RIH Willie Ford



There is little doubt that The Dramatics is one of the greatest groups that ever worked in the music industry. Thirty plus something top ten hits, more appearances than anyone on Soul Train, went on for 48 something years, you can't even sum it up if you try - there is so much to find out about this group. And although it is in fact often times about numbers when we look at things, with music the proof is in the pudding too - and it can't even be fully described where the most deep and rich music is concerned. You could attempt to, and assign music theorists and poets for the task of describing the harmonic, melodic, rythmical, blended, rich, vast, deep sounds of the Dramatics, and they would be coming up short. The best music is indescribable. We don't have the faculties. We can wave about a bit and say SOMETHING about the music, but it will only ever be something in the midst of it ALL that could have been said had we had the vocabulary.


The Dramatics original members were Ron Banks, Larry Squirrel Demps, William Wee Gee Howard, Elbert Wilkins - and Willie Ford. The group was formed in the 60s and a trillion gazillion things happened since. And two weeks ago we had the news that Willie Ford has passed over, and as these words are written this great contributor to music is returned home.



At the end of the road something happened that no one talks about. That is not to be the case, no. The great Mr. Willie Ford is not going to be sent off having given all of his life to The Dramatics and to music without being shown the basic respect of the truth being told. Not here, no way. Willie Ford is one of the original members of this group, and he will forever be just that to the fans. Willie Ford was also always there through The Dramatics' entire journey, including the creation of this group and its massive breakthrough - which is what most people associate with The Dramatics, while others started in this group when their success was already established - and sometimes came and went. Just briefly we need to flip to this:

  

https://www.facebook.com/thedramaticsofficial/photos/a.1904471516535599/2099915476991201/?type=3&theater

(More...

more & more & Normally how it works, Mr. Reynolds, is that if an original member says that someone is in the band they are in the band...It's how it worked with say...The O'Jays...or...your own joining this act...and further...you took quite a long break from this act...and...  )


How this happened? Does it matter? The legal system may have the control over letters and trademarks. It doesn't write the history of music, and it doesn't boss over our ears or hearts! Mr. Willie Ford was part of the start of The Dramatics and will always be one of the true and original Dramatics - to the fans, hearts, minds, souls, ears, universe and the forever. And it doesn't matter that this happened OR that the persons' who did this now actually pretend it didn't happen like Willie never continued the band that he founded, elsewhere

- not anymore. (Wow! And we will never hear what they could have done...) The original member of this act perhaps wanted to get away from something, clearly had another visionWe don't have to pretend here. We will be outlaws at Musicians' Corner, in this sense. To us The Dramatics have dissolved and disbanded. That was some great 48 year something run, and we truly love and respect ALL of the Dramatics, and want to thank ALL of the Dramatics for their outstanding - outstanding! - contributions to the art of music. But to us this is over now, unless of course some recorded music we haven't heard yet from this unit should turn up or something. Someone was prepared to grab an entirely unimagninable affidavit, but it doesn't matter how hard anyone works or how much of a business-person anybody is - they don't write about themselves in the history books. Future generations will sing 'Some people are made of plastic, and you know some people are made of wood...' though it just may be the case that some people will wind up owning a whole lot of nothing where there was something to take loving care of and not only count. And we're sorry that we won't be paying attention to any 'future-plans' that this venture (The family business now called The Dramatics) might have, as we will be too busy listening to The Dramatics' first million-selling album from here on.


Now we said what someone needed to say, we can just go back to smiling over the great legacy left by this man, Willie Ford, and his compadres in this amazing group, from here on, here at Musicians' Corner - and he did leave a legacy that is so easily smiled upon.


The beginning...


The end... All genuine smiles there... :) Something sounding, looking and feeling like the dignified & matured thing this legacy deserved. Well done!!! (Again...)


Thank you sooo much, Willie Ford, for what you have done for a world of music fans, and enjoy that Heaven that loves to have you! 



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Visionary Laranah Phipps-Ray connects legacy with future

Laranah Phipps-Ray


To me, music is like glue. It binds us to the Cosmos.


People ask me how am I able to scat like I do. I feel like scatting is how the Creator speaks through me. It's fast and fire-filled. Scat is my personal lanquage with The Creator. It's Cosmic information. 


I respect every religion, however, I am not particularly religious. I am spiritual.


Music encourages you and inspires you.


The Cosmic Krewe performing in New Orleans earlier this year



Growing up in a jazz family grounded me. It meant going beyond what people expect. As an adult I have been told that I could give musicians all the keys, as a child. 

Growing up around talent you have to be at more than your best at all times. 

There wasn’t much of an alternative to becoming an artist, but I did have an experience with one project. I was in my late teens and called myself a band leader even if I wasn’t working as one. I decided to put a band together without the cats. It was the hardest gig of my life and I recall thinking that maybe music wasn’t working out. It was only in that moment.

My mother used to always have the cats at the house, and I wanted to be an entertainer from an early age, and it was jazz that it was about.


What I envision for the future first of all is working with my husband, Michael Ray. I want to take our respective and mutual visions forward. We are working on a hologram with the College of New Jersey. It began when he received his lifetime achievement award and we sat and spoke with them. He can’t always be with us in the Cosmic Krewe physically because of his other commitments. That is where the idea of a hologram originated, and he is very interested himself. We need a team to pull it off. We have to pre-shoot the concert, and the gig has to be choreographed for the interaction with the hologram. After that you can cut and slice it. 

It will take us at least a year to get this right. I would love to have it ready by the end of 2020.

