The material in this space:
- Articles minus a journalist
- Memory lane material
- A blog
- Online services for artists
It's been a few days since we launched the Mega Music Quiz. Since, over 2000 people have played it, and we have been getting some great reviews. We are delighted to hear that our selection of questions, our choice of music, and even our artwork is so appreciated!
Illinois Jacquet is one of the artists who got a hit early on in his career, which he then had to play at every gig, or the crowd might have been disappointed. His hit was "Flying Home", which he recorded at 19 years of age.
Illinois Jacquet flew home in 2004.
I never can say goodbye, Isaac Hayes
An interview on Conan
ISAAC HAYES, August 20, 1942 – August 10, 2008
Music is life. It is to be able to take a material and make something artistic out of it. It is knowing how to reach people’s emotions through sound. It is the ability to present something on stage and reach people.
Evidence Jazz Group live in 2014
Growing up in New York I was exposed to music. My parents had a record collection of over 3000 LP recordings. So, I heard a lot of Jazz, Classical, and also Caribbean music – representing my Caribbean background on my father’s side of the family. My mother, who was also an avid Jazz fan, came from the rural south, but through her I mainly heard R&B, Gospel and the Blues.
I grew up in the Disco era. During that time many of the Jazz greats were still with us, so I had frequent opportunities to see and meet Dizzy Gillespie and Dexter Gordon, et cetera.
I knew that music was what I wanted to do in life as early as the 2nd grade. Originally it was a Miles Davis-album that inspired it. I wanted to play trumpet because I heard Miles Davis, and especially his Sketches of Spain recording. Then I heard Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane on other recordings with Miles Davis. That is what made me want to play saxophone. But at the time, being a 2nd grader, I was too small to play, so I had to wait until 4th grade to start on saxophone.
What I liked about Jazz music was that is was not the same, repetitive thing. Every time I heard this music there was always something different and something unexpected.
I was in the All-City High School Jazz Band under the direction of Justin DiCioccio. I am fortunate to have worked with many greats such as Milt Hinton, Frank Foster, et cetera.
I wound up in Michigan through my military service.
Right now I am working with a band called Stone Soul Rhythm Band. We play R&B and popular music.
I have been working with the Evidence Jazz Group for 25 years, and we have three recordings out. One great thing about that is that there has been individual name mention of all the musicians in both Downbeat and Jazztimes Magazines.
You have to be dedicated. You have to be willing to really study, and I mean to study all kinds of music. You can’t have a one track mind. When I studied with Donald Byrd he really had a good talk with me about the importance of versatility.
It is important that you practice and learn your craft well. You have to work on things that you don’t know. If you work on things that you know you are not really practicing.
At this time we really have to be ready to play. With the re-openings people and venues are not going to wait. They want live music now. People don’t realize that it takes us a lot of work to put things together.
One of the things, that I believe is more present now, is a deeper appreciation for life within people.
MICHAEL S DOYLE is a saxophonist and a native New Yorker, who is based in Michigan. With a university degree in music, a background in the Army, and an impressive CV to his name, Doyle has performed with the Evidence Jazz Group for 25 years, while also working with other musical projects.
Find out more HERE
Michael Ray has been busy writing a thesis during the pandemic. Now he talks about his longtime friend and colleague Ronald Khalis Bell.
I should mention ShawnyMac McQuiller. He always brings his A-game to the stage. Always. He should be the poster child of Kool & The Gang.
Lead singer of The Main Ingredient, Cuba Gooding Sr, was born in Harlem and moved to California as an adult. Starting out as a backing singer for The Main Ingredient, he took over as the lead after Donald McPherson died of leukemia. Several top-10 hits followed. A voice on and off the stage Cuba Gooding Sr is remembered as one of the great personalities in music.
A backstage interview
Everybody Plays The Fool live 2013
CUBA GOODING SR, April 27, 1944 – April 20, 2017
Musicians Corner remembers Nat King Cole
Artists with such a brilliantly distinct, signature way of playing an instrument as Nat King Cole are in fact so few. And artists with such a uniquely distinct, signature way of singing as Nat King Cole are in fact so rare.
Any time you listen to music with Nat King Cole you let some beauty into your life, and not some flat, constructed beauty - but clear, crisp, natural and refreshing beauty.
Anyone can complicate things. These days anyone can distort and fake things. But to do that one thing, make that one choice, and let it stand alone in an expression where anything extra would be ridiculous, to have it at the fingertips and constantly rolling off the tongue - that is music - and that was Nat King Cole.
Nat King Cole skipped the unnecessary in interviews too...
NAT KING COLE, March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965
Let's give it up for the memory of Eugene Record! This legendary song-writer, singer and lead-vocalist of The Chi-Lites, between 1953 and 1979, and 1980 and 1988, who also released solo-albums, was born in Chicago on Decemner 23, 1940.
