Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with RCW 36

January 17, 2019

RCW 36 (also designated Gum 20) is an emission nebula containing an open cluster in the constellation Vela. This H II region is part of a larger-scale star-forming complex known as the Vela Molecular Ridge (VMR), a collection of molecular clouds in the Milky Way that contain multiple sites of ongoing star-formation activity. The VMR is made up of several distinct clouds, and RCW 36 is embedded in the VMR Cloud C.

RCW 36 is one of the sites of massive-star formation closest to our Solar System, whose distance of approximately 700 parsecs (2300 light-years). The most massive stars in the star cluster are two stars with late-O or early-B spectral types, but the cluster also contains hundreds of lower-mass stars. This region is also home to objects with Herbig–Haro jets, HH 1042 and HH 1043.

Cyrus Chestnut Day

January 17, 2019

Cyrus Chestnut (born January 17, 1963) is an American jazz pianist, composer and producer. In 2006, Josh Tyrangiel, music critic for Time, wrote: “What makes Chestnut the best jazz pianist of his generation is a willingness to abandon notes and play space.” Chestnut enjoys mixing styles and resists being typecast in any one niche, though his gospel sound is apparent on a number of his recordings.

Cyrus Chestnut was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1963, son of McDonald (a retired post-office employee and church pianist) and Flossie (a city social services worker and church choir director). Chestnut started learning piano at the age of seven, and in his boyhood played at Mount Calvary Baptist Church. By the age of nine, he was studying classical music at the Peabody Institute.In 1985, Chestnut earned a degree in jazz composition and arranging from Boston’s Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Chestnut was awarded the Eubie Blake Fellowship (1982), the Quincy Jones Scholarship (1983), and the Oscar Peterson Scholarship (1984).

Chestnut toured as pianist for Jon Hendricks, 1986–88; Terrence Blanchard, 1988–90; Donald Harrison, 1988–90; Wynton Marsalis, 1991; and the Betty Carter Trio, 1991–93. His association with Carter significantly affected his outlook and approach to music, confirming his already iconoclastic instincts. Carter advised him to “take chances” and “play things I’ve never heard,” Chestnut said.

In 1993, at the age of 30, Chestnut signed with Atlantic Records, releasing the critically acclaimed Revelation (1993), followed by The Dark Before The Dawn (1994) (the album debuted in the sixth spot on the Billboard Jazz Charts), Earth Stories (1995) and then Cyrus Chestnut (1998). Chestnut has also performed and/or recorded with, Freddy Cole, Bette Midler, Jon Hendricks, Freddie Hubbard, Jimmy Scott, Chick Corea, Isaac Hayes, Kevin Mahogany, Dizzy Gillespie, and opera diva Kathleen Battle, most notably on the Sony Classical recording “So Many Stars”. Their shared church roots resulted in such a positive chemistry between Battle and Chestnut that he then joined the soprano on a fall 1996 U.S. Tour.

Billy Harper Day

January 17, 2019

Billy Harper (born January 17, 1943) is an American jazz saxophonist, “one of a generation of Coltrane-influenced tenor saxophonists” with a distinctively stern, hard-as-nails sound on his instrument.

In 1965 Harper earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Texas.


Harper has played with some of jazz’s greatest drummers; he served with Art Blakey‘s Messengers for two years (1968–70); he played very briefly with Elvin Jones (1970), he played with the Thad Jones/ Mel Lewis Orchestra in the 1970s, and was a member of Max Roach‘s band in the late 1970s. In 1979 Harper formed his own group, touring with it and documenting its music on the recording, “Billy Harper Quintet in Europe“, and he was featured as a soloist on a 1983 recording, “Such Good Friends,” with virtuoso, visionary pianist and record producer Stanley Cowell. After a period of relative inactivity in the 1980s, Harper came back strong with another international tour, which ended with perhaps his most ambitious recording: the 3-volume “Live on Tour in the Far East” (1991). In the new millennium Harper’s recording activity has been subdued and sporadic, though recently he has appeared as a regular member of pianist-jazz historian Randy Weston‘s ensembles. In 2013 they recorded their first album as a duo, entitled The Roots of the Blues.