We have strong ties to the college of New Jersey, and they have truly embraced me as an artist. We are also thinking of New Orleans in this and other contexts. Michael lived there for ten years and they love him there.


My family is the first jazz family of Newark, and we just did a concert honoring the Phipps family and their legacy. As I started my set, I called their great names, Ernest Phipps (Piano), Gene Phipps Sr, (Reeds) Bill Phipps, (Tenor Sax) Nat Phipps (Piano/Vocalist), Angie Phipps (Music Educator), Harold Phipps (Drummer/Percussionist) and Gene Phipps Jr. (Sax/Flute). I did this concert with some musicians who played with the Phipps longer than me even: Radam Schwartz, Gene Ghee, Clifford Howell, G.Earl Grice, Norman Mann.


I didn't spend much time with my Mother or my father because they were both constantly on the move, however.
I grew up knowing I was a Phipps, I was a Jazz singer and I was strong & independent. My mother was murdered in Newark when I was a teenager, but she grounded those four things.


 



I want to talk about the youth and jazz – music in general. We have a legacy to pass on. We have theory and the foundations of jazz to pass on. I heard an interview with a rap artist the other day and he said that he doesn’t like instruments… Jazz needs to do something about the future. We can’t continue to sound like music from the past. And we have to be relatable. Jazz hasn’t changed much for a very long time. Where are we going? I hear jazz in neo soul and love it. I’m not saying this to play down other genres, but we can’t have other genres without jazz.



The Cosmic Krewe - "Yolinda"



LARANAH PHIPPS-RAY is the 1st lady of the 1st family of jazz in Newark and one of the creators behind the Cosmic Krewe!


FIND OUT MORE HERE


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Nick Finzer on the merits of a music education & being structured after one


Nick Finzer

Trombonist Nick Finzer is an assistant professor at the University of North Texas. He has shared some excellent pointers in a great clip, which you can watch below. Having a basic plan for how you are going to build the infrastructure for a career in music, if you are a budding musician, is brilliant and time-saving way of going forward. Finzer also believes in the merits of an education, but if you chose to get one or not, his "5 things to do after jazz school" offers worthwhile intel.


 

Why you should go to jazz school?

Some of the most important musical connections you will make in your life will start with the community at the institution you choose to attend. 

The musicians I play with most frequently, I’ve known since jazz school! 

Building a strong and supportive community around you and your career is essential for pushing you artistically, helping you navigate the industry, and having friends who can help you sort out this crazy musical life!





NICK FINZER is an award-winning trombonist with an impressive CV and a master's degree from Juilliard. He is also an author and an educator.

Find out more on Nick's WEBSITE

And take in further tips, information - and music - from his YOUTUBE CHANNEL




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Tray Deuce a.k.a. Ron Westray: - Critics should focus on the music!


Ron Westray/Tray Deuce

Tray Deuce / Ron Westray - one and the same - and different sides of creativity the way it's supposed to be



LET'S BE CLEAR: Tray Deuce is not about a mid-life-crisis, or the 40 yr. old rapper syndrome.  I wanted to rap before I started playing trombone. I spent the majority of my career in a band with a horn up to my mouth. “Just shut up and play the trombone.” Right? Further, Tray Deuce is a reflection of my compositional interests and the expansion of my skills in electronic music.  Tray Deuce Is my way of saying I don’t care about perceptions and opinions (to put it nicely). SMILE.  In MUSIC, I please MYSELF....first. Critics should focus on whether or not they like the Music, not on my decisions as a musician.  


Drop Mic- TD



Take in the sounds of Tray Deuce:



RON WESTRAY is a musician and composer best known for his work with Wynton Marsalis. Ron joined York University's Music Department in 2009 as the Oscar Peterson Chair In Jazz Performance, a position endowed by the Government of Ontario to commemorate legendary Canadian jazz artist Oscar Peterson. Ron Westray produces his alter ego, Tray Deuce, doing hardcore rap, West Coast rap, funk, jazz, headnodic, heavy backbeat.


FIND TRAY DEUCE MIXTAPES HERE, HERE & HERE

FIND OUT ABOUT YORK UNIVERSITY HERE

RON WESTRAY HAS PREVIOUSLY CONTRIBUTED A PIECE TO THIS PLATFORM, READ IT HERE





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Kent Beatty shares his plans!


Kent Beatty

Photo Tom Roelofs


This time of the year is usually busy for musicians. Here in the USA, as well as in Europe, festivals seem to happen every week from April to August. It makes sense that people stayed in for the winter and are ready to get out in the sun! New Orleans Jazz Fest and Festival International de Louisiane are two big festivals that just finished here in the gulf coast region. And Hangout Fest just happened too. It’s my personal favorite, because it’s the only festival I’ve been to that’s on a beach!


After NAMM in January and a calm February, I worked with 6 bands in 2 months. A lot of time goes into balancing each band’s schedules and rehearsals. At Festival International in April, I played with 2 bands on the weekend, after staying awake the night before to do 2 early morning news (04:30 & 05:30) TV performances. I slept before that evening’s show and the festival weekend was a success.


I’m currently touring with the artist Brother Dege, pronounced like, “Brother Deedj”. In Europe, the band is known as Brother Dege & The Brotherhood, while in America, we are known as Brother Dege & The Brethren. It’s an interesting translation artifact.


Our latest album, Farmer’s Almanac, was released in 2018 along with several music videos. We toured across Europe & USA playing the new music, and 2019 saw the release of the deluxe edition vinyl. We are excited to return to Europe for two festivals in Switzerland this summer and a full tour later in October. I’m personally excited to return to Lucerne, one of the first places I ever visited in Europe, and where Keb’ Mo’ will be playing on the same festival date as us. That will be the third time I’ve played a festival date next to Keb’ Mo’! He’s one of my favorite blues artists, and I hope we’ll have time to watch their show. He and his band are just incredible.




