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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Legendary Betty Davis




Biographyby

A wildly flamboyant funk diva with few equals even three decades after her debut, Betty Davis combined the gritty emotional realism of Tina Turner, the futurist fashion sense of David Bowie, and the trendsetting flair of Miles Davis, her husband for a year. It's easy to imagine the snickers when a 23-year-old model married a famous musician twice her age, but Davis was no gold digger; she turned Miles on to Jimi Hendrix and Sly Stone (providing the spark that led to his musical reinvention on In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew), then proved her own talents with a trio of sizzling mid-'70s solo LPs.

Born Betty Mabry in North Carolina, Davis grew up in Pittsburgh and had decamped to New York by the early '60s, where she gained entrance into hipster musical circles courtesy of the clubs she frequented -- and one she worked at, the Cellar. She first recorded around that time, and also put out a 1964 single for Don Costa's DCP imprint. Her first major writing credit, "Uptown" by the Chambers Brothers, came in 1967, before she'd turned 20. One year later, she met Miles Davis in New York, and they were married by the end of summer 1968. Though their marriage didn't survive the end of the decade, Betty Davis was tremendously influential to Miles, introducing him to psychedelic rock and even influencing his wardrobe. Miles' 1968 LP Filles de Kilimanjaro featured her on the cover, and he wrote the final track ("Mademoiselle Mabry") for her.

Miles divorced her in 1969, explaining later in his autobiography that she was "too young and wild" for him. (He also suspected her of an affair with Jimi Hendrix, an allegation she denies.) By the beginning of the '70s, Betty Davis began work on a set of songs and tapped a host of great musicians to bring them to fruition: Greg Errico and Larry Graham from Sly Stone's band, Michael Carabello from Santana, the Pointer Sisters, and members of the Tower of Power horn section. Her self-titled debut album finally appeared in 1973, and though it made no commercial impact at all, it was an innovative collection with plenty of blistering songs. Even more so than a soul shouter like Tina Turner, Davis was a singer for the feminist era, a take-no-prisoners sexual predator who screamed, yelled, grunted, purred, and cooed her way through extroverted material like "Anti Love Song," "Shoo-B-Doop and Cop Him," and "He Was a Big Freak." Religious groups protested many of her concert appearances (several were canceled), and radio outlets understandably refused to play her extreme work.

Davis hardly let up with her second and third albums, 1974's They Say I'm Different and 1975's Nasty Gal, but they too made little impact. Though she would have made an excellent disco diva, Betty Davis largely disappeared from the music scene afterward. An aborted 1979 session has been released on multiple occasions, once as Crashin' from Passion and also as Hangin' Out in Hollywood. Early in the 21st century, Light in the Attic Records reissued Davis' three released studio albums, and also issued for the first time her 1976 unreleased recording, Crashin' from Passion, as Is It Love or Desire?

Discography

  • 1973 Betty Davis
  • 1974 They Say I'm Different
  • 1975 Nasty Gal
  • 1976 - Is It Love Or Desire
  • 1995 Hangin' Out in Hollywood
  • 1996 Crashin' from Passion
  • 2003 - This Is It (Compillation)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Legendary Leon Ware



Biography
Songwriter, singer, and producer Leon Ware is one of the less-recognized products of the Motown Records music factory of the 1960s and '70s, primarily because he has tended to work behind the scenes despite recording a series of albums under his own name. His signature style is a highly romantic approach to soul music that has resulted in many hit records, notably "I Wanna Be Where You Are," recorded by Michael Jackson, and "I Want You," recorded by Marvin Gaye, both of which he co-wrote.

Growing up as an aspiring musical artist in Detroit, Ware naturally became part of Motown Records, which was founded in the city as he approached manhood. In the spring of 1967, the Isley Brothers' recording of "Got to Have You Back," which he wrote with Ivy Hunter and Steve Bowden, placed in both the R&B and pop singles charts after its release on the Motown imprint Tamla Records. But his first major hit as a writer came with the Four Tops' "Just Seven Numbers (Can Straighten Out My Life)," co-written with Pam Sawyer and released as a single on Motown, which reached the Top Ten of the R&B charts and the Top 40 of the pop charts in early 1971. He was not working exclusively for Motown, either. During 1971, he collaborated with Ike & Tina Turner, co-writing six songs on their album 'Nuff Said, released that fall on United Artists Records. The album reached the Top 40 of the R&B charts and also appeared in the pop charts. Ware himself was contracted to United Artists, and his self-titled debut album appeared on the label in 1972.

Back at Motown, Ware began collaborating with Arthur "T-Boy" Ross, younger brother of Motown star Diana Ross, and they came up with "I Wanna Be Where You Are," which Michael Jackson recorded for Motown on his early-1972 album Got to Be There. Released as a single in the spring, it peaked at number two on the R&B charts and reached the Top 20 of the pop charts. Over time, it became one of Ware's most-covered songs, earning recordings by José Feliciano, Marvin Gaye, SWV, and others. In 1973, Ware had songwriting credits on albums by the Average White Band, Donny Hathaway, and the Jackson 5. "Give Me Just Another Day," which he wrote for the Miracles, was released as a single on Tamla that fall and reached the R&B charts. His next R&B singles chart entry came with "If You Were My Woman," an answer record to the Gladys Knight & the Pips hit "If You Were My Man," recorded by Latimore on Glades Records, in the spring of 1974. That same season saw the release of a more important project for him, Quincy Jones' LP Body Heat on A&M Records. Ware was both a writer and performer on the disc, which topped the R&B charts and reached the pop Top Ten, going gold. "If I Ever Lose This Heaven," which he wrote with Pam Sawyer and sang on the album with Minnie Riperton and Al Jarreau, was an R&B singles chart entry in September. Nearly a year later, it gained even greater renown when it was covered by the Average White Band on Atlantic for a single that reached the Top 40 of both the pop and R&B charts. It went on to become another major copyright for Ware, covered by such artists as Jonathan Butler, Sergio Mendes, and Nancy Wilson. Meanwhile, the title track from Body Heat, co-written by Ware, also became an R&B singles chart entry in the spring of 1975. "Rolling Down a Mountainside," which he wrote with Jacqueline Hilliard, also became an R&B hit, this one for the Main Ingredient on RCA Victor Records that spring, peaking in the Top Ten and also getting into the pop chart before serving as the title track on the group's next album. Ware collaborated with Minnie Riperton and Richard Rudolph on "Inside My Love," which was featured on her Epic Records album Adventures in Paradise, also released in the spring of 1975. Issued as a single that summer, the song became a Top 40 R&B hit and reached the pop charts.

