Ron10-183x300To  start this new entry there are some comments made to me since my last entry and I want to reach out to those who gave me encouragement to continue and I appreciate your interests in what I have to convey to you. There is a requirement that is necessary, in my opinion, to pass the information that enables me to pass it on to you. It requires a lot of reading and investigating. My comments are just a conduit to use as a vehicle to give you bits of information that you may use. Of course, there are personal comments that I wish to share with you, the reader, as well. I do try, however, unless I have strong feelings about a subject, not to get too deep into my personal beliefs so that it prevents you to share with me what your opinions may be regarding a particular subject. Also, one of the disappointments about doing the blog is what I alluded to at the start of my comments on this post. Even though I appreciate the comments of encouragement that are sent to me, there is a lack of interest in getting involved in discussions with readers. A lack of engagement is what I am referring to…telling me that you may appreciate what you read and the positivity of my writing is fine, but I do not get a sense that it is clear you may understand what I am alluding to on a particular subject. I need more information if you read the blog so that I may respond properly.

The Case For Reparations: By Ta-Nehisi Coates Ta-Nesisi Coates writes for Atlantic Magazine, and is one of the young writers I try to read when I can. In the May 21, 2014 issue he has a long featured article on the The Case For Reparations, // that should be required reading if you have any interests in race relations in this country. Read the article.

Erroll Garner

I don’t want to be remiss about paying tribute to one of my favorite pianists of all time. Piano players were my favorites besides singers in my world of music, and Erroll Garner brought me so much joy with his recordings that I don’t know if he is on the same plain that I place Oscar Peterson, but these two men are indispensable as I enjoy their recordings and I have many. Erroll celebrated his ninetyfirst birthday on June 15th. I hope all of my radio pals took the time to celebrate this terrific pianist. One of the interesting things about Erroll was the many years he was playing and starting in the late thirties, and his active playing taking place in 1944 that brought on so many of his recordings. His recordings were immense because over the years he had recorded with so many recording companies until his passing on January 2, 1977 from a heart attack. To find out more info on Erroll take a look at Google and that will give you all the info you need, but personally, I have so many favorites of my own that I wish to share with you. Garner came on the scene with one special trait that endeared him to the jazz listener and that was his individuality and the fact that he did not read music. His piano style was like no other, and as he grew artistically his style of playing was a joy to audiences as he teased them at the beginning of each song as the audience tried to figure out what he was going to play. Erroll was playful but at the end of a concert there was no doubt that he was a serious musician. His signature hit song was Misty, and that garnered him fame as an artist, with the movie Play Misty For Me which brought him that fame, but one should listen to the the joyous rendition of Lullaby Of Birdland with it’s extended verses that seem never ending or Dreamy, one of his other compositions on Columbia Records that equals Misty but does not get the play it deserves. His live recordings, especially Concert By The Sea, another hit recording by Erroll and numerous other live recordings at colleges and universities that were before live audiences and no doubt were icing on the cake because while his session recordings in the studio were superb, but the live output were outstanding. Erroll was a short man in stature and one of the fond memories of audiences was Erroll’s insistence of putting the New York Telephone Book on the piano seat. Not sure who decided on that but it worked visually as Erroll moved to the piano. No doubt, as I said before, Erroll had a sense of humor that endeared him to audiences. Here’s a sample.

So as I listen to the many recordings of this creative jazz musician it brings a smile to my face as I remember the moments that each recording brings of my favorite pianist, Erroll Garner. I hope you check him out.

Born on July, 8, 1914, the great popular and jazz singer, Billy Eckstine, celebrated the centennial of his birth, and a most wonderous and celebrated singer he was. A musician, trombone player and singer,  Eckstine became the consequential singer of the Earl Hines band. He also started the first Be-Bop band in 1944 along with Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon and other rising jazz stars, and fortunately that band was well recorded before its early demise.

Mr. ‘B’ as he was formally called became a solo performer in 1944, and became a household name for his stellar performances as a popular singer with many hit recordings; My Foolish Heart, I Apologize, Caravan, Blue Moon, Everything I Have Is Yours, just to name a few. As a Black popular singer, along with Nat Cole, he enjoyed celebrity status with an abundance of hit recordings in the fifties. A handsome, Black man, Billy enjoyed ‘swoon’ status from his audiences and young patrons.

Outstanding performances included personal appearances and recordings with the Count Basie Band, the inclusion of repertoire choices with the Ellington compositions. His work with singer, Sarah Vaughan, his band companion and personal friend, in the early Earl Hines days, are also important to mention as he did many recordings and ‘live’ appearances with Sarah. He even had movie aspirations and was included in that genre as well.

It’s important to note, that Eckstine who was considered a fashion icon, became famous for his Mr ‘B’ Collar that became a fashionable statement worn by many when he was highly popular..

Billy passed away on March 8, 1993, but his musical legacy lingers on and his recordings are still available for all to enjoy.


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