Brother Dege "Country Come to Town" off the album Farmer's Almanac



KENT BEATTY is a successful and busy bassist for hire, as well as a member of Brother Dege & The Brethren, who are doing very well with their recordings and performances. 


Kent has previously contributed several articles to this platform. Enjoy one of them HERE


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Honoring Rudy Copeland

 




For example... For anyone who went to see Solomon Burke in latter years this is so well known...


There was a man up there, behind the keys of an organ, in constant conversation with King Sol throughout. This man was the fire in the belly of the band, feeding the music with his performances, living the music with every fiber, reaching for the sky in between and sometimes during his playing. An outstanding instrumentalist, who also played the organ for preacher Burke in church and worked with many other luminairies in music.

His name: Rudy Copeland.

Remember that name.


His story is of course so much longer and you will be well advised to go explore HERE


Here he is being excellent solo:


And here he is laying the foundation to a very memorable cut:


Us here at Musicians' Corner are great fans of this artist's contributions to music.

Thank you for the music, Mr. Copeland.



For a little more reading about Solomon Burke's band we recommend the articles with Kenneth Meredith a.k.a. 'the love man', that are featured here. 


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A Day In The Life of Knoel Scott!

Mr. Knoel Scott is currently busy on tour with Sun Ra Arkestra, and so kindly shares what a day on these travels looks like.


We landed in Strasbourg after taking two trains from Kassel Germany
We were pleasantly greeted at the station and our equipment placed in three vehicles which had to negotiate a distance of just one hundred yards diagonally from the station to our hotel made complicated by the twists and turns of the city streets
Strasbourg is a large town (as opposed to small city) although well saturated with tourists there is a very provincial air and homey vibe (for locals).
Anyway, the Django center had s very good sound man and the public was really into the Ra vibe.  Expressive, open and quite friendly after the 90 minute show, which started off rather atypically with Marshall creating two back to back improvised compositions, using the Arkestra as his palette in the very beginning of the concert, immediately commmanding the avid attentiveness of the Arkestra 
I am still a bit in awe of Marshall’s limitless creativity.
After returning to our spirituall home in Strasbourg......the unique and artful Hotel Grafslar, whose convivial owner and staff were a pleasant accent to the unique creativity of design through the hotel, with each room having been designed by a different artist
My room was filled with owls and had such a beautiful vibe.   Even when I fell asleep at 5am ready to miss a 7:30 departure I Heard someone call my name in my sleep gruffly snarling what what is it?.....:and saw a wrist with a blue watch in front of my eyes  there was no answer cause clearly no one had called me but seeing the blue watch made me jump up to discover it was 7:15 and were to leave at 7:30
Amazing!!!!!!
Of course I threw my belongings together, dressed and was actually on time to leave with the band.
My most notable Strasbourg moment was when I visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Strasbourg and was able to purchase the last coin of the Black Madonna. 
I feel so well Blessed.
We are now relaxing in the outskirts of Milan after playing two 70 minutes sets last night and waiting to resume travel on Sunday flying out of Malpensa airport to Gothenburg where we will play at Nefertiti Jazz Club.  Quite fitting.
Ra out.




KNOEL SCOTT is a saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, writer - and a member of Sun Ra Arkestra. He is also the director for the Knoel Scott Quartet. We feel so blessed and grateful for his sharing this day in a life with us all.

KNOEL SCOTT has previously contributed to this platform. READ THAT PIECE HERE.




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Arielle: - I never dreamt of being a star. I just love music.



  I see music as a teacher. Music is always a unique language, and it breaks through a lot of limitations. The teacher-part of music has made me more confident over time. I have to become what the music demands of me. I have to be what I write about in my songs. Music has taught me how to connect better, and it is obviously how I express what I feel.



"A Love That Never Dies" - Arielle live at lovely Agape in LA


  It all started with me joining a choir at the age of five, and I always saw music as something I just loved. I never dreamt of being a rock star – I just loved music. And after my first job at 15 it was clear to me that I wanted to pursue music.


I feel very grateful towards Nuno Bettencourt and his friends, because they were the first people to make something of me. They spent a lot of time on me. They got me my first record contract.



"Genie's Outta' The Bottle" off Arielle's new album Suspension/Dimension



  My new album is titled Suspension / Dimension. I wanted to make a full album, and I wanted to make it independently. I funded it myself through crowd-funding, which raised $ 35 000. It’s an eleven song-album, and the theme is being in between who you were and who you are becoming. I wanted to capture the conflicting emotions of that situation. And – I don’t know about the strange times that we live in in America, but while I was making it someone actually got shot outside my house. Making the album saved me from depression. Recording it was me trying to find peace of mind, and it gave me something to focus on.


I also have the guitars that I built myself. They are going to be available for purchase. When I see a guitar on the wall I usually see things that I want to change about it, so I put features that I like to find in a guitar together in my own constructions. They come in three different colors and with different pickups. I would like for there to be a double-neck variety in the future.


 



  My activism is important to me, and my main issue was always the whales and dolphins in captivity – they are intelligent creatures and not meant for that life. The oceans generally, are vital questions to me, with the plastic pollution, the over-fishing and many other problems. Lately it has also become crucial to me to address keeping music programs in schools. 