Ware had two projects in progress at Motown during this period. He was producing songs for T-Boy Ross, and he was recording his own solo album. But when label president Berry Gordy heard one of the proposed Ross tracks, "I Want You," he decided that Marvin Gaye should cut it instead. And when Gaye heard the material Ware had done for his album, it was turned into a Gaye LP instead. Ware produced what now became Gaye's I Want You album, released on Tamla in March 1976, having co-written all the songs on it. The title tune (co-written with Ross) topped the R&B charts and made the Top 20 of the pop charts. It went on to become a standard, covered by Herb Alpert, Gato Barbieri, Madonna, and Michael McDonald among many others. Robert Palmer's medley of it with "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)," another Gaye hit, reached the pop Top 20 in 1991. The I Want You album went to number one on the R&B charts and the Top Ten of the pop charts. It spun off a second single, "After the Dance," co-written by Ware, Ross, and Gaye, that made the R&B Top 20 and was a pop chart entry.

Having given away the material for his album, Ware began again on a solo effort for Motown and produced Musical Massage, released on Motown's Gordy Records subsidiary in September 1976. He has suggested that Motown wanted him to give this album's songs to Gaye, too, and that when he refused, the label released the LP but gave it no promotion, resulting in its commercial failure. So, he went back to being a songwriter for others. During the late '70s, he placed songs on albums by Minnie Riperton, Marlena Shaw, Melissa Manchester, and Bobby Womack. He issued his third solo album, Inside Is Love, on Fabulous Records in 1979. It reached the R&B charts in December, along with its single, "What's Your Name," establishing him as a recording artist for the first time. He was represented on Melissa Manchester's 1980 album For the Working Girl on Arista by "Lovers After All," which he and Manchester wrote and which Manchester sang with Peabo Bryson. Released as a single in early 1981, it reached the Top 40 of the R&B charts and was a pop chart entry as well. Meanwhile, Ware had signed with Elektra Records as a recording artist, and he released his fourth solo album, Rockin' You Eternally, which spawned two R&B singles chart entries, "Baby Don't Stop Me" and the title song, but did not itself reach the charts. Nevertheless, Elektra financed a follow-up, and Ware's second album to be called simply Leon Ware was released in 1982. But the label dropped him when the disc failed to sell.

Nevertheless, Ware still had his songwriting to fall back on, and in the early and mid-'80s he had cuts on albums by Jeffrey Osborne, Loose Ends, Teena Marie, and James Ingram. In 1987, he pacted with Slingshot Records and released his sixth solo album, Undercover. In the late '80s and 1990s, while he continued to work on various sessions as a musician, arranger, and producer, he placed fewer new songs with other artists, though he did have cuts on albums by the Isley Brothers, John Martyn, Fred Wesley, and Chico DeBarge, among others. The chief exception to this relative drought was "Independence," which was recorded by Lulu and became a hit in England in 1993, just missing the Top Ten. But Ware's career benefited in two respects in the 1990s. First, his work was discovered as the source of sampling by rappers and hip-hop artists. Montell Jordan's 1999 R&B chart entry "When You Get Home," for example, sampled "I Want You," as did tracks by EPMD ("It's Going Down"), Ice Cube ("What Can I Do"), and Prince ("Mr. Happy"), among others. A Tribe Called Quest's "Lyrics to Go" sampled "Inside My Love," as did 2Pac's "Me Against the World" and Aaliyah's "Heartbroken," and 2Pac also sampled "Body Heat" on the number one pop and R&B hit "How Do U Want It." Such success didn't increase Ware's exposure as an artist, but it did increase his publishing income substantially. At the same time, he was being discovered as a soul music progenitor, particularly in England, where the Expansion label began reissuing his solo albums. He helped his cause by putting out his seventh album, Taste the Love, on his own Kitchen Records label in 1995. In 2001, Candlelight, a jazz album he recorded with Don Grusin, came out on Kitchen in the U.S. and Expansion in the U.K. Love's Drippin', a more characteristic collection of soul music, followed in 2003.

Discography

1972 - Leon Ware
1976 - Musical Massage
1979 - Inside Is Love / lossless

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Legend: Otis Redding

Otis Ray Redding, Jr. (September 9, 1941 – December 10, 1967) was an American soul singer. Often called the "King of Soul", he is renowned for an ability to convey strong emotion through his voice. According to the website of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was inducted in 1989), Redding's name is "synonymous with the term soul, music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm and blues into a form of funky, secular testifying." In addition, rock critic Jon Landau said in 1967, "Otis Redding is rock & roll".Redding died in a plane crash at the age of 26, one month before his biggest hit, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay", was released. Redding was born in the small town of Dawson, Georgia. When he was five, his family moved to Macon, Georgia, where Redding sang in a church choir and as a teenager won the talent show at the Douglass Theatre for fifteen weeks in a row.His earliest influence was Little Richard (Richard Penniman), also a Macon resident.Redding said, "If it hadn't been for Little Richard, I would not be here. I entered the music business because of Richard – he is my inspiration. I used to sing like Little Richard, his Rock 'n' Roll stuff, you know. Richard has soul, too. My present music has a lot of him in it." The sleeve notes accompanying the 1966 Atlantic album Otis Blue – Otis Redding Sings Soul, written by Bob Rolontz, describe Redding's early career: "Like all success stories, it was a long path for Otis Redding before he first hit on records. He entered and won a number of local amateur contests in his home town of Macon. Redding became the vocalist with Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers, a group that had started to establish itself in Southern colleges and universities. An early record that Otis Redding made with the group, 'Love Twist' (which was released on Atlantic) created some regional action. A long time after that while Redding was still a member of the group, he recorded his own song 'These Arms Of Mine,' at the end of a Pinetoppers session. It became a solid hit, and Redding was on his way." In 1960, Redding began touring the South with Johnny Jenkins and The Pinetoppers. In addition to singing, Redding also served as Jenkins' driver (the bandleader did not possess a driver's license). That same year he made his first recordings, "Fat Gal" and "Shout Bamalama," with this group under the name "Otis Redding and The Pinetoppers," issued on the Orbit and Confederate record labels before being picked up by King. In 1962, Redding made his first real mark in the music business during a Johnny Jenkins session when, during studio time left over, he recorded "These Arms of Mine", a ballad that he had written. The song became a minor hit on Volt Records, a subsidiary of the renowned Southern soul label Stax, based in Memphis, Tennessee. His manager was a fellow Maconite, Phil Walden (who later co-founded Capricorn Records). Redding was also managed for a brief period by Walden's younger brother Alan Walden while Phil was overseas due to a military draft.Otis Redding continued to release for Stax/Volt, and built his fan base by extensively touring a live show with support from fellow Stax artists Sam & Dave. Further hits between 1964 and 1966 included "Mr. Pitiful", "I Can't Turn You Loose" (a sped-up instrumental version was to become The Blues Brothers entrance theme music), "Try a Little Tenderness" (a remake of the 1930s standard by Harry Woods, Jimmy Campbell, and Reg Connelly, later featured in John Hughes' film Pretty in Pink), "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones), and "Respect" (later a smash hit for Aretha Franklin). Redding wrote many of his own songs, which was unusual for the time, often with Steve Cropper (of the Stax house band Booker T. & the M.G.'s, who usually served as Otis's backing band in the studio). Soul singer Jerry Butler co-wrote another hit, "I've Been Loving You Too Long". One of Redding's few songs with a significant mainstream following was "Tramp", (1967) a duet with Carla Thomas. In 1967, Redding performed at the large and influential Monterey Pop Festival. His extraordinary musical gifts were then exposed to a wider audience and may have contributed to his subsequent success as a popular music recording artist. On December 9, 1967, Redding and his backup band, The Bar-Kays, made an appearance in Cleveland, Ohio on the local "Upbeat" television show. That night they performed at Leo's Casino, a small venue club in Cleveland. The next afternoon, Redding, his manager, the pilot, and four members of The Bar-Kays were killed when his Beechcraft 18 airplane crashed into Lake Monona in Madison, Wisconsin, on December 10, 1967. The two remaining Bar-Kays were Ben Cauley and James Alexander. Cauley was the only person aboard Redding's plane to survive the crash. Alexander was on another plane, since there were eight members in Redding's party and the plane could only hold seven, and it was Alexander's turn in the rotation to take a commercial flight. Ben Cauley reported that he had been asleep until seconds before impact, and recalled that upon waking he saw bandmate Phalon Jones look out a window and say, "Oh, no!" Cauley said the last thing he remembered before the crash was unbuckling his seatbelt. He then found himself in the frigid waters of the lake, grasping a seat cushion to keep afloat. Redding's body was recovered the next day when the lake bed was searched.He was entombed on his private ranch in Round Oak, Georgia, 23 miles (37 km) north of Macon. The cause of the crash was never precisely determined. Redding was survived by his wife Zelma, mother and father, his daughter Karla and his sons Dexter and Otis III.
________________________________________________________________________________________________________




