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Friday, 30 September 2016

Buddy Rich born 30 September 1917


Bernard "Buddy" Rich (September 30, 1917 – April 2, 1987) was an American jazz drummer and bandleader.
 
Arguably the greatest jazz drummer of all time, the legendary Buddy Rich exhibited his love for music through the dedication of his life to the art. His was a career that spanned seven decades, beginning when Rich was 18 months old and continuing until his death in 1987. Immensely gifted, Rich could play with remarkable speed and dexterity despite the fact that he never received a formal lesson and refused to practice outside of his performances. 

 Born Bernard Rich to vaudevillians Robert and Bess Rich on September 30, 1917, the famed drummer was introduced to audiences at a very young age. By 1921, he was a seasoned solo performer with his vaudeville act, "Traps the Drum Wonder." With his natural sense of rhythm, Rich performed regularly on Broadway at the age of four. At the peak of Rich's early career, he was the second-highest paid child entertainer in the world. 

Rich's jazz career began in 1937 when he began playing with Joe Marsala at New York's Hickory House. By 1939, he had joined Tommy Dorsey's band, and he later went on to play with such jazz greats as Dizzy Gillespie, Louis Armstrong and Gene Krupa. Rich was regularly featured in Jazz at the Philharmonic during the late 40s. He also appeared in such Hollywood films as Symphony of Swing (1939), Ship Ahoy (1942) and How's About It (1943). 

Rich recorded with a countless number of all-stars in the 1950s for Verve (including Charlie Parker, Lester Young, Art Tatum, and Lionel Hampton), and worked with Les Brown, Charlie Ventura, Tommy Dorsey (1954-1955), and Harry James (off and on during 1953-1966). A heart attack in 1959 only slowed him down briefly and, although he contemplated becoming a full-time vocalist, Rich never gave up the drums.  

In 1966, Buddy Rich beat the odds and put together a successful big band that would be his main outlet for his final 20 years. Throughout the 1960s and 70s, Rich toured with his own bands and opened two nightclubs, Buddy's Place and Buddy's Place II. Both clubs were regularly filled to capacity by fans of the great master drummer. After opening Buddy's Place II, Rich introduced new tunes with elements of rock into his repertoire, demonstrating his ability to adapt to his audience's changing tastes and establishing himself as a great rock drummer.
 
 

 
 Known for his caustic humour, Rich was a favourite on several television talk shows including the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, the Mike Douglas Show, the Dick Cavett Show and the Merv Griffin Show. During these appearances, Rich entertained audiences through his constant sparring with the hosts and his slights of various pop singers. 

This famed musician received outstanding recognition throughout his career. The Downbeat Magazine Hall of Fame Award, the Modern Drummer Magazine Hall of Fame Award and the Jazz Unlimited Immortals of Jazz Award are just a few of his numerous honours. Rich gained international attention for such master compositions as his 10-minute West Side Story medley. During his lengthy career, Rich toured around the globe, performing for millions of fans and several world leaders including the king of Thailand, the queen of England, Franklin Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Regan and King Hussein of Jordan. 

His heart began giving him trouble starting in 1983, but Rich never gave his music less than 100 percent and was still pushing himself at the end. A perfectionist who expected the same from his sidemen (some of whom he treated cruelly). 

On April 2, 1987, Rich died of heart failure following surgery for a malignant brain tumour.
Long-time friend, Frank Sinatra, presented the eulogy at Rich's funeral. Today, Buddy Rich is remembered as one of history's greatest musicians. According to jazz legend Gene Krupa, Rich was "The greatest drummer ever to have drawn breath."(Info mainly from drummerworld.com)

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Nicola Di Bari born 29 September 1940


Nicola Di Bari, born Michele Scommegna on 29 September 1940, is an Italian singer-songwriter and actor. He is considered one of the "sacred monsters" of Italian pop music. 
 
Hailing from Manfredonia, a city in the Central Italian province of Foggia, in Apulia, Di Bari was born the youngest of ten children to an impoverished family. In an attempt to prevent him from inheriting their peasant life, his parents sent him to the study at the Archepiscopal Institute Scared Heart of Manfredonia. 
 