ARIELLE is a singer, player and song-writer based in California. She released her debut album "The Whale" in 2015, which she has followed up with several EP:s and with building her own guitars. She has just released her new album and is busy touring on the back of it.




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Remembering Ma Rainey



"Prove It On Me Blues" Ma Rainey


Ma Rainey's biography from the RRHOF




Ma Rainey (perhaps born April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939)

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Don't forget to nominate journalists for the Music Journalist of the Year Award!



We are currently taking nominations for the annual Music Journalist of the Year Award!

Please read more here! And please nominate your favourite journalists for the award before May 1st!

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Emma Larsson on her new album




New York has definitely made me grow as a musician and vocalist. You get influenced by so much and so many all the time, and it shapes the musicianship. There are so many great singers in this city, it keep you on your toes. And all the great musicians you meet and hear and want to play with!


Being in the city for a while and doing the local thing first, then you start to want to take your band and your music out of town. It was an amazing feeling to take my guys to Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta. We really had a great time playing there.


First time I sang with Xavier Davis was at a jam session at a friend’s Christmas party years ago, and since then we always had a very strong relationship.





Find out more HERE

Emma Larsson has previously done an article with Musicians' Corner. READ IT HERE


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Smooth rising star Blair Bryant: - All the notes just came to me


Blair Bryant



Music is the way I express myself, express how I feel. It is my connection to other people. It’s basically a bridge.

Music is a part of everybody’s life. It doesn’t matter what style of music, as long as there is music in people’s lives.



Blair Bryant "Lift Off"


Music has always been in my family. My mother is a musician and plays in church. My father was always a big music fan listening to Earth, Wind & Fire and the Isley Brothers.

My dad was busy when I was a kid so I used to go to church with mom. I was an active child who wouldn’t sit still, so during the services the drummer watched me while my mom played.

I became interested in the drums, and he let me try them. After that he went “ - Omg!” to my mom, “ - You have to get Blair a drum set!”, because it turned out that I had a natural connection with the drums.


I was inspired to play a lot of instruments just listening to others play. I thought to myself that I really wanted to be able to play the violin and asked myself “ - Why couldn’t I?”. And so I started playing many instruments, and God was kind and allowed me to be able to.



Blair Bryant



My love for the bass is a deep thing. But it wasn’t a given that the bass would be my first love. I started on drums. My uncle Carl was a bass player and he showed me how to play, but I didn’t really connect with the instrument at that point. I asked for a guitar for Christmas, but my dad got me a bass instead. Then my uncle got sick and passed within a week. After that I said that I was going to play the bass. All the notes just came to me then. It was like the passing of a torch.


This year I’m starting the work with my new album, which will be released next year. I’m also writing some songs inspired by the saxophone player Najee.



Blair Bryant "Sun Chaser" live 2018



Find out more HERE



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Simon Bartholomew from the Brand New Heavies on his funk tattoo


Simon Bartholomew on stage



Music is the last true magic in the world. It changes your chemical balance. Love comes, love goes. You still have the music, like your funk tattoo. You can’t see it, like music.


We were so young. We started off a local little thing. Then we got to drive from LAX to Hollywood Boulevard. Go to New York. Going to America was amazing. Doing shows in Paris. Meeting Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau. Playing the big jazz festivals sharing the bill with the legends.


Classic Brand New Heavies - "Dream On Dreamer"


Getting to hear people say that our music changed their lives is wonderful. Hearing people say that our music touched them, even saved them, is something else.


This is an exciting year. We are just finishing an album that will be released in August. We are making it with super-producer Mark Ronson, and we’re just now adding a track for which I am recording the guitar-part tomorrow. We have our original singer and a new singer on the album as well as secret guests. The record company loves the album, which is always a good thing. We are planning a tour during the year. 


The Brand New Heavies live December 2018


I also have my side project with Nick Van Gelder, the drummer I met recording Jamiroquai’s first album. We did an album titled “On Top” a few years ago. And I am doing a new album with that project. 



Simon Bartholomew


It allows me to express different sides as a performer, and it makes for exciting times. 


I think keep on funking is all we can do. We can’t make money from records anymore, but we can from going to see people. 



Find out more HERE




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It's time for the annual Music Journalist of the Year award!



This annual award, which was presented for the first time in 2015 for work done in 2014, is now open for nominations!

We flip things around a bit at Musicians’ Corner. Usually when you read about music in the media what you read was written by a journalist. On this site artists write and speak about music with minimal journalistic involvement. Usually it is journalists who express opinions about music and musicians in the media. On this site musicians are about to express an opinion about music journalists – in the form of giving an award out! Yes, usually when awards are given out they are given by journalists to artists…


 


With this award we want to encourage accomplished journalistic work about music. It is of great significance to us all, to artists as well as to music fans.

Who among music journalists dug deeper, was in the right place, expanded your horizon, did the best interviews, took you back, described this art form and the world through it, in 2018? Who among music journalists deserves an award for outstanding work last year? In your opinion? Let’s have it!




We are open to nominations for the award until 5/1/2019. You are welcome to nominate a music journalist you read, listen to or view, a music journalist you work with, and if you are a music journalist you can nominate yourself too.

Please nominate using the form below. Include the name of the journalist/s you nominate and links to journalistic work by the nominee/s. The recipient will be selected by an artist jury based on the shortlist of journalists that YOU provide through nominating. This Award is given for work done in the previous year.

To read about the Award, and the previous recipients and juries, please visit the Award section on this platform.








 


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Remembering Bobby Womack


Musicians' Corner remembers Bobby Womack





BOBBY WOMACK, March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014

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Terence Higgins: - I always have my bag packed


Terence Higgins



   I am just as busy now as I was in 2014, when I first did an article with Musiciansʼ Corner. 