It is an obligation, frankly, to expose the young generation growing up now to the amazing sounds of "Have You See Her?" and "Oh Girl". Let's play them both...
EUGENE RECORD, December 23, 1940 – July 22, 2005
Oh, what a sad day it was when Dr. John left us, and oh how the world has turned since.
Our beloved Malcolm Rebennack was...a New Orleans native and a student of Doctor Longhair. Carrying and embodying the great traditions of Nola, encompassing wisdom, wit and class - and living his very own story - a true gift to music.
That rolling piano grew quiet, but we can still hear the echo.
There Must Be A Better World Somewhere
MALCOLM REBENNACK, November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019
Musicians' Corner remembers Buck Clayton
Trumpet-player Wilbur Dorsey "Buck" Clayton was a Kansas native, who after having briefly worked with Duke Ellington's Orchestra, and living in Shanghai for a while to avoid racism, became a member of Count Basie's Orchestra, and played on recordings with Billie Holliday. Buck Clayton was drafted for the II:n WW, and was discharged with honors from the army in 1946, after which he worked with Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. Buck Clayton was a legendary bandleader and arranger. Problems with his lips forced Clayton to take a break from playing in the 70s, while he continued to work as an arranger into the 80s. The book "Buck Clayton's Jazz World", co-authored by Nancy Miller Elliot, spans 70 years of music history and American social history in general.
BUCK CLAYTON, November 12, 1911 – December 8, 1991
Musicians' Corner remembers Scott Weiland
Stone Temple Pilot, Velvet Revolver and solo performer Scott Weiland brought his own personality to the live stages for three decades. A very talented singer indeed left us at the age of 48, on December 3, 2015.
SCOTT WEILAND, October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015
Gone too soon.
Howie Epstein "Is It Love?"
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers "I Won't Back Down"
HOWIE EPSTEIN, July 21, 1955 – February 23, 2003
The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford made some recordings in 2017. And, that Willie Ford had the intention of releasing these was made clear, among other things in this interview.
After Willie Ford had made his transition last year, we connected with Tony Green, who was hired to do these recordings, to ask how they are kept safe.
Perhaps we hadn’t expected Mr. Green to respond, but he indeed did, and was most jovial and patient with us in a very long conversation, that included many a thing and also lead to a nice article here, suggested by Green, but the information about the Dramatics recordings never fell out during any of all this.
We do understand. Green – a long time member of The Dramatics' backing band, in the 70s and 80s, has been helping many out with a lot in Detroit, and was a given individual for Willie Ford to turn to with recording ambitions. Green also has a very large ‘’vault’’ with a lot of music. But. But! Very little of it is probably with an act with a fifty year long career and thirty-five something hits. The Dramatics however is such an act! And Willie Ford was an original member of The Dramatics, who was part of their massive breakthrough, with their hits "What You See Is What You Get" and "In The Rain". Willie Ford was part of this act for five full decades! And these Dramatics recordings are in the vault of Tony Green. As we also understand it, someone who hires someone else for recordings is the legal owner of the recordings (see the 6th paragraph). So, maybe "old" compadres don't think about the legalese too much, at times, between each other, but now that Willie Ford is no longer here, and this is work that he in fact left behind, his rights concerning work that he did is a thing. And further, where it comes to The Dramatics specifically, legally working out what is what in terms of rights is not of unknown importance to anyone involved with this act. There are different sides here.
Tony Green has put Dramatics’ sounds to collages of clips from the internet on YouTube. It is definitely our opinion that these recordings are too important to be handled like that.
Yes, it is a challenge to release music in this day and age. But these recordings deserve their proper release, probably after some editing by a top-notch producer and editor. There would no doubt be an interest in Dramatics’ recordings, and for people to finally, for example, at long last hear Willie Ford sing longer solos, which he does on some of these cuts. It is unbelievable that Willie Ford didn’t lead on more songs than he did with The Dramatics. He had a unique bass voice, that truly was something few other acts could begin to match, and if you are shrewd as a music maker you sometimes go with what you have that no one else can top.
What was a little worrying during our conversations with Tony Green, was, that at one point we sent him a clip where The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford performed the single that they did release, a couple of years prior, ‘’Victoria’’, which was on a link on Fox2 (fox2detroit.com/mornings/54099142-video) – and that this clip disappeared from the link the day after we had sent it to Green. It was the most peculiar coincidence. It had obviously been up for a couple of years. It was a couple of years old. We asked about this, but there was no reply as to this.
Our original sending of the clip, inside our getting back to it for the clip disappearing
What that link looks since
There is little doubt that the loyal soul music fans out there would cherish the recordings with The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford.
