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Cultural Percussionist

World Music with Paco Pena

October 12, 2019

Flamenco Fridays & Fandangos
Fandango is a lively couples dance from Spain, usually in triple metre, traditionally accompanied by guitars, castanets, or hand-clapping (“palmas” in Spanish). Fandango can both be sung and danced. Sung fandango is usually bipartite: it has an instrumental introduction followed by “variaciones”. Sung fandango usually follows the structure of “cante” that consist of four or five octosyllabic verses (coplas) or musical phrases (tercios). Occasionally, the first copla is repeated.

Daily Roots with Horace Ferguson

October 12, 2019

Daily Roots with Horace Ferguson

October 11, 2019

National Hug a Drummer Day

October 10, 2019

What day is it today Animal? It’s Hug a Drummer Day!

The Cosmos with NGC 2074

October 10, 2019

NGC 2074 is a magnitude ~8 emission nebula in the Tarantula Nebula located in the constellation Dorado. It was discovered on 3 August 1826 by James Dunlop and around 1835 by John Herschel. It is described as being “pretty bright, pretty large, much extended, [and having] 5 stars involved”. Some of the objects catalogued by Herschel before 1847 do not have a discovery date listed, and NGC 2074 is one of them. Though its inclusion in the catalog of objects observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud which involves observations carried out between 2 November 1836 and 26 March 1837 shows it must not have been discovered later than that. The observation of NGC 2074 by Dunlop was not identified as this object until recently. NGC 2074 is located around 170,000 light-years (1.1×1010 AU) away. The area has a lot of raw stellar creation, possibly triggered by a nearby supernova explosion and is on the edge of a dark molecular cloud which is an incubator for the birth of new stars.

 

Cyril Neville Day

October 10, 2019

Cyril Garrett Neville (born October 10, 1948) is an American percussionist and vocalist who first came to prominence as a member of his brother Art Neville‘s funky New Orleans-based band, The Meters. He joined Art in the Neville Brothers band upon the dissolution of the Meters.

He has appeared on recordings by Bob Dylan, Robbie Robertson, Edie Brickell, Willie Nelson, Dr. John and The New Orleans Social Club among others.

Neville wrote an article for the December 16, 2005 edition of CounterPunch, titled “Why I’m Not Going Back To New Orleans” and was featured in the 2006 documentary film New Orleans Music in Exile. After Hurricane Katrina he moved to Austin, Texas but currently lives in Slidell, Louisiana.

Soul Rebels Brass Band featured Neville as a special guest on their Rounder Records debut record, Unlock Your Mind, released on January 31, 2012. The Soul Rebels’ name was conceived by Neville at the New Orleans venue Tipitina’s, where the band was opening.

In 2005, Neville joined up with Tab Benoit for the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars to bring awareness to Louisiana’s rapid loss of wetlands along the Gulf Coast. The band also features Waylon Thibodeaux, Johnny Sansone, Anders Osborne, Monk Boudreaux, George Porter, Jr., Johnny Vidacovich, and Dr. John. The band has become a main feature at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

John Prine Day

October 10, 2019

John Prine (born October 10, 1946) is an American country folk singer-songwriter. He has been active as a composer, recording artist, and live performer since the early 1970s, and is known for an often humorous style of country music that has elements of protest and social commentary.

Born and raised in Maywood, Illinois, Prine learned to play the guitar at the age of 14. He attended classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music.[1] After serving in West Germany with the U.S. armed forces, he moved to Chicago in the late 1960s, where he worked as a mailman, writing and singing songs as a hobby.

A member of Chicago’s folk revival, he was discovered by Kris Kristofferson, resulting in the production of Prine’s self-titled debut album with Atlantic Records in 1971. After receiving critical acclaim, Prine focused on his musical career, recording three more albums for Atlantic. He then signed to Asylum Records, where he recorded an additional three albums. In 1984 he co-founded Oh Boy Records, an independent record label with which he would release most of his subsequent albums. After his battle with squamous cell cancer in 1998, Prine’s vocals deepened into a gravelly voice.

Widely cited as one of the most influential songwriters of his generation, Prine is known for humorous lyrics about love, life, and current events, as well as serious songs with social commentary, or which recollect melancholy tales from his life. Prine is the son of William Prine and Verna Hamm. He started playing guitar at age 14, taught by his brother, David. He attended classes at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. Prine attended Proviso East High School in Maywood, Illinois. He was a mailman for five years and served in the Army during the Vietnam War era, serving in Germany, before beginning his musical career in Chicago.

