News & Updates

Noah Howard / April 6, 1943 - Sept 3, 2010

Noah Howard / April 6, 1943 - Sept 3, 2010

Noah Howard was underknown as a sax player to many, yet was a vital figure in the landscape of out-jazz, recording albums for ESP-Disk, America, Freedom, CIMP, Free Music Productions, Ayler Recordings and his own AltSax imprint, among others. Born in New Orleans, he was deeply inspired by John Coltrane and Albert Ayler and cut a couple of disks on the legendary underground NYC label ESP in the mid-'60s. In '68 he left the States, living most of the rest of his life in Europe (as well as some time in Kenya). He played on Archie Shepp's amazing Black Gypsy...

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Horace Tapscott / April 6, 1934 - Feb 27, 1999

Horace Tapscott / April 6, 1934 - Feb 27, 1999

Though never a household name, pianist, big-band leader, composer and community activist Horace Tapscott was a major figure on the Los Angeles jazz scene. As a teenager he, Don Cherry & Billy Higgins played together and took in the legendarily thriving Central Ave bop scene of the late '40s. Initially a trombonist, he got a call to work with Lionel Hampton before moving to piano (the Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols influence is evident). In '61 he formed the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, a progressive big band that included poets, dancers and a good amount of activist spirit. In '63 he...

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Merle Haggard / April 6, 1937 - April 6, 2016

Merle Haggard / April 6, 1937 - April 6, 2016

Country music icon, outlaw poet and one of the greatest songwriters in American music history, Merle Haggard passed away on his 79th birthday, a premonition that he shared with his family. "The Bottle Let Me Down", "Branded Man", "Mama Tried", "Working Man Blues", "High On A Hilltop", "Silver Wings", "(My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers"...so many great tunes. And his politics veered left sometime in the last 20 years, even recording an anti-war song about the Iraq war. One of my personal favorite songwriters. "Sing me back home..." Sure, some harsh folks can get on my case about liking a...

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Gerry Mulligan / April 6, 1927 - Jan 20, 1996

Gerry Mulligan / April 6, 1927 - Jan 20, 1996

Gerry Mulligan may be the most well-known (and perhaps most important) baritone saxophonist in jazz and beyond. His playing, arranging and compositional talents have found him work with many of the greatest jazz artists ever, as well as extensive work in orchestral settings. He started arranging for Gene Krupa in '46 before playing on the classic Miles Davis Nonet sides that became Birth Of The Cool and subsequent jobs with the group ('48-'51). 1951 saw the issue of his first album Mulligan Plays Mulligan before heading to Los Angeles to take a job with Stan Kenton. It was there that...

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Joe Meek / April 5, 1929 - Feb 3, 1967

Joe Meek / April 5, 1929 - Feb 3, 1967

Joe Meek may very well be rock's first independent producer/auteur. He is like an early rock & roll Lee Perry, a man with a strong artistic inclination and a home studio, eccentric tendencies and behaviors, and experimental processes to create otherwordly results. He had a background as an electrician and started cutting his own records in the '50s. He set up perhaps the first home recording studio in rock (he loved to bother his neighbors). He produced "Tornado", a major international hit by the Telstars in '62, becoming the first British group to top the US charts. He utilized separation...

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