In his 1973 autobiography Music is My Mistress, from a chapter titled “The Taste Buds,” Duke Ellington writes about his special diet, losing thirty pounds while on it, and the resulting onstage antics.
In 1955 my doctor, Arthur Logan, told me I would have to take off twenty-two pounds. I tore up his suggested menu and made one of my own. Mine was simply steak (any amount), grapefruit, and black coffee with a slice of lemon first squeezed and then dropped into it. With the exception of a binge one day a week, I ate as much of this and as often as I please for three months.
When we returned to the New York area, my first date was […] Continue reading »
Pianist Joe Sample — who died on September 12 at the age of 75 — was a critical link to both the glories of hard bop and the perils of smooth jazz. His career will principally be remembered as a founding member of the Jazz Crusaders (ultimately just “The Crusaders”), a band he described as being “fathers of jazz-funk-fusion.” While his musical contributions are noteworthy, I also remember him for an altogether different reason.
In 1974, The Crusaders were all over the radio. In the San Francisco Bay area (where I lived at the time), their music — particularly their arrangement of Carole King’s “So Far Away” and a sweet ballad called “Way Back Home” — was in heavy rotation on the adult contemporary formatted KSFO-AM as well as on the era’s alternative rock giant KSAN-FM. In record industry parlance, they had “crossed over” into multiple formats. The Crusaders were “huge.”
In addition to being an important musical influence during […] Continue reading »
The stem pipe was cracked
he told me gently
as if I were an anxious relative
in a hospital waiting room
The craftsman nursed my boy’s trumpet
deciding it needed more oil, too
And while he was at it, fashioned a screw
replacing one long missing
[…] Continue reading »
The New York Times reports that progress is being made on Don Cheadle’s film of Miles Davis. In Sunday’s edition, the Times‘ Alan Light writes that, rather than a full-fledged “cradle to grave” “biopic” in the tradition of Ray or Walk the Line, Miles Ahead will instead focus on the period from 1975 – 1980 when Miles was inactive, a period in Miles’ career Cheadle finds fascinating.
Cheadle told Light that “he had heard some recordings Davis made during this period which allowed him to “hear the engines just starting to turn…For me, when someone has been prolific for that long, and then they go quiet for five years, that’s when I go, ‘What’s that about?’ […] Continue reading »
This pianist worked with (among others) the bands of Bunny Berigan, Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman, and was Bing Crosby’s musical director at the time of Crosby’s death in 1977. Who is he? […] Continue reading »