Cultural Percussionist

mick’s blog

The Cosmos with Barnard 33 ZTF’s First Light Image

November 20, 2018

The Horsehead Nebula (also known as Barnard 33) is a dark nebula in the constellation Orion. The nebula is located just to the south of the star Alnitak, which is farthest east on Orion’s Belt, and is part of the much larger Orion Molecular Cloud Complex.

The Horsehead nebula can be seen in this portion of the “first-light” image from ZTF. The head of the horse (middle) faces up toward another well-known nebula known as the Flame. Violet to green wavelengths detected by ZTF are represented as cyan, while yellow to deep red wavelengths are shown as red. Computers searching these images for transient, or variable, events are trained to automatically recognize and ignore non-astronomical sources, such as the vertical “blooming” lines seen here.

A new robotic camera with the ability to capture hundreds of thousands of stars and galaxies in a single shot has taken its first image of the sky, an event astronomers refer to as “first light.” The recently installed camera is part of a new automated sky-survey project called the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), based at Caltech’s Palomar Observatory located in the mountains near San Diego. Every night, ZTF will scan a large portion of the Northern sky, discovering objects that erupt or vary in brightness, including exploding stars (also known as supernovas), stars being munched on by black holes, and asteroids and comets.

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Duane Allman Day

November 20, 2018

Howard Duane Allman (November 20, 1946 – October 29, 1971) was an American guitarist, session musician, and founder and leader of the Allman Brothers Band until his death following a motorcycle crash in 1971, at the age of 24.

The Allman Brothers Band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969.The band had great success in the early 1970s. Allman is best remembered for his brief but influential tenure in the band and in particular for his expressive slide guitar playing and inventive improvisational skills.In 2003, he was ranked number 2 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time, second only to Jimi Hendrix. In 2011, he was ranked number 9. His guitar tone (achieved with a Gibson Les Paul and two 50-watt bass Marshall amplifiers) was named one of the greatest of all time by Guitar Player.

A sought-after session musician both before and during his tenure with the band, Duane Allman performed with such established stars as King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Wilson Pickett, and Herbie Mann. He also contributed greatly to the 1970 album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, by Derek and the Dominos.

Duane Allman’s skills as a guitarist were complemented by personal qualities such as his intensity, drive and ability to draw the best out of others in making music. He is still referred to by his nickname “Skydog”.

Duane Allman was born on November 20, 1946, in Nashville, Tennessee. He was the eldest son of Willis Allman (1918–1949), a World War II non-commissioned officer turned recruiting officer in the United States Army, and Geraldine Allman (née Robbins) (1917–2015). His brother, Gregg, was born on December 8, 1947.

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Meredith Monk Day

November 20, 2018

Meredith Jane Monk (born November 20, 1942) is an American composer, performer, director, vocalist, filmmaker, and choreographer. Since the 1960s, Monk has created multi-disciplinary works which combine music, theatre, and dance, recording extensively for ECM Records. In 1991, Monk composed an opera called Atlas with the Houston Opera.

Her music has been used in films by the Coen Brothers (The Big Lebowski, 1998) and Jean-Luc Godard (Nouvelle Vague, 1990 and Notre musique, 2004). Hip hop artist DJ Shadow sampled Monk’s “Dolmen Music” on the song “Midnight in a Perfect World.”

Meredith Monk was born to businessman Theodore Glenn Monk and singer Audrey Lois (Zellman) Monk, in New York City, New York. Her mother, a professional singer of popular and classical music known under the stage name of Audrey Marsh, was herself the daughter of professional musicians – the Russian Jewish bass-baritone Joseph B. Zellman, and Rose (Kornicker) Zellman, a concert pianist of German Jewish background from Philadelphia. Meredith has a sister, Tracy (born 1948).

