Tonight, NBC presents a 40-year anniversary show on Saturday Night Live, which, during that time has presented many cutting-edge (and let’s face it, at times very drab) comedic moments and personalities. While the show is known for its comedy, musical performances have at times made the show staying up past normal bedtime hours a worthwhile option. One of those moments was a December, 1976 SNL hosted by Richard Pryor, who hand-picked his musical guest, the soul/jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron. That memorable appearance is reported on by Marcus Baram in this excerpt from his biography Gil Scott-Heron: Pieces of a Man:
In the fall of 1975, Gil got a call from Richard Pryor, who invited him to be a musical guest on an upcoming episode of Saturday Night Live, which Pryor was going to host in a few weeks. Pryor invited him after hearing a story about Gil that impressed the comic: A few months earlier, Gil had been invited by singer Roberta Flack to perform on […] Continue reading »
They must have materialized at the open mike
out of carbon and nitrogen in the air,
those poets you’d never see in a jazz club.
A guy in Roman-helmet-like Mohawk
reads three-chord rhymes about Mingus,
an MC in Phat Farm jeans
fires machine gun words about Miles,
and a woman in high collar and sensible shoes
chops Art Blakey into fourteen lines of ten syllables.
Seems you can’t be a real poet
unless you […] Continue reading »
Paul Morris is an avid Portland, Oregon record album collector who, in his words, will “share his enthusiasm for the artists who created album covers in the ‘40?s and ‘50?s.” In addition to being a collector of the art, he is a scholar of it. This edition features a selection of “glamour girl” covers ! […] Continue reading »
Congratulations to jazz historian Ashley Kahn, who won a Grammy over the weekend for the liner notes he penned for John Coltrane’s previously unreleased recording, Offering: Live At Temple University. Kahn has mastered the art of telling a story about famous recordings. His Kind of Blue: The Making of the Miles Davis Masterpiece was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “a masterpiece in its own right,” and drummer Elvin Jones wrote that Kahn’s A Love Supreme – The Story of John Coltrane’s Signature Album “reaches a […] Continue reading »
Buried under all the popular music performances aired during last night’s Grammy Awards show was notice that the great saxophonist Wayne Shorter is the recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. In an artful written tribute, bassist Esperanza Spalding – herself a recipient of a Grammy for Best New Artist of 2010 – wrote that Shorter has “masterfully realized his philosophy of taking the best of the past, and using it as a ‘flashlight into the unknown’” and “provided infectious originality to some of the most loved jazz institutions of the 20th century.” Her homage to Shorter is brief and brilliant, and is a worthy read…Click here to read it in its entirety.
[…] Continue reading »