   I came into the new year with a few exciting gigs. Iʼm working with a lot of incredible artists. Tab Benoit and Ani DiFranco are two of my regular gigs. 


   Iʼm also working with producer Don Was. A couple of years ago we did The last Waltz 40th tribute show at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and the tribute turned into The Last Waltz 40 tour. That lead to a Bob Marley tribute lead by the Marley brothers, which lead to an Elvis 68 Comeback special tribute filmed for NBC - and a tribute to Willie Nelson in front of 18 000 people that was filmed for A&E. I was part of the house band on side of Don Was and we backed at least 12 different country artist including Vince Gill and Willie Nelson. That was my first country gig, but it was as if I had always been playing country music… Those shows are really special once in a lifetime-events, so I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of those performances. 

   On top of that I'm working with a new project with John Medeski (of Medeski Martin and Wood) with his group Mad Skillet which was born out of a few late night jams in New Orleans during the NOLA jazz fest. Medeski produced a Dirty Dozen Brass Band record in the late 90ʼs entitled Buck Jump. So it was good to reconnect with him, and now there is a fresh release titled “Mad Skillet”.

   I play locally with my band Swampgrease and other projects that I put together, but generally Iʼm too busy doing other peopleʼs projects.


Terence Higgins on the drums with Swampgrease live (2015)


   I grew up listening to a lot of different music, and now I get calls to go do cool gigs, across all genres. I just do what I do naturally. I paid a lot of dues, and I take peopleʼs music seriously. Don Was could have called any A-list drummer in the world to play these huge shows. I think it takes a lot of trust to and level of comfort to offer the drum chair for these incredible star studded events. Iʼve been really busy juggling all my regular gigs and as soon as I see a break in my schedule thereʼs another call – and I'd like keep the ascending trend.


   I live in New Orleans, but I feel like Iʼm just visiting. I always have my bag packed. Sometimes there are several offers at once. The people I work with keep our relationships family-oriented and they understand that I have to prioritizeʼ. If I canʼt make an Ani show she will do her gig solo. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band allowed me the freedom to take other high profile gig offers without jeopardizing my position.


   On the side of the touring gigs and studio sessions I have also been involved in producing a few drum sample packs. The most recent was the Greasy Groove pack released by the Loop Loft, who has recently partnered with Native Instruments.



FIND OUT MORE HERE

Terence Higgins has previously done an article with Musicians' Corner. READ IT HERE.


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Remembering Didier Lockwood

Musicians' Corner remembers Didier Lockwood

Didier Lockwood


Remembering Didier Lockwood. Monsieur Lockwood did an article with us in 2014, and it didn't take many moments into our talk with him before we realized that we had set up way too little time for the article. A man of great depths! The article became a flicker of something, as we faced the fact that we had in fact missed an opportunity to dive deeper. But the subtext speaks volumes. We always intended on getting back to him, and we especially wanted for someone to do an artist-to-artist interview with him to really get in there, into the conversation on the inside of music. Sadly this never happened, and it is without a doubt one of our biggest regrets here on Musicians' Corner.


A quartet that blows our minds: Didier Lockwood, Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, Dave Weckl




Didier Lockwood, 11 February 1956 – 18 February 2018


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Remembering Warren Zevon


Warren Zevon

Musicians' Corner remembers Warren Zevon






Warren Zevon, January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003

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What IS music? 6 amazing artists break it down!

What IS music?



KAT DYSON


Kat Dyson


- Music is therapy. Music is meditation. Music is an exercise in discipline.

But most of all music is freedom.

Music has the same color as the air. You can close your eyes but you can’t close your ears.

If you play it well,that’s the only thing that matters



JOEY DEFRANCESCO


Joey DeFrancesco


- The world would be a mistake without music. Whatever you’re doing everything is so much easier with earphones. And rhythm is all around us.


ALVIN QUEEN


Alvin Queen


- Music to me is life. Music is spirituality. Music is me telling a story. I believe in a creator and in carrying a message. I believe in reaching out to people with an open heart and mind. Not everybody has that.


We all learn by going back. We don’t listen to our parents until we see what they talk about. If you get lost you go back to the basics and realize that it doesn’t matter how modern a building is, it still needs a foundation or it will fall down.



STEVE COLEMAN


Steve Coleman


- Music is just a sonic expression of me – of us – who are playing it. I usually play in a group, and then music is a sonic expression of us in the group. It’s an expression of what we are interested in, and of what we like and don’t like – cosmically, spiritually politically, nutritionally etc. It’s an expression of what’s going on. Everything that we are – that’s what music is to me. It’s the same way that Charlie Parker would describe it. I have heard that generation express this the same way: Music is an expression of what we see. Someone from Germany doesn’t see the same things as someone from Mississippi. And even with modern technology actually being somewhere physically is going to be a lot different to having international contacts on your phone.


LONNIE LISTON SMITH


Lonnie Liston Smith


- Music is life. People don’t realize that music is the only universal language that we have. Music helps people feel better, and music can heal people.


From Day 1 my life was all music. It was the whole thing, and there was never any doubt about what I would do in life. My father was a famous gospel performer and there were always famous musicians coming to our house. For me that was natural, something I took for granted.



RANDY BRECKER


Randy Brecker



- Music to me is a combination of sound, rhythm, melody and harmony – and I guess we have to add technology too now – organized by a human.