HERMAN ACE WALLACE 1925.06.18-1996.02.28
Living off people is a big business. One side of this is the autograph "market’’. We have all seen the men in sweaty t-shirts waiting to try to get what they have in their hands signed by a famous artist.
The idea to do something of the kind for a living might be seen as rather strange by many. This might even be the tier beneath paparazzi. People scavenging off other people, who have achieved a lot in life.
Then this market has the problem of forgeries being sold, in abundance, no doubt. So authentication of these scribblings has become a market as well. People have become "experts’’ at the above.
A few days ago we put two signatures up on auction, and what happened after was a sight to see. We were of course very confident about saying to people to check the signatures out a bit before placing a bid, as we know that they are real and had every reason to assume that whoever checked them out would run into people who would be able to tell them so, or at the very least say there was a good chance they are real. We just assumed that would happen.
Our two signatures were swiftly posted on a platform called Autograph Live, by an anonymous poster with a clown face for profile picture, who asked if the signatures were real, something which was as quickly deemed as a "no’’ by another user. We tried to join the forum to comment, making it clear in the application to join that this was what we intended to do, and were denied access to comment. Our auction of these signatures didn’t take place on eBay, which this platform is affiliated to, a strange choice for an autograph authentication public service platform. But perhaps for this reason, these two signatures weren’t commented on further or linked to, as this platform had nothing to gain from sending its users to another auction platform, where it’s not affiliated (and where, btw, we have the highest possible user score, for selling other things, mind). Generally posts seems to spark more commenting, if it is to do with dismissing signatures claimed to be by the same artist, on eBay. So 1) Our signatures were quickly dismissed 2) We weren’t allowed to comment 3) There was no discussion about the signatures.
There is no one to contact on this platform, so we wrote its supervisor on Facebook, and had no comment as to this.
What is this Autograph Live? Is it a public service where people are being spared the misfortune of buying a forged signature? Certainly that must have happened frequently, that is, that this platform spotted fakes and had no reason why not to help people? But, is it a platform sponsored by autograph selling companies – that protects these companies' interests? Say, by perhaps dismissing anything that doesn’t look like what they happen to have or have had at some point – real or fake? Say, by perhaps getting that which is real off the market, so that it doesn’t lower the value of their clients' purchases, by being accessible in higher numbers than ideal for a high valuation of a rarity? Say, by…? In any case, this platform is sponsored by a few autograph selling companies. And companies have their interests, and certainly wouldn't sponsor something that didn't benefit them.
The supervisor can't explain why we haven't been approved by the platform and says we are. When shown an image of what the platform looks like as we write this piece he is quick to say that he isn't liable for what people express on the platform. Of course he isn't! There is absolutely no way for someone who runs a big platform like this to be everywhere, and incidentally, this chap seems like a nice enough fella and we like him, so we will throw no shade in this man's direction. The autograph world perhaps is a bit of high chaparral and paved with good intentions at times. Tread carefully - everywhere - seems to be the best advice, and, if you have a few signatures of value, only ever sell them to people you know if you are selling them at some point. That way you spare yourself grief.
This is an experience that replicates a previous experience, years ago, when we tried to sell a rare promotion single and were told that we couldn't have that single. Yes we could, we are music journalists here. Before and in between these instances we haven't tried to sell any music memorabilia, and this teaches us to never try again. So - to you who might want to buy an autograph one day - maybe think about not deterring everyone anywhere who has one from selling, because they might be given such a hard time. The only thing that has happened to us for putting these up for sale is we have been insulted. Apart from what we have mentioned already there has been a number of insinuating messages about our signatures. It has been outright nasty. They are no longer on the market, and we recommend anyone with music memorabilia to NOT offer it for sale, ever, to the general public.
And, we, who for example have run a non-profit music platform for seven years (with original material from a long list of some of the most successful and amazing instrumentalists in the industry), have now promptly been deemed as dodgy by a few who do the above for a living.
We need to try to move on.
Musicians' Corner moves with music... And music pretty much got to a standstill. Where does it all go from here?
Remembering Sir Miles Davis, seen here on stage at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in the summer of 1987 (photo: KG Asplund)
What can we say about remembering Sir Miles? Music has not been the same since he left. It lost a whole lot of something something, that was in fact about him.
We can all wonder what he would have been doing, had he been here today. And we all know that we can't quite know what that would have been. And that is even one of the things that are so special with Miles Davis. People just had to see where he was going to know where he was going. They couldn't go some place and wait for him there artistically, because there was no way of knowing if he would show up there. And, alongside his leaving a mighty musical journey behind as he left, he left a world of wise things he said, which is a bit strange indeed, as he wasn't always so talkative. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself". Quote Miles Davis. You can so often interpret some things he said in wider terms, and you often even must. At any height of his legendary career he was still searching for his tone. Knowing what he wanted from others, and from himself too, in the nano moment, what he uttered wasn't something fluffy for an article, but a real thing. And that is so it. Miles Davis was so cool. And it was a real cool, not a pose. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself" really means It can take a lifetime to learn to be yourself.