Studio albums


  • Pain in My Heart (Atco Records_January 1, 1964)
  • The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads (Volt Records_March,1965)
  • Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul (Volt Records_September 15, 1965)
  • The Soul Album (Volt Records_April 1,1966)
  • Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul (Volt _1966)
  • King & Queen (with Carla Thomas) (Stax Records_March 16,1967)

Posthumous studio albums


  • The Dock of the Bay (Volt Records_February 23, 1968)
  • The Immortal Otis Redding (Atco Records_1968)
  • Love Man (Atco Records_1969)
  • Tell the Truth (Atco Records_1970)

Live albums
  • Otis Redding - Live in London and Paris 1967 [2008 Stax] 
  • Live in Europe(Atco,1967)
  • In Person at the Whisky a Go Go(Atco,1968)
  • Live On The Sunset Strip(Stax,2010(1966))

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Legendary Merry Clayton



Biography
Best known for her background vocal work on the Rolling Stones' legendary single "Gimme Shelter," Merry Clayton had a long and successful career as backup singer, solo artist, and actress. Born December 25, 1948 (hence the rather "holiday" feel of her first name), in New Orleans, LA, Clayton recorded tracks with Elvis Presley, the Supremes, Ray Charles, and Joe Cocker, as well as being a member of Ray Charles' Raelettes in the early '60s. Her solo debut, "The Doorbell Rings," was released in 1963, and she eventually found success as a session singer for the aforementioned artists. She followed up her best-known work — the appearance on "Gimme Shelter" — with a solo album of the same name, and during the '70s managed some minor R&B hits with tracks like "After All This Time" in 1971 and "Oh No Not My Baby" in 1973. After a brief hiatus from the music business, Clayton did minor acting work, appearing in the film Maid to Order and Cagney & Lacey. Clayton returned to the music side of things in 1994, albeit as a gospel singer, with the album Miracles. In 1996, Clayton performed with Marianne Faithfull and Darlene Love in the show 20th Century Pop, a performance of "20 rock-era standards."

Discography
1970 Gimme Shelter
1971 Celebration
1971 Merry Clayton
1975 Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow
1979 Emotion
1994 Miracles

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sista Monica Parker



Biography
Like E.C. Scott, Bettye LaVette, Denise LaSalle, and so many other powerful contemporary blues women, Sista Monica Parker got her start singing in church. She began singing at age seven and began touring with the choir as a 12-year-old. She sang with her local church choir in places like Chicago and Detroit, and got her exposure to show business — albeit in the church — early. Parker cites Al Green, Aretha Franklin, the Staple Singers, Jackie Wilson, and Sam Cooke as early influences. After some time in college, Parker joined the U.S. Marine Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant after three years. Upon discharge, she began her own staffing firm for the engineering professions. After several years in the Chicago area, she relocated her business to Silicon Valley in Northern California. Her blue-chip clients included Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Yahoo!, and Sun Microsystems.
Inspired by her neighbor MC Hammer, Parker decided to turn her longtime love of singing into more than just an avocation. She began sharing stages in Northern California clubs and festivals with Gladys Knight, Mavis Staples, Taj Mahal, Luther Allison, Etta James, and other blues and classic R&B legends. By 1995, she had recorded and released her debut, Get Outta My Way! Radio programmers latched onto the tune "Windy City Burner," and she and her band were able to tour around the U.S., Europe, and Canada in support of it. She recorded a second album, the self-titled Sista Monica, in 1997. In 1998 she received a W.C. Handy Award nomination under the Best Contemporary Blues, Female category and won a California Music Award the same year for Most Outstanding Blues Artist. In 2000 Parker released her third album, People Love the Blues, which showcases the talents of Jimmy Thackery, Larry McCray, and Dan Caron from the Charles Brown Band.

In 2001, she released her first gospel album, Gimme That Old Time Religion, an artistic full circle for her, as she returned to the gospel roots of her youth. That same year, she released Live in Europe, which captures the spirit and energy of her live performances with her touring band. It was on tour in Europe in the late '90s that she first got the moniker "the Blues Lioness." In 2002, she was presented with the Blues Artist of the Year award at the 17th annual Monterey Bay Blues Festival. After completing a 17-concert tour of the Netherlands in late 2002, she discovered a lump under her right arm and later found out it was a rare and severe form of cancer, synovial sarcoma. Parker underwent more than a year of chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and physical therapy, always affirming herself and holding onto her faith in God and her will to live.

In 2004, she re-emerged on the scene and recorded an album of soul and jazz standards popularized by Ray Charles and Dinah Washington, Love, Soul & Spirit, Vol. 1. Her latest release, Can't Keep a Good Woman Down!, showcases her abilities as a blues and classic R&B vocalist, but also includes some well-chosen covers, including Willie Nelson's "Funny How Time Slips Away" and Sam Cooke's "A Change Gonna Come." Can't Keep a Good Woman Down! reflects her new perspective on life, reaffirms her faith in God, and casts new meaning on the healing powers of blues and gospel music. Not only is she one of today's most powerful singers of blues, gospel, classic R&B, and soul, she's also a cancer survivor. As of late 2008 and early 2009, Parker continues to tour around the U.S. and parts of Europe.

