Cultural Percussionist

Son Seals Day

August 14, 2018

Frank “Son” Seals (August 13, 1942 – December 20, 2004) was an American electric blues guitarist and singer.

Seals was born in Osceola, Arkansas, where his father, Jim “Son” Seals, owned a small juke joint. He began performing professionally by the age of 13, first as a drummer with Robert Nighthawk and later as a guitarist. At age 16, he began to play at the T-99, a local upper-echelon club, with his brother-in-law Walter “Little Walter” Jefferson. He played there with prominent blues musicians, including Albert King, Rufus Thomas, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, and Rosco Gordon. Their varying styles contributed to the development of Seals’s own playing techniques. While playing at the T-99, he was also introduced to countrywestern music by Jimmy Grubbs, who occasionally asked Seals to play the drums or guitar with his group. At the age of 19, Seals formed his own band, Son Seals and the Upsetters, to fill in at the Rebel Club, in Osceola. The band members were Johnny Moore (“Old Man Horse”) on piano; Alvin Goodberry on drums, guitar, bass, or piano; Little Bob Robinson on vocals; and Walter Lee “Skinny Dynamo” Harris on piano. Shortly thereafter, a man from Little Rock, Arkansas, came to find “Little Walter” for a gig at his club, but when Walter turned it down the offer went to Seals.

Stuff Smith Day

August 14, 2018

Hezekiah Leroy Gordon Smith (August 14, 1909 – September 25, 1967), better known as Stuff Smith, was an American jazz violinist. He is well known for the song “If You’re a Viper” (the original title was “You’se a Viper”).

Smith was, along with Stéphane Grappelli, Michel Warlop, Svend Asmussen and Joe Venuti, one of jazz music’s preeminent violinists of the swing era. He was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, in 1909 and studied violin with his father. Smith cited Louis Armstrong as his primary influence and inspiration to play jazz, and like Armstrong, was a vocalist as well as instrumentalist. In the 1920s, he played in Texas as a member of Alphonse Trent‘s band. After moving to New York City he performed regularly with his sextet at the Onyx Club starting in 1935 and also with Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and later, Sun Ra.

World Music with Lingua Franca Ensemble

August 14, 2018

The 2018 lineup: Michalis Cholevas on yayli tanbur, tarhu, ney; Michalis Kouloumis on violin; Giannis Koutis on oud, guitar, voice; and Ruven Ruppik on riq, darbuka, frame drums, marimba.

Daily Roots with Bunny Wailer

August 14, 2018

The Cosmos with NGC 2736

August 13, 2018

This shock wave plows through interstellar space at over 500,000 kilometers per hour. Near the top and moving up in this sharply detailed color composite, thin, bright, braided filaments are actually long ripples in a cosmic sheet of glowing gas seen almost edge-on. Cataloged as NGC 2736, its elongated appearance suggests its popular name, the Pencil Nebula. The Pencil Nebula is about 5 light-years long and 800 light-years away, but represents only a small part of the Vela supernova remnant. The Vela remnant itself is around 100 light-years in diameter, the expanding debris cloud of a star that was seen to explode about 11,000 years ago. Initially, the shock wave was moving at millions of kilometers per hour but has slowed considerably, sweeping up surrounding interstellar material. In the featured narrow-band, wide field image, red and blue colors track the characteristic glow of ionized hydrogen and oxygen atoms, respectively.

Mulgrew Miller Day

August 13, 2018

Mulgrew Miller (August 13, 1955 – May 29, 2013) was an American jazz pianist, composer, and educator. As a child he played in churches and was influenced on piano by Ramsey Lewis and then Oscar Peterson. Aspects of their styles remained in his playing, but he added the greater harmonic freedom of McCoy Tyner and others in developing as a hard bop player and then in creating his own style, which influenced others from the 1980s on.

Miller’s style evolved through playing with a series of major jazz figures. After leaving university he was pianist with the Duke Ellington Orchestra for three years, then accompanied vocalist Betty Carter. Three-year stints with trumpeter Woody Shaw and with drummer Art Blakey‘s high-profile Jazz Messengers followed, by the end of which Miller had formed his own bands and begun recording under his own name. He was then part of drummer Tony Williams‘ quintet from its foundation, while continuing to play and record with numerous other leaders, mostly in small groups. Miller was Director of Jazz Studies at William Paterson University from 2005, and continued to play and tour internationally with other high-profile figures in the music until his death from a stroke at the age of 57.

Mulgrew Miller was born in Greenwood, Mississippi, to parents who had been raised on plantations. He had three brothers and four sisters. His family was not musical, but they had a piano, which no one in the house could play. Miller, however, played tunes on the piano from the age of six, playing by ear. He had piano lessons from the age of eight. As a child, he played bluesand rhythm and blues for dances, and gospel music in a church.His family was Methodist, but he played in churches of various denominations. His principal influence on piano at this stage was Ramsey Lewis.

George Shearing Day

August 13, 2018

Sir George Albert Shearing, OBE (13 August 1919 – 14 February 2011) was a British jazz pianist who for many years led a popular jazz group that recorded for Discovery Records, MGM Records and Capitol Records. The composer of over 300 titles, including the jazz standard “Lullaby of Birdland“, had multiple albums on the Billboard charts during the 1950s, 1960s, 1980s and 1990s. He died of heart failure in New York City, at the age of 91.

Born in Battersea, London, Shearing was the youngest of nine children. He was born blind to working class parents: his father delivered coal and his mother cleaned trains in the evening. He started to learn piano at the age of three and began formal training at Linden Lodge School for the Blind, where he spent four years.

World Music with Tabanka

August 13, 2018

Rotterdam-based band Tabanka plays lively music from Cape Verde. The band was inspired by artists from an earlier generation, such as Bulimundo and Américo Brito. Tabanka performs a contemporary version of funaná, a danceable and energetic music of the Cape Verdean island of Santiago. Funaná is the music of the descendants of slaves that was combined in the 1980s with pop and jazz. It became part of the Cape Verdean identity after independence. The foundation for Funaná is the diatonic accordion (gaita) and the ferrinho, a metal rod with notches which is grated.

Daily Roots with Prodigal Creator

August 13, 2018

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