Tag Archives: Jazz

January Music et al

January Music et al

The 1960s was a great decade for January music

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

In January 1960: John Coltrane released his “Giant Steps” album, considered a classic jazz album and one that saxophonists still measure themselves by today. Linsey Planer at AllMusic.com writesHistory will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience.”

Take a listen to this amazing music!

January Music et al

Two Steps from the Blues Bobby “Blue” Bland


In January 1961: Bobby Blue Bland released Two Steps from the Blues album. Bland was an original member of the Beale Streeters and was sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues”. Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. An imitator of Frank Sinatra, he was also known as the “Sinatra of the blues”, his music being influenced by Nat King Cole. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.


January Music et al

Bob Dylan and John Birch

In January 1962 Bob Dylan wrote  “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . . So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies! Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . . I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betsy Ross . . . Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be throwed away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing . . . good God!

January Music et al

Beatles audition

January 1, 1962: The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both auditioned at Decca Records, a company which has the option of signing one group only. Decca told The Beatles that “guitar groups” were on the way out and did not offer them a contract and signed The Tremeloes instead. Other record companies turned the Beatles down as well. One of the songs the Beatles sang was Hello Little Girl, the first song written by John Lennon (in 1957).


January Music et al

Beatles tour Scotland

January 1, 1963, The Beatles began a concert tour of Scotland.

Happy New Year Happy New Music

January Music et al

Albert Ayler

January Music et al

In January 1965: Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity album released. “Ayler was among the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s; critic John Litweiler wrote that ‘never before or since has there been such naked aggression in jazz.’ He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiff plastic Fibrecane no. 4 reeds on his tenor saxophone—and used a broad, pathos-filled vibrato.” (AllMusic Review by Steve Huey)

January Music et al

Sounds of Silence

January 1 – 7, 1966: “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (see Wednesday Morning 3am)

January Music et al

Roots of Rock


January 1, 1967: FM stations were no longer allowed to simply simulcast their AM counterpart. Birth of “underground “ rock radio.

January Music et al

John Lennon/FBI

Happy New Year Happy New Music

In January 1972: the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a file on John Lennon and Yoko Ono fearing they would organize the youth vote and prevent a second term for President Richard Nixon. (see Feb 4)

January Music et al

John and Yoko

Happy New Year Happy New Music

In January 1975: John and Yoko reunited after 18 month separation—the so-called “Lost Weekend.” (see Jan 9)

January Music et al

New Year New Music, New Year New Music, New Year New Music, 

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Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

September 8, 1941 – March 25, 1992

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

From the start…

It is interesting how we “discover” a musician only to find that they were far larger and wider than we ever suspected. Think Columbus and his “discovery” of the Americas.

I first saw his name when I started listening to the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, but Phillips was well-established already when he joined Butterfield in 1967.

Wilson had made his recording debut in 1962 on with Sam Lazar on Playback. In the mid-’60s, Wilson became a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago, an avant-garde jazz group. He cut albums with it as well as the band’s co-founder Roscoe Mitchell.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Paul Butterfield Blues Band

Joining Paul Butterfield and Gene Dinwiddie in 1967, Wilson soon found himself playing at the first most famous rock festival: the Monterey International Pop Festival.  Though the audience and resulting movie gave Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Who the stellar ovations, Paul Butterfield Blues Band garnered recognition as well.

Phillip Wilson was also with the band when it played early that august sunny Sunday morning in Bethel, NY just before Sha Na Na and Jimi Hendrix. One of the songs featured was Wilson’s “Love March.”

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Post Woodstock…

Wilson remained with the Butterfield until the early ’70s. From there he always remained active as a player, a producer, a composer, and occasional vocalist with:

  • Anthony Braxton
  • Full Moon
  • Julius Hemphill
  • Lightin’ rod
  • Roscoe Mitchell
  • David Murry
  • Hamiet Bluiett
  • INTERface
  • Martha and Fontella Bass
  • Lester Bowie
  • Peter Khuh
  • James Newton
  • Elliot Sharp
  • Bill Lasell
  • The Last Poets
  • Deadline
  • Soren Anders
  • Frank Lowe
  • Blues Brass Connection
  • The Rance Allen Group
  • Art Ensemble of Chicago
  • Paul Zauner’s Blue Brass

He also released a few of his own albums including The Phillip Wilson Project.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

 Untimely death

I had originally posted that “In 1992, Wilson was murdered  while walking near Central Park in New York City. Though a common belief, it is false.”