Meredith Monk is primarily known for her vocal innovations, including a wide range of extended techniques, which she first developed in her solo performances prior to forming her own ensemble. In December 1961, she appeared at the Actor’s Playhouse in Greenwich Village (NYC) as a solo dancer in an Off Broadway children’s musical theater adaptation of Charles DickensA Christmas Carol, entitled Scrooge (music and lyrics by Norman Curtis; directed and choreographed by Patricia Taylor Curtis). In 1964, Monk graduated from Sarah Lawrence College after studying with Beverly Schmidt Blossom, and in 1968 she founded The House, a company dedicated to an interdisciplinary approach to performance.

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World Music with Toufic Farroukh & Yasmine Hamdan

November 20, 2018

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Daily Roots with Creator

November 20, 2018

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The Cosmos with NGC 2467

November 19, 2018

A colourful star-forming region is featured in this stunning new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 2467. Looking like a roiling cauldron of some exotic cosmic brew, huge clouds of gas and dust are sprinkled with bright blue, hot young stars. Strangely shaped dust clouds, resembling spilled liquids, are silhouetted against a colourful background of glowing. Like the familiar Orion Nebula, NGC 2467 is a huge cloud of gas — mostly hydrogen — that serves as an incubator for new stars. This picture was created from images taken with the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys through three different filters (F550M, F660N and F658N, shown in blue, green and red). These filters were selected to let through different colours of red and yellow light arising from different elements in the gas. The total aggregate exposure time was about 2000 seconds and the field of view is about 3.5 arcminutes across. These data were taken in 2004.

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Kenny Werner Day

November 19, 2018

Kenny Werner (born November 19, 1951) is an American jazz pianist, composer, and author.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, on November 19, 1951 and then growing up in Oceanside, Long Island, Werner began playing and performing at a young age, first recording on television at the age of 11. Although he studied classical piano as a child, he enjoyed playing anything he heard on the radio and improvisation was his true calling. In high school and his first years of college he attended the Manhattan School of Music as a classical piano major.

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Tommy Dorsey Day

November 19, 2018

Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr. (November 19, 1905 – November 26, 1956) was an American jazz trombonist, composer, conductor and bandleader of the big band era. He was known as the “Sentimental Gentleman of Swing” because of his smooth-toned trombone playing. His technical skill on the trombone gave him renown among other musicians. He was the younger brother of bandleader Jimmy Dorsey. After Dorsey broke with his brother in the mid-1930s, he led an extremely popular and highly successful band from the late 1930s into the 1950s. He is best remembered for standards such as “Opus One“, “Song of India“, “Marie”, “On Treasure Island”, and his biggest hit single, “I’ll Never Smile Again“.

Born in Mahanoy Plane, Pennsylvania, Thomas Francis Dorsey Jr. was the second of four children born to Thomas Francis Dorsey Sr., a bandleader, and Theresa (née Langton) Dorsey. He and Jimmy, his older brother by slightly less than two years, would become famous as the Dorsey Brothers. The two younger siblings were Mary and Edward, who died young. Tommy Dorsey studied the trumpet with his father but later switched to trombone.

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World Music with Lee Young-Shin

November 19, 2018

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Daily Roots with Billy Joe Morgan

November 19, 2018

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The Cosmos with Aurora Borealis

November 18, 2018

It was Halloween and the sky looked like a creature. Exactly which creature, the astrophotographer was unsure but (possibly you can suggest one). Exactly what caused this eerie apparition in 2013 was sure: one of the best auroral displays in recent years. This spectacular aurora had an unusually high degree of detail. Pictured here, the vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and nitrogenreacting to a burst of incoming electrons. Birch trees in Tromsø, Norway formed an also eerie foreground. Recently, new photogenic auroras have accompanied new geomagnetic storms.

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Cindy Blackman Day

November 18, 2018

Cindy Blackman Santana (born November 18, 1959), sometimes known as Cindy Blackman, is an American jazz and rock drummer. Blackman has recorded several jazz albums as solo act and has performed with Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Simmons, Ron Carter, Sam Rivers, Cassandra Wilson, Angela Bofill, Buckethead, Bill Laswell and Joe Henderson. She was influenced early in her career by seeing Tony Williams perform. In 1997 she recorded the instructional video Multiplicity. “To me, jazz is the highest form of music that you can play because of the creative requirements”, says Blackman. Blackman is married to rock guitarist Carlos Santana.