In the late-1960s, while Prine was delivering mail, he began to sing at open mic evenings at the Fifth Peg on Armitage Avenue in Chicago. Prine was initially a spectator, reluctant to perform, but eventually did so in response to a “You think you can do better?” comment made to him by another performer. Chicago Sun-Times movie critic Roger Ebert heard him there and wrote the first review Prine ever received, calling him a great songwriter. He became a central figure in the Chicago folk revival, which also included such singer-songwriters as Steve Goodman, Michael Peter Smith, Bonnie Koloc, Jim Post, Tom Dundee, Anne Hills and Fred Holstein. Joined by such established musicians as Jethro Burns and Bob Gibson, Prine performed frequently at a variety of Chicago clubs—including the Earl of Old Town, the Quiet Knight, Dangling Conversation, Somebody Else’s Troubles, The Fifth Peg, and the Bulls.

Ed Blackwell Day

October 10, 2019

Edward Joseph Blackwell (October 10, 1929 – October 7, 1992) was an American jazz drummer born in New Orleans, Louisiana, known for his extensive, influential work with Ornette Coleman.

Blackwell’s early career began in New Orleans in the 1950s. He played in a bebop quintet that included pianist Ellis Marsalis and clarinetist Alvin Batiste. There was also a brief stint touring with Ray Charles. The second line parade music of New Orleans greatly influenced Blackwell’s drumming style and could be heard in his playing throughout his career.

Blackwell first came to national attention as the drummer with Ornette Coleman‘s quartet around 1960, when he took over for Billy Higgins in the quartet’s stand at the Five Spot in New York City. He is known as one of the great innovators of the free jazz of the 1960s, fusing New Orleans and African rhythms with bebop. In the 1970s and 1980s Blackwell toured and recorded extensively with fellow Ornette Quartet veterans Don Cherry, Charlie Haden, and Dewey Redman in the quartet Old and New Dreams.

Thelonious Monk Day

October 10, 2019

Thelonious Sphere Monk (/θəˈlniəs/, October 10, 1917 – February 17, 1982) was an American jazz pianist and composer. He had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “‘Round Midnight“, “Blue Monk“, “Straight, No Chaser“, “Ruby, My Dear“, “In Walked Bud“, and “Well, You Needn’t“. Monk is the second-most-recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington, which is particularly remarkable as Ellington composed more than a thousand pieces, whereas Monk wrote about 70.

Monk’s compositions and improvisations feature dissonances and angular melodic twists and are consistent with his unorthodox approach to the piano, which combined a highly percussive attack with abrupt, dramatic use of switched key releases, silences, and hesitations. His style was not universally appreciated; the poet and jazz critic Philip Larkin dismissed him as “the elephant on the keyboard”.

Monk was renowned for a distinct look which included suits, hats, and sunglasses. He was also noted for an idiosyncratic habit during performances: while other musicians continued playing, Monk stopped, stood up, and danced for a few moments before returning to the piano.

Monk is one of five jazz musicians to have been featured on the cover of Time magazine (the others being Louis Armstrong, Dave Brubeck, Duke Ellington and Wynton Marsalis). Thelonious Sphere Monk was born two years after his sister Marion on October 10, 1917, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, and was the son of Thelonious and Barbara Monk. His poorly written birth certificate misspelled his first name as “Thelious” or “Thelius”. It also did not list his middle name, taken from his maternal grandfather, Sphere Batts.

“Monk’s usual piano touch was harsh and percussive, even in ballads. He often attacked the keyboard anew for each note, rather than striving for any semblance of legato. Often seemingly unintentional seconds embellish his melodic lines, giving the effect of someone playing while wearing work gloves. […] He hit the keys with fingers held flat rather than in a natural curve, and held his free fingers high above the keys. […] Sometimes he hit a single key with more than one finger, and divided single-line melodies between the two hands.” In contrast with this unorthodox approach to playing, he could play runs and arpeggios with great speed and accuracy. He also had good finger independence, allowing him to play a melodic line and a trill simultaneously in his right hand.

Monk often used parts of whole tone scales, played either ascending or descending, and covering several octaves. He also had extended improvisations that featured parallel sixths (he also used these in the themes of some of his compositions). His solos also feature space and long notes. Unusually for a bebop-based pianist, as an accompanist and on solo performances he often employed a left-hand stride pattern. A further characteristic of his work as an accompanist was his tendency to stop playing, leaving a soloist with just bass and drums for support.

Monk had a particular proclivity for the key of B flat. All of his many blues compositions, including “Blue Monk,” “Misterioso,” “Blues Five Spot,” and “Functional,” were composed in B flat; in addition, his signature theme, “Thelonious,” largely consists of an insistently repeated B-flat tone.

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