Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with Sh2-282

May 23, 2019

This image was obtained with the wide-field view of the Mosaic camera on the Mayall 4-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. Sh2-282 is an HII emission nebula. The red hydrogen gas is energized by the intense light from the bright blue stars that surround it. Several pillars can be seen embedded in the gas that are being sculpted from the radiation and solar wind from the bright blue star in the upper-left corner of the image. The image was generated with observations in the B (blue), I (orange) and Hydrogen-Alpha (red) filters. In this image, North is up, East is to the left.

Sh2 -282 is a visible emission nebula in the constellation of the Unicorn .

It is observed in the central-northern part of the constellation, about 3 ° south of the Rosetta Nebula ; it can be photographed with some difficulty through a high-powered amateur telescope equipped with special filters and long exposures are required. Being only 1.5 degrees north, it can be observed from all populated areas of the Earth with ease; the most favorable period for its observation in the evening sky is from December to April.

It is an H II region extended for about 50 light years , inside which several cometary structures are known, which indicate the presence of erosive phenomena caused by the stellar wind of the nearest massive spectral stars O and B, and in particular of HD 47432, a variable bluepulsating giant visible on the northeastern side of the nebula; this star has an average magnitude of 6.21 and is located at a distance of 1250 parsecs (4075 light years). The cloud is in the same galactic environment as the Monoceros OB2 association, linked to the Rosetta Nebulaand located on the inner edge of the Perseus Arm , and of which the HD 47432 star would also be a part; the nebulous system also includes NGC 2282 , a reflection nebula placed a little further to the east.

Famoudou Don Moye Day

May 23, 2019

Famoudou Don Moye, (born May 23, 1946) is an American jazz percussionist and drummer. He is most known for his involvement with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and is noted for his mastery of African and Caribbean percussion instruments and rhythmic techniques.

Moye was born in Rochester, New York and performed in various drum and bugle corps during his youth, as well as church choir. Moye has commented that he really “didn’t have an affinity for the bugle … and just kind of gravitated towards drums.” He also took violin lessons during this time. Moye was exposed to jazz at an early age since his mother worked for a local social club that had a jazz club next door that hosted musicians such as Kenny Burrell and Jimmy McGriff. His family was also musically inclined; his uncles played saxophones and his father played drums. Also, his mother used to take him to various performances as a child, such as “opera under the stars” and to see Mahalia Jackson.


Les Spann Day

May 23, 2019

Leslie Spann Jr. (May 23, 1932 – January 24, 1989) was an American jazz guitarist and flautist. Les Spann was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. From 1950–1957, he studied music at Tennessee State University. At the end of that time he worked with Phineas Newborn Jr. and in 1958 with Ronnell Bright. The following year, he joined a quintet in New York City led by Dizzy Gillespie, performing solos on flute and guitar and appearing on two of Gillespie’s albums for Verve Records. After a year with Gillespie, he went to Europe as a member of Quincy Jones‘s big band. Two more albums followed, this time with Spann joining a sextet that included Duke Ellington, Johnny Hodges, and Harry “Sweets” Edison. He recorded with Hodges again in 1967, then disappeared from the music world. He died in New York City in 1989.

As a sideman he recorded with Nat Adderley, Benny Bailey, Bill Coleman, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Curtis Fuller, Red Garland, Benny Goodman, Sam Jones, Abbey Lincoln, Charles Mingus, Duke Pearson, Jerome Richardson, Charlie Shavers, Sonny Stitt, Billy Taylor, Randy Weston, and Ben Webster. As a leader he recorded only once, the album Gemini in 1960.

World Music with Hama Sankare

May 23, 2019


Daily Roots with Ken Parker

May 23, 2019

The Cosmos with J005311

May 22, 2019

Researchers at the University of Bonn in Germany and the Russian Academy of Sciences have spotted an incredibly unusual and rare star in the middle of a cloud of gas around 10,000 light years from Earth.

The star, dubbed J005311, appears to have risen from its cosmic grave after two dead stars collided with one another in the constellation Cassiopeia. The findings, published in Nature on May 21, reveal the nature of the exotic zombie star and its unusual properties. The team discovered the bizarre object using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope and subsequently observed it using a ground-based telescope at Russia’s Special Astrophysical Observatory.

At the end of a small star’s lifetime, when all of its fuel has been exhausted, it turns into a “white dwarf” — a tiny, dense, dead star. For the most part, a white dwarf is done for after that. However, researchers at Bonn examined the radiation emitted by the strange star and found that it was lacking in both hydrogen and helium, usually present in a white dwarf.