Born November 18, 1959 in Yellow Springs, Ohio, Blackman comes from a musical family, both her mother and grandmother were classical musicians and her uncle a vibist. “My mom, when she was younger, played violin in classical orchestras, and her mom, incidentally, was a classical musician. My mom used to take me to see classical concerts”, says Blackman. “My dad was into jazz – Miles Davis, Ahmad Jamal, people like that.”Blackman’s first introduction to the drums happened when she was seven years old in her hometown of Yellow Springs, Ohio and attending a pool party at a friend’s house, she went to use the bathroom and saw a drum set and just hopped onto the set. “Just looking at them struck something in my core, and it was completely right from the second I saw them”, says Blackman. “And then, when I hit them, it was like, wow, that’s me. That’s completely natural for me. It’s like breathing for me. It didn’t feel awkward at all.

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Don Cherry Day

November 18, 2018

Donald Eugene Cherry (November 18, 1936 – October 19, 1995) was an American jazz trumpeter. Noted for his long association with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, which began in the late 1950s, Cherry was a pioneer in world fusion music in the 1960s.

Cherry was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where his father (who also played trumpet) owned the Cherry Blossom Club, which hosted performances by Charlie Christian and Fletcher Henderson.In 1940, Cherry moved with his family to Los Angeles, California. He lived in the Wattsneighborhood, and his father tended bar at the Plantation Club on Central Avenue, which at the time was the center of a vibrant jazz scene. Cherry recalled skipping school at Fremont High School in order to play with the swing band at Jefferson High School. This resulted in his transfer to Jacob Riis High School, a reform school, where he first met drummer Billy Higgins.

By the early 1950s Cherry was playing with jazz musicians in Los Angeles, sometimes acting as pianist in Art Farmer‘s group. While trumpeter Clifford Brown was in Los Angeles with Max Roach, Cherry attended a jam session with Brown and Larance Marable at Eric Dolphy‘s house, and Brown informally mentored Cherry. He also toured with saxophonist James Clay.

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Hank Ballard Day

November 18, 2018

Hank Ballard (born John Henry Kendricks; November 18, 1927 – March 2, 2003) was a rhythm and blues singer and songwriter, the lead vocalist of Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and one of the first rock and roll artists to emerge in the early 1950s. He played an integral part in the development of the genre, releasing the hit singles “Work With Me, Annie” and answer songs “Annie Had a Baby” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie” with his Midnighters. He later wrote and recorded “The Twist” which spread the popularity of the dance and was notably covered by Chubby Checker. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

Born John Henry Kendricks in Detroit, Michigan, he and his brother, Dove Ballard, grew up and attended school in Bessemer, Alabama, after the death of their father.[citation needed] He lived with his paternal aunt and her husband, and began singing in church. His major vocal inspiration during his formative years was the “Singing Cowboy”, Gene Autry, and in particular, his signature song, “Back in the Saddle Again“.[3] Ballard returned to Detroit in his teens and later worked on the assembly line for Ford.

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World Music with Tone Hulbækmo

November 18, 2018

Tone Hulbækmo (born 1957), from Tolga in Østerdalen, is a vocalist with broad repertoire, ranging European medieval and renaissance music to Norwegian folk modern songs. She bases her vocal style on old traditions of Østerdalen that she has modernized and given personal twist. She is also active as an instrumentalist, composer arranger.

