Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with IC 2177

August 17, 2019

IC 2177 is a region of nebulosity that lies along the border between the constellations Monoceros and Canis Major. It is a roughly circular H II regioncentered on the Be star HD 53367. This nebula was discovered by Welsh amateur astronomer Isaac Roberts and was described by him as “pretty bright, extremely large, irregularly round, very diffuse.”

The name Seagull Nebula is sometimes applied by amateur astronomers to this emission region, although it more properly includes the neighboring regions of star clusters, dust clouds and reflection nebulae. This latter region includes the open clusters NGC 2335 and NGC 2343.

NGC 2327 is located in IC 2177. It is also known as the Seagull’s Head, due to its larger presence in the Seagull nebula.

Luther Allison Day

August 17, 2019

Luther Allison (August 17, 1939 – August 12, 1997) was an American blues guitarist. He was born in Widener, Arkansas, and moved with his family to Chicago in 1951. He taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging around outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being invited to perform. He played with Howlin’ Wolf‘s band and backed James Cotton.

Allison’s big break came in 1957, when Howlin’ Wolf invited him to the stage. Freddie King took Allison under his wing, and after King got a record deal, Allison took over his gig in the house band of a club on Chicago’s West Side. He worked the club circuit in the late 1950s and early 1960s and recorded his first single in 1965. He signed a recording contract with Delmark Records in 1967 and released his debut album, Love Me Mama, the following year. He performed a well-received set at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival and as a result was asked to perform there in each of the next three years. He toured nationwide. In 1972, he signed with Motown Records, one of the few blues artists on that label. In the mid-1970s he toured Europe. He moved to France in 1977.

Allison was known for his powerful concert performances, lengthy soulful guitar solos and crowd walking with his Gibson Les Paul. He lived briefly during this period in Peoria, Illinois, where he signed with Rumble Records, releasing two live recordings, “Gonna Be a Live One in Here Tonight”, produced by Bill Knight, and “Power Wire Blues”, produced by George Faber and Jeffrey P. Hess. Allison played the bar circuit in the United States during this period and spent eight months of the year in Europe at high-profile venues, including the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1992, he performed with the French rock and roll star Johnny Hallyday in 18 shows in Paris, also playing during the intermission.

Floyd Westerman Day

August 17, 2019

Floyd Westerman, also known as Kanghi Duta i.e. “Red Crow” in Dakota (August 17, 1936 – December 13, 2007), was a Sioux musician, political activist, and actor. After establishing a career as a country music singer, later in his life, he became a leading actor depicting Native Americans in American films and television. He is sometimes credited simply as Floyd Westerman. He worked as a political activist for Native American causes.

He was born Floyd Westerman on the Lake Traverse Indian Reservation, home of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, a federally recognized tribe. It is one of the tribes of the Eastern Dakota subgroup of the Great Sioux Nation, living within the U.S. state of South Dakota. His indigenous name Kanghi Duta means “Red Crow” in Dakota (one of the three Sioux related languages).

At the age of 10, Westerman was sent to the Wahpeton Boarding School, where he first met Dennis Banks (who as an adult became a leader of the American Indian Movement). There Westerman and other boys were forced to cut their traditionally long hair and forbidden to speak their native languages. This experience would profoundly impact Westerman’s later life. As an adult, he championed his own heritage.

He graduated from Northern State University with a B.A. degree in secondary education. He served two years in the US Marines, before beginning his career as a singer.

Duke Pearson Day

August 17, 2019

Columbus CalvinDukePearson Jr. (August 17, 1932 – August 4, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer. Allmusic describes him as having a “big part in shaping the Blue Note label’s hard bop direction in the 1960s as a record producer.”

Pearson was born Columbus Calvin Pearson Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, to Columbus Calvin and Emily Pearson. The moniker “Duke” was given to him by his uncle, who was a great admirer of Duke Ellington. Before he was six, his mother started giving him piano lessons. He studied the instrument until he was twelve, when he took an interest in brass instruments: mellophone, baritone horn and ultimately trumpet. He was so fond of the trumpet that through high school and college he neglected the piano. He attended Clark College while also playing trumpet in groups in the Atlanta area. While in the U.S. Army, during his 1953–54 draft, he continued to play trumpet and met, among others, the pianist Wynton Kelly. Pearson himself confessed in a 1959 interview that he was “so spoiled by Kelly’s good piano” that he decided to switch to piano again. Also, it seems that dental problems forced him to give up brass instruments.

