Cultural Percussionist

Echos of Freedom by George Washington

February 16, 2019

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”  George Washington

The Cosmos with NGC 2359

February 16, 2019

NGC 2359 is a helmet-shaped cosmic cloud with wing-like appendages popularly called Thor’s Helmet. Heroically sized even for a Norse god, Thor’s Helmet is about 30 light-years across. In fact, the helmet is more like an interstellar bubble, blown as a fast wind from the bright, massive star near the bubble’s center inflates a region within the surrounding molecular cloud. Known as a Wolf-Rayet star, the central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. NGC 2359 is located about 15,000 light-years away in the constellation Canis Major. The remarkably detailed image is a mixed cocktail of data from broadband and narrowband filters that captures natural looking stars and the glow of the nebula’s filamentary structures. It highlights a blue-green color from strong emission due to oxygen atoms in the glowing gas.

Bill Doggett Day

February 16, 2019

William Ballard Doggett (February 16, 1916 – November 13, 1996) was an American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist. He is best known for his compositions “Honky Tonk” and “Hippy Dippy”, and variously working with the Ink Spots, Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan.

Doggett was born in Philadelphia. His mother, a church pianist, introduced him to music when he was nine years old. By the time he was fifteen, he had joined a Philadelphia area combo, playing local theaters and clubs while attending high school.

Doggett later sold his band to Lucky Millinder, and worked during the 1930s and early 1940s for Millinder, Frank Fairfax and arranger Jimmy Mundy. In 1942 he was hired as the Ink Spots‘ pianist and arranger.

Machito Day

February 16, 2019

Machito (born Francisco Raúl Gutiérrez Grillo, February 16, 1908 – April 19, 1984) was a Latin jazz musician who helped refine Afro-Cuban jazz and create both Cubop and salsa music. He was raised in Havana with the singer Graciela, his foster sister.

In New York City, Machito formed the band the Afro-Cubans in 1940, and with Mario Bauzá as musical director, brought together Cuban rhythms and big band arrangements in one group. He made numerous recordings from the 1940s to the 1980s, many with Graciela as singer. Machito changed to a smaller ensemble format in 1975, touring Europe extensively. He brought his son and daughter into the band, and received a Grammy Award in 1983, one year before he died.

Machito’s music had an effect on the lives of many musicians who played in the Afro-Cubans over the years, and on those who were attracted to Latin jazz after hearing him. George Shearing, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Stan Kenton credited Machito as an influence. An intersection in East Harlem is named “Machito Square” in his honor.

World Music with Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham

February 16, 2019

Daily Roots with Desmond Riley

February 16, 2019

Echos of Freedom by Kahlil Gibran

February 15, 2019

“Love is the only freedom in the world because it so elevates the spirit that the laws of humanity and the phenomena of nature do not alter its course.”

Kahlil Gibran

The Cosmos with NGC 6814

February 15, 2019

Spiral galaxies together with irregular galaxies make up approximately 60% of the galaxies in the local Universe. However, despite their prevalence, each spiral galaxy is unique — like snowflakes, no two are alike. This is demonstrated by the striking face-on spiral galaxy NGC 6814, whose luminous nucleus and spectacular sweeping arms, rippled with an intricate pattern of dark dust, are captured in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image.

NGC 6814 has an extremely bright nucleus, a telltale sign that the galaxy is a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have very active centres that can emit strong bursts of radiation. The luminous heart of NGC 6814 is a highly variable source of X-ray radiation, causing scientists to suspect that it hosts a supermassive black hole with a mass about 18 million times that of the Sun.

As NGC 6814 is a very active galaxy, many regions of ionised gas are studded along  its spiral arms. In these large clouds of gas, a burst of star formation has recently taken place, forging the brilliant blue stars that are visible scattered throughout the galaxy.

Henry Threadgill Day

February 15, 2019

Henry Threadgill (born February 15, 1944) is an American composer, saxophonist and flautist.[1] He came to prominence in the 1970s leading ensembles rooted in jazz but with unusual instrumentation and often incorporating other genres of music. He has performed and recorded with several ensembles: Air, Aggregation Orb, Make a Move, the seven-piece Henry Threadgill Sextett, the twenty-piece Society Situation Dance Band, Very Very Circus, X-75, and Zooid.

He was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Music for his album In for a Penny, In for a Pound,[2] which premiered at Roulette Intermedium on December 4, 201

Threadgill performed as a percussionist in his high-school marching band before taking up baritone saxophone, alto saxophone, and flute. He studied at the American Conservatory of Musicin Chicago, majoring in piano, flute, and composition. He studied piano with Gail Quillman and composition with Stella Roberts. He was an original member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in his hometown of Chicago and worked under the guidance of Muhal Richard Abrams before leaving to tour with a gospel band. In 1967, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, playing with a rock band in Vietnam in 1967 and 1968. He was discharged in 1969.

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