People are programming AI to compose and arrange music in the future. I’m not a fan of that as you can imagine


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Michael Ray remembers Clifford Adams

Michael Ray remembers Clifford Adams

 

Clifford Adams



He was my closest and best friend on the planet. 

We played together in our neighborhood band the VSQs, we played together, with The Stylistics and with Kool & the Gang. He was such an energetic player.

I stay in touch with his sisters. 

I still grief for him.



Mike Ray and Cliff Adams

They don't stand still, do they? Trenton natives Mike and Cliff perform together.





Clifford Adams, October 8, 1952-January 12, 2015





Enjoy the New Jersey heroes!


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The No 1 reason why our times may become the era of musical mediocrity

The No 1 reason why our times may become the era of musical mediocrity

– And what you can do to avoid it!


Roadsigns showing the directions to mediocre and extraordinary

You owe it to yourself to reach your full potential as an artist!


These days there is a lot that is threatening to music. Music is disappearing from the schools. People’s attention spans for anything is allegedly getting shorter, while so much is competing for it. We live in an era of what’s new – and so much of it is about technology and not about the element of soul – which has always been the key to music. Our recent history is getting lost. So much of the brilliant music that brought us to where we are today is increasingly unknown to the generation growing up, as it isn't somewhere on their path. But the biggest threat may come from within, from the patterns and structures that musicians create for themselves. Because after all, the proof is in the pudding, and that's the basis for what people are supposed to be paying attention to and feel as they take in the music of the near future.


In the middle of the development at hand we have all the DIY musicians – people who have decided that music is something they want to do in life, and who therefore spend a lot of their time doing just about everything but their music – stuff that has to get done these days for the acts that do it all themselves – all the things that “go with the territory”.


Through this, musicians run the risk of doing what many parents do to their kids, only, these musicians may be doing it to themselves. 


A child may be utterly brilliant at languages but not very interested in math. If so, what will the parents likely do? So many parents will of course get this child extra help in math. This child might get math lessons after school, and attention will no doubt go to his or her disinterest. In the end the young one is likely to scrape by in math because of the assistance and effort put in, while the brilliance in languages will be left dangling. 


This is a model for mediocrity. Instead of going all-in on the kid’s actual talent and interest the parents are probably shaping a young person who doesn’t excel at anything.


The ambition to know everything is a pitfall. Miles Davis didn’t have to be good at running ad campaigns. Jimi Hendrix didn’t have to know about drawing up contracts. They and almost everyone else that we admire went all-in on their strengths.


In this day and age of DIY musicians the risk is major that way too little time is devoted to the music, because so much time is spent on all the chores around the music. A lot of that looks the same too. So many do “what goes with the territory” in the exact same way as everybody else, which means that nothing much of it stands out and is its own thing that breaks through this noise of the same as all the rest. 


If you are a musician working through this era don’t try to do everything. Don’t be the complete DIY artist. You will spend a lot of time doing things that don’t interest you, things you’re not really good at, and you run the risk of robbing yourself of the time that you want to spend on your music.


Get at team. Get people to work with you who are passionate about the things you are only doing because you feel that you have to. This is the best thing that you can do for your music to reach its peak, and at the end of the day that is what will make you as brilliant as you can be.





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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year greetings 2019 from Musicians' Corner

Human walks through the keyhole to a new year


We want to see musicians succeeed in 2019!

It's what we live for. It's what we do.

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Happy Holidays from us here at Musicians' Corner!

Happy Holiday greetings 2018 from Musicians' Corner

Santa plays piano

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Remembering Cleo Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Cleo Brown


 

  Cleo Brown>

Musicians' Corner remembers Cleo Brown



Cleo Brown, the first female instrumentalist who was honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.






Cleo Brown, December 8, 1909 - April 15, 1995

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Brian Jackson: - Artists can reach their peak through interactions

Musicians' Corner meets Brian Jackson

brianjackson

An article with Brian Jackson


I have a special friendship with music, that is like no other friendship. It keeps surprising me. It keeps comforting me. When I was younger it helped me express myself and articulate things that I would otherwise have not been able to say. I am more articulate now, but music still is an avenue of expression.

In 2019 I am planning on finishing what I started this year. I have been doing most of the work on an autobiographical book, together with my co-writer Seve Chambers. Everything is written now. We have to organize the text, and hopefully it will be published next year. I have also been working on a new album. It contains ideas that I have had in my brain for many years. I need to let them out.


"A Toast to the People" performed by Brian Jackson and Gregory Porter


I have been working with a trio. It’s something I have been taking around. We have done the music of Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron, and told the backstory and related many anecdotes. A lot of people like to hear it, and we have had a lot of fun with it. In ways it has been a precursor to the book and ties into the writing-project. 

I’m the kind of artist who works well in collaborations. I’m inspired by the ideas of others. Artists can reach their peak through interactions. I don’t know that that’s very different with my solo-projects. I’m still working with musicians… We still feed off each other.


 

Brian Jackson



I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician when I was taking music lessons for my music teacher Mrs. Ross. She told me that it was a good idea to learn to play instruments, because I could get jobs and get an income that way. So I took her advice and joined three bands!

New York is home. It is also a creative Mecca and still a place where creatives come to prove themselves. There is always so much happening, and everything is available. You can witness it. You can always be sure that you are close to the cutting edge. It’s not an absolute rule that artists need to be in metropolitan areas to develop to their fullest, but being in a large urban center gives you access to more people and the chance to connect with more people. 


Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson "Bridges" (1977)



FIND OUT MORE HERE


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And the winners are...

Presenting the winners in Musicians' Corner's 5 year competition



We are happy to present the 5 winners of the Musicians' Corner 5 year Quiz!