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Daily Roots with Clarence Parks

November 18, 2018

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The Cosmos with 30 Doradus

November 17, 2018

The Tarantula Nebula, also known as 30 Doradus, is more than a thousand light-years in diameter, a giant star forming region within nearby satellite galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud. About 180 thousand light-years away, it’s the largest, most violent star forming region known in the whole Local Group of galaxies. The cosmic arachnid sprawls across this spectacular view, composed with narrowband filter data centered on emission from ionized hydrogen atoms. Within the Tarantula (NGC 2070), intense radiation, stellar winds and supernova shocks from the central young cluster of massive stars, cataloged as R136, energize the nebular glow and shape the spidery filaments. Around the Tarantula are other star forming regions with young star clusters, filaments, and blown-out bubble-shaped clouds. In fact, the frame includes the site of the closest supernova in modern times, SN 1987A, left of center. The rich field of view spans about 1 degree or 2 full moons, in the southern constellation Dorado. But were the Tarantula Nebula closer, say 1,500 light-years distant like the local star forming Orion Nebula, it would take up half the sky.

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Gene Clark Day

November 17, 2018

Harold EugeneGeneClark (November 17, 1944 – May 24, 1991) was an American singer-songwriter and founding member of the folk rock band the Byrds. He was the Byrds’ principal songwriter between 1964 and early 1966, writing most of the band’s best-known originals from this period, including “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better“, “She Don’t Care About Time“, and “Set You Free This Time“. Although he did not achieve commercial success as a solo artist, Clark was in the vanguard of popular music during much of his career, prefiguring developments in such disparate subgenres as psychedelic rock, baroque pop, newgrass, country rock, and alternative country.

Clark was born in Tipton, Missouri, the third of 13 children in a family of Irish, German, and American Indian heritage. His family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where as a boy he began learning to play the guitar and harmonica from his father. He was soon playing Hank Williams tunes as well as material by early rockers such as Elvis Presley and the Everly Brothers. He began writing songs at the age of 11. By the time he was 15, he had developed a rich tenor voice, and he formed a local rock and roll combo, Joe Meyers and the Sharks. Like many of his generation, Clark developed an interest in folk music because of the popularity of the Kingston Trio. When he graduated from Bonner Springs High School, in Bonner Springs, Kansas, in 1962, he formed a folk group, the Rum Runners.

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Phil Parnell Day

November 17, 2018

November 17, 1955-September 2, 2015

Phil began performing at an early age: A picture that hung in his parents’ house showed him in a straw hat, striped coat and cane at age four in the lead role for his school play.

Born in Dallas, Parnell started taking piano lessons at age five. At age eight the family moved to New Orleans. His interest in piano came from his mother, who played in church and at home.

Phil ParnellParnell became obsessed with jazz after hearing John Coltrane. Before long, he was inspired to follow a musical career by listening to many others, including Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Bill Evans, James Booker, Dr. John and Ray Charles. “I was working for a painting contractor after school,” Parnell said. “I used to bring a boom-box cassette player with all my favorite jazz and it would drive the rest of the crew mad after a while. I was always doing something different from the other kids— usually solitary endeavors. I learned to ride a unicycle and to juggle,
and was into trampoline, diving, gymnastics and art.”

As a teenager, Parnell studied piano with Ellis Marsalis. His son Joplin remembers, “Dad would often tell me the story of Ellis asking him to transcribe a song of his choice as homework. He brought back his attempts at transcribing Coltrane’s “Giant Steps,” which earned him a good deal of respect from his teacher for being so ambitious.

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David Amram Day

November 17, 2018

David Werner Amram III (born November 17, 1930) is an American composer, conductor, multi-instrumentalist, and author. As a classical composer and performer, his integration of jazz (including being one of the first noted as an improvising jazz French hornist), folkloric and world music has led him to work with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, Willie Nelson, Langston Hughes, Charles Mingus, Pepper Adams, Levon Helm, Betty Carter and Jack Kerouac.

Along with Julius Watkins, Amram is considered a pioneer of jazz French horn. He also plays piano, numerous flutes and whistles, percussion, and dozens of folkloric instruments from 25 countries, as well as being an improvisational lyricist. Since working with Leonard Bernstein, (who chose him as The New York Philharmonic’s first composer-in-residence in 1966), he has been one of BMI‘s twenty most performed composers of concert music of the last thirty years.

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Interviews