World Music with Les Filles de Illighadad

August 17, 2019

Niger

Daily Roots with Tony Clarke

August 17, 2019

The Cosmos with VDB 142

August 16, 2019

The Elephant’s Trunk Nebula winds through the emission nebula and young star cluster complex IC 1396, in the high and far off constellation of Cepheus. Also known as vdB 142, the cosmic elephant’s trunk is over 20 light-years long. This colorful close-up view was recorded through narrow band filters that transmit the light from ionized hydrogen, sulfur, and oxygen atoms in the region. The resulting composite highlights the bright swept-back ridges that outline pockets of cool interstellar dust and gas. Such embedded, dark, tendril-shaped clouds contain the raw material for star formation and hide protostars within. Nearly 3,000 light-years distant, the relatively faint IC 1396 complex covers a large region on the sky, spanning over 5 degrees. The dramatic scene spans a 1 degree wide field, about the size of 2 Full Moons.

Carl Perkins Day (jazz piano)

August 16, 2019

Carl Perkins (August 16, 1928 – March 17, 1958) was an American jazz pianist. Perkins was born in Indianapolis but worked mainly in Los Angeles. He is best known for his performances with the Curtis Counce Quintet, which also featured Harold Land, Jack Sheldon and drummer Frank Butler. He also performed with Tiny Bradshaw, Big Jay McNeely in 1948-49, and played dates with Miles Davis in 1950. Following a short stint in the Army (January 1951 to November 1952), he worked intermittently with the Oscar Moore Trio (1953-1955) and the Clifford BrownMax Roach group in 1954. He recorded with Frank Morgan in 1955, and with his own group in 1956. Perkins composed the standard “Grooveyard”.

His playing was influenced by his polio-affected left arm, which he held parallel to the keyboard. He used his elbow to play deep bass notes. He was thus known as “the crab”.

He died of a drug overdose at age 29, in Los Angeles, California. He recorded one album, Introducing Carl Perkins, and a short series of singles under his own name. Authors Paul Tanner, Maurice Gerow, and David Megill cite Perkins as one of the best “funky”, or hard bop, piano players, but his early death prevented him from leaving a legacy.

Bill Evans Day

August 16, 2019

William John Evans (August 16, 1929 – September 15, 1980) was an American jazz pianist and composer who mostly played in trios. His use of impressionist harmony, inventive interpretation of traditional jazz repertoire, block chords, and trademark rhythmically independent, “singing” melodic lines continue to influence jazz pianists today.

Born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1929, he was classically trained at Southeastern Louisiana University and the Mannes School of Music, where he majored in composition and received the Artist Diploma. In 1955, he moved to New York City, where he worked with bandleader and theorist George Russell. In 1958, Evans joined Miles Davis‘s sextet, which in 1959, then immersed in modal jazz, recorded Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time. During that time, Evans was also playing with Chet Baker for the album Chet.

In late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader, with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. In 1961, ten days after finishing an engagement at the New York Village Vanguard jazz club, LaFaro died in a car accident. After months of seclusion, Evans re-emerged with a new trio, featuring bassist Chuck Israels.

In 1963, Evans recorded Conversations with Myself, a solo album using the unconventional technique of overdubbing over himself. In 1966, he met bassist Eddie Gómez, with whom he would work for eleven years.

Many of Evans’s compositions, such as “Waltz for Debby“, have become standards, played and recorded by many artists. Evans was honored with 31 Grammy nominations and seven awards, and was inducted into the Down Beat Jazz Hall of FameEvans grew up in North Plainfield, New Jersey, the son of Harry and Mary Evans (née Soroka). His father was of Welsh descent and ran a golf course; his mother was of Carpatho-Rusyn ancestry and descended from a family of coal miners. The marriage was stormy owing to his father’s heavy drinking, gambling, and abuse.

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