Congratulations to Larry T, Harold F, Anna A, Alina P and Renée Z for completing the challenge and for taking home a gift card each!


Musicians' Corner 5 years

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MUSICIANS’ CORNER 5 YEARS!!! QUIZ TIME!


Musicians' Corner 5 years



It has been 5 years since Musicians’ Corner, Musicians On Music, was launched. Of course you're welcome to the party... 

To celebrate we give our users a 5 fold challenge! We pull 5 lucky winners out of a hat from those of you who complete the challenge correctly and give away 5 gift cards from Ticketmaster worth $ 50 a piece. Live is what counts! 

So go grab a snack and enjoy searching https://www.musicians-corner.net/ - where the info on music goes wide and deep - for the correct answers to our challenge. 



1. Find 5 artists born in the 50s who have contributed articles to Musicians’ Corner

2. Name 5 artists who contributed articles this year

3. List 5 countries represented on the platform, through artists from these countries contributing articles

4. List your 5 favorite artists remembered in the “Quote”-section, and tell us in one sentence for each one why you list them

5. Give us the 5 letters of the supervising editor and founder’s first name


SEND YOUR ANSWERS TO answers@musicians-corner.net OR TO OUR MESSAGE INBOX ON FACEBOOK BY NOVEMBER 10TH AT THE LATEST! DO NOT GIVE YOUR ANSWERS HERE…  

We will announce the winners November 15th.


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Remembering Clifford Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Clifford Brown


Clifford Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Clifford Brown


Max Roach talks vividly about Clifford Brown



Clifford Brown, October 30, 1930-June 26, 1956 

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,

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Michael Ray: - You need to nurture the energy

Musicians' Corner meets Michael Ray


 

Laranah Phipps-Ray and Michael Ray

An article with Michael Ray.  In this photo we see The Cosmic Krewe: Laranah Phipps-Ray and Michael Ray



There is no way that you can walk upon this Earth without music. You can’t communicate without music. People stay strong through music. Sometimes it’s the world against them. But music remains true.


The Cosmic Krewe have a new single out, which was recorded in Santiago. It contains highlights from two performances. We have been going for quite some time, and there were even two versions for a while. I also just did a recording with the Sun Ra Arkestra and Bono.


The Cosmic Krewe in action


It’s always very busy for me. I work with Kool & The Gang, and with them it’s pretty much the same show in the same way all the time. I work with the Arkestra, and with them there is no telling what’s going to happen during a performance - and it’s what comes after five to twelve hours of rehearsal.



Kool & The Gang at B.B. King's


It’s hard to be involved in as many things as I am, but it’s fun to be on the road. I stay in shape. I have been in most places, so there is no point in going out much. I stick to doing what I’m doing, and when I go on vacation I do nothing at all.


Some people are so creative and they don’t even know it. They hum where they go and can’t hear it themselves. You need to be in tune with the planet, and nurture that energy. The world can be like a long, plastic hallway. You need to stay true to yourself.



U2 with Sun Ra Arkestra at the Apollo




Michael Ray is presented thus by his partner in music and life, artist Laranah Phipps-Ray: - Michael is so well respected even in the most remote places. They love him and they might not speak the same language. He is very hard-working, very detailed, very technical, and keeps the excitement of a beginner. I am always inspired by him. He is fast-moving, energetic and exhausting - and we are both eclectic, and this keeps us drawn to each other.



FIND OUT MORE HERE


FIND COSMIC KREWE'S NEW SINGLE HERE


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The art of a likeable personality

Musicians' Corner breaks down what a likeable personality can mean to a career

 

Musicians' Corner's logo



Here at Musicians’ Corner there are several decades' worth of music business insight and journalistic experience of music articles present, behind the scenes. And one thing is clear as day after meeting performers, at every possible juncture in their careers, for that long: It is hazardous for the development of an artist’s career if it is a challenge to check the box for ‘He is a likeable person” (expressed in the British English that we speak here).

The truth is that so many put in the hours. So many have the talent. So many are just the right artist for the spot.

And so many people that a performer comes across in his career, and is dependent upon for his progress, also put in the hours. The question of who reaches his full potential career-wise may be more of a question of who is able to inspire people to put in the extra time. Who among the talented performers can make a multitude of people go the extra mile? That extra time, that extra mile, put in by many, is so often the difference. The artist who inspires this in people is an artist ahead of the game. The artist who doesn’t may one day see that nobody’s around in all of the town when someone’s down… Right here let’s give a mention to all the family members of artists, who do put in the time and the extra hours too, so much of the time, and keep such a lot of music up and running through their tireless efforts for their artist family member. This is a large and largely unsung group of people who deserve accolade. These days the art of inspiring folks also is very much a question of who can make enough many people out there reach past the music available for free online, usually with horrible sound quality, for their credit card and the full listening experience. 

We are not talking about a ‘social media kind of nice’. The truth is that we all see through it…

We are talking about a deep-going likeable disposition being present one way or the other.


A creature among the stars

On a psychological level people tend to like individuals who seem to be like themselves, and characters they would like to be. The image machine was always well aware of both of course. This is why we have seen the multi-gazillionaire artist, who rents a squadron of luxury villas everywhere he goes on tour to put up all his staff and private chefs, still sport a pair of ill-fitting jeans too, when he has been off to meet his audience. It has been looking like he is basically only on tour when he is off the shift at the factory, still. He is just like them! The goodness knows that the ‘wanna be like a rockstar” thematics choked on their own repetitiousness long ago. Divas may need to have the dirty little secret that they are really easy-going to work with, or the funding and knowthyself to hire people who can make things run smoothly, for them. 