Discography
1995 - Get Out My Way
1997 - Sista Monica
2000 - People Love The Blues
2001 - Gimme That Old Time Religion
2001 - Live in Europe
2004 - Love, Soul & Spirit Vol 1
2005 - Can't Keep A Good Woman Down
2008 - Sweet Inspirations Part 1 Part 2

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Legendary Webster Lewis




Biography
Early sideman appearances by this keyboardist, composer, and arranger indicated potential on the modern jazz scene, Webster Lewis taking over from Larry Young in the progressive jazz Tony Williams' Lifetime band as well as joining the dissonant mass of multi-keyboard lineups on projects by George Russell, Bill Evans, and the Piano Choir. Lewis possessed a master's degree from the New England Conservatory of Music, where he was mentored by modernist and jazz historian Gunther Schuller. Nonetheless, the most enduring legacy of Lewis are disco recordings he began creating in 1976 when contracted by Epic. Critics and purists spat out the resulting fare, not owning a crystal ball that would allow them to see the fervor with which these types of concoctions would be chewed on once they had become so-called rare grooves. "On the Town," title track of Lewis' 1976 Epic debut, and a portrait of "Barbara Ann" unrelated to the Beach Boys are examples of Lewis' hits from the second half of the '70s.

Working in the background turned out to be the main career meat for Lewis, whether it meant composing soundtrack themes or working as a musical director for fellow keyboard mangler Herbie Hancock and deep-voiced soul man Barry White. He also organized recording sessions and concert appearances for Michael Jackson and Tom Jones. Live at Club 7 was Lewis' first solo release in 1971, including a groovy version of an Isley Brothers tune and prompting a move to Los Angeles by the middle of the decade. Hancock himself showed up as co-producer for Lewis' third Epic side, Eight for the Eighties. An appreciative hit entitled "The Love You Give to Me" resulted, Lewis continuing to score with the disco audience over the next few years with tracks such as the tricky "El Bobo." Lewis subsequently produced albums for Gwen McCrae and Michael Wycoff, going from there into television commercial and film soundtrack music. His film credits — The Hearse, The Sky Is Grey — give the indication that this was the man to call if the subject was grim, in contrast to the happy party feel of his solo albums. Lewis died from complications resulting from diabetes.

Discography
1971 Live at Club 7
1976 On the Town
1978 Touch My Love
1979 Eight for the Eighties
1981 Let Me Be the One
1981 - The Love Unlimited Orchestra (presents Mr. Webster Lewis) - Welcome Aboard

Friday, July 9, 2010

Legend: Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti ( 15 October 1938 — 2 August 1997), or simply Fela , was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick.
The musical style performed by Fela Kuti is called Afrobeat, which is a fusion of jazz, funk, psychedelic rock, and traditional West African chants and rhythms. Afrobeat also borrows heavily from the native "tinker pan" African-style percussion that Kuti acquired while studying in Ghana with Hugh Masakela, under the uncanny Hedzoleh Soundz. Afrobeat is also characterized by having vocals, and musical structure, along with jazzy, funky horn sections. The endless groove is also used, in which a base rhythm of drums, shekere, muted guitar, and bass guitar are repeated throughout the song. His band was notable for featuring two baritone saxophones, whereas most groups were using only one of this instrument. This is a common technique in African and African-influenced musical styles, and can be seen in funk and hip hop. Some elements often present in Fela's music are the call-and-response within the chorus and figurative but simple lyrics. Fela's songs were almost always over 10 minutes in length, some reaching the 20- or even 30-minute marks, while some unreleased tracks would last up to 45 minutes when performed live. This was one of many reasons that his music never reached a substantial degree of popularity outside Africa. His songs were mostly sung in Nigerian pidgin, although he also performed a few songs in the Yoruba language. Fela's main instruments were the saxophone and the keyboards, but he also played the trumpet, guitar, and took the occasional drum solo. Fela refused to perform songs again after he had already recorded them, which also hindered his popularity outside Africa. Fela was known for his showmanship, and his concerts were often quite outlandish and wild. He referred to his stage act as the Underground Spiritual Game. Fela attempted making a movie but lost all the materials to the fire that was set to his house by the military government in power. Kuti thought that art, and thus his own music, should have political meaning.



Discography

  • 1969 Fela Fela Fela
  • 1970 Fela's London Scene
  • 1971 Live! (with Ginger Baker) Barclay Records
  • 1971 Why Black Man Dey Suffer Wrasse Records
  • 1972 Stratavarious (with Ginger Baker) Polydor Records
  • 1972 Na Poi Barclay Records see 1976 Yellow Fever \ 1972 Na Poi
  • 1972 Open & Close Barclay Records
  • 1972 Shakara Barclay Records
  • 1972 Roforofo Fight\ 1971 The Fela Singles Barclay Records
  • 1973 Afrodisiac Barclay Records
  • 1973 Gentleman Barclay Records
  • 1974 Alagbon Close Barclay Records
  • 1975 Noise for Vendor Mouth Barclay Records
  • 1975 Confusion Barclay Records
  • 1975 Everything Scatter Barclay Records
  • 1975 He Miss Road Barclay Records
  • 1975 Expensive Shit Barclay Records
  • 1976 No Bread EMI Nigeria
  • 1976 Kalakuta Show Barclay Records
  • 1976 Upside Down Barclay Records
  • 1976 Ikoyi Blindness Barclay Records
  • 1976 Before I Jump Like Monkey Give Me Banana Barclay Records
  • 1976 Excuse O Barclay Records
  • 1976 Zombie [Nigeria]
  • 1976 Zombie Barclay Records\1977 Observation No Crime
  • 1976 Yellow Fever \ 1972 Na Poi Barclay Records
  • 1977 Opposite People Barclay Records
  • 1977 Fear Not For Man Barclay Records
  • 1977 Stalemate Barclay Records
  • 1977 Johnny Just Drop (J.J.D Live!! at Kalakuta Republic) Barclay Records
  • 1977 I Go Shout Plenty EMI Nigeria
  • 1977 No Agreement Barclay Records
  • 1977 Sorrow, Tears, and Blood Barclay Records
  • 1977 Shuffering And Shmiling [Nigeria]
  • 1978 Shuffering and Shmiling Barclay Records
  • 1979 Unknown Soldier Barclay Records
  • 1979 V.I.P. - Vagabonds In Power. (Nigeria)
  • 1980 I.T.T. (International Thief Thief) Barclay Records
  • 1980 Music of Many Colours (with Roy Ayers) Barclay Records
  • 1980 Authority Stealing Barclay Records
  • 1981 Black President EMI Nigeria
  • 1981 Original Suffer-Head Barclay Records
  • 1981 Coffin for Head of State Barclay Records
  • 1983 Perambulator Barclay Records
  • 1983 Live in Amsterdam Barclay Records
  • 1985 Army Arrangement Barclay Records
  • 1986 Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense Barclay Records
  • 1986 Mr. Follow Follow
  • 1989 Beasts of No Nation Barclay Records
  • 1989 O.D.O.O. (Overtake Don Overtake Overtake) Barclay Records
  • 1990-Confusion Break Bone
  • 1992 Underground System Barclay Records
  • 2000 The Best of Fela Kuti The Black President Barclay/MCA Records
  • 2004 The Underground Spiritual Game Quannum Projects

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Freddie Hubbard



Frederick Dewayne "Freddie" Hubbard
(April 7, 1938 – December 29, 2008) was an American jazz trumpeter. He was known primarily for playing in the bebop, hard bop and post bop styles from the early 1960s and on. His unmistakable and influential tone contributed to new perspectives for modern jazz and bebop.

