Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with VDB 142

August 16, 2019

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, the cosmic elephant’s trunk is over 20 light-years long. This colorful close-up view was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in the region. The resulting composite highlights the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. The dramatic scene spans a 1 degree wide field, about the size of 2 Full Moons.

Carl Perkins Day (jazz piano)

August 16, 2019

Carl Perkins (August 16, 1928 – March 17, 1958) was an American jazz pianist. Perkins was born in Indianapolis but worked mainly in Los Angeles. He is best known for his performances with the Curtis Counce Quintet, which also featured Harold Land, Jack Sheldon and drummer Frank Butler. He also performed with Tiny Bradshaw, Big Jay McNeely in 1948-49, and played dates with Miles Davis in 1950. Following a short stint in the Army (January 1951 to November 1952), he worked intermittently with the Oscar Moore Trio (1953-1955) and the Clifford BrownMax Roach group in 1954. He recorded with Frank Morgan in 1955, and with his own group in 1956. Perkins composed the standard “Grooveyard”.

His playing was influenced by his polio-affected left arm, which he held parallel to the keyboard. He used his elbow to play deep bass notes. He was thus known as “the crab”.

He died of a drug overdose at age 29, in Los Angeles, California. He recorded one album, Introducing Carl Perkins, and a short series of singles under his own name. Authors Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow, and David Megill cite Perkins as one of the best “funky”, or hard bop, piano players, but his early death prevented him from leaving a legacy.

Bill Evans Day

August 16, 2019

William John Evans (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly played in trios. His use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, “singing” melodic lines continue to influence jazz pianists today.

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1929, he was classically trained at Southeastern Louisiana University and the Mannes School of Music, where he majored in composition and received the Artist Diploma. In 1955, he moved to New York City, where he worked with bandleader and theorist George Russell. In 1958, Evans joined Miles Davis‘s sextet, which in 1959, then immersed in modal jazz, recorded Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. During that time, Evans was also playing with Chet Baker for the album Chet.

In late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. In 1961, ten days after finishing an engagement at the New York Village Vanguard jazz club, LaFaro died in a car accident. After months of seclusion, Evans re-emerged with a new trio, featuring bassist Chuck Israels.

In 1963, Evans recorded Conversations with Myself, a solo album using the unconventional technique of overdubbing over himself. In 1966, he met bassist Eddie Gómez, with whom he would work for eleven years.

Many of Evans’s compositions, such as “Waltz for Debby“, have become standards, played and recorded by many artists. Evans was honored with 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of FameEvans grew up in North Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Harry and Mary Evans (née Soroka). His father was of Welsh descent and ran a golf course; his mother was of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry and descended from a family of coal miners. The marriage was stormy owing to his father’s heavy drinking, gambling, and abuse.

Mal Waldron Day

August 16, 2019

Malcolm EarlMalWaldron (August 16, 1925 – December 2, 2002) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and arranger. He started playing professionally in New York in 1950, after graduating from university. In the following dozen years or so Waldron led his own bands and played for those led by Charles Mingus, Jackie McLean, John Coltrane, and Eric Dolphy, among others. During Waldron’s period as house pianist for Prestige Records in the late 1950s, he appeared on dozens of albums and composed for many of them, including writing his most famous song, “Soul Eyes“, for Coltrane. Waldron was often an accompanist for vocalists, and was Billie Holiday‘s regular accompanist from April 1957 until her death in July 1959.

A breakdown caused by a drug overdose in 1963 left Waldron unable to play or remember any music; he regained his skills gradually, while redeveloping his speed of thought. He left the U.S. permanently in the mid-1960s, settled in Europe, and continued touring internationally until his death.

In his 50-year career, Waldron recorded more than 100 albums under his own name and more than 70 for other band leaders. He also wrote for modern ballet, and composed the scores of several feature films. As a pianist, Waldron’s roots lay chiefly in the hard bop and post-bop genres of the New York club scene of the 1950s, but with time he gravitated more towards free jazz. He is known for his dissonant chord voicings and distinctive later playing style, which featured repetition of notes and motifs. Mal Waldron was born in New York City on August 16, 1925, to West Indian immigrants. His father was a mechanical engineer who worked on the Long Island Rail Road. The family moved to Jamaica, Queens when Mal was four years old.

World Music with Paco de Lucia

August 16, 2019

Flamenco Fridays with Malagueñas .