Although he possessed a natural talent as a singer, Di Bari did not sing until succumbing to friends' urging and making his debut at a festival for the patron saint, Zapponeta. Receiving such a warm response, he continued to sing at regional competitions and festivals. Moving to Milan in 1958, Di Bari was enchanted by the city's thriving music scene, spending countless hours at galleries listening to a diverse range of musicians.  

Straight away Michele took part in a competition for new voices where the jury, impressed by his strangely different voice, gave him first prize. One of the jury members was maestro Leoni of the SAAR record company who offered him the opportunity of taking singing lessons and shortly afterwards a contract with the company. With SAAR he recorded a series of fortunate singles like “Piano, pianino”, “Amor non farmi pianger più”, “Perché te ne vai”, “Amici miei” and in the meantime he took part in the Cantagiro song contest. 
 
 


  In 1964 he recorded the song “Amore ritorna a casa (Love Returns to the House)," which is the official beginning of what was to turn out to be a wonderfully long career. People liked this song; they especially liked this young new singer’s voice and his record was one of the best sellers. 

Then came THE test, i.e the Festival of Sanremo the next year, 1965, when the SAAR took him to the contest with “Amici miei” in a duo with Gene Pitney and they arrived second. In 1970 Di Bari obtained a great commercial and critical success with the song "La prima cosa bella", which ranked second at the Sanremo Music Festival and first on the Italian hit parade.  

In 1971 he won the Sanremo Music Festival and Canzonissima, with the songs "Il cuore è uno zingaro" and "Chitarra suona più piano". In 1972, he won again the Sanremo Festival and represented Italy at the Eurovision Song Contest with the song "I giorni dell'arcobaleno" ("The Days of the Rainbow"). In the following years Di Bari grew his international popularity, especially in Latin America, where he recorded several albums in Spanish and where he gradually focused his career. 

Di Bari spent much of the '80s in South America, building as strong a following there as in his native land. His many hits include "La Prima Casa Belle," "Il Cuore e Uno Zingaro," "Chitarra Suona Piu Piano," "I Giorni Dell'Arcobaleno," and "Il Mondo e Grigio Il Mondo e Blu."  
 
Singing in his native Italian or in Spanish (which he considers his second language), Nicola Di Bari has been melting hearts with his romantic balladry for more than four decades. He has maintained a constant presence on Italy's pop charts. 

(Info edited from Wikipedia & Craig Harris @All Music & last fm bio))

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tommy Collins born 28 September 1930


Leonard Raymond Sipes (September 28, 1930 – March 14, 2000), better known as Tommy Collins, was an American country music singer and songwriter. 

Collins was born just outside of Oklahoma City, spending his entire childhood in Oklahoma, where his father worked for the county. As a child, he began to sing and write songs, eventually appearing on local radio shows. Following his high-school graduation in 1948, he attended Edmond State Teachers College while he continued to perform music. During this time, he made a handful of singles for the California-based record label Morgan. In the early '50s, he was in the Army for a brief time, before he moved to Bakersfield with his friend Wanda Jackson and her family. Shortly afterward, the Jackson family moved back to Oklahoma, leaving Collins alone in Bakersfield. 
In a short time, Collins had begun to make friends and contacts within the city, eventually becoming friends with Ferlin Husky, and the pair roomed together. After recording a handful of Collins' songs, Husky convinced his record company, Capitol, to offer Collins a record contract, and the fledging singer/songwriter signed to the label in June of 1953; at the time of signing, he adopted his stage name of Tommy Collins, since it sounded more commercial than Leonard Sipes. Capitol and Collins immediately assembled a backing band, which featured a then-unknown Buck Owens on lead guitar. Following one unsuccessful single, Collins released the jaunty "You Better Not Do That," which became a huge hit in early 1954, spending seven weeks at number two on the country charts.
 
