News & Updates

Junior Parker / May 27, 1932 - Nov 18, 1971

Junior Parker / May 27, 1932 - Nov 18, 1971

A smoothed-voice blues singer with a ton of soul, Little Junior Parker was also a deft harmonica-player, tutored by Sonny Boy Williamson. From that fertile blues bastion of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Parker sang gospel as a kid and went on to play with Howlin' Wolf in the late '40s. He was part of Memphis' infamous "Beale Streeters" (with BB King & Bobby "Blue" Bland) before starting his own band, The Blue Flames, in '51 with legendary guitarist Pat Hare. Ike Turner took him to the Modern label (with Ike on piano) but it was with Sun that he broke out. His...

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Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen / May 27, 1946 - April 19, 2005

Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen / May 27, 1946 - April 19, 2005

Give the bassist some! I always loved NHØP's bass playing on so many great jazz records that I felt the need to point out his birthday today and show some respect. From Denmark, he started playing bass at 13 and went pro pretty quickly. At 17 he was offered the bass role in the Count Basie band but was too young to legally travel to the US for work. He supported many visiting jazz artists at the Jazzhus Montmarte in Copenhagen, including playing with Sonny Rollins, Roland Kirk, Dexter Gordon, Bud Powell, Stan Getz, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp and others....

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Jaki Liebezeit / May 26, 1938 - Jan 22, 2017

Jaki Liebezeit / May 26, 1938 - Jan 22, 2017

Here's a salute to the recently deceased Jaki Liebezeit, the human metronome for Can, among other projects. After playing free-jazz in Germany in the mid-to-late '60s, including an ensemble led by Manfred Schoof, as well as with Globe Unity Orchestra (with a young Peter Brotzmann on sax!) he decided to go with a decidedly more disciplined "motorik" beat as a founding member of Can, a band of Stockausen's students that were really into the Velvet Underground and "world music" and forged a whole new template for out-rock. Indeed, Can are synonymous with the "Krautrock" history. Brian Eno called Krautrock's "motorik"...

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Miles Davis / May 26, 1926 - Sept 28, 1991

Miles Davis / May 26, 1926 - Sept 28, 1991

Happy birthday to that bitter bastard genius, the incomparable Miles Davis!! From bebop to cool jazz to modal to out-funk/fusion to pop, Miles played it all and never cared what the critics thought of him! My personal favorite era was his '70s hard-avant-funk, some of which sounds so brutal that it borders on proto-death metal!

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Mamie Smith / May 26, 1883 - Sept 16, 1946

Mamie Smith / May 26, 1883 - Sept 16, 1946

On February 14, 1920, Mamie Smith recorded two songs for Okeh Records and history was made as she was the first black blues singer to make an appearance on record. The label was threatened with a boycott if they recorded a black singer but they did so anyway and the Smith-Okeh partnership went on to sell MILLIONS of records, bringing a huge jump in sales to what was called at the time "race records". She came from the Midwest and started touring at 10 with a vaudeville act before moving to NYC in 1913. She became a big star of...

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