Sonny Boy Williamson was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s.
Based on actual conversations: WHY WE NEED THIS MOVIE #1 Me: I’m going to watch this movie, “The Girls In The Band.” And hopefully write a review. Hip Old Jazz Radio Dude: Oh, yeah? What’s it about, chick singers? Me: Um, no. It’s about the great female instrumentalists who couldn’t get hired by the big bands, […]
Written by John Kessler In 1942, Alan Lomax discovered a community of musicians in North Mississippi, who played their own hybrid music that was unmistakably African-sounding. Called “Fife & Drum” music because of its military background, it hearkens back to post Civil War days, when this special and local tradition originated. Although drumming is a […]
Ann Hampton Callaway: Singing the standards, Streisand and making it up as she goes. May 10, 2013.
Written by Nick Morrison Originally posted on September 6, 2011 In the jazz fusion era of the 1970s, a new breed of jazz superstar was born: the electric bassist. Although electric bass wasn’t unheard-of in jazz before jazz-rock fusion, it quickly became an important component in fusion bands, and the bassists themselves became more prominent […]
“You Don’t Love Me” is a classic blues song that has roots in the 50’s and is still being recorded and re-invented. Willie Cobbs, an Arkansas rice farmer, made his way to Chicago in the late 1940’s, playing his blues on Maxwell Street, eventually releasing “You Don’t Love Me” in 1961. He never became a […]
Written by John Kessler Bo Diddley may not have had the commercial success of some other performers, but his contributions to American musical culture are huge. Besides his trademark “Bo Diddley beat,” he had a brash sense of style, dressing in outlandish outfits, playing custom-made square guitars and generally having a lot of fun on […]
Written by Robin Lloyd. Charles Mingus was a virtuoso bass player, accomplished pianist, bandleader and composer. Influenced both by church choirs and Duke Ellington, he studied double bass and composition with classical masters. Mingus played and recorded with the leading musicians of the 1950′s– Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Art Tatum and Duke Ellington […]
Written by John Kessler Repression of African Americans didn’t stop at the end of the Civil War, and prisons and chain gangs were full of black people arrested for minor violations. This song, “Another Man Done Gone”, tells of the death of a man on one of those chain gangs. Folklorist Alan Lomax recorded Vera […]