Due to J005311’s unusual emission signal, the researchers suspect what they’ve detected is the result of a cosmic fusion between two white dwarfs that circled one another for billions of years.

Peter Nero Day

May 22, 2019

Peter Nero (born Bernard Nierow, May 22, 1934) is an American pianist and pops conductor. He directed the Philly Pops from 1979 to 2013, and has earned two Grammy Awards.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, as Bernard Nierow, he started his formal music training at the age of seven. He studied piano under Frederick Bried. By the time he was 14, he was accepted to New York City’s High School of Music & Art and won a scholarship to the Juilliard School of Music.Constance Keene, his teacher and mentor, once wrote in an issue of Keyboard ClassicsVladimir Horowitz was Peter’s greatest fan!” He graduated from Brooklyn College in 1956.

Nero recorded his first album under the name of Bernie Nerow in July 1957 under the Mode label MOD-LP117 which shows his technical virtuosity in the jazz genre. Nero recorded an album in 1961, and won a Grammy Award that year for Best New Artist. Since then, he has received another Grammy, garnered 10 additional nominations and released 67 albums. Nero’s early association with RCA Victor produced 23 albums in eight years. His subsequent move to Columbia Records resulted in the million-selling single and album Summer of ’42.

Sun Ra Day

May 22, 2019

Le Sony’r Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, May 22, 1914 – May 30, 1993), better known as Sun Ra, was an American jazz composer, bandleader, piano and synthesizer player, and poet known for his experimental music, “cosmic” philosophy, prolific output, and theatrical performances. For much of his career, Ra led “The Arkestra”, an ensemble with an ever-changing name and flexible line-up.

Born and raised in Alabama, Blount became involved in the Chicago jazz scene during the late 1940s. He soon abandoned his birth name, taking the name Le Sony’r Ra, shortened to Sun Ra (after Ra, the Egyptian God of the Sun). He developed a complex persona and an idiosyncratic, myth-based credo that would make him a pioneer of Afrofuturism. He claimed to be an alien from Saturn on a mission to preach peace, and throughout his life he publicly denied ties to his prior identity.

His widely eclectic and avant-garde music echoed the entire history of jazz, from ragtime and early New Orleans hot jazz, to swing music, bebop, free jazz and fusion. His compositions ranged from keyboard solos to works for big bands of over 30 musicians, along with electronic excursions, songs, chants, percussion pieces, and anthems. From the mid-1950s until his death, Ra led the musical collective The Arkestra (which featured artists such as Marshall Allen, John Gilmore and June Tyson throughout its various iterations). Its performances often included dancers and musicians dressed in elaborate, futuristic costumes inspired by ancient Egyptian attire and the Space Age. (Following Ra’s illness-forced retirement in 1992, the band remained active as The Sun Ra Arkestra, and, as of 2018, continues performing under the leadership of veteran Ra sideman Marshall Allen.)

Though his mainstream success was limited, Sun Ra was a prolific recording artist and frequent live performer, and remained both influential and controversial throughout his life for his music and persona. He is now widely considered an innovator; among his distinctions are his pioneering work in free improvisation and modal jazz and his early use of electronic keyboards and synthesizers. Over the course of his career, he recorded dozens of singles and over one hundred full-length albums, comprising well over 1000 songs, making him one of the most prolific recording artists of the 20th century.

He was born Herman Blount on May 22, 1914, in Birmingham, Alabama, as discovered by his biographer, John F. Szwed, and published in his 1998 book. He was named after the popular vaudeville stage magician Black Herman, who had deeply impressed his mother. He was nicknamed “Sonny” from his childhood, had an older sister and half-brother, and was doted upon by his mother and grandmother.

For decades, very little was known about Sun Ra’s early life, and he contributed to its obscurity. As a self-invented person, he routinely gave evasive, contradictory or seemingly nonsensical answers to personal questions, and denied his birth name. He speculated, only half in jest, that he was distantly related to Elijah Poole, later famous as Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam. His birthday for years remained unknown, as he claimed it for years ranging from 1910 to 1918. Only a few years before his death, the date of Sun Ra’s birth was still a mystery. Jim Macnie’s notes for Blue Delight (1989) said that Sun Ra was believed to be about 75 years old. But Szwed was able to uncover a wealth of information about his early life and confirmed a birth date of May 22, 1914.

As a child, Blount was a skilled pianist. By the age of 11 or 12, he was composing and sight reading music. Birmingham was an important stop for touring musicians. He saw famous musicians such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, and Fats Waller, along with others who were quite talented but never made the big time. Sun Ra once said, “The world let down a lot of good musicians”

World Music with Garifuna Collective

May 22, 2019


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