Malagueñas (Spanish pronunciation: [malaˈɣeɲas]) is one of the traditional styles of Andalusian music (flamenco), derived from earlier types of fandango from the area of Málaga, classified among the Cantes de Levante. Originally a folk-song type, it became a flamenco style in the 19th century. It is not normally used for dance, as it is generally interpreted with no regular rhythmic pattern, as a “cante libre”. It has a very rich melody with virtuous flourishes and use of microtones. Its guitar accompaniment is normally played in open position first inversion giving E for the tonic, which can be transposed by using a capo. Malagueñas derive from local variety of the Fandangos, a type of dance that, with different regional variations and even different names, became very popular in great part of Spain in the 18th century. Although nowadays malagueñas are a typical instance of “cante libre”, performed at libitum and normally not used for the dance, folkloric fandangos were originally sung and played at a fast speed, with a rhythmic pattern in 6/8, to accompany dance. Some of these primitive fandangos from Málaga, called Verdiales are still performed nowadays at folkloric gatherings by large non-professional groups called “Pandas”, which use a high number of guitars, “bandurrias” (a sort of mandoline), violins, and tambourines.

Towards the second half of the 19th century, some interpreters gave the first steps in transforming this folkloric songs into real flamenco. They slowed it down (although still keeping the eastern fandango rhythm pattern known as “abandolao”), they enriched the melody with flourishes and ornaments and reduced accompanying instruments to a single guitar. In this process, they were probably influenced by other flamenco styles, but modern research also suggests that the influence of Opera, Zarzuela and other classical music styles also played a part in this development

Daily Roots with Sylford Walker

August 16, 2019

The Cosmos with NGC 2022

August 15, 2019

NGC 2022 is a planetary nebula located in the constellation of Orion.Also known as PK 196-10 1 and IRAS 05393+0903, the nebula is 8,213 light-years away from Earth.The object was discovered on December 28, 1785 by the German-born British astronomer William Herschel.“This type of object is called, somewhat confusingly, a planetary nebula, though it has nothing to do with planets,” said members of the Hubble science team.“The name derives from the rounded, planet-like appearance of these objects in early telescopes.”“When stars like the Sun grow advanced in age, they expand and glow red,” they explained.“These so-called red giants then begin to lose their outer layers of material into space.”“More than half of such a star’s mass can be shed in this manner, forming a shell of surrounding gas.”“At the same time, the star’s core shrinks and grows hotter, emitting ultraviolet light that causes the expelled gases to glow.”

 

Joe Castro Day

August 15, 2019

Joseph Armand “Joe” Castro (August 15, 1927 – December 13, 2009) was an American bebop jazz pianist, based primarily on the West Coast of the United States. Castro was born in Miami, Arizona on August 15, 1927 to John L. Castro and Lucy Sanchez. Castro went to school in Pittsburg, California in the San Francisco Bay area, north of Oakland, where he began playing professionally at the age of 15. His enrollment at San Jose State University was interrupted twice—first by a stint in the army from 1946 to 1947 and then when he formed his first jazz trio working on both the West Coast and in Hawaii. In 1956 Castro moved to New York City, where his trio successfully appeared in the city’s top jazz clubs—Basin Street, The Embers, The Hickory House and Birdland. He was critically lauded by the likes of Leonard Feather who described his style as “assertively swinging,” and Dave Brubeck, who had known Castro since the early 1950s, as “an extremely talented individual, a fine musician, an excellent pianist and a tasteful performer.” In 1958, he moved to Los Angeles to be associated almost exclusively with Teddy Edwards, Billy Higgins and Leroy Vinnegar. “The group has been very important to me,” Castro says. “I had been working so long with piano trios, I had to learn how to play less and say more. Actually I have more freedom in this group without having to carry the load.” Castro recorded and performed extensively with The Teddy Edwards Quartet while also making two of his own recordings as a leader for Atlantic Records.

Oscar Peterson Day

August 15, 2019

Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, CC CQ OOnt (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007) was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, but simply “O.P.” by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received numerous other awards and honours. He is considered one of the greatest jazz pianists, and played thousands of concerts worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years. Peterson was born in Montreal, Quebec, to immigrants from the West Indies; his father worked as a porter for Canadian Pacific Railway. Peterson grew up in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy in Montreal. It was in this predominantly black neighborhood that he encountered the jazz culture. At the age of five, Peterson began honing his skills on trumpet and piano, but a bout of tuberculosis when he was seven prevented him from playing the trumpet again, so he directed all his attention to the piano. His father, Daniel Peterson, an amateur trumpeter and pianist, was one of his first music teachers, and his sister Daisy taught him classical piano. Peterson was persistent at practising scales and classical études.

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