jazz and contemporary music


Born on this day: July 4, 1938 - Singer, songwriter and musician Bill Withers (born William Harrison Withers, Jr. in Slab Fork, WV). Happy 79th Birthday, Bill!!

Dance Tip Of The Day!

Number 13 (?)

For the love of God please bring a tennis ball in your dance bag!!!

I know it sounds really weird, trust me I do, but a tennis ball has saved my life many many times

Imagine me, on a Saturday afternoon, I am in class from 8:30am to 2:30pm. Half way through my feet start to hurt. And I mean hurt. I go from ballroom to tap to ballet, I am in pain after those three classes let me tell you something. But you know what? I still have Musical Theatre after that. 

So I take out my motherfucking Tennis ball, put it under my motherfucking foot, and roll the shit out of that motherfucker.

It gets out every single cramp, all your aches, any pain, removes tight muscles, and makes it so that you can walk normally again.

So just, get a tennis ball okay?


Thelonious Monk

Beatlemania was at its peak in the winter of 1964, but not every music fan had the Beatles’ brand of rock and roll on their turntable. In fact, it was jazz music—vital, innovative, contemporary jazz music—that captured the imagination of a significant proportion of American music fans in 1964, and no jazz musician at that time was more vital, innovative and contemporary than Thelonious Sphere Monk. So important was jazz on the American cultural scene, and so important was Monk in the world of jazz, that his portrait graced the cover of Time magazine February 28, 1964. 


On this day in music history: June 11, 1991 - “Unforgettable… With Love”, the fourteenth album by Natalie Cole is released. Produced by David Foster, Andre Fischer and Tommy LiPuma, it is recorded at Capitol Recording Studios, Conway Studios, Group IV Recording Studios, Hollywood Sound in Hollywood, CA, Pacifique Studios, Bill Schnee Studios, Track Record Studios in North Hollywood, CA, Lighthouse Studios, Ocean Way Recording, Westlake Audio, Johnny Yuma Recording Studios in Los Angeles, CA and Twentieth Century Fox Scoring Stage in Century City, CA from November 1990 - April 1991. Having successfully restarted her stalled recording career in the late 80’s after years of drug abuse and regaining her sobriety, Natalie Cole is about to begin her third decade with another career milestone. Following the release of the album “Good To Be Back” in 1989, Cole tells executives at her label EMI Records that she wants to record an album of standards originally recorded by her legendary father Nat King Cole. The label is not receptive to the idea, feeling that it “won’t be commercial” and will potentially alienate her new younger fan base. Determined to go forth with the project, Cole negotiates her release from EMI, when her management contacts Bob Krasnow at Elektra Records, who offers to sign her to the label and make the album. Assembling a team of producers that include Natalie’s then husband former Rufus drummer Andre Fischer, Tommy LiPuma (George Benson, Diana Krall) and David Foster (Chicago, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbara Streisand), they go about the task of selecting which songs to record. They pare the list down to twenty two songs which include the standards “Paper Moon”, “Too Young”, “Mona Lisa”, “Nature Boy”, “Route 66” (featuring Natalie’s uncle Ike Cole on piano), “Smile”, “L-O-V-E” and “Darling, Je Vous Aime Beaucoup”. The albums centerpiece is the title track “Unforgettable”, which is turned into a virtual duet by lifting the vocal track from Nat King Cole’s 1961 re-recording. To add additional authenticity and reverence to the new version, they also use arranger and orchestra conductor Nelson Riddle’s original arrangement. Released in the late Spring of 1991, the album is an enormous artistic and commercial triumph, giving Natalie Cole the opportunity to honor her father’s legacy, while also becoming the most successful album of her career. “Unforgettable” sweeps the 34th Annual Grammy Awards in 1992, winning six awards including the three major prizes, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Album Of The Year. “Unforgettable… With Love” spends five weeks at number one on the Billboard Top 200, peaking at number five on the R&B album chart, and is certified 7x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.


‘Lviv’ live by Lars Danielsson from the album ‘Libretto III’
Act Music 2017


On this day in music history: July 31, 1976 - “Breezin’” by George Benson hits #1 on the Billboard Top 200 for 2 weeks, also topping the R&B album chart for 6 weeks (non-consecutive) on May 22, 1976. Produced by Tommy LiPuma, it is recorded at Capitol Studios in Hollywood, CA on January 6, 7, and 8, 1976. After a series of acclaimed albums for several record labels including Columbia, Prestige, Verve, A&M, CTI, and Polydor Records, guitarist George Benson signs with Warner Bros Records in late 1975. Working with producer Tommy LiPuma (Blue Thumb Records) and engineer Al Schmitt, they begin work on Benson’s first album for his new label in January of 1976. Assembling a team of top flight support musicians that include Phil Upchurch (rhythm guitar), Ronnie Foster and Jorge Dalto (keyboards), Ralph MacDonald (percussion), Stanley Banks (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums), it marks the beginning of the most successful period of the veteran jazz guitarists’ career. An artistic tour de force, “Breezin’” has unprecedented commercial success for a jazz album, by crossing over to a mainstream pop and R&B audience. It spins off two hit singles including “This Masquerade” (#3 R&B, #10 Pop, #6 AC) and the title track (#55 R&B, #63 Pop). The album wins three Grammy Awards (nominated for six) including Record Of The Year (for “This Masquerade”), Best Pop Instrumental Performance and Best Engineered Recording, Non-Classical in 1977. “Breezin’” is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.