Cultural Percussionist

The Cosmos with NGC 3184

July 19, 2019

NGC 3184 is a spiral galaxy approximately 40 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It has two HII regions named NGC 3180 and NGC 3181.

NGC 3184 houses a high abundance of heavy elements and (SN 1999gi) that was a magnitude 14 Type II supernova detected on December 9, 1999.

Keith Godchaux Day

July 19, 2019

Keith Richard Godchaux (July 19, 1948 – July 23, 1980) was a pianist best known for his tenure in the rock group the Grateful Dead from 1971 to 1979. Godchaux was born in Seattle, Washington, and grew up in Concord, California, a regional suburban center within the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. He began piano lessons at age five at the instigation of his father (a semi-professional musician) and subsequently played Dixieland and cocktail jazz in professional ensembles as a teenager. According to Godchaux, “I spent two years wearing dinner jackets and playing acoustic piano in country club bands and Dixieland groups…I also did piano bar gigs and put trios together to back singers in various places around the Bay Area…[playing] cocktail standards like ‘Misty’ the way jazz musicians resentfully play a song that’s popular – that frustrated space… I just wasn’t into it… I was looking for something real to get involved with – which wouldn’t necessarily be music”. He met and married former FAME Studios session vocalist Donna Jean Thatcher in November 1970; their son Zion, of the band BoomBox, was born in 1974.

The couple introduced themselves to Jerry Garcia at a concert in August 1971; coincidentally, ailing keyboardist/vocalist Ron “Pigpen” McKernan (who would go on to play alongside Godchaux from December 1971 to June 1972) was unable to handle the rigors of the band’s next tour. At the time, Godchaux was largely supported by his wife and irregularly employed as a lounge pianist in Walnut Creek, California. While he was largely uninterested in the popular music of the era and eschewed au courant jazz rock in favor of modal jazz, bebop, and swing, several sources claim that he collaborated with such rock acts as Dave Mason and James and the Good Brothers, a Canadian trio acquainted with the Grateful Dead.

Although the band had employed several other keyboardists (including Howard Wales, Merl Saunders and Ned Lagin) as session musicians to augment McKernan’s limited instrumental contributions following the departure of Tom Constanten in January 1970, Godchaux was invited to join the group as a permanent member in September 1971. He first performed publicly with the Dead on October 19, 1971 at the University of Minnesota‘s Northrup Auditorium.

After playing an upright piano and increasingly sporadic Hammond organ on the fall 1971 tour, Godchaux primarily played acoustic grand piano (including nine-foot Yamaha and Steinwayinstruments) at concerts from 1972 to 1974. Throughout this period, Godchaux’s rented pianos were outfitted with a state-of-the-art pickup system designed by Carl Countryman. According to sound engineer Owsley Stanley, “The Countryman pickup worked by an electrostatic principle similar to the way a condenser mic works. It was charged with a very high voltage, and thus was very cantankerous to set up and use. It had a way of crackling in humid conditions and making other rather unmusical sounds if not set up just right, but when it worked it was truly brilliant.” The control box also enabled Godchaux to use a wah-wah pedal with the instrument. He added a Fender Rhodes electric piano in mid-1973 and briefly experimented with the Hammond organ again on the band’s fall 1973 tour; the Rhodes piano would remain in his setup through 1976. Following the group’s extended touring hiatus, he continued to use contractually-stipulated nine-foot Steinways furnished by the band’s venues in 1976 and early 1977 before switching exclusively to the Yamaha CP-70 electric grand piano in September 1977. The instrument’s unwieldy tuning partially contributed to the shelving of the band’s recordings of their 1978 engagement at the Giza Plateau for a planned live album.

Commander Cody Day

July 19, 2019

Born in Boise, Idaho on July 19, 1944, George William Frayne IV grew up in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.  He graduated from Bay Shore High in 1962 and the University of Michigan in 1966 with a BS degree in design.  In 1968, he graduated  from the University of Michigan with an MFA degree in sculpture and painting.  He was a teaching assistant at the University of Michigan for four semesters  and was an instructor of Art at the University of Wisconsin in Oshkosh for two semesters in 1968-69.

He moved to San Francisco 1969 and started his career as Commander Cody and the band Lost Planet Airmen.  Frayne had many art shows over the years and published two books, Starart, 1978, and Art Music and Life, 2009.  He moved to Saratoga Springs, New York in 1997.


Phil Upchurch Day

July 19, 2019

Philip Upchurch (born July 19, 1941, Chicago, Illinois) is an American blues, jazz and R&B guitarist and bassist. Upchurch started his career working with the Kool Gents, the Dells, and the Spaniels before going on to work with Curtis Mayfield, Otis Rush, and Jimmy Reed. (His association with Kool Gents member Dee Clark would continue, including playing guitar on Clark’s 1961 solo hit “Raindrops“.) He then returned to Chicago to play and record with Woody Herman, Stan Getz, Groove Holmes, B.B. King, and Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1961, his record “You Can’t Sit Down” by the Philip Upchurch Combo sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc. “You Can’t Sit Down, Part 2” peaked at No. 29 on the Billboardcharts in the US. And he released first album. In the 1960s he toured with Oscar Brown, appearing on the 1965 live album, Mr. Oscar Brown, Jr. Goes to Washington. In the mid-’60s he was house guitarist of Chess Records and he played with The Dells, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Gene Chandler. He also played with John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington, Jr. and Cannonball Adderley. Upchurch was part of a group called the Soulful Strings during the 1960s, prior to working with Rotary Connection on Chess’s Cadet label.

