Saturday, December 15, 2018

Fats Waller 75 Years -- December 15, 2018
75 years ago today, on 15-December-1943, great American composer and performer Fats Waller died of pneumonia while riding the eastbound Super Chief.

I remember when my parents bought a box set of LPs with songs by famous performers.  The two that really got to me were "I Have a Right to Sing the Blues" by Cab Calloway and "It's a Sin to Tell a Lie" by Fats Waller and his Rhythm.  I listened to both tracks repeatedly and learned the lyrics, at least the ones that I could understand.  I went looking for more music by both men, but I found more by Waller.  I'm sorry I never took piano lessons.

I learned that he was a great performer, pianist, organ player, singer and entertainer.  I'm sorry he died at 39. "One never knows, do one?"

""Your pedal extremities are colossal"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Nancy Wilson, RIP -- December 14, 2018
Singer Nancy Wilson has died.  I love her singing and speaking voice.  I always enjoy listening to Jazz Profiles on KCSM.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Broncho Billy Rag -- December 13, 2018

Gilbert M Anderson, Broncho Billy, was the first western star. With George K Spoor, he had founded Essanay (S and A). In 1914, Nell Wright Slaughter published "Broncho Billy Rag," a charming tune. I can't find much information about the composer except that she lived in Texas and was also known as Nell Wright Watson.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Professor Longhair 100 -- December 19, 2018

Professor Longhair, Harry Byrd, was one of the great singers and pianists from New Orleans.  He influenced many younger musicians like Allen Toussaint and Doctor John.

Joe Williams 100, Grover Washington, Jr 75 -- December 12, 2018

Singer Big Joe Williams was born 100 years ago today, on 12-December-1918.  He sang with Lionel Hampton in the 1940s and Count Basie in the 1950s.  He had a powerful voice.

Christmas is coming.

Sax player Grover Washington, Jr was born 75 years ago today, on 12-December-1943. He often played jazz-funk. "Just the Two of Us" with Bill Withers was a big crossover hit.

Both Joe Williams and Grover Washington, Jr died in 1999.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Alexander Solzhenitsyn 100 -- December 11, 2018
Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was born 100 years ago today, on 11-December-1918. He grew up during the Russian Civil War.  He was a decorated officer in the Great Patriotic War.
During that war, he began to doubt the righteousness of the Soviet Union.  In early 1945 he was arrested and sentenced to eight years because.

I first read One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich in college. Years later, I came across The Gulag Archipelago in the library and remembered that I had read the reviews with interest.  Later I worked with a programmer who had left the Soviet Union and he highly recommended August 1914 and The First Circle.

I remember when the Soviets expelled him and he came to America.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Comic Book -- Black Cat -- December 9. 2018
Christmas is coming.

In 1941, Harvey Comics introduced The Black Cat, a Hollywood actress whose father was a silent Western star and whose mother was a stuntwoman.