 

 
Since the song was a success, Collins continued to pursue a light-hearted, near-novelty direction with his subsequent hits, and the formula initially worked. Between the fall of 1954 and the spring of 1955, he had three Top Ten hits -- "Whatcha Gonna Do Now," "Untied," and "It Tickles" -- and in the fall of 1955, the double A-sided single "I Guess I'm Crazy" and "You Oughta See Pickles Now," which both reached the Top 15. In addition to these hit singles, Faron Young had a huge hit with Collins' "If You Ain't Lovin'," which was one of many songs that Collins wrote but didn't record that became hits. 

Collins was on the fast road to major success, but it stopped just as soon as it began. Collins had a religious conversion in early 1956, and much of the material he recorded that year was sacred music; occasionally, he recorded duets with his wife Wanda Lucille Shahan as well. In 1957, Collins enrolled in the Golden Gate Baptist Seminary with the intention of becoming a minister. Two years later, he became a pastor. During all of his religious teachings, Collins continued to record for Capitol, but neither he nor the label was much interested in promoting his records, and he had no hits. When his contract with the label expired in 1960, he stopped recording and enrolled as a student at Sacramento State College. For the next two years, he studied at the university.  

In early 1963, Collins decided he was unfulfilled by the ministry, so he left the church and headed back to Bakersfield with the intention of re-entering the music business. Capitol agreed to re-sign him, and in 1964 he returned to the lower reaches of the charts with "I Can Do That," a duet with his wife, Wanda.  

With the help of Johnny Cash, Collins switched labels and signed with Columbia in 1965; the following year, he had a Top Ten hit with "I Can't Bite, Don't Growl." For the next few years, he had a string of minor hit singles, none of which cracked the country Top 40. During this time, he also toured with his protégés, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, acting as their opening act. By the early '70s, both Collins' professional and personal lives were on the verge of collapse, due to his increasing dependency on drugs and alcohol. In 1971, Wanda filed for divorce, sending Collins into a deep depression. 

Collins began to recover by continuing to write songs, many of which were recorded by Merle Haggard, including the 1972 number one hit single "Carolyn." In 1976, Collins moved to Nashville, where he was able to secure a contract with Starday Records. Later that year, he released Tommy Collins Callin', a collection of his own versions of songs he had provided for other artists. Following the album's release, Collins turned almost entirely to professional song writing.  
 
 
Throughout the '80s, Collins kept a low profile, though his songs continued to be recorded. European record companies like Bear Family began reissuing his recordings, which led to an appearance at the 1988 Wembley Country Music Festival in England. In 1993, Collins signed a new publishing contract with Ricky Skaggs Music and continued to write songs professionally throughout the mid-'90s, dying from Emphysema at his home in Ashland City, TN, on March 14, 2000. (Info mainly edited from bio by Stephen Thomas Erlewine @ All Music)


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Alvin Stardust born 27 September 1947

 

Bernard William Jewry (27 September 1942 – 23 October 2014), known professionally as Shane Fenton and later as Alvin Stardust, was an English rock singer and stage actor.  

Bernard William Jewry was born 27 September 1942 in Muswell Hill, North London.Moving to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, at a young age where his mother ran a boarding house frequented by musicians and entertainers appearing locally, Jewry attended the Southwell Minster Collegiate Grammar School in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, near Newark-upon-Trent, as a boarder. He made his stage debut in pantomime at the age of four. 

In the early 1960s, Shane Fenton and the Fentones were an unknown teenage band who recorded a demo tape and mailed it in to a BBC programme with the hope of being picked to appear on television. While awaiting a reply from the BBC, the band's 17-year-old singer Shane Fenton (whose real name was Johnny Theakstone) died as a result of the rheumatic fever he had suffered in childhood. 

The rest of the band (guitarists Jerry Wilcock and Mick Eyre, bassist Graham George Squires and drummer Tony Hinchcliffe) decided to break up, but then unexpectedly received a letter from the BBC inviting them to come to London to audition in person for the programme. Theakstone's mother asked the band to stay together, and to keep its name, in honour of her son's memory. Jewry, who was a roadie with them at the time, was asked to join the band and to use Shane Fenton as a pseudonym. The combo had a handful of hits in the UK Singles Chart: "I'm A Moody Guy", "Walk Away", "It's All Over Now" and their biggest hit, "Cindy's Birthday". These and their subsequent misses were all on Parlophone Records.
 
