mick's blog

Daily Roots with Mad Professor

April 29, 2018

Ras Portraits

The Cosmos with the Small Magellanic Cloud

April 28, 2018

The Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), or Nubecula Minor, is a dwarf galaxy near the Milky Way. It is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy. It has a diameter of about 7,000 light-years, contains several hundred million stars, and has a total mass of approximately 7 billion times the mass of the Sun. The SMC contains a central bar structure and it is speculated that it was once a barred spiral galaxy that was disrupted by the Milky Way to become somewhat irregular. At a distance of about 200,000 light-years, it is one of the Milky Way‘s nearest intergalactic neighbors. It is also one of the most distant objects that can be seen with the naked eye.

The SMC is mostly visible from the Southern Hemisphere though it can be fully glimpsed from near the southern horizon from equatorial latitudes south of about 15° N. It is located across both the constellations of Tucana and part of Hydrus, appearing as a hazy light patch resembling a detached piece of the Milky Way. It covers an average diameter of about 4.2° across (8 times the Moon’s diameter) or 51.7 sq. degrees (about 60 times the apparent area of the Moon.) Since it has a very low surface brightness, the SMC is best seen from a dark site away from city lights. It forms a pair with the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), which lies a further 20° to the east, and like the LMC, is a member of the Local Group and highly probably is a satellite of the Milky Way.


Mickey Tucker Day

April 28, 2018

Mickey Tucker (born April 28, 1941, Durham, North Carolina) is an American jazz pianist and organist.

When he was six, he started on piano, eventually playing in church. He performed in the 1960s with Little Anthony and the Imperials and Damita Jo, and also accompanied comedian Timmy Rogers. He entered the jazz world in 1969, working for the next several years with Eric Kloss, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, James Moody, the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, Eddie Jefferson, and George Benson. He was music director for Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. During the 1980s, he appeared on albums by Phil Woods, Art Farmer, Richie Cole, and Benny Golson.

John Tchicai Day

April 28, 2018

John Martin Tchicai (April 28, 1936 – October 8, 2012) was a Danish free jazz saxophonist and composer.

After moving to New York City in 1963, Tchicai joined Archie Shepp‘s New York Contemporary Five and the New York Art Quartet. He played on John Coltrane‘s Ascension, and Albert Ayler’s New York Eye and Ear Control, both influential free jazz recordings.

Tchicai was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, to a Danish mother and a Congolese father. The family moved to Aarhus, where he studied violin in his youth, and in his mid-teens began playing clarinet and alto saxophone, focusing on the latter. By the late 1950s he was travelling around northern Europe, playing with many musicians.


Mario Bauza Day

April 28, 2018

Mario Bauzá (April 28, 1911 – July 11, 1993) was an Afro-Cuban jazz musician. He was one of the first to introduce Cuban music to the United States by bringing Cuban musical styles to the New York City jazz scene. While Cuban bands had popular jazz tunes in their repertoire for years, Bauzá’s composition “Tangá” was the first piece to blend jazz with clave, and is considered the first true Afro-Cuban jazz or Latin jazz tune.

Trained as a classical musician, he was a clarinetist in the Havana Philharmonic Orchestra by the age of nine, where he would stay for three years. Bauzá traveled to New York in 1925 to record with Maestro Antonio María Romeu‘s band, a charanga, shortly after his fourteenth birthday.

Bauzá had been hired as lead trumpeter and musical director for Chick Webb‘s Orchestra by 1933, and it was during his time with Webb that Bauzá both met fellow trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and discovered and brought into the band singer Ella Fitzgerald. Importantly, Bauzá introduced the young Havana virtuoso Chano Pozo to Dizzy, when the latter wanted to add a Cuban percussionist to his band; though Pozo was killed in a Harlem bar fight just a year later, he left an indelible and long-lasting mark on Dizzy’s playing and compositions, co-writing several legendary compositions such as “Manteca” and “Tin Tin Deo”.

World Music with Mahmoud Ahmed

April 28, 2018

Ethiopian Music by Mahmoud Ahmed – Yager Betua Aynama

Daily Roots with Justin Hines and the Dominos

April 28, 2018


Community Band performance 4-27-18

April 27, 2018

Performing at MLK park in Minneapolis for Arbor Day 2018

with Steve Sandberg, Jim McCreary, Hilary Johnson, Tom Wells, Ralph Campbell, mick laBriola and many more.



The Cosmos with NGC 6946

April 27, 2018

NGC 6946 is a face-on intermediate spiral galaxy with a small bright nucleus, whose location in the sky straddles the boundary between the northern constellations of Cepheus and Cygnus. Its distance from Earth is about 22.5 million light-years or 6.8 megaparsecs, similar to the distance of M101 (NGC 5457) in the constellation Ursa Major. Both were once considered to be part of the Local Group. but are now known to be among the dozen bright spiral galaxies near the Milky Way but beyond the confines of the Local Group.

Discovered by William Herschel on 9 September 1798, this well-studied galaxy has a diameter of approximately 40,000 light-years, about one-third of the Milky Way’s size, and it contains roughly half the number of stars as the Milky Way. The galaxy is heavily obscured by interstellar matter as it lies quite close to the galactic plane of the Milky Way. Due to its prodigious star formation it has been classified as an active starburst galaxy.


Upcoming Performances

  • Sun, July 29, 2018 Beau Koo Jacks in Minneapolis, MN at Palmers Bar

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