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Archive for the ‘What’s at Stake’ Category

CHARLIE HADEN (August 6, 1937 – July 11, 2014) — in memoriam

Friday, July 18th, 2014


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Click to listen

“Thanks to bassist-composer Charles Mingus, who brought me to New York’s Five Spot, I got to hear the legendary Ornette Coleman Quartet upclose and face-to-face in the summer of 1960. Watching and listening to Charlie Haden interpolate folk, country and hillbilly songs into his modal-sounding bass solos, I just sat grinning. The whole night shone. “Squealing like mosquitoes” was how some New Yorker ‘Talk of the Town’ commentator had waggishly described and dismissed Ornette’s raw band. Then and there, I understood. Nothing would ever be the same. After his Liberation Music Orchestra, it was Charlie Haden’s Quartet West band with saxophonist Ernie Watts that knocked me all the way out. Haden played from the bottom of his heart. He rooted for the underdog. He told and played truth as he heard, saw and lived it.”  — Al Young


(L-R) Trumpeter Don Cherry, drummer Billy Higgins, saxophonist-leader Ornette Coleman, bassist Charlie Haden in 1960

Ornette Quartet 1959 Courtesy Atlantic Records
Listen to Haden quote ‘Old Joe Clark’ on Ornette’s ‘Ramblin”


Cover of Ornette Coleman Quartet’s Change of the Century (1960)


© Rafa Rivas/Getty Images


Charlie Hayden & Daughters © Ruth Fremson/NY Times

Charlie Haden with his triplet daughters Tanya, Rachel and Petra — along with guitarist Bryan Sutton — perform the  folk and country songs of Haden’s heartland childhood at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park in 2008. ||| Click on photo to read Nate Chinen’s NYTimes piece, ‘He Was Country Before He Was Cool.’


Charlie Haden, Influential Jazz Bassist, Is Dead at 76 |
Nate Chinen,, July 11, 2014

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Remembering bassist Charlie Haden

Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra
(59-minutes, ‘live’ performance, France)

 A Charlie Haden discography


BOBBY WOMACK (March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014) | in memoriam

Sunday, June 29th, 2014


“I was used to basically working by myself, answering to myself,” Womack explained, and this independent streak made him both successful and destructive in equal measure. In the early 1970’s, Womack had a creative hot streak – the title track to the Womack-penned 1970 blaxploitation movie soundtrack Across 110th Street ranks among his finest work; his slow-grooving crossover hits during this period included ‘That’s The Way I Feel About Cha’ and ‘Woman’s Gotta Have It.”’
–Womack to TIME, days before his death


open quotes
She’s tellin’ me about the things that her girlfriend’s got

What she ain’t got and she wants me to go out and get ‘em
xxxfor her

But, girl, I can’t be in two places at one time
— ‘If You Think You’re Lonely Now’;
© Bobby Womack, Patrick Moten, Sandra Sully
© 2013 Danny E. Martindale / Getty Images  | Bobby Womack at the July 5, 2013 Roskilde Festival, Denmark

Bobby Womack’s Greatest Hits (Billboard)

15 Photos from Bobby Womack’s Life

38px-Speaker_Icon.svgACROSS 110th STREET — the featured Bobby Womack soundtrack
vidcamera003‘ACROSS 110th STREET’
— the full movie


HORACE SILVER | September 2, 1928 – June 18, 2014 | in memoriam

Thursday, June 19th, 2014


Horace Himself on Horace Silver

Courtesy Blue Note Records

Legendary jazz pianist, composer-arranger and poet-sculptor of funky hard bop, dies at age 85


Horace Silver was brilliant. A populist musician-performer. he loved and respected the audience he’d helped build for an earthy style of bebop deeply rooted in jazz’s blues and gospel origins. With drummer Art Blakey, Silver co-founded the conquering Jazz Messengers. I’m old enough to remember seeing his name listed as Stan Getz’s pianist on 78- and 45-rpm discs on the Royal Roost label when, at age 12, I began to collect records in earnest. I remember, too, the time I called to speak to him when Phil McKellar, a radio DJ at CKLW — a Canadian station in Windsor, Ontario, across the river from Detroit — was interviewing Silver right after Six Pieces of Silver, his first Blue Note album, came out.