Cedar Walton Day

January 17, 2019

Cedar Anthony Walton, Jr. (January 17, 1934 – August 19, 2013) was an American hard bop jazz pianist. He came to prominence as a member of drummer Art Blakey‘s band before establishing a long career as a bandleader and composer. Several of his compositions have become jazz standards, including “Mosaic”, “Bolivia”, “Holy Land”, “Mode for Joe” and “Fantasy in D”.

Walton was born and grew up in Dallas, TexasHis mother Ruth was an aspiring concert pianist, and was Walton’s initial teacher.She also took him to jazz performances around Dallas. Walton cited Nat King Cole, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Art Tatum as his major influences on piano. He began emulating recordings of these artists from an early age.

After briefly attending Dillard University in New Orleans, he went to the University of Denver as a composition major originally, but was encouraged to switch to a music education program targeted to set up a career in the local public school system. This switch later proved extremely useful since Walton learned to play and arrange for various instruments, a talent he would hone with Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers.

Walton was tempted by the promise of New York City through his associations with John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Richie Powell, whom he met at various after-hours sessions around the city of Denver, Colorado. In 1955, he decided to leave school and drove with a friend to New York City. He quickly got recognition from Johnny Garry, who ran Birdland at that time.

Walton was drafted into the U.S. Army, and stationed in Germany, cutting short his rising status in the after-hours scene. While in the Army, he played with musicians Leo Wright, Don Ellis, and Eddie Harris. Upon his discharge after two years, Walton picked up where he left off, playing as a sideman with Kenny Dorham (on whose 1958 album This Is the Moment! Walton made his recording debut), J. J. Johnson, and with Gigi Gryce.[6] Joining the Jazztet, led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer, Walton played with this group from 1958 to 1961. In April 1959, he recorded an alternate take of “Giant Steps” with John Coltrane, though he did not solo.

World Music with Mdou Moctar

January 17, 2019

Tuareg songwriter and musician based in Agadez, Niger

Daily Roots with the Creations

January 17, 2019

Clyde Bellecourt Vigil

January 17, 2019
My longtime friend and AIM leader Clyde Bellecourt has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer so he needs your prayers and positive thoughts.
He was at the hospital when my youngest son Diego had been hit by a vehicle and I was returning from Morocco. And during the last of the Pow Wows at Ft Snelling where the MAROONS always performed, I was given a Tipi to stay in over the weekend by Clyde. No matter what the very convoluted politics surrounding AIM, Clyde has always been a Warrior and steadfast purveyor of empowerment for the Native Community.
Please contribute to his gofundme link below if you can.

Echos of Freedom by Phillis Wheatley

January 16, 2019

“In every human Breast, God has implanted a Principle, which we call Love of Freedom; it is impatient of Oppression, and pants for Deliverance.”

The Cosmos with IC 342

January 16, 2019

Similar in size to large, bright spiral galaxies in our neighborhood, IC 342 is a mere 10 million light-years distant in the long-necked, northern constellation Camelopardalis. A sprawling island universe, IC 342 would otherwise be a prominent galaxy in our night sky, but it is hidden from clear view and only glimpsed through the veil of stars, gas and dust clouds along the plane of our own Milky Way galaxy. Even though IC 342’s light is dimmed and reddened by intervening cosmic clouds, this sharp telescopic image traces the galaxy’s own obscuring dust, young star clusters, and glowing pink star forming regions along spiral arms that wind far from the galaxy’s core. IC 342 may have undergone a recent burst of star formation activity and is close enough to have gravitationally influenced the evolution of the local group of galaxies and the Milky Way.

Upcoming Performances

see all events…