In the 1970s he worked with Donny Hathaway, Harvey Mason, Ramsey Lewis, Quincy Jones and led his own quartet with Tennyson Stephens. He met Bob Krasnow and Tommy LiPuma, the founders of Blue Thumb Records, and he released “Darkness Darkness”. Upchurch played on Donny Hathaway’s “This Christmas” and “The Ghetto”. He also played guitar on Hathaway’s “Live” album (1972). In the mid 1970s and 1980s, he performed with George Benson, Mose Allison, Gary Burton, Lenny Breau,[6] Joe Williams, Chaka Khan, Natalie Cole, Carmen McRae, Cat Stevens, David Sanborn, and Michael Jackson. In the 1990s he worked with Jimmy Smith and Jack McDuff.

Carmell Jones Day

July 19, 2019

Carmell Jones (July 19, 1936 – November 7, 1996) was an American jazz trumpet player. Jones was born in Kansas City, Kansas. He started piano lessons at age five, and trumpet lessons at age seven. His first professional work was with Kansas City greats Nathan Davis, Cleanhead Vinson and Frank Smith. He moved to California in 1960 and worked as a studio musician for several years, including in the orchestras for two movie soundtracks, ‘The Seven Days In May‘ and ‘The Manchurian Candidate‘, the latter starring Frank Sinatra. He released two albums as a leader for Pacific Jazz at this time, while recording as a sideman with Bud Shank, Onzy Matthews, Curtis Amy, Harold Land, and Gerald Wilson. He toured with Horace Silver in 1964-65, and was on Silver’s seminal 1965 Blue Note album Song for My Father. In 1965 he moved to Germany where he lived for 15 years, working with Paul Kuhn and the SFB Big Band (Sender Freies Berlin) from 1968 to 1980. There he worked with musicians such as Milo Pavlovic, Herb Geller, Leo Wright, Rudi Wilfer and Eugen Cicero. Jones returned to the US in 1980, working as a teacher and appearing at local clubs in Kansas City. He released one additional album as a leader in 1982 entitled “Carmell Jones Returns,” on the Revelation label. Jones died on November 7, 1996 in Kansas City at the age of 60.

In 2003, Mosaic Records released a three-CD set of Jones material in their Mosaic Select series.

World Music with Pedro Sierra

July 19, 2019

Flamenco Fridays por Alegrias.

Alegrías de Cádiz is a palo with a more defined structure which makes it a bit easier to describe.

The basic structure of alegrías is as follows:

  • Salida
  • Letras
  • Silencio
  • Castellana
  • Escobilla
  • Bulería de Cádiz



The salida (entrance) includes the presentation of the 3 elements: guitar, song and dance. The salida usually starts with a falseta on the guitar as an introduction to the entrance of the song and llamada (call) by the dancer.

In developing the letra (verse), remates are often sought to strengthen the line of song, this is optional. Quite often, the letra is concluded with a coletilla (postscript – chorus of 4 bars in length), which can be topped with a cierre (closing) of the feet to call back the song and continue with a 2nd letra, or with a falseta between the letras. A practical way to finish the 2nd letra is to use a subida (rise in pace) with a final cierre (closing).

Literally meaning silence, this is the melodic part which highlights the role of the guitar, it is also where the dancer can give more importance to body movements and play of the upper body.

The silencio is linked to a chorus of singing of 4 bars where the pace is accelerating and ends with a cierre (closing) that gives way to the escobilla (footwork) for alegrías.

The escobilla is the part devoted to footwork in which the interpreter develops his or her rhythmic virtuosity.  To end the escobilla you can do a subida (rise in pace) to a close and make way for the bulería, or raise the speed up and call to enter the bulería directly.

Bulería de Cadiz.
You dance and play with the song of bulería de cádiz and may end with a subida (rise in pace), chorus (tirititran) and cierre (close).

Daily Roots with Lee Perry & Jah Lloyd

July 19, 2019

The Cosmos with NGC 4691

July 18, 2019

NGC 4691 is a lenticular galaxy in the New General Catalog . Sailing in the sky is in the direction of the constellation. 47.5 in 1784 by British astronomer William Herschel   cm (18.7 inches) in diameter.

The entire spiral pattern of NGC 4691 is extremely fuzzy and devoid of any signs of youth. It looks like it is billions of years old. The bar, by contrast, is bursting with ongoing star formation. This is very unusual!

According to Principal Galaxy Catalog, the distance to NGC 4691 is about 47 million light-years, which would make it a little closer than the Virgo Cluster, and its true brightness would be 6 billion stars like the Sun, or 0.3 times the brightness of the Milky Way. But according to this page, NGC 4691 is located some 73 million light-years away, and its true brightness would be much higher.

Knoel Scott Day

July 18, 2019

Knoel Scott (born July 18, 1956) is an American jazz saxophonist, composer and bandleader. He plays baritone, tenor and alto saxophone in addition to flute, while his live performances often include singing and dancing. He is best known for his work with keyboardist/bandleader Sun Ra and is an original member of the Sun Ra Arkestra under the direction of Marshall Allen. Knoel Scott was born Noel Scott on July 18, 1956 in Baltimore, Maryland, to Brooks and Kathaniel Walker Scott. His father Brooks Scott is listed as deceased on Scott’s birth certificate, and he was raised by Robert and Edith Nero in Jamaica, Queens. Scott studied at Queens College from 1974 to 1976, and also at State University of New York at Old Westbury, where he graduated in 1979. Scott studied additionally at Jazzmobile with such musicians as Frank Foster, Charles Davis, John Stubblefield and Lisle Atkinson.

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