News & Updates — NYC

Born today: July 15 mega-post

Born today: July 15 mega-post

There are so many interesting artists born on July 15 that it is impossible in my schedule to write pieces about them. So here are some shorties, along with a video or two for each. --Francis Bebey / July 15, 1929 - May 28, 2001 This unique Cameroonian composer and his interesting DIY synth-pop crossed with traditional music has been justly making new fans in recent years. --James Jacson / July 15, 1932 - Aug 10, 1997 Happy cosmic birthday to James Jacson, one of my favorite characters from Sun Ra's Arkestra. Jacson is the one who was instructed to...

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Doc Pomus / June 27, 1925 - March 14, 1991

Doc Pomus / June 27, 1925 - March 14, 1991

Jerry Felder, a Brooklyn-raised Jewish kid who suffered from polio, became a champion songwriter for the likes of Elvis Presley (who recorded a couple dozen of his tunes), Ray Charles, The Drifters, Phil Spector, Dr John, BB King, Bobby Darin and many, many more. He was originally a sax player, but in the early '40s he took the made-up name of "Doc Pomus" and started singing the blues in clubs. Fairly successful with this, he cut a bunch of records with Milt Jackson, King Curtis, Mickey Baker and others. By '57 he was a full-time songwriter in the Brill Building....

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Alan Vega / June 23, 1938 - July 16, 2016

Alan Vega / June 23, 1938 - July 16, 2016

Born today was Boruch Alan Bermowitz, multi-media artist, photographer, gallery owner, vocalist, electronic music pioneer and punk icon better known as Alan Vega. His electronic/punk duo Suicide (with Martin Rev) was a thing of ugly, simplistic beauty, and one of the first bands to describe themselves as "punk" in the early '70s. They were pioneering, exciting and controversial. He grew up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn and was into rock & roll in its early days and studied art in college. An artist of electronic light sculptures and found objects, he was also involved with the radical Art Workers' Coalition. After seeing...

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Bobby Vince Paunetto / June 22, 1944 - Aug 10, 2010

Bobby Vince Paunetto / June 22, 1944 - Aug 10, 2010

An underrated name in Latin jazz, Bronx-raised Bobby Paunetto (born to an Italian father and Spanish-speaking mother) only made a few recordings before Multiple Sclerosis disabled him around '79. He was a vibraphonist, heavily influenced by Cal Tjader, who started playing in 1961. After a military stint, he attended Berklee School of Music in Massachusetts, studying with Gary Burton. He played with Clare Fischer, Tito Puente, Buddy Rich, Mongo Santamaria, Armando Peraza, both the Palmieri brothers and his idol Tjader, who wrote "Paunetto's Point" in his honor. Bobby made recordings for Seeco, Roulette, Mardi Gras and his own Pathfinder label,...

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Moondog / May 26, 1916 - Sept 8, 1999

Moondog / May 26, 1916 - Sept 8, 1999

"The Viking of 6th Avenue", Lewis Hardin was better known as "Moondog", composer, instrument-builder, philosopher and mystical NYC street character. He was from a Kansas farm and was blinded at 16 by dynamite. He attended music school for the blind and lived briefly in the South during the late '30s/early '40s before moving to NYC in '43. There he quickly befriended Charlie Parker, Toscanini, Benny Goodman, Leonard Bernstein and other musical luminaries. He was a busking musician and earned money selling his poems. He spent 25 years on the streets of NY, often along 6th ave, between 52nd & 55th...

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