Those ears... One of the most magical pairs of ears in music. They could tie so much together with two notes. The way Miles Davis HEARD music... We can only leave that to silence.
Miles Davis, May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991
BET has started a relief fund in collaboration with the NAACP and United Way Worldwide to provide help to the Black communities in the USA hit the hardest by the ongoing crisis. There will be a special broadcast, SavingOurSelves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, on April 22 at 8pm ET, which will feature many celebrities, and aims to raise funds and provide current information.
Musicians' Corner remembers Luther Vandross
Thinking of that special voice. In a world full of singers, imagine that a voice can be as unique and as easily recognizable...
What can we say?
He spoke for himself, and he only needed a note to do that.
The king of covers, Luther Vandross, would make any song his own. Starting out as backup to another velvety voice, Roberta Flack, and becoming an in-demand backup singer, before he went on to being the much loved and heavily Grammy-decorated lead that he was, after the breakthrough with his group Change, Vandross also penned hit songs. He further found himself in many duet collabs.
One of us recalls seeing him at Royal Albert Hall, where he had a residence for a few shows, one of the many highlights in the career of a very talented performer indeed.
Frank and Luther...
LUTHER VANDROSS, April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005
The Recording Academy and MusiCares have established a Covid-19 relief fund.
See a bit on that here: https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund
A musicians' union survey finds that musicians based in the UK have lost £ 13,9 million in earnings to date, after the closing of venues and a drop in teaching work, The Guardian reports.
The hashtag #TogetherAtHome has quickly become one to look for, for live streams of music in this covid-19 crisis, and to use for artists who intend on doing live streams, perhaps adding their own hashtag to differentiate, as this hashtag will be seen a lot.
Remembering Ornette Coleman.
We don't know much about the shape of jazz to come, today. But we remember the Pulitzer Prize winner and Doctor of music, Ornette Coleman, around the time of the 90th birthday, which he celebrates up high.
The 1st part of an interview with Coleman from Bonnaroo.
The reports about Covid-19, the coronavirus, will affect society in many ways. One of them will be the cancellation of many public events. Several artists have canceled their planned tours in Asia, and the South By Southwest festival in Texas, that was going to take place in March, has been canceled. The calling off of several more events is bound to follow, and where shows are to take place it's likely that ticket sales might drop.
As we are in a crisis and don't know for how long this will continue, we need for artists and venues to consider the situation. Musicians' Corner is the last to want to see the live scene go... Live music is what counts to us. That's where it happens. And people need to gather and experience live music. It's an important element in the well-being and quality of life. However, right now... Right now, and given that we are all agreed that we go back to normal in every sense of the word, that is to the live format to a hundred percent once this is over, so that we don't propel ourselves into an Orwellian state here...where many are sitting at home and there is little human contact, we need to call upon the possibilities that modern technology offers, and have artists, venues and festivals for example consider a pay-per-view live stream option for their shows in the second half of 2020. People need to move quickly here. The technologies are there and available. And maybe we can't ask for the best quality everything in the haste with which this option should ideally be put in place. The truth is we might be in a hurry here. We do hope that Musicians' Corner isn't one of few who see this, but that many have realized this and are working on it. If this isn't happening, if measures aren't being taken, many many performers might, in a worst-case scenario, lose a lot of income this year. And they still might with this plan B. Perhaps people won't buy streamings if we need them and if there are any. Still, if events are forced to cancel, and if the customers aren't buying tickets to what will go ahead, this solution offers at least the chance to try and do shows, perhaps to empty rooms and to cameras in some places. We don't know.
This development is hazardous to many people's livelihood, but artists are especially vulnerable in what is transpiring. For many who might be forced to stay at home from work there will be insurances and societal benefits alleviating some of the financial burdens of that. Artists generally don't have the kind of safety-net required for this extreme type of force majeure. And if this situation takes years to sort out, and if festivals won't be booking further as they don't plan on running and concert venues will be prevented from staying open, etcetera, you realize that measures need to be taken.
Hopefully we are wrong in thinking this could be an outlook. But before we know that we are wrong and can all say that this is over, we need for this industry and its artists and players to try to prepare with backup plans.
Very much hoping that the new decade has begun in a splendid way for our visitors and friends here at Musicians' Corner, Musicians On Music - we are currently doing a bit of reorganizing behind the scenes, and look forward to being back with you in March!
In the meantime there is a lot - A LOT - of material without any kind of use by-date here to look at, listen to, read and enjoy!
From all of us at Musicians' Corner to all of you!