 



 Jewry disappeared from the spotlight for a decade after the break-up of the Fentones, working in music management and performing at small venues with his wife Iris Caldwell, the sister of Rory Storm. During the early 1970s, however, he acquired a new persona, Alvin Stardust, cashing in on the glam rock bandwagon. His new name was given to him by Peter Shelley, the co-founder (with Michael Levy) of Magnet Records. Shelley originated the persona of Alvin Stardust, writing, recording and singing the first Stardust single, "My Coo Ca Choo", in 1973.  

Shelley, however, had no interest in performing live or making public appearances, so even as "My Coo Ca Choo" was climbing the charts, he was on the lookout for someone to take over the role of Alvin Stardust. Hal Carter, Jewry's manager, suggested his client as a substitute. Jewry took over as Stardust in time to lip-synch "My Coo Ca Choo" on its first Top Of The Pops appearance.

All further Alvin Stardust records were sung by Jewry. Stardust had further chart successes with the hits "Jealous Mind" (UK No. 1.), "You, You, You", "Red Dress" and "Good Love Can Never Die" and "Sweet Cheatin' Rita." 

The hits stopped after that, but Stardust had already made plans for the future. He had already dropped the leather and the scowl, while his last two singles, in particular, had revealed a sensitive side to the once-demonic performer. With an audience which now included as many parents as children, he turned his attention towards the rock & roll revival circuit and remained a successful live draw well into the early '80s.  

Stardust then engineered a quite remarkable comeback, signing to the Stiff Records label and returning to the chart with "Pretend." It reached number four during fall 1981 and while Stardust then lapsed back into silence, it was only fleeting. In May 1984, "I Feel Like Buddy Holly" returned him to the U.K. Top Ten, to be followed by "I Won't Run Away" and the festive favorite "So Near to Christmas." He celebrated 25 years of chart success the following year when "Got a Little Heartache" breached the Top 60. It was to prove his final hit; after that time, he remained a fixture on the live circuit, also appearing in occasional television and stage role. 
He participated in A Song for Europe, the UK qualifying heat of the Eurovision Song Contest, in 1985, with the song "The Clock on the Wall". He finished in third place behind Vikki and Kerri Wells.

Stardust also starred in the UK tour of Godspell and played Uriah Heep in David Copperfield – The Musical and Sir Billy Butlin in The Butlin Story at the London Palladium. In 2005 he starred as the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, also at the London Palladium. Stardust has numerous television appearances to his credit, and continued to tour as a performer and singer. In 1989, he also hosted his own Sunday morning children's TV series on ITV called It's Stardust.


Stardust died after a brief illness; this was confirmed by his manager on the morning of 23 October 2014. His death came just weeks before he was due to release his first album for 30 years and the day after his last show at the Regal Cinema, Evesham. He had been diagnosed with prostate cancer 18 months earlier, which later metastasised. He died at home with his wife and family around him.
(Info edited from Wikipedia & All Music)

 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Erik Darling born 25 September 1935


Erik Darling (September 25, 1933 – August 3, 2008) was an American songwriter and a folk music artist. He was an important influence on the folk scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
 

Darling born in Baltimore, Maryland, actually spent his childhood in Canandaigua, NY, Darling decided not to join the family paint store business and instead came to New York in the early 1950s. By the time he was in his early twenties, he was a regular fixture in New York City's Washington Square folk scene. A superb banjo player and perhaps an even better 12-string guitarist, and possessing a clear, warm, and expressive tenor singing voice, Darling was an expert at bringing out the best in the musicians around him.
 
Darling soon formed the Folksay Trio. The group recorded an album in 1951 that included Darling's arrangement of the traditional "Tom Dooley" — the same arrangement, according to several historians of the era, that became folk music's first big hit, in 1958, for the Kingston Trio. He then formed the Tunetellers in the mid-'50s, and after a name change to the Tarriers, the group had a Top Ten hit with "The Banana Boat Song" (the song is also known as "Day-O" after its distinctive refrain and was subsequently an even bigger hit for Harry Belafonte) in 1956.  

