Cultural Percussionist

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The Cosmos with M43

December 12, 2018

some of the dust in M43 appears similar to a waterfall on Earth. M43, part of the Orion Molecular Cloud Complex, is the often imaged but rarely mentioned neighbor of the more famous M42. M42, which includes many bright stars from the Trapezium cluster, lies above the featured scene. M43 is itself a star forming region and although laced with filaments of dark dust, is composed mostly of glowing hydrogen. The entire Orion field, located about 1600 light years away, is inundated with many intricate and picturesque filaments of dust. Opaque to visible light, dark dust is created in the outer atmosphere of massive cool stars and expelled by a strong outer wind of protons and electrons.

Tony Williams Day

December 12, 2018

Anthony Tillmon “Tony” Williams (December 12, 1945 – February 23, 1997) was an American jazz drummer.

Williams first gained fame in the band of trumpeter Miles Davis and was a pioneer of jazz fusion. He was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 1986. Williams was born in Chicago and grew up in Boston. He was of African, Portuguese, and Chinese descent. He studied with drummer Alan Dawsonat an early age, and began playing professionally at the age of 13 with saxophonist Sam Rivers. Saxophonist Jackie McLean hired Williams when he was 16.

At 17 Williams gained attention by joining Miles Davis in what was later dubbed Davis’s Second Great Quintet. Williams was a vital element of the group, called by Davis in his autobiography “the center that the group’s sound revolved around.” His playing helped redefine the role of the jazz rhythm section through the use of polyrhythms and metric modulation, moving between mathematically related tempos and/or time signatures. Meanwhile, he recorded his first two albums as leader for Blue Note label, Life Time (1964) and Spring (1965). He also recorded as a sideman for the label including, in 1964, Out to Lunch! with Eric Dolphy and Point of Departure with Andrew Hill.

In 1969, he formed a trio, the Tony Williams Lifetime, with John McLaughlin on guitar and Larry Young on organ. Lifetime was a pioneering band of the fusion movement, a combination of rock, R&B, and jazz.

Alex Acuña Day

December 12, 2018

Alejandro Neciosup Acuña (born December 12, 1944), known professionally as Alex Acuña, is a Peruvian drummer and percussionist.

Born in Pativilca, Peru, Acuña played in local bands from the age of ten, and moved to Lima as a teenager. At the age of eighteen he joined the band of Perez Prado, and in 1965 he moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In 1974 Acuña moved to Las Vegas, working with artists such as Elvis Presley and Diana Ross, and the following year he joined the jazz-fusion group Weather Report, appearing on the albums Black Market and Heavy Weather. Acuña left Weather Report in 1978, and became a session musician in California, recording and playing live with (amongst many others) Paul McCartney, Joni Mitchell, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Chick Corea, Whitney Houston, Plácido Domingo, former Weather Report bandmates Wayne Shorter and Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Carlos Santana, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Beck, Roberta Flack, U2, Al Jarreau and Marcos Witt. He can be found on recordings by musicians as culturally diverse as Lee Ritenour, Johnny Clegg, Roy Orbison, YellowJackets, Lalo Schiffrin, Milton Nascimento, Don Grusin, Dave Grusin, The Brecker Brothers, Arturo Sandoval, Paquito d’Rivera, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Brad Mehldau, BoDeans, Paco de Lucia, John Patitucci, Sadao Watanabe, Lyle Mays, Diana Ross, Sergio Mendez, Robbie Robertson, Jackson Browne, Bette Midler, Jennifer Nettles, Christina Aguilera, Seal and Chris Botti.

Grover Washington Jr Day

December 12, 2018

Grover Washington Jr. (December 12, 1943 – December 17, 1999) was an American jazz-funk / soul-jazz saxophonist. Along with George Benson, John Klemmer, David Sanborn, Bob James, Chuck Mangione, Dave Grusin, Herb Alpert, and Spyro Gyra, he is considered by many to be one of the founders of the smooth jazz genre. He wrote some of his material and later became an arranger and producer.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Washington made some of the genre’s most memorable hits, including “Mister Magic”, “Reed Seed”, “Black Frost”, “Winelight”, “Inner City Blues” and “The Best is Yet to Come”. In addition, he performed very frequently with other artists, including Bill Withers on “Just the Two of Us” (still in regular rotation on radio today), Patti LaBelle on “The Best Is Yet to Come” and Phyllis Hyman on “A Sacred Kind of Love”. He is also remembered for his take on the Dave Brubeck classic “Take Five“, and for his 1996 version of “Soulful Strut“.

Washington had a preference for black nickel-plated saxophones made by Julius Keilwerth. These included a SX90R alto and SX90R tenor. He also played Selmer Mark VI alto in the early years. His main soprano was a black nickel-plated H. Couf Superba II (also built by Keilwerth for Herbert Couf) and a Keilwerth SX90 in the last years of his life.

Washington was born in Buffalo, New York, on December 12, 1943. His mother was a church chorister, and his father was a collector of old Jazzgramophone records and a saxophonist as well, so music was everywhere in the home. He grew up listening to the great jazzmen and big band leaders like Benny Goodman, Fletcher Henderson, and others like them. At the age of 8, Grover Sr. gave Jr. a saxophone. He practiced and would sneak into clubs to see famous Buffalo blues musicians.

World Music with DAKHABRAKHA

December 12, 2018

Daily Roots with Dennis Alcapone

December 12, 2018

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.

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