Hubbard started playing the mellophone and trumpet in his school band, studying at the Jordan Conservatory with the principal trumpeter of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. In his teens Hubbard worked locally with brothers Wes and Monk Montgomery and worked with bassist Larry Ridley and saxophonist James Spaulding. In 1958, at the age of 20, he moved to New York, and began playing with some of the best jazz players of the era, including Philly Joe Jones, Sonny Rollins, Slide Hampton, Eric Dolphy, J. J. Johnson, and Quincy Jones. In June 1960 Hubbard made his first record as a leader, Open Sesame, with saxophonist Tina Brooks, pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Sam Jones, and drummer Clifford Jarvis.
In December 1960, Hubbard was invited to play on Ornette Coleman's Free Jazz after Coleman had heard him playing with Don Cherry.
Then in May 1961, Hubbard played on Olé Coltrane, John Coltrane's final recording session with Atlantic Records. Together with Eric Dolphy, Hubbard was the only 'session' musician who appeared on both Olé and Africa/Brass, Coltrane's first album with ABC/Impulse! Later, in August 1961, Hubbard made one of his most famous records, Ready for Freddie, which was also his first collaboration with saxophonist Wayne Shorter. Hubbard joined Shorter later in 1961 when he replaced Lee Morgan in Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He played on several Blakey recordings, including Caravan, Ugetsu, Mosaic, and Free For All. Hubbard remained with Blakey until 1966, leaving to form the first of several small groups of his own, which featured, among others, pianist Kenny Barron and drummer Louis Hayes.
It was during this time that he began to develop his own sound, distancing himself from the early influences of Clifford Brown and Morgan, and won the Downbeat jazz magazine "New Star" award on trumpet.
Throughout the 1960s Hubbard played as a sideman on some of the most important albums from that era, including, Oliver Nelson's The Blues and the Abstract Truth, Eric Dolphy's Out to Lunch, Herbie Hancock's Maiden Voyage, and Wayne Shorter's Speak No Evil. He recorded extensively for Blue Note Records in the 1960s: eight albums as a bandleader, and twenty-eight as a sideman. Hubbard was described as "the most brilliant trumpeter of a generation of musicians who stand with one foot in 'tonal' jazz and the other in the atonal camp". Though he never fully embraced the free jazz of the '60s, he appeared on two of its landmark albums: Coleman's Free Jazz and Coltrane's Ascension.
Hubbard achieved his greatest popular success in the 1970s with a series of albums for Creed Taylor and his record label CTI Records, overshadowing Stanley Turrentine, Hubert Laws, and George Benson.. Although his early 1970s jazz albums Red Clay, First Light, Straight Life, and Sky Dive were particularly well received and considered among his best work, the albums he recorded later in the decade were attacked by critics for their commercialism. First Light won a 1972 Grammy Award and included pianists Herbie Hancock and Richard Wyands, guitarists Eric Gale and George Benson, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jack DeJohnette, and percussionist Airto Moreira. In 1994, Freddie, collaborating with Chicago jazz vocalist/co-writer Catherine Whitney, had lyrics set to the music of First Light.
In 1977 Hubbard joined with Herbie Hancock, Tony Williams, Ron Carter and Wayne Shorter, members of the mid-sixties Miles Davis Quintet, for a series of performances. Several live recordings of this group were released as VSOP, VSOP: The Quintet, VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum (all 1977) and VSOP: Live Under the Sky (1979).
Hubbard's trumpet playing was featured on the track Zanzibar, on the 1978 Billy Joel album 52nd Street (the 1979 Grammy Award Winner for Best Album). The track ends with a fade during Hubbard's performance. An "unfaded" version was released on the 2004 Billy Joel box set My Lives.
In the 1980s Hubbard was again leading his own jazz group, attracting very favorable reviews, playing at concerts and festivals in the USA and Europe, often in the company of Joe Henderson, playing a repertory of Hard-bop and modal-jazz pieces. Hubbard played at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival in 1980 and in 1989 (with Bobby Hutcherson). He played with Woody Shaw, recording with him in 1985, and two years later recorded Stardust with Benny Golson. In 1988 he teamed up once more with Blakey at an engagement in Holland, from which came Feel the Wind. In 1990 he appeared in Japan headlining an American-Japanese concert package which also featured Elvin Jones, Sonny Fortune, pianists George Duke and Benny Green, bass players Ron Carter, and Rufus Reid, with jazz and vocalist Salena Jones. He also performed at the Warsaw Jazz Festival at which Live at the Warsaw Jazz Festival (Jazzmen 1992) was recorded.
Following a long setback of health problems and a serious lip injury in 1992 where he ruptured his upper lip and subsequently developed an infection, Hubbard was again playing and recording occasionally, even if not at the high level that he set for himself during his earlier career. His best records ranked with the finest in his field.
In 2006, The National Endowment for the Arts honored Hubbard with its highest honor in jazz, the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
On December 29, 2008, Hubbard's hometown newspaper, The Indianapolis Star reported that Hubbard died from complications from a heart attack suffered on November 26 of the same year.Billboard magazine reported that Hubbard died in Sherman Oaks, California.
Freddie Hubbard had close ties to the Jazz Foundation of America in his later years. Freddie is quoted as saying, “When I had congestive heart failure and couldn't work, The Jazz Foundation paid my mortgage for several months and saved my home! Thank God for those people."
The Jazz Foundation of America’s Musicians' Emergency Fund took care of Freddie during times of illness. After his passing Mr. Hubbard’s estate requested that tax deductible donations be made in Freddie’s name to The Jazz Foundation of America.


