Spiral galaxy M101 is a giant with a diameter on the order of 170,000 light-years. It lies in the constellation Ursa Major the Great Bear some 23 million light-years away. The Pinwheel Galaxy (also known as Messier 101, M101 or NGC 5457) is a face-on spiral galaxy distanced 21 million light-years (six megaparsecs) away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major. Discovered by Pierre Méchain on March 27, 1781, it was communicated to Charles Messier who verified its position for inclusion in the Messier Catalogue as one of its final entries.
Paul Laurence Dunbar Chambers, Jr. (April 22, 1935 – January 4, 1969) was a jazz double bassist. A fixture of rhythm sections during the 1950s and 1960s, his importance in the development of jazz bass can be measured not only by the extent of his work in this short period, but also by his impeccable timekeeping and intonation, and virtuosic improvisations. He was also known for his bowed solos. Chambers recorded about a dozen albums as a leader or co-leader, and as a sideman, notably as the anchor of trumpeter Miles Davis‘s “first great quintet” (1955–63) and with pianist Wynton Kelly (1963–68).
Lorenzo Aitken (22 April 1927 – 17 July 2005), better known by the stage name Laurel Aitken, was an influential Caribbean singer and one of the pioneers of Jamaican ska music. He is often referred to as the “Godfather of Ska”. Born in Cuba of mixed Cuban and Jamaican descent, Aitken and his family settled in Jamaica in 1938. After an early career working for the Jamaican Tourist Board singing mento songs for visitors arriving at Kingston Harbour, he became a popular nightclub entertainer. His first recordings in the late 1950s were mento tunes such as “Nebuchnezer”, “Sweet Chariot” (aka the gospel classic “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”) and “Baba Kill Me Goat”. Aitken’s 1958 single “Boogie in My Bones”/”Little Sheila” was one of the first records produced by Chris Blackwell and the first Jamaican popular music record to be released in the United Kingdom. Other more Jamaican rhythm and blues orientated singles from this period include “Low Down Dirty Girl” and “More Whisky” both produced by Duke Reid.
Charles Mingus Jr. (April 22, 1922 – January 5, 1979) was an American jazz double bassist, pianist, composer and bandleader. A major proponent of collective improvisation, he is considered to be one of the greatest jazz musicians and composers in history, with a career spanning three decades and collaborations with other jazz legends such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Dannie Richmond, and Herbie Hancock.
Mingus’ compositions continue to be played by contemporary musicians ranging from the repertory bands Mingus Big Band, Mingus Dynasty, and Mingus Orchestra, to the high school students who play the charts and compete in the Charles Mingus High School Competition. In 1993, The Library of Congress acquired Mingus’s collected papers—including scores, sound recordings, correspondence and photos—in what they described as “the most important acquisition of a manuscript collection relating to jazz in the Library’s history”.
Charles Mingus was born in Nogales, Arizona. His father, Charles Mingus Sr., was a sergeant in the U.S. Army. Mingus was largely raised in the Watts area of Los Angeles. His maternal grandfather was a Chinese British subject from Hong Kong, and his maternal grandmother was an African-American from the southern United States. Mingus was the third great-grandson of the family’s founding patriarch who was, by most accounts, a German immigrant. His ancestors included German American, African American, and Native American.