Cultural Percussionist

Grady Tate Day

January 14, 2019

Grady Bernard Tate (January 14, 1932 – October 8, 2017) was an American jazz and soul-jazz drummer and baritone vocalist. In addition to his work as sideman, Tate released many albums as leader lent his voice to songs in the animated Schoolhouse Rock! series.

Tate was born in Hayti, Durham, North Carolina. In 1963 he moved to New York City, where he became the drummer in Quincy Jones‘s band.

Grady Tate’s drumming helped to define a particular hard bop, soul jazz and organ trio sound during the mid-1960s and beyond. His slick, layered and intense sound is instantly recognizable for its understated style in which he integrates his trademark subtle nuances with sharp, crisp “on top of the beat” timing (in comparison to playing slightly before, or slightly after the beat). The Grady Tate sound can be heard prominently on many of the classic Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery albums recorded on the Verve label in the 1960s.

During the 1970s he was a member of the New York Jazz Quartet. In 1981 he played drums and percussion for Simon and Garfunkel’s Concert in Central Park.

As a sideman he has played with musicians including Jimmy Smith, Astrud Gilberto, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Quincy Jones, Stan Getz, Wes Montgomery, and Michel Legrand.

World Music with Alboka

January 14, 2019

The year 1994 saw the founding of the group Alboka by three well-known Spanish Basque musicians and one Irishman. Aside from their personal musical projects, these four different personalities, Txomin Artola (guitar), Josean Martin Zarko (mandolin, bouzouki), Joxan Goikoetxea (accordion, synths) and Alan Griffin (alboka, bagpipes, flute), decided to set up a group that would compile and perform acoustic instrumental traditional music.

Daily Roots with Joe White & Chuck

January 14, 2019

Echos of Freedom by Chief Joseph

January 13, 2019

“Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think and act for myself — and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty.” Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce.

The Cosmos with NGC 3310

January 13, 2019

NGC 3310 is a grand design spiral galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major. It is a starburst galaxy and it is likely that NGC 3310 collided with one of its satellite galaxies about 100 million years ago, triggering widespread star formation. It is thought to be located approximately 46 million light-years away from the Earth, and is thought to be about 22,000 light-years wide.

The ring clusters of NGC 3310 have been undergoing starburst activity for at least the last 40 million years.

Joe Pass Day

January 13, 2019

Joe Pass (born Joseph Anthony Jacobi Passalaqua; January 13, 1929 – May 23, 1994) was an American jazz guitarist of Sicilian descent. He is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the 20th century. He created possibilities for jazz guitar through his style of chord-melody, his knowledge of chord inversions and progressions, and his use of walking basslines and counterpoint during improvisation. Pass worked often with pianist Oscar Peterson and vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

Born in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Joe Pass was the son of Mariano Passalaqua, a Sicilian-born steel mill worker. He was raised in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He received his first guitar, a Harmony, on his ninth birthday. His father recognized early that his son had “a little something happening” and pushed him to learn tunes by ear, practice scales, play pieces written for other instruments, and to fill in the space between the notes of the melody.

As early as 14, Pass started getting jobs performing. He played with bands led by Tony Pastor and Charlie Barnet, honing his guitar skills while learning about the music business. He began traveling with small jazz groups and moved from Pennsylvania to New York City. In a few years, he developed a heroin addiction and spent much of the 1950s in prison. He emerged from addiction through a two-and-a-half-year stay in the Synanon rehabilitation program. During that time he “didn’t do a lot of playing”. In 1962 he recorded Sounds of Synanon. Around this time he received his trademark Gibson ES-175 guitar as a gift, which he used on tours and records for many years.

Danny Barker Day

January 13, 2019

Daniel Moses Barker (January 13, 1909 – March 13, 1994) was an American jazz musician, vocalist, and author from New Orleans. He was a rhythm guitarist for various bands of the day, including Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder and Benny Carter throughout the 1930s.

One of Barker’s earliest teachers in New Orleans was fellow banjoist Emanuel Sayles, with whom he recorded. Throughout his career, he played with Jelly Roll Morton, Baby Dodds, James P. Johnson, Sidney Bechet, Mezz Mezzrow, and Red Allen. He also toured and recorded with his wife, singer Blue Lu Barker. From the 1960s, Barker’s work with the Fairview Baptist Church Brass Band was pivotal in ensuring the longevity of jazz in New Orleans, producing generations of new talent, including Wynton and Branford Marsalis who played in the band as youths.

Danny Barker was born to a family of musicians in New Orleans in 1909, the grandson of bandleader Isidore Barbarin and nephew of drummers Paul Barbarin and Louis Barbarin. He took up clarinet and drums before switching to a ukulele that his aunt got him, and then a banjo from his uncle or a trumpeter named Lee Collins.

Barker began his career as a musician in his youth with his streetband the Boozan Kings, and also toured Mississippi with Little Brother Montgomery. In 1930 he moved to New York City and switched to the guitar. On the day of his arrival in New York, his uncle Paul took him to the Rhythm Club, where he saw an inspiring performance by McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. It was their first performance in New York as a band.

Barker played with several acts when he moved to New York, including Fess Williams, Billy Fowler and the White Brothers. He worked with Buddy Harris in 1933, Albert Nicholas in 1935, Lucky Millinder from 1937 to 1938, and Benny Carter in 1938. During his time in New York, he frequently played with West Indian musicians, who often mistook him for one of them due to his Creole style of playing.

World Music with Vardan Hovanissian & Emre Gültekin

January 13, 2019

a Belgian with Turkish roots and an Armenian

Daily Roots with the Four Aces

January 13, 2019

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