Al Young title

Archive for the ‘What’s at Stake’ Category


Tuesday, September 9th, 2014


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

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They are Team Cable

Cable companies are famous for high prices and poor service. Several rank as the most hated companies in America. Now, they’re attacking the Internet–their one competitor and our only refuge–with plans to charge websites arbitrary fees and slow (to a crawl) any sites that won’t pay up. If they win, the Internet dies.

We’re in the battle for the net.

Are you in?

How to participate

On September 10th, sites across the web will display an alert with a symbolic “loading” symbol (the proverbial “spinning wheel of death”) and promote a call to action for users to push comments to the FCC, Congress, and the White House. Note: none of these tools actually slow your site down; they tell your visitors about the issue and ask them to contact lawmakers.

Be creative! Grab peoples’ attention with a loading symbol, and link to tools for emailing and calling lawmakers (e.g. Whatever you decide, tell us you’re participating, announce it publicly, and commit to getting *one* person or company with a *bigger* reach than you to join in as well. Got a question? Contact us.

Read more and join


ROBIN WILLIAMS (July 21, 1951 – August 11, 2014) in memoriam

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014


Robin Williams As American Flag

Robin Williams as the American Flag (1982)

‘Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons’
– ||| August 12, 2014

Robin Wms by Scott Wintrow Getty Images

© Scott Wintrow/Getty Images

“In the slow flow of those days, the early 1970s, I and my wife Arl not so much worked as played at staying out beyond popular opinion. When she was pregnant with Michael, she and I liked to ease into North Beach and go catch The Committee, which by then had grown so essential to its communities that they could afford their own storefront venue. Sometimes Arl would laugh so hard — memorably during The Committee’s improvisations based on audience  pormpts — that the baby inside her would kick back. After our son was born, we still got around. The San Francisco shopping plaza known as Ghirardelli Square became such a marketing nerve-center that street artists took to hawking and performing there. That’s where we first caught Robin Williams, whose name columnist Herb Caen ha droppd, long before the Mork and Mindy took wing. In the sweetness of an era in which just about anything comedic went, a time when even top mimes headlined, Williams’ bittersweet wildness took the cake. His presence was multidimensional; we saw, heard and felt him. We knew he was something else. What we couldn’t have guessed is how deeply the world hungers always for that precious Something Else. We’ve lost a consummate character actor and brilliant performance artist.” – Al Young

Mork & Mindy’ at

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“I interviewed him on the set of Mork and Mindy, for a piece I was writing about Garry Marshall for New York Magazine (the editor got fired and it never got published). We met him again, David Dozer and I, at the wedding of a comedienne friend. I remember being crammed onto a balcony next to him and him muttering, ‘How long do you think this is going to last?’ And we met him again when he and Billy Crystal and Whoopi were rehearsing the first Comic Relief. He always seemed a sweetie.” Janet Coleman

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Dave Zirin

Robin Williams and a Moment of Magic

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Peter Coyote


Robin and I were friends. Not intimate, because he was very shy when he was not performing. Still, I spent many birthdays and holidays at his home with Marsha and the children, and he showed up at my 70th birthday to say “Hello” and wound up mesmerizing my relatives with a fifteen minute set that pulverized the audience. When I heard that he had died, I put my own sorrow aside for a later time. I’m a Zen Buddhist priest and my vows instruct me to try to help others. So this little letter is meant in that spirit.

Coyote & Robin
© 2014 Peter Coyote

Normally when you are gifted with a huge talent of some kind, it’s like having a magnificent bicep. People will say, “Wow, that’s fantastic” and they tell you, truthfully, that it can change your life, take you to unimaginable realms. It can and often does. The Zen perspective is a little different. We might say, “Well, that’s a great bicep, you don’t have to do anything to it. Let’s work at bringing the rest of your body up to that level.”

Robin’s gift could be likened to fastest thoroughbred race-horse on earth. It had unbeatable endurance, nimbleness, and a huge heart. However, it had never been fully trained …

Read More

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Jack Foley


(half way through the year)

Which half of the horse are you?

            The jockey

Front or back?

            Whose name was Little Johnny Jones

Do you stick to the past like glue

            Was accused of throwing the race

Or are you the leader of the pack?

            Of course this was untrue

Sometimes I ask, What’s new?

            He was a Yankee

As I step out of the sack

            And his blood was blue

Are you red? Are you blue?

            Father fought in the “Spanish War”

Are you whole or halfway through?

            Mother was a Yankee too

Are you stern or tempt-y?

            And his name was really

Half full? Half empty?


The year is halfway up the flue

            And he danced


            And he danced

Which half which half which half

            And he danced—

Which half of the horse are you?





the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

dear one,

the tigers of the sun are perched on their tails

Time has passed,

the night clear,

a window opens on my head.




An automobile crash in which no one is hurt except yourself

A gun to the temple (remember to squeeze the trigger!)

The “Neptune Society.” Why these thoughts?

Relief—the movement of life

carries so much, and you must carry it with you.

The daily tasks—life’s messengers—now burdensome.

But sleep, minus the consciousness of sleep.

(Voices in your head)


And without murdering everyone around you first.





For whom?

For oneself?




for Robin Williams

© 2014 Jack Foley

 “I should mention that the first two-thirds of the poem were written for Silver Birch Press’s call for half-year poems. Silver Birch Press is publishing the poem in that form. The last section and the dedication to Robin Williams came later. That won’t appear in the Silver Birch Press collection. The ‘George,’ incidentally, is George M. Cohan; the play, Little Johnny Jones, his first hit.”
— Jack Foley



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