A tuba player in Detroit’s Central High band, I was just beginning to play trumpet. In a live broadcast Horace asked: “Al, do you play?”

“Yes,” I said.



“Oh, yeah, all right! Come on down to the club, man — and bring your horn.”

I almost died. I’d just sarted taking lessons. By the time he reached his late teens, Horace Silver had moved  from Connecticut to New York to play professionally.

Consider the titles of some of his classics: “Señor Blues,” “Opus de Funk,” “Quicksilver,” “The Preacher,” “Filthy McNasty ,” “Sister Sadie,” “Doodlin’,” “Opus de Funk,” “Nica’s Dream,” “Strollin,’” ‘The Tokyo Blues” “The Bagdhad Blues,” “Psychedelic Sally,” and “Song for My Father.”

Is there a price we can place on the treasury of pleasure Horace Silver has left to us?

– Al Young



‘Horace Silver, 85, Master of Earthy Jazz, Is Dead’ | Peter Keepnews, | January 18, 2014

Horace Silver, a pianist, composer and bandleader who was one of the most popular and influential jazz musicians of the 1950s and ’60s, died on Wednesday at his home in New Rochelle, N.Y. He was 85.

His death was announced by Blue Note Records, the company for which he recorded from 1952 to 1979.

After a high-profile apprenticeship with some of the biggest names in jazz, Mr. Silver began leading his own group in the mid-1950s and quickly became a big name himself, celebrated for his clever compositions and his infectious, bluesy playing. At a time when the refined, quiet and, to some, bloodless style known as cool jazz was all the rage, he was hailed as a leader of the back-to-basics movement that came to be called hard bop.
Read more



Prolific composer and master jazz pianist Horace Silver dies at 85

By John Andrews
24 June 2014

Jazz emerged in the 1920s to the clarion call of Louis Armstrong’s trumpet, whose musical ideas dominated until the “young Turks” of the 1940s, led by alto saxophonist Charlie Parker, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Bud Powell, broadened the harmonic and rhythmic vocabulary of jazz, creating the new musical language of bebop.

Much as the conventions of early jazz were consolidated, polished and expanded by the swing bands of the 1930s—the only period when jazz dominated popular music in the US—so the innovations of modern jazz were explored and developed into sundry forms during the 1950s, the aesthetically most diverse and richest decade in jazz history.
Read more


Jazz Profiles
from NPR

Horace Silver
Produced by Miyoshi Smith

Horace Silver
Read and listen



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38px-Speaker_Icon.svg1983 HORACE SILVER INTERVIEW 
Three Audio Clips 

Canadian Jazz Archive Online | FM 91 (Toronto)

Song_for_My_Father_(Horace_Silver_album_-_cover_art) © Blue Note Records

YouTube icon wee38px-Speaker_Icon.svg Listen to “Song for My Father,”(Canção para Meu Pai) just one of Horace Silver’s celebrated and much-played works.

npr logo38px-Speaker_Icon.svg Seasoned jazz lovers A.B. Spellman and Murray Horowitz revisit Horace Silver’s music to discuss in depth his deathless “Song for My Father.”


Jazz Messengers Nica;s Dream

“Nica’s Dream”

Horace Silver, composer and pianist; Donald Byrd, trumpet, Hank Mobley, tenor saxophone; Doug Watkins, bass; Art Blakey, drums


© Columbia Records
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The Official Website
of Horace Silver




 © Francis Wolff | Mosaic Images

A Horace Silver Discography



RUBY DEE (October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014) | In Memoriam

Thursday, June 12th, 2014


“Ruby Dee was a phenomenally rare artist and a jewel to our nation and community. I was privileged to work on several civil rights cases with her and her husband Ossie Davis. She was as committed to social justice as she was to the screen and stage. She will be greatly missed. “
— The Rev. Al Sharpton