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Discography


As leader

  • Open Sesame (1960 , Blue Note)
  • Goin' Up (1960, Blue Note)
  • Minor Mishap(1961)
  • Hub Cap (1961,Blue Note)
  • Ready for Freddie (1961, Blue Note) Flac
  • The Artistry of Freddie Hubbard (1962 ,Impulse!)
  • Hub-Tones (1962,Blue Note)
  • Here to Stay (1962 ,Blue Note) 
  • The Body & the Soul (1963 ,Impulse!) 
  • Breaking Point (1964 ,Blue Note)
  • Blue Spirits (1965,Blue Note)
  • The Night of the Cookers (1965,Blue Note)
  • Jam Gems: Live at the Left Bank 2001 ,Label M)
  • Backlash (1966 ,Atlantic) 
  • High Blues Pressure (1968 ,Atlantic)
  • A Soul Experiment (1969,Atlantic)
  • Without a Song, Live in Europe (1969, Blue Note)
  • The Black Angel (1970, Atlantic)
  • The Hub of Hubbard (1970, MPS
  • Red Clay (1970 ,CTI) 
  • Straight Life (1970 ,CTI) 
  • Sing Me a Song of Songmy (1971 ,Atlantic)
  • First Light (1971 ,CTI) 
  • Sky Dive (1973, CTI)
  • Hot Horn (1973, Everest)
  • Freddie Hubbard/Stanley Turrentine In Concert Volume One (1974 ,CTI)
  • In Concert Volume Two (1974 ,CTI)
  • Keep Your Soul Together (1974 ,CTI)
  • High Energy (1974 ,Columbia)
  • Polar AC(1975,CTI)
  • Gleam (1975 ,Sony (Japan))
  • Liquid Love (1975,Columbia)
  • Windjammer (1976,Columbia) 
  • Bundle of Joy (1977 ,Columbia)
  • Super Blue (1978,Columbia) 
  • The Love Connection(1979,Columbia)
  • Freddie Hubbard Quintet Leon Thomas live at Onkel Pö s Carnegie Hall 1979
  • Skagly (1980, Columbia)
  • Live at the North Sea Jazz Festival(1980 ,Pablo)
  • Mistral with Art Pepper (1981 ,Liberty)
  • Outpost (1981 ,Enja)
  • Splash (1981,Fantasy)
  • Rollin'(1982 ,MPS)
  • Keystone Bop Vol. 2: Friday & Saturday (1996,Prestige)
  • Keystone Bop: Sunday Night (1982,Prestige)
  • Born to Be Blue (1982 ,Pablo) 
  • Ride Like the Wind (1982,Elektra/Asylum) 
  • Above & Beyond (1982 ,Metropolitan)
  • Back to Birdland (1982, Real Time)
  • Sweet Return (1983 ,Atlantic)
  • The Rose Tattoo (1983,Baystate (Japan)) 
  • Double Take with Woody Shaw (1985 ,Blue Note) 
  • Life Flight (1987, Blue Note)
  • The Eternal Triangle with Woody Shaw (1987 ,Blue Note) flac 1\ 2
  • Feel the Wind with Art Blakey (1988 ,Timeless)
  • Times are Changing (1989 ,Blue Note)
  • Topsy - Standard Book (1989,Alpha/Compose) 
  • Bolivia (1991,Music Masters)
  • At Jazz Jamboree Warszawa '91: A Tribute to Miles (2000 ,Starburst)
  • Live at Fat Tuesday's (1992,Music Masters)
  • Blues for Miles (1992, Evidence)
  • MMTC: Monk, Miles, Trane & Cannon (1995,Music Masters)
  • New Colors (2001,Hip Hop Essence) 
  • On The Real Side (70th Birthday Celebration) (2008,Times Square Records)
  • Pinnacle, Live And Unreleased From Keystone Korner (2011)

As sideman

  • Wes Montgomery - Fingerpickin' (1958)
  • John Coltrane – Stardust(1958)
  • Paul Chambers-Go (1959) 
  • Kenny Drew – Undercurrent(1960)
  • Hank Mobley – Roll Call(1960)
  • The J. J. Johnson Sextet - J. J. Inc. 1960 
  • Curtis Fuller - Boss Of The Soul Stream Trombone 1960
  • Ornette Coleman - Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation (1960)
  • Tina Brooks - True Blue (1960)
  • Eric Dolphy-Outward Bound (1960)
  • Slide Hampton Octet -Slide!(1961)
  • John Coltrane-Olé Coltrane (1961)
  • John Coltrane-Africa/Brass (1961)
  • Art Blakey-Mosaic (1961)
  • Art Blakey-Buhaina's Delight (1961)
  • A Jazz Hour with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers: Blues March (1961)
  • Jackie McLean-Bluesnik(1961)
  • Dexter Gordon - Doin Alright (1961)
  • Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth (1961)
  • Duke Pearson – Dedication!(1961)
  • Bill Evans - Interplay (1962)
  • Curtis Fuller Soul Trombone 1962
  • Curtis Fuller - Cabin in the Sky (1962)
  • Art Blakey-Three Blind Mice (1962) 
  • Art Blakey-Caravan (1962)
  • Herbie Hancock-Takin' Off (1962)
  • Art Blakey-Ugetsu (1963)
  • Art Blakey- Free For All (1964)
  • Art Blakey-Kyoto (1964)
  • Eric Dolphy-Out to Lunch! (1964)
  • Herbie Hancock-Empyrean Isles (1964)
  • Wayne Shorter - Speak No Evil (1964) Flac
  • John Coltrane-Ascension (1965)
  • Sam Rivers-Contours(1965)
  • Bobby Hutcherson - Dialogue (1965)
  • Herbie Hancock-Maiden Voyage (1965)
  • Wayne Shorter - The Soothsayer(1965)
  • Wayne Shorter – The All Seeing Eye(1965)
  • Hank Mobley – The Turnaround(1965)
  • Sonny Rollins - East Broadway Run Down (1966)
  • Herbie Hancock-Blow-Up (Soundtrack) (1966)
  • Duke Pearson – Sweet Honey Bee(1966)
  • Duke Pearson – The Right Touch(1967)
  • Wes Montgomery - Road Song (1968)
  • George Benson - The Other Side of Abbey Road (1969)
  • Quincy Jones - Walking in Space (1969)
  • Leon Thomas - A Piece of Cake (Palcoscenico Records)
  • Stanley Turrentine - Sugar (1970)
  • Kenny Burrell - God Bless the Child (1971)
  • Dexter Gordon - Generation [1972]
  • Randy Weston - Blue Moses (1972)
  • Milt Jackson - Sunflower (1973)
  • Charles Earland - Leaving This Planet (1973)
  • Don Sebesky - Giant Box (1973)
  • Raul De Souza - Sweet Lucy (1977)
  • Herbie Hancock- VSOP: The Quintet (1977)
  • Herbie Hancock-VSOP: Tempest in the Colosseum (1977)
  • McCoy Tyner - Together (1978) flac
  • Billy Joel - 52nd Street (1978)
  • Herbie Hancock-VSOP: Live Under the Sky (1979)
  • George Cables - Cables' Vision (1979)
  • McCoy Tyner - Quartets 4 X 4 (1980) flac
  • C. Terry, Freddie Hubbard, Dizzy Gillespie, O. Peterson - The Alternate Blues - 1980
  • The Trumpet Summit Meets The Oscar Peterson Big Four 1980
  • Oscar Peterson – Face to Face (1982) flac
  • Herbie Hancock-Round Midnight (Soundtrack) (1986)
  • Benny Golson, Freddie Hubbard - Stardust (1987)
  • Roberto Ávila & Sarava - Come to Brazil (1989)
  • Kirk Lightsey Trio - Temptation (1991)
  • Poncho Sanchez - Cambios (1991)
  • Stanley Turrentine – More Than a Mood(1992)
  • Joe Henderson-Big Band (1996)
  • Quincy Jones feat Tots Thielemans - I Never Told You (1998)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Legendary Esther Phillips




Esther Phillips (December 23, 1935 – August 7, 1984) was an American singer. Phillips was known for her R&B vocals,[1] but she was a versatile singer, also performing pop, country, jazz, blues and soul music.

