950s Specialty tracks.

Following some recording that did not satisfy Blackwell, they took a break. Richard began pounding out a boogie woogie rhythm on piano and hollering out impromptu recital of "Tutti Frutti", a song he had written and had been performing on stage for years. Blackwell was so impressed with the sound that he had Richard record the song. However, in order to make it commercially acceptable, Richard's lyrics were rewritten. Blackwell recognized that the lyrics, with their “minstrel modes and homosexuality humor” needed to be cleaned up. For example “Tutti Frutti, good booty", were replaced with “Tutti Frutti, aw-rooty”. The song featured the a cappella intro "A-wop-bop-a-loo-lop-a-lop-bam-boom!", which Richard first belted out years before onstage based on a drum beat he heard in his voice, that had also been altered slightly to make it commercially acceptable. The recording was released on Specialty in October 1955.


Ozzy Osbourne (December 3, 1948), born in Burmingham, England, is a singer/songwriter whose career has spanned over 40 years. As of December 2010, Osbourne has sold over 100 million albums worldwide.

Osbourne rose to prominence as lead vocalist of the pioneering English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, a band whose radically different, intentionally dark, doom sound spawned the heavy metal genre. In his subsequent solo career Osbourne achieved a multi-platinum status in addition to the one he had earned with Black Sabbath. These things are what led Osbourne to become known as the "Godfather of Heavy Metal".


Shawn Corey Carter (born December 4, 1969), better known by his stage name Jay-Z, is a rapper and businessman. He is one of the most financially successful hip hop artists and entrepreneurs in America having had a net worth of over $450 million in 2010. He has sold approximately 50 million albums worldwide, while receiving ten Grammy Awards for his musical work, and numerous additional nominations.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Badbwoy BMC: Welcome To Trillstep CD Release Party

For those in Houston and areas surrounding the city, you don't want to miss this event. Badbwoy BMC of Texas Dub will be releasing his Welcome 2 Trillstep CD at this massive party. BMC is the godfather of "trillstep", which is the sounds of Texas rap mashed up and remixed over the wobbly basslines and thump of Dubstep. FREE CD's will be given away to the first 300 people who enter.

AFTA-1: Triangle Circle Triangle Square

Los Angeles based Manuel Moran, better known as AFTA-1 to beat junkies, has released another gem for you to take in, as well as show your own creative side with the LOVE IS project that gives you a chance to submit your work to be a part of his latest venture. For more info and submissions, log on to Take a listen to "LOVE IS" while you read the excerpt from his Afta1 Bandcamp page.

Love IS. That is really it.
We choose to be aware of this truth & capture every fleeting moment through the act of creation.
Life is a gift overflowing with constant inspiration , and as c r e a t o r s we are all blessed with the tools necessary to translate our experiences in it, into art.

Our mediums and methods are as unique and infinite as these experiences,
yet, the vibration that unites us is the same;

Now it's time to feast your eyes on the "Create" video that shows AFTA-1 putting together the packaging for limited edition Triangle Circle Triangle Square cassettes. mistake....CASSETTE TAPES. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Birthday: Richard Pryor, Lou Rawls & Bette Midler

Richard Pryor
(December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005)

In my opinion, Richard Pryor is the greatest comedian to practice the art of comedy. Highly respected by many for his genius in his stand-up routines that incorporated storytelling, that also addressed racial and social issues.

Before he broke into comedy, Pryor was a session drummer and MC at local Peoria, Illinois nightclubs. Inspired by Bill Cosby to do comedy, years later he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a comedian. First doing middlebrow, then later incorporated profanity into his act after performing for a sold out crowd at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas in 1967.

The start of Pryor's mainstream success started with several comedy recordings on Reprise, Laff, Stax and Warner Brothers record labels. Eventually he started appearing on television with The Richard Pryor Show, Pryor's Place and Staurday Night Live, as well as writing for Sanford & Son, The Flip Wilson Show and for Lily Tomlin. Pryor also appeared in several motion pictures as an actor and worked behind the camera as director, producer and writer.

For a complete bio, merchandise and more info, visit


Lou Rawls
(December 1, 1933 – January 6, 2006)

Lou Rawls was a Soul, Jazz, gospel and Rhythm & Blues singer who got his start with a local gospel choir in his native Chicago, where he also met Same Cooke and Curtis Mayfield. He sang briefly with Cooke in the Teenage Kings of Harmony, a local gospel group, and then with the Holy Wonders. In 1951, Rawls replaced Cooke in the Highway QC's after Cooke departed to join The Soul Stirrers in Los Angeles. Rawls was soon recruited by the Chosen Gospel Singers and himself moved to Los Angeles, where he subsequently joined the Pilgrim Travelers.

Rawls was signed to Capitol Records in 1962 and released his first solo album Stormy Monday (a.k.a. I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water), a jazz album. Though his 1966 album Live! went gold, Rawls would not have a star-making hit until he made a proper soul album, appropriately named Soulin', later that same year. The album contained his first R&B #1 single, "Love Is a Hurtin' Thing". In 1967 Rawls won his first Grammy Award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, for the single "Dead End Street."

After leaving Capitol in 1971, Rawls joined MGM, at which he released his Grammy-winning single "Natural Man." He had a brief stint with Bell Records in 1974, where he recorded a cover of Hall & Oates' "She's Gone." In 1976, Rawls signed with Philadelphia International Records, where he had his greatest album success with the million-selling All Things in Time. The album produced his most successful single, "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine", which topped the R&B and Adult Contemporary charts and went to number two on the pop side, becoming Rawls' only certified million-selling single in the process.

Rawls released more than 70 albums, sold more than 40 million records, appeared as an actor in motion pictures and on television, and voiced-over many cartoons.


Bette Midler

Bette Midler is a singer, actress and comedian, also known (by her informal stage name) as The Divine Miss M. She has starred in live-action films such as Ruthless People, Beaches and Hocus Pocus, as well as featuring in animated films such as Oliver & Company and Fantasia 2000.

During her more than forty-year career, Midler has been nominated for two Academy Awards; and won four Grammy Awards, four Golden Globes, three Emmy Awards, and a special Tony Award. She has also sold over 30 Million records as an artist.