News & Updates

Arthur Doyle / June 26, 1944 - Jan 25, 2014

Arthur Doyle / June 26, 1944 - Jan 25, 2014

Happy birthday to the unsung free jazz reedsman Arthur Doyle, he of the Alabama feeling. From Birmingham, his early touring and session work came with Motown groups, including Gladys Knight & the Pips, as well as some local Southern R&B groups before he went to NYC in the late '60s. He brought his R&B, gospel and bop chops to the city's free jazz scene and fit in his style very well with the high energy blowing music. He declined a full-time gig with Sun Ra's band to hook up with Noah Howard (the Black Ark band). The early '70s saw...

Read more →


Big Bill Broonzy / June 26, 1893 - Aug 15, 1958

Big Bill Broonzy / June 26, 1893 - Aug 15, 1958

Bill Broonzy had a long and distinguished career, from spirituals to jazz to country blues to urban and back to folksy. One of 17 children born to a Southern family (precise date and location, unsure), he grew up in Arkansas. His first instrument was a cigar-box fiddle and he sang spirituals. He was a preacher, farmer, soldier and husband for awhile before he went north to Chicago around 1920. In Chicago he started playing guitar and gigging, signed to Paramount and released his first sides in 1927. He did some recording in NYC and toured with Memphis Minnie as her...

Read more →


Clifton Chenier / June 25, 1925 - Dec 12, 1987

Clifton Chenier / June 25, 1925 - Dec 12, 1987

Happy birthday to the King of Zydeco, Clifton Chenier, born on this day in 1925. A multi-instrumentalist from a musically-accomplished family, his music combined blues, cajun, jazz, rock & roll, waltzes and R&B to modernize and popularize the zydeco style. He recorded for Chess, Arhoolie, Specialty, Crazy Cajun and other labels, in a recording career that started in 1954 (he had been performing since the mid '40s) and continued until his death in '87 from diabetes. He sang, played accordion, harmonica and guitar. He came from a musical family and he dug early on into the burgeoning rock & roll scene,...

Read more →


Frank Lowe / June 24, 1943 - Sept 19, 2003

Frank Lowe / June 24, 1943 - Sept 19, 2003

Happy birthday shout to one of the unsung tenor men of the second wave of US free jazz, "Freedom" Frank Lowe. His lyricism was not limited to the avant-garde as he cut some great, swinging records that touched upon free, post-bop, R&B and other influences. Memphis born and reared, he took lessons from Stax Records' saxophonist Packy Axton, as well as working in the label's record shop and studio. After school he moved to San Francisco for further studies with Bert Wilson and Sonny Simmons. Some encouragement from Ornette Coleman persuaded Lowe to move to NYC in the late '60s...

Read more →


Harry Partch / June 24, 1901 - Sept 3, 1974

Harry Partch / June 24, 1901 - Sept 3, 1974

A true original, Harry Partch not only built his own instruments of functional architectural and artistic beauty, but he also invented an entire system of music for which to play them, using an octave of 43 notes, just intonation and microtones. While a ton of theoretical thought went into these instruments, they can also be listened to on just a superficial level, meaning you don't need an articulate knowledge of music theory to appreciate them. The instruments, and resulting music, can be clanging, droning, hypnotic, theatrical, noisy or relaxing, working in systematic ensemble. The compositions will often combine theater and/or...

Read more →