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.
Jacquet originally played his famous solo on the Hampton Orchestra's recording. During his career he was in Cab Calloway's Orchestra and the Count Basie Orchestra, and also had a smaller band with Charles Mingus and his own brother, Russell.
Illinois Jacquet flew home in 2004.
Jean-Baptiste "Illinois" Jacquet (October 30, 1922 – July 22, 2004)
A might that was to be taken seriously, that was Tennessee native Isaac Hayes, raised by his grandparents in a sharecropper family. One of the creative forces behind Stax Records, the co-writer of timeless classics such as "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Coming" with David Porter, the composer of "Theme for Shaft" - for which he won an Oscar, a talented and unique performer and recording artist, and a successful actor on top of all the rest - Isaac Hayes achieved more in his professional life - in several artistic fields - than most could ever envision for themselves. We remember Hayes on his birthday, and wish that we could take a drive on the Isaac Hayes Memorial Highway in honor of the day.
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.
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...
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...
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
Born on The Isle of Man in The UK, brothers Maurice and Robin later made the move to Australia with the Gibb family. Forming the successful trio The Bee Gees with their older sibbling Barry, they would go on to achieving chart toppers and careers with longevity in the music industry.
Remembering these musical twins on their heavenly birthday with a fan-made video:
MAURICE GIBB & ROBIN GIBB, 22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003 & 22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012
Gospel artist Kirk Franklin was censored - twice - by TBN (the Trinity Broadcasting Network) as he was accepting awards for his work. He brings attention to this in a video clip.
We here at Musicians' Corner regard it as serious when artists are censored, and in this case we find it particularly sad with regards to what Franklin brought up in his acceptance speeches. We hope that this was an isolated occurence, and that media outlets take what happened here as a springboard to putting principles in place that prevent censorship of this nature this from being repeated.
We encourage you to listen to and spread what Kirk Franklin has to say about his experience, and to stand by artists if and where they are being silenced.
Musicians' Corner remembers the beautiful and talented Natasja Saad (Dou T, Little T), the Danish native with a Sudanese background, whose promising career and young life was cut short by a car accident in 2007.
Here she is performing live hours before her passing
The Woodstock Festival took place on a dairy farm in Bethel the 15th through 17th of August 1969. And while many attended the event many were also stuck in traffic and never made it there for trying... The queue on the highway stretched all the way to New York! So that means that many out there recall what they did at this time fifty years ago, and that this was: being stuck in a car!
The very word "Woodstock" still means something so clear to people, and so naturally to people who weren't even born at this time too. It needs no explanation. If you say "Woodstock" you're done talking. People got you.
The word conjures up the immortal sounds of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner. A classic moment in American history and the history of music.
Herb Reed of The Platters' fame, joined this successful singing group in the early 50's, to sing on hundreds of recordings with them, and tour consistently until the time of his passing. He was the last surviving member of the early line-ups of this group.
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 - all native Detroiters. The group was formed in the 60s and a trillion gazillion things happened since. And two weeks ago we had the heavy - heavy - news that Willie Ford has transitioned, and as these words are written this great contributor to music is being returned home.
Willie Ford's unique bass voice and stellar capabilities as a dancer is a combo that has made Willie Ford a true one-of-a-kind artistic presence for five decades in entertainment. He has projected the poise of someone who enjoys executing his profession to perfection on stage. He certainly is the very illustration of the gift of musical superbness that we know as The Dramatics. He was there for the creation of and massive break-through of this group, which is what most people associate with The Dramatics, and which was also the pinnacle of their chart success - and he was there for the full journey through all its twists and turns.
Willie Ford leaves a legacy of happiness to those hundreds of millions of lives that were and will be touched by what he gave of himself to the world. He is forever one of the personalities who make Detroiters extra proud to be Detroiters, and equally one of the legends who represent what music became at the very height of what has been the golden era of recorded music.
We so regret that we didn't get to hear more of him. We will always miss the solo album, and what it could have been. We can only sense what it could have been, and that's something else.
The end... Something feeling like the dignified & matured thing this legacy and five part harmony five lead singers' concept deserved. And you just look at that young crowd loving every second. Well done!
Thank you so much, Willie Ford, for what you have done for music, and enjoy that Heaven that loves to have you.
Small Note: Willie Ford recorded a song, titled ''Lie To You'', which is currently in the 'vault' of bassist Tony Green. Willie Ford sings straight through this cut. Supposedly this song belongs to the people who commissioned and paid for it, and it shouldn't be lost to the world.
(((Even smaller note that really doesn't belong here: To those of you who come to this page from a soul music site where it's linked - we have tried to change the somewhat faulty Dramatics' ''facts'' on that page to no avail. We managed to change ONE thing and are since thanked on that page whatever we tried to get across and even if we asked to be removed... Please check the intel presented to you in life...)))
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.
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