“I’m crushed by this bad news and I know Ruby has already been embraced in a warm, loving hug from her life partner of 57 years — Mr. Ossie Davis. It has been one of my great blessings in life to work with two of the finest artists and activists — Ruby and Ossie.” 
— Spike Lee

Courtesy Photo (Ruby Dee at Drama Desk Awards)

“All these sapphires, rubies and pearls!”
– Al Young


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“The illustrious African American stage and screen actress, writer and social activist Ruby Dee died Wednesday at her home in New Rochelle, a suburb of New York City, at the age of 91. Dee, married to fellow actor Ossie Davis for more than half a century, is still perhaps best known for stage performances in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1959), about a working class family in Chicago, and Davis’ Purlie Victorious (1961), as well as the screen version of the former released in 1961 | Read David Walsh’s complete World Socialist Web Site tribute


“Stage and screen legend Ruby Dee, who personified grace, grit and progress at a time when African-American women were given little space in movies and on stage, died Wednesday in New Rochelle, N.Y. She was 91 | Read the complete NY Daily News obituary


Ruby Dee@YouTube
button camA feast of Ruby Dee interview clips at YouTube


Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee in 2004

“I met Ossie Davis at the First Negro Writers Conference in 1964 at Asilomar near Monterey, CA. He told us: ‘The first thing I did after I married Ruby was to get her off of Amos ‘n’ Andy.’”
– Al Young


Beautiful Black Women| the 1968 retro doo-wop classic with Amiri Baraka and the Spirit House Movers



Nat Cole & Ruby Dee 1957 St Louis Woman button camClick image to watch

Nat King Cole and Ruby Dee in a still from the rarely revisited St. Louis Woman (1958), in which Pearl Bailey starred, too.


 The official Ossie Davis/Ruby Dee website


MAYA ANGELOU (April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014) | In Memoriam

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

MAYA Open Mic_update

Click Update to watch the June 7, 2014 Maya Angelou Memorial Service at Wake Forest University


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Redmond Maya Oprah
Poets Eugene Redmond and Maya Angelou with the omnipresent Oprah
(Maya’s ‘Ascension’)



“May you rest in peace, Dear Maya, you who supported my mission and work; you who brightened and deepened the dark, shallow outlook befallen us.”
– Al Young

ANGELOU-master180I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings cvr Clickable

Maya Angelou in 1969, the year of her landmark memoir.
Photo: Chester Higgins, Jr.

“I’ll probably be writing when the Lord says, ‘Maya, Maya Angelou, it’s time,’” Angelou told TIME in 2013


“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
– Maya Angelou


Wednesday, May 28, 2014


Dr. Maya Angelou passed quietly in her home before 8:00 a.m. EST. Her family is extremely grateful that her ascension was not belabored by a loss of acuity or comprehension. She lived a life as a teacher, activist, artist and human being. She was a warrior for equality, tolerance and peace. The family is extremely appreciative of the time we had with her and we know that she is looking down upon us with love.

Guy B. Johnson


1928-2014: Maya Angelou, writer, performer and participant in the civil rights movement

By Isaac Finn and Sandy English
18 June 2014
© World Socialist Web Site

Margalit Fox: “Maya Angelou, Lyrical Witness of the Jim Crow South, Dies at 86″ |, May 28, 2014


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button cam10 Questions with Maya Angelou” (Belinda Luscombe, editor-at-large, Time, Inc), April 8, 2013 | Video




Maya Quote KJLH Photo
Courtesy of Radio-Free 102.3 KJLH, Los Angeles


Angelou Engraved SF

Photo: Dan I. Slobin

The Maya Angelou plaque in Jack Kerouac Alley between City Lights Bookstore and Vesuvio’s in San Francisco’s North Beach


Dave Chapelle Maya Angelou

YouTube icon weeDave Chapelle | Maya Angelou ICONOCLASTS