Biography
Early life
Born Esther Mae Jones in Galveston, Texas, when she was an adolescent, her parents divorced, and she was forced to divide her time between her father in Houston and her mother in the Watts area of Los Angeles. Because she was brought up singing in church, she was hesitant to enter a talent contest at a local blues club, but her sister insisted and she complied. A mature singer at age fourteen, she won the amateur talent contest in 1949 at the Barrelhouse Club owned by Johnny Otis. Otis was so impressed that he recorded her for Modern Records and added her to his traveling revue, the California Rhythm and Blues Caravan, billed as 'Little Esther Phillips' (she reportedly took the surname from a gas station sign).

Early career
Her first hit record was "Double Crossing Blues", recorded in 1950 for Savoy Records. After several hit records with Savoy, including her duet with Mel Walker on "Mistrusting Blues", which went to number one that year, as did "Cupid Boogie". Other Phillips records that made it onto the U.S. Billboard R&B chart in 1950 include "Misery" (number 9), "Deceivin' Blues" (number 4), "Wedding Boogie" (number 6), and "Faraway Blues" (number 6). Few female artists, R&B or otherwise, had ever enjoyed such success in their debut year. Phillips left Otis and the Savoy label at the end of 1950 and signed with Federal Records.

But just as quickly as the hits had started, they stopped. Although she recorded more than thirty sides for Federal, only one, "Ring-a-Ding-Doo", charted; the song made it to number 8 in 1952. Not working with Otis was part of her problem; the other part was her drug usage. By the middle of the decade Phillips was chronically addicted to drugs.

In 1954, she returned to Houston to live with her father to recuperate. Short on money, she worked in small nightclubs around the South, punctuated by periodic hospital stays in Lexington, Kentucky, stemming from her addiction. In 1962, Kenny Rogers re-discovered her while singing at a Houston club and got her signed to his brother Lelan’s Lenox label.

Comeback
Phillips ultimately got well enough to launch a comeback in 1962. Now billed as Esther Phillips instead of Little Esther, she recorded a country tune, "Release Me," with producer Bob Gans. This went to number 1 R&B and number 8 on the pop listings. After several other minor R&B hits on Lenox, she was signed by Atlantic Records. Her cover of The Beatles' song "And I Love Him" nearly made the R&B Top Ten in 1965 and the Beatles flew her to the UK for her first overseas performances.]

She had other hits in the 1960s on the label, but no more chart toppers, and she waged a battle with heroin dependency. With her addiction worsening, Phillips checked into a rehab facility. While undergoing treatment, she cut some sides for Roulette in 1969, mostly produced by Lelan Rogers. On her release, she moved back to Los Angeles and re-signed with the Atlantic label. A late 1969 gig at Freddie Jett's Pied Piper club produced the album Burnin'. She performed with the Johnny Otis Show at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1970.

The 1970s
One of her biggest post-1950s triumphs was in 1972 with her first album for Kudu Records. The song penned by Gil Scott-Heron, "Home Is Where the Hatred Is," - an account of drug use — was lead track on From a Whisper to a Scream which went on to be nominated for a Grammy Award. When Phillips lost to Aretha Franklin, the latter presented the trophy to Phillips, saying she should have won it instead.

Taylor continued to cut albums with her until in 1975, she scored her biggest hit single since "Release Me" with a disco-style update of Dinah Washington's "What a Diff'rence a Day Makes". It reached a high of a Top 20 chart appearance in the U.S., and Top 10 in the UK Singles Chart. On November 8, 1975 she performed the song on an episode of NBC's Saturday Night hosted by Candice Bergen. The accompanying album of the same name became her biggest seller yet, with arranger Joe Beck on guitar, Michael Brecker on tenor sax, David Sanborn on alto sax, and Randy Brecker on trumpet to Steve Khan on guitar and Don Grolnick on keyboards.

She continued to record and perform throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, completing a total of seven albums on Kudu and four with Mercury Records, for whom she signed in 1977. In 1983, she charted for the final time on a tiny independent label, Winning with "Turn Me Out," which reached #85 R&B. She completed recording her final album a few months before her death, but it was not until 1986 that the label (Muse) released the record.

Death
Phillips died at UCLA Medical Center in Carson, California in 1984, at the age of 48 from liver and kidney failure due to drug use. Her funeral services were conducted by Johnny Otis

1951 Hollerin' and Screaming
1963 Release Me
1965 And I Love Him!
1966 Esther Phillips Sings
1966 The Country Side of Esther
1970 Burnin' [live]
1972 From A Whisper To A Scream
1972 Alone Again (Naturally)
1973 Black-Eyed Blues
1974 Performance
1975 What a Diff'rence a Day Makes
1976 Capricorn Princess
1976 Confessin' the Blues
1976 For All We Know
1976 Gold Blues
1977 Live At The Rising Sun Club
1977 You've Come a Long Way, Baby
1978 All About Esther
1978 Esther Phillips
1979 Here's Esther Are You Ready
1981 Good Black Is Hard to Crack
1990 Better Beware
1992 A Way to Say Goodbye

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Legend:Ahmad Jamal


Ahmad Jamal (born July 2, 1930) is a highly-influential Hall of Fame American jazz pianist, composer, arranger, teacher, and jazz theoretician.

Jamal was one of Miles Davis's favorite pianists and was a key influence on the trumpeter's "First Great Quintet" (featuring John Coltrane on tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums).
Since the 1980s Jamal has been regularly touring the major clubs of the United States and the large European jazz festivals. He is generally accompanied by bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad. He has also performed regularly with saxophonist George Coleman.

Ahmad Jamal is an acclaimed virtuoso jazz pianist and keyboardist, composer, and innovative trio leader. He was born Freddy "Fritz" Jones, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Jamal attended George Westinghouse High School. He began playing piano at the age of three, when his uncle Lawrence challenged him to duplicate what he was playing on the piano. Jamal began formal piano training at the age of seven with Mary Cardwell Dawson, whom he describes as greatly influencing him. He converted to Ahmadiyya Islam in 1952, officially changing his name at that time. On joining Musicians Union Local 208 in Chicago, he was referred to as Fritz Jones in the minutes of the local's Board meetings until his name change. His first OKeh record was credited in advertisements to the Fritz Jones Trio, but it did not see release until after the name change, so the name Ahmad Jamal appears on all of his released recordings. He is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

Jamal began touring with George Hudson's Orchestra. He joined another touring group known as The Four Strings, which was soon disbanded. He moved to Chicago in 1950, and made his first sides in 1951 for the Okeh label with The Three Strings; the other members were guitarist Ray Crawford and a bassist (at different times, Eddie Calhoun, Richard Davis, and Israel Crosby). Jamal subsequently recorded for Parrot (1953-1955) and Epic (1955) using the piano-guitar-bass lineup. The trio's sound changed significantly when Crawford was replaced with drummer Vernel Fournier in 1957, and the group worked as the "House Trio" at Chicago's Pershing Hotel. The trio released the live album But Not for Me which stayed on the Ten Best-selling charts for 108 weeks. Jamal's well known song "Poinciana" was first released on this album. The financial success of the album allowed Jamal to open a restaurant and club called The Alhambra.