In April 1958 Darling replaced Pete Seeger in The Weavers, although he continued working club dates with The Tarriers until November 1959. Darling also recorded three solo albums. His second solo effort, True Religion for Vanguard in 1961 was influential on younger folkies of the day. Darling left the
The Weavers

Weavers in June 1962 to work as a soloist on the emerging coffeehouse circuit. Don McLean who became friends with Darling in 1961, looked back on Darling as “a genuine philosopher and perfectionist.” He said, “I appreciated the time he spent with me so long ago. Undivided mental attention to every aspect of music making and performing is a hallmark of Erik’s work, and I believe some of that rubbed off on me.” 
 
 



That summer he formed a jazz-folk trio, The Rooftop Singers, with long-time friend Bill Svanoe and jazz singer Lynn Taylor. Intended as a studio-only project for Vanguard, the group landed an unexpected number one pop hit with the song "Walk Right In." The trio released further singles, including "Tom Cat" and "Mama Don't Allow," and a pair of albums, Goodtime and Rainy River, before splitting up in 1967.  

In  1975, Darling issued a duet LP with Pat Street, a later member of The Rooftop Singers. Music from this album was used in the film “Forrest Gump,” and Darling’s banjo playing accompanies the Kossoy Sisters in the movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou.” Darling released a solo album, "The Possible Dream" on Elektra in 1975, and thereafter dropped out of the music scene for a while, occasionally surfacing as a fill-in for Weavers revivals and other folk concerts. He moved to Santa Fe, N.M., where he pursued painting and performed around town. He also taught banjo, numbering Béla Fleck among his students. 

Never one to seek the limelight, Darling continued to record and work in the folk and emerging Americana vein, even flirting with a kind of desert country sound with his group Border Town (which also included members Sid Hausman and Lynn Lucas), which released the solid Border Town at Midnight album in 1994.  

Always an elegant singer and instrumentalist, Darling never lost his ability to rearrange traditional material into new forms that carried the past even as they were subtly updated to handle the present. Shortly before his death, he completed his autobiography, "I'd Give My Life." Darling died on August 3, 2008, in Chapel Hill, NC, from complications due to lymphoma.

(Info edited mainly from Wikipedia & All Music)


Saturday, 24 September 2016

Sonny Turner born 24 September 1939


Sonny Turner (born September 24, 1939 in Fairmont, West Virginia) is an American singer best known for replacing Tony Williams as lead singer of The Platters. 

Charles Arnold “Sonny” Turner was born on September 24, 1939 in Fairmount, West Virginia. Turner’s mother, Pearl, was a gospel singer and his father Carl, was a boxer. In 1949, Turner moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where he attended Case Woodland Elementary School and graduated from East Technical High School.  

Turner began his entertainment career in the mid-1950s by performing with a local R&B group named the Metrotones, The group performed at high school assemblies and local amateur vocal contests. They also opened up for The Five Keys, The Moonglows, The Flamingos, and Buddy Johnson. The Metrotones broke up when Andy Forester and James Fryerson were drafted into the United States Army. Turner then performed as a solo artist and master of ceremonies inside of local lounges and bars. He served as the opening act at the Chatter Box in a musical show that featured Billie Holiday and Arthur Pricesock. 

While performing in a local club in Cleveland as the opening act for Redd Foxx, Turner was approached by local DJ Bill Crane and asked if he would be interested in auditioning for The Platters, as their lead singer as Tony Williams was soon to be leaving the group. Turner was chosen out of 100 hopeful auditioners to replace Williams in late 1959. Sonny at the young age of 19, toured the world with “The Platters” bringing their music to people of all nations.



 
 
Sonny brought The Platters back to the pop charts in the 1960’s with such hits as “I Love You 1000 Times”, “With This Ring” and “Washed Ashore”; as well as re-recording major Platters hits like “Only You”, “The Great Pretender” and “The Magic Touch.” You
can hear Sonny’s voice in various movies such as “The Nutty Professor II” starring Eddie Murphy, “Hearts in Atlantis” starring Anthony Hopkins, and “Prince of the City” starring Robert DeNiro. 

