Cultural Percussionist

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The Cosmos with Arp 188

December 11, 2018

Why does this galaxy have such a long tail? In this stunning vista, based on image data from the Hubble Legacy Archive, distant galaxies form a dramatic backdrop for disrupted spiral galaxy Arp 188, the Tadpole Galaxy. The cosmic tadpole is a mere 420 million light-years distant toward the northern constellation of the Dragon (Draco). Its eye-catching tail is about 280 thousand light-years long and features massive, bright blue star clusters. One story goes that a more compact intruder galaxy crossed in front of Arp 188 – from right to left in this view – and was slung around behind the Tadpole by their gravitational attraction. During the close encounter, tidal forces drew out the spiral galaxy’s stars, gas, and dust forming the spectacular tail. The intruder galaxy itself, estimated to lie about 300 thousand light-years behind the, can be seen through foreground spiral arms at the upper right. Following its terrestrial namesake, the Tadpole Galaxy will likely lose its tail as it grows older, the tail’s star clusters forming smaller satellites of the large spiral galaxy.

McCoy Tyler

December 11, 2018

Alfred McCoy Tyner (born December 11, 1938) is a jazz pianist from Philadelphia known for his work with the John Coltrane Quartet and a long solo career.

Tyner was born in Philadelphia as the oldest of three children. He was encouraged to study piano by his mother. He began studying the piano at age 13 and within two years music had become the focal point in his life. When he was 17, he converted to Islam through the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and changed his name to Sulieman Saud. His neighbors in Philadelphia included musicians Richie Powell and Bud Powell.

Tyner started his career in 1960 as a member of the Jazztet led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer. Six months later, he joined the quartet of John Coltrane that included Jimmy Garrison and Elvin Jones. He worked with the band during its extended run at the Jazz Gallery, replacing Steve Kuhn(Coltrane had known Tyner for a while in Philadelphia, and performed one of the pianist’s compositions, “The Believer”, as early as 1958). He played on Coltrane’s “My Favorite Things” for Atlantic. The band toured almost non-stop between 1961 and 1965, recording the albums Live! at the Village Vanguard, Ballads, Live at Birdland, Crescent, A Love Supreme, and The John Coltrane Quartet Plays for Impulse!.

While in Coltrane’s group, he recorded albums as a leader in a piano trio. He also appeared as a sideman on many Blue Note albums of the 1960s, although he was often credited as “etc.” on the cover of these albums to respect his contract with Impulse! Records.

Big Mama Thornton Day

December 11, 2018

Willie Mae Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) better known as Big Mama Thornton, was an American rhythm-and-blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record Leiber and Stoller’sHound Dog“, in 1952, which became her biggest hit, staying seven weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B chart in 1953 and selling almost two million copies. Thornton’s other recordings included the original version of “Ball ‘n’ Chain“, which she wrote.

Thornton’s performances were characterized by her deep, powerful voice and strong sense of self. She was given her nickname, “Big Mama,” by Frank Schiffman, the manager of Harlem’s Apollo Theater, because of her strong voice, size, and personality. Thornton stated that she was louder than any microphone and didn’t want a microphone to ever be as loud as she was. Alice Echols, the author of a biography of Janis Joplin, said that Thornton could sing in a “pretty voice” but did not want to. Thornton said, “My singing comes from my experience… My own experience. I never had no one teach me nothin’. I never went to school for music or nothin’. I taught myself to sing and to blow harmonica and even to play drums by watchin’ other people! I can’t read music, but I know what I’m singing! I don’t sing like nobody but myself.

Perez Prado Day

December 11, 2018

Dámaso Pérez Prado (Spanish: [ˈpeɾes ˈpɾaðo]; December 11, 1916 – September 14, 1989) was a Cuban bandleader, organist, pianist and composerwho also made brief appearances in films. He is often referred to as the “King of the Mambo“. He became known and professionally billed as Pérez Prado, his paternal and maternal surnames respectively.

Pérez Prado became a naturalized citizen of Mexico in 1980. His orchestra was the most popular in mambo. His son, Pérez Prado, Jr., continues to direct the Pérez Prado Orchestra in Mexico City to this day.

Pérez was born in Matanzas, Cuba on December 11, 1916; his mother Sara Prado was a school teacher, his father Pablo Pérez a journalist at El Heraldo de Cuba. He studied classical piano in his early childhood, and later played organ and piano in local clubs. For a time, he was pianist and arranger for the Sonora Matancera, Cuba’s best-known musical group at the time. He also worked with casino orchestras in Havana for most of the 1940s. He was nicknamed “El Cara de Foca” (“Seal Face”) by his peers at the time.

World Music with Julie Fowlis

December 11, 2018

Daily Roots with the Royals

December 11, 2018

The Cosmos with Rho Ophiuchi Cloud

December 10, 2018

Cosmic dust clouds and embedded newborn stars glow at infrared wavelengths in this tantalizing false-color view from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Pictured is of one of the closest star forming regions, part of the Rho Ophiuchi cloud complex some 400 light-years distant near the southern edge of the pronounceable constellation Ophiuchus. The view spans about 5 light-years at that estimated distance. After forming along a large cloud of cold molecular hydrogen gas, newborn stars heat the surrounding dust to produce the infrared glow. An exploration of the region in penetrating infrared light has detected some 300 emerging and newly formed stars whose average age is estimated to be a mere 300,000 years — extremely young compared to the Sun’s age of 5 billion years.

Bob Cranshaw Day

December 10, 2018

Melbourne RobertBobCranshaw (December 3, 1932 – November 2, 2016) was an American jazz bassist. His career spanned the heyday of Blue Note Records to his recent involvement with the Musicians Union. He is perhaps best known for his long association with Sonny Rollins. Cranshaw performed in Rollins’s working band on and off for over five decades, starting with a live appearance at the 1959 Playboy jazz festival in Chicago and on record with the 1962 album The Bridge.

Some of Cranshaw’s best-known performances include Lee Morgan‘s The Sidewinder and Grant Green‘s Idle Moments. Cranshaw also served as the sole session bassist to Sesame Street and The Electric Company songwriter and composer Joe Raposo, and played bass guitar on all songs, tracks, buttons and cues recorded by the Children’s Television Workshop during Raposo’s tenure. In addition, he was the bass player for Saturday Night Livefrom 1975 to 1980 and musical director and bassist for Dick Cavett’s talk show in the early 1980s. He performed in pit orchestras for numerous Broadway shows including Jesus Christ Superstar, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band: The Musical and many more. He recorded innumerable recording dates for television shows, films and jingles. He is among the most recorded bassists in history.

Guitar Slim Day

December 10, 2018

Eddie Jones (December 10, 1926 – February 7, 1959), better known as Guitar Slim, was a New Orleans blues guitarist in the 1940s and 1950s, best known for the million-selling song “The Things That I Used to Do“, produced by Johnny Vincent for Specialty Records. It is listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll. Slim had a major impact on rock and roll and experimented with distorted overtones on the electric guitar a full decade before Jimi Hendrix.

Jones was born in Greenwood, Mississippi. His mother died when he was five, and he was raised by his grandmother. In his teen years he worked in cotton fields and spent his free time at juke joints, where he started sitting in as a singer or dancer; he was good enough as a dancer that he was nicknamed “Limber Leg”.

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