The people who meet the artist in a work context are a very large group over time in a career, and they are important all the way. Getting through the door in music can be hard, and being chucked out from this game is something that can happen easily, if noted or not by the artist, or denied for years and years. And then it is the reaching of the full potential that doesn’t scrape by where success was possible, and the working smart instead of too hard all the time running the risk of burn-out. Of course many of the people who the artist meets will evaluate the artist strictly from a business point of view. Business has few feelings and doesn’t run on emotion. But there too a likeable personality is in the material, in the known and subconscious. It may be part of the picture evaluating you from a work- and business perspective. Will people like you? – May be the question, there as it is here. And it doesn’t really matter who and where anybody is – they would rather be working with someone they enjoy meeting than with someone they would rather avoid! And – burning the midnight oil at work is going to seem so different while done for one than for the other. After some time it will start to show. After a few thousand people that the artist ran into on a professional basis the result is going to be in. There for example will be another newspaper article or there won’t be. And music fans might ask questions like “Why is so and so not more of a household name? He is one of the best!” and “Where did so and so go?” in many, many – many cases.

If you don’t happen to have chosen a line of work where your personality matters you can behave more however you like, be much more of a ‘rockstar’ in that cliché sense, than someone whose entire success or failure depends on what people think of him. What people actually think of him, beyond some pleasantries spoken and outside of checking a clip on YouTube for a few seconds.

It is said that what we say verbally makes up about ten percent of people’s impression of us. How much singing grabs our attention, in regards to the rest that we pick up of a person, is more unclear, but the truth is that music also is part of a multitude of things that we pick up. 


Working on the personality seems important for an artist. Certainly not as important as working on the music or practicing. Music shouldn’t be a congeniality contest, but about the music. Let us in the wings here at Musicians’ Corner clearly state that we wouldn’t want to be without the music of some of the ‘less merry’ artists that we have come across – way back in time – of course – before this platform was even started! But you need/ed to bring something truly special musically to be in that category, or have the ability to really sell, for people to put up with you looking for their paycheck. And in today’s climate it’s just not so much of a viable concept for accomplishment as the market has gotten so much smaller, and it’s just not possible to sell as many products as it used to be. Working on personal growth deserves a spot on the list of priorities for the performers who want to have a smooth work-life on that market. 


A creature among the stars

Few internal arguments benefitted music acts, and especially not when brought to the general public’s attention. People immediately associate anything negative, uttered by an individual, with the individual who mentions it. He can actually be talking about something that doesn’t even have anything to do with him, simply reference something going on with other people perhaps, and a tad of this will rub off on him in the minds of the people who catch it. It is how the human mind works. We can say ‘Don’t shoot the messenger” however much we like. If the message is somehow bad it reflects on the current situation. Consequently talking bad about people is a bad idea.


If someone doesn’t have much of a pleasant disposition, being part of an act where someone else does may be the difference between a career succeeding and a career tanking. They can tag along with this other person’s likeability. And people who come across them after twenty years in the business may be utterly surprised at how stuck up they may still be, as if their success was not only entirely their achievement, but even something to for some reason be rude to people because of…which may be their take on their success, missing that personality that they don’t have… when in fact it has come together for them because of someone else’s abilities in this department. These may really be humans who never grew or learnt. Many others learn – something – the hard way, possibly not able to see what it was that caused their careers to not get to where they was supposed to go, or tank altogether. They did have the music. They did have the voice. They brought the show. They came prepared. They were on time. They met their obligations. They cut the deals. They made the effort. But somehow, somehow things just didn’t quite happen the way they were supposed to.


When you did music interviews for decades a lot is explained and has been clarified over the years, and who made it through and who did not isn’t so much of a mystery at times. You met a lot of artists, and who was who and who made it where is pretty self-evident some of the time.


We might like to think it’s LUCK. That is so easy to blame. If we can blame luck or the lack thereof there is nothing further we could DO. There was nothing more we could have done. Speaking of luck is related to the mentioning of the people referred to as ‘they’. That is often an unspecified group of persons who reportedly prevented something or other from happening. ‘They’ wouldn’t let me! ‘They’ did this and that, and luck didn’t come my way! But success is so frequently preparedness meeting opportunity. The ones who keep working on both are those most likely to have longstanding careers flowing where they should.


So – the best advice that we can give budding artists here is: Work on the personal growth TOO. Do what it takes. Learn how to show people who do things for you appreciation. Respect people's time. Understand that everybody has their story and stuff to deal with. On a larger scale pick a lane to go, and just be hella nice if you can muster that. If you feel that you can’t right now be savvy enough to work on that and iron out those things within that makes that difficult. It’s straight-up professionalism if you do it for no other reason, and it is particularly relevant for how it is all going to pan out for you. This may be exceptionally difficult at times, because people may not be nice to you always exactly. This is a rough business and there are for certain some very bad eggs about. We also live in times when music fans have extreme expectations on artists, and put it to social media anytime they for example didn’t get to take a photo of an artist they ran into. Being a likeable person never equated being a doormat, but it often signifies an individual who doesn’t allow for the influence of others to lower their own behavioral standards. Being tough but stylish and fair is one thing, being in a foul mood because you allowed for mean, dishonest or demanding people to push you there is another. You keep your wits about you, ink what needs to be put down on paper well, and kill as many as you can with kindness, however they behave at that, because that is in your best interests, and on a deeper level it will incidentally make you feel better too, and what goes around – within you – will come around – within – to genuinely benefit you.


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