March 6, 2012 |
It's lunchtime in East Mount Airy, and pianist Orrin Evans is working on a killer salad complete with boiled eggs, nuts, and colorful produce - a garden bounty. Healthy eating keeps his blood pressure down, Evans says. So I'm guessing I'm not helping much when I bring up Evans' life's work, the African American classical music he is passionate about - jazz. See, these days, just uttering the word jazz is bound to get some people's pressure up. That's because Evans, 36, along with a small group of multiracial, multigenerational artists led by New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton, want to deep-six jazz - the name, not the art form - and resurrect it as Black American Music (BAM)
January 20, 2012
Johnny Otis, 90, "godfather of rhythm and blues" who wrote and recorded the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" and for decades evangelized black music to white audiences as a bandleader and radio host, died Tuesday in Altadena, Calif. Mr. Otis, who was white, was born John Veliotes to Greek immigrants and grew up in a black section of Berkeley, where he said he identified far more with black culture. He was leading his own band in 1945 when he scored his first big hit, "Harlem Nocturne.
January 20, 2012 |
LOS ANGELES - Johnny Otis, the "godfather of rhythm and blues" who wrote and recorded the R&B classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" and for decades evangelized black music to white audiences as a bandleader and radio host, has died. He was 90. Otis, who had been in poor health for several years, died Tuesday at his home in the Los Angeles foothill suburb of Altadena, said his manager, Terry Gould. Otis, who was white, was born John Veliotes to Greek immigrants and grew up in a black section of Berkeley, where he said he identified far more with black culture than his own. As a teenager, he changed his name because he thought Johnny Otis sounded more black.
January 12, 2012 |
When David Bryan phones from a stage in Houston, the Bon Jovi keyboardist isn't calling to discuss his band's tour updates or studio news. He's not giving love a bad name. He's not talking about Slippery When Wet , Richie Sambora, or other topics typically Bon Jovi. The New Jersey native who started playing with Jon Bon Jovi when the singer still used his given name "John Bongiovi" (Bryan's real last name is Rashbaum) is in the Lone Star State, readying a theatrical production of The Toxic Avenger , his second musical stage pairing with playwright/novelist Joe DiPietro.
April 15, 2011 |
LOS ANGELES - The founder of Dot Records, who helped introduce black rhythm-and-blues to white audiences in the early rock era, has died in California. Randy Wood was 94. His son, John, told the Los Angeles Times that Wood died on Saturday at his La Jolla home from injuries he suffered in a fall. Dot Records grew out of a record shop that Wood owned in Tennessee. In the 1950s, when black music couldn't get radio play, Wood made white covers of songs by Fats Domino and other musicians whose "race records" were hits in the black community but largely unknown to whites.
September 8, 2010 |
BACK in the 1960s, Philadelphia had many impromptu singing groups, kids who would cut school and harmonize on the corners, at El stations and anywhere else they could find an audience. One of the groups was started on the streets of Kensington by youngsters who cut class at Edison High School and got together to sing R&B, doo-wop, whatever moved them. Jerry Utter was just 12 when he started harmonizing with the older kids who started the group. The boys took the name Destinations and for the next 40-some years, through the ups and downs of the music business, constant changes in personnel, hope and discouragement, they persisted.
May 12, 2007 |
In honor of the greatest woman who has ever lived - that means you, Jane DeLuca - I hereby submit this list of my five favorite Mother's Day songs. The Intruders are the no-brainer, but after, that the competition was steep. So with apologies to Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not to Come," Kanye West's "Hey Mama," and the Rolling Stones' "Mother's Little Helper," let the mother-loving music begin. "I'll Always Love My Mama," The Intruders. The greatest of all mother-loving songs, from the Philadelphia soul group fronted by Sam "Little Sonny" Brown.
November 20, 2006 |
One day, maybe 20 years ago, I ran into Eddie Levert, a charter member of the legendary O'Jays, one of the greats, a singer of thunderous power. Back then, his son Gerald was just starting out as a singer. "You better look out," I told Ed. "He's gaining on you. " "Aw, don't tell that boy that," growled Eddie. "It'll go to his head. " For all his feigned indignation, he couldn't hide his pride. You saw it in him whenever they performed together, the son mimicking dance steps he grew up watching from backstage, or egging the father on with vocal tricks straight from the old man's own playbook.
December 16, 2005 |
When he plays the House of Blues on Saturday night, Dion will be focusing on the hits that gave him his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame credentials, from the doo-wop of "I Wonder Why" with the Belmonts to the swaggering rock of "The Wanderer" and the folk-oriented meditation of "Abraham, Martin and John. " You can get an idea of the fun, freewheeling nature of the show - and why Bruce Springsteen once said Dion would fit in both the Rat Pack and the E Street Band - by listening to this year's Live New York City, which chronicles the Bronx bomber's triumphant 1987 homecoming.
July 6, 2005 |
Like many of his fans, I cried when I learned of Luther Vandross' passing on Friday. I cried because that distinctive voice, an unparalleled instrument of sensuous soul, is silenced - forever. "I was listening to his music on the way over here," said Alicia Keys, when asked about her J Records labelmate at the Live 8 concert Saturday, "and it put me in this space. . . . " She didn't have to elaborate. Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff changed rhythm-and-blues in the late '70s and '80s by adding lush orchestrations and sophisticated arrangements that frolicked on top of the groove.