There is only one surviving member of The Platters still alive today that can be heard on the hundreds of recordings and hit records that made The Platters one of the most successful vocal groups of all time, and that is Sonny Turner. Sonny remained with The Platters from late 1959 until 1970 when he left to pursue a solo career. 

In 2005, Mr. Turner received The Lifetime Excellence in Entertainment presented to him by consumer’s entertainment exchange and Doo Wop Hall of Fame. 

In 2009 at Wildwood New Jersey, Sonny Turner was inducted to the Pacific Avenue of the Stars and in 2008 received The Gateway Classic Lifetime Achievement Award. He received the Black Music Award in 2007. Also Sonny has been inducted into the Beach Music Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame. He is recognized by the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in his home town Cleveland, Ohio. Sonny was instrumental in getting the truth in music laws passed in the state of Nevada and North Dakota. 

In 2013, Sonny’s home state, The State of West Virginia and Senator A James Manchin, honored Sonny with a plaque, and enducted him into the Hall of Fame. 

Today Sonny resides in Las Vegas with his wife and manager, Lois. Most of his performing time is spent in Las Vegas, Reno, and Lake Tahoe. (Info edited from Wikipedia, the historymakers.com & sonnyturner.com)

Friday, 23 September 2016

Norma Winstone born 23 September 1941


Norma Ann Winstone MBE (born 23 september 1941, in Bow East London) is a British jazz singer and lyricist. In a career spanning over forty years she is best known for her Wordless improvisations.

Norma Winstone was born in London and first attracted attention in the late sixties when she shared the bill at Ronnie Scott's club with Roland Kirk. Although she began her career singing jazz standards, she became involved in the avant garde movement, exploring the use of the voice in an experimental way and evolving her own wordless approach to improvisation.  

She joined groups led by Mike Westbrook, Michael Garrick and sang with John Surman, Kenny Wheeler, Michael Gibbs and John Taylor, and worked extensively with many of the major European names and visiting Americans. In 1971 she was voted top singer in the Melody Maker Jazz Poll and subsequently recorded her own album Edge of Time for Decca, which although long deleted has now been re-released as a CD on the Disconforme label. 

With Taylor and trumpeter Kenny Wheeler she has performed and recorded three albums for ECM as a member of the trio Azimuth between 1977 and 1980. In addition she made an album with the American pianist Jimmy Rowles (Well Kept Secret, 1993). 

In recent years she has become known as a very fine lyricist, writing words to compositions by Ralph Towner, and Brazilian composers Egberto Gismonti and Ivan Lins (who has recorded her English lyrics to his song ‘Vieste‘). She has a special affinity with the music of Steve Swallow, and has written lyrics to many of his compositions, most notably ‘Ladies in Mercedes‘, which has become a standard. 

 
In July 2001, she won the title of Best Vocalist in the BBC Jazz Awards hosted by Humphrey Lyttleton at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall. She continues in the forefront of British jazz and was nominated again in the 2007 and 2008 BBC Jazz Awards for best vocalist. 


 

                            Here’s “A Wish” from above 2003 album.

Norma Winstone was awarded the MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours of 2007 for her services to Music. In 2009 she was awarded the Skoda Jazz Ahead Award in Bremen for her contribution to European Jazz. 
Her current group is a trio featuring Italian pianist Glauco Venier and German saxophonist/ bass clarinetist Klaus Gesing. Norma also works with the Nikki Iles’ group “The Printmakers” comprising some of the UK’s finest musicians. They released a long-awaited album “Westerly” this year and perform mainly in the UK. 
 
 
More accolades came In 2015:  Parliamentary Jazz Award for Best Vocalist and also the Gold Badge of Merit from British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors.
(Info various and normawinstone.com)

Here’s Norma Winstone singing Sea Lady (written by Kenny Wheeler)  Bruno Angelini, piano and Michel Benita, bass.