Jamal typically plays with a bassist and drummer; his current trio is with bassist James Cammack and drummer Idris Muhammad. At the Toronto Jazz Festival (June 2008) and perhaps elsewhere, Jamal's group included innovative percussionist Manolo Badrena.Jamal has also recorded with saxophonist George Coleman on the album The Essence; with vibraphonist Gary Burton on the recording "In Concert"; with the voices of the Howard A. Roberts Chorale on the recordings "Bright, Blue and Beautiful" and "Cry Young"; with brass, reeds, and strings celebrating his hometown of "Pittsburgh"; and with "The Assai Quartet", among other non-trio achievements.
In 1994, Jamal received the National Endowment for the Arts American Jazz Masters award and also named a Duke Ellington Fellow at Yale University.

Ahmad Jamal is also known to be a Steinway Artist since 1960. It is rumored that his pianos sometimes needed to be tuned between sets due to the percussive nature of some of his playing. He also became a premier player of the Fender Rhodes piano in the 1970s to 1980s as on the recordings "Digital Works" and on "Jamalca". Mr Jamal is also noted for his flowing lyrical lines, thundering crescendos, ability to run arpeggios from end to end of the 88 keys, and lush, beautiful ballad and Latin jazz playing. Of special note is the influence of Ahmad Jamal on innovative musician and trumpeter Miles Davis who at one point said that all of his inspiration came from Ahmad Jamal; not only on his trumpet playing, song selection, and pianists, but in the area of "modes". Jamal was an early exponent of extended 'vamps' allowing him to solo at great length adding fresh colorations and percussive effects, which Davis was keen to imitate, setting up Davis perfectly for the entrance of true modal music into his own groups with the recording "Kind of Blue."

Miles Davis, Randy Weston, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, and Gary Peacock all cite Jamal as a major influence in use of rhythm and space as well as his innovative use of multi-tonal melodic lines and his unique extended 'vamps'. The element of surprise is an important part of Jamal's improvisations to them all. John Coltrane must have also been influenced by Jamal. His composition "Impressions", bears a striking resemblance to a small section of the song "Pavanne" which Ahmad Jamal recorded in 1955 with Israel Crosby and guitarist Ray Crawford. Halfway through the song there is a vamp on the same harmonic progression as "So What" (by Miles Davis) and "Impressions" (John Coltrane). During this vamp Ray Crawford improvises a line which is practically identical to the melody of "Impressions", including the harmonic shift.

At the Pershing: But Not for Me (1958) is considered a jazz classic. The Ahmad Jamal trio played on it and featured Jamal on piano, Israel Crosby on bass, and Vernel Fournier on drums.
Jamal is mentioned in Chuck Berry's "Go Go Go".

Jamal's style has changed steadily over time - from the lighter, breezy style heard on his 1950s recordings to the Caribbean stylings of the 1970s and onto the large open voicings and bravura-laden playing of the nineties. Jamal has always been distinctive however for his use of space, his dramatic crescendos, and for a very staccato orientation with chords.
Clint Eastwood featured two recordings from Jamal's But Not For Me album — "Music, Music, Music" and "Poinciana" — in the 1995 movie The Bridges of Madison County.

The French government has inducted Ahmad Jamal into the prestigious Order of the Arts and Letters by French Culture Minister Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, naming him Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres on June 2007. Mr Jamal continues to tour extensively with his trio.

*******************************************************************

Discography
  • Ahmad's Blues (1951, 1955)
  • Chamber Music of the New Jazz (1955)
  • Count 'Em 88(1956, Argo)
  • Volume 4 (1958)
  • The Ahmad Jamal Trio(1958)
  • At the Pershing: But Not for Me (1958)
  • Portfolio of Ahmad Jamal
  • At The Spotlite Club In 1958 full version 
  • Live at The Pershing,Vol. 2
  • Jamal At The Penthouse (1959)
  • Happy Moods (1960) 
  • Listen to the Ahmad Jamal Quintet(1960)
  • All of You (1961, Argo,)
  • Alhambra (1961, Argo, with Crosby, Fournier)
  • Ahmad Jamal At The Blackhawk(1961)
  • Cross Country Tour 1958-1961 (1962)CD1 CD2
  • Macanudo (1962) 
  • Poinciana (1963)
  • Naked City Theme(1964)
  • 1965-Roar of The Greasepaint - The Smell of the Crowd
  • Extensions (1965)
  • Rhapsody (Cadet ,1965)
  • Heat Wave (1966)
  • Standard Eyes (1967)
  • Cry Young(1967)
  • The Bright, The Blue and The Beautiful (1968)
  • 1969: At The Top - Poinciana Revisited 
  • 1968: Tranquility
  • 1970: The Awakening 
  • 1971: Freeflight  altrn
  • 1972: Outertimeinnerspace
  • '73 (1973) 1 \ 2
  • Jamalca (1974)
  • Jamal Plays Jamal (1974)
  • Steppin Out with a Dream (1976)
  • Live At Oil Can Harry's(1976)
  • One (1978)
  • Intervals(1979)
  • Night Song (1980)
  • Live at Bubba's (1980)
  • Genetic Walk(1980)
  • Ahmad Jamal & Gary Burton In Concert (1981)
  • Digital Works (1985)
  • Live at The Montreal Jazz Festival (1985)
  • Rossiter Road (1986) 
  • Crystal (1987)
  • Pittsburgh 1989
  • Blues Alley.Washington DC(1992)
  • Live in Paris 1992 (1993)
  • Chicago Revisited - Live at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase (1993) 
  • I Remember Duke, Hoagy & Strayhorn (1995)
  • The Essence Part 1 (1995) 
  • Big Byrd - The Essence Part 2 (1996) 
  • Nature - The Essence Part III (1998)
  • With The Assai Quartet (1998)
  • Picture Perfect (2000)
  • Ahmad Jamal à l'Olympia (2001)
  • In Search of Momentum (2003)
  • Modern Jazz Archive(2004)
  • After Fajr (2005)
  • Legendary Okeh & Epic Recordings (1951-1955) (2005)
  • Complete Live At The Pershing Lounge 1958.(2007)
  • It's Magic (2008)
  • A Quiet Time (2009)
  • The Complete Ahmad Jamal Trio Argo Sessions( 1956-62) (9CD,2010)
  • Blue Moon(2012) 


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