“Anonymous” recently made the following comment: As a matter of fact, Phillip Wilson was murdered by Marvin Slater on March 25, 1992, at 440 East 9 Street in Manhattan. During the trial in 1997, the motive was not disclosed. Slater is serving time in upstate prison for the premeditated murder of Phillip. The accomplice “T” was released by the police the day before the trial. Phillip was not anywhere near Central Park when he was assassinated. There are various false descriptions published on the internet.

Always appreciate reader input. Thank you.

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Update…

It’s always interesting to write a few words about a musician and a few days after discover a new article about them.  The Chicago art gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey recently released Phillip Wilson’s previously out-of-print album Esoteric from the Hat Hut catalog. Here is some of what the article had to say:

…Phillip Wilson—a Saint Louis native who moved to Chicago and became an early member of the AACM (he was the original drummer in the Art Ensemble of Chicago) as well as a key figure on the local blues scene (he played in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band). Wilson made Esoteric in Paris during two sessions—one in November 1977 and another in May of the following year—and it mixes solo percussion pieces with expansive duos featuring brilliant trumpeter Olu Dara (better known to some as the father of rapper Nas). In 1978 Wilson would record the more widely known Duet with AEC trumpeter Lester Bowie, but it was on Esoteric that he first worked out some of those ideas (the opening three-part suite on Esotericis called “Lester B”).

It’s a stark album, even when Dara—one of the most lyrical trumpeters to emerge from the 70s avant-garde—joins in. In fact, as you can hear below on a piece titled “Caul Call: The Eso,” Dara experiments with all kinds of smears and textural effects, using half-valving and tonguing techniques to vary his brash, malleable tone from bright and clarion-clear to blubbery and rumbling—his extended techniques helped set the table for current brass radicals such as Peter Evans, Nate Wooley, and Axel Dörner. Wilson is the focal point, though, moving from tough beats to abstract explorations of sound that rely on different parts of his kit—it’s all of a piece for Wilson, as melody, groove, and pure color merge and pull apart. Few records convey such an unadulterated adoration for the sound of the drums, not simply on a micro level but also in how all a trap set’s components work together. (Article link)

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson

Second update: Chicago Reader link to a  2016 article [“An out-of-print experimental gem from drummer Phillip Wilson gets new life” about the re-release of Wilson’s Esoteric album. (thank you Bernard Elias for the link)

Remembering Drummer Phillip Wilson
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Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Released July 17, 1960

Miles Davis Sketches of Spain

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Third Stream

It was not new for jazz artists to take a classical composition and adapt it to their style. Third Stream was a description of such an adaptation in that it was a fusion of jazz, classical European, and world music.

In Sketches of Spain Miles Davis used some of Joaquin Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez (1939) as well as a song called “Will o’ the Wisp”, from Manuel de Falla’s ballet El amor brujo.

George Kanzler described Sketches of Spain as, “…the least jazzy album they [Davis and Gil Evans] made. Suffused with the melancholic, repressed passion of flamenco and shimmering with the brooding modal minimalism of that music, Sketches of Spain is a triumph of moody impressionism.”

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

1960

Popular music and 10-year-old Baby Boomers were still four years away from Beatlemania and the British Invasion with its reinterpretation of American pop. And popular music was five years away from the touchstone year of 1965 when Bob Dylan went electric, the Beatles went Rubber Soul, and Brian Wilson decided to Pet Sounds.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Jazz

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Jazz musicians had often been more willing to push the limits of their style. In 1960 John Coltrane released Giant Steps, an album whose tracks continue to inspire today’s saxophonists. Wes Montgomery did the same for guitar with The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain

Charles Mingus

That same year, bassist Charles Mingus released Blues and Roots. In the album’s liner notes, Mingus wrote, “This record is unusual—it presents only one part of my musical world, the blues. A year ago, Nesuhi Ertegün suggested that I record an entire blues album in the style of Haitian Fight Song (in Atlantic LP 1260), because some people, particularly critics, were saying I didn’t swing enough. He wanted to give them a barrage of soul music: churchy, blues, swinging, earthy. I thought it over. I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I’ve grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing. So I agreed.”

Miles Davis Sketches Spain
Sketches of Spain

All Music has a wonderful review. Each of reviewer Thom Jurek’s sentences seems to top the previous one in its praise for each track.

While the Beatles were still crafting their skills and trying to decide what name they should stick with, Miles Davis was creating some of the most classic music ever recorded.

Miles Davis Sketches Spain
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