lunes, 21 de noviembre de 2011

Ron Affif

Ron Affif is an American jazz guitarist (born on December 30, 1965 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) of mixed Lebanese and Italian origin. He is the son of boxing welterweight and middleweight fighter Charley Zivic who being a jazz fan initiated him in music.
His mother is Marlene, sister of renowned jazz guitarist Ron Anthony.
Affif studied with Jerry Conderata and Joe Negri before heading to the West Coast in 1983 to study under maternal uncle and musician Ron Anthony. While in Los Angeles he also took lessons from the jazz guitarist Joe Pass. He moved to New York City in late 1989, and currently lives in Brooklyn.
In the late 1990s, he recorded five albums under the Fantasy record label, of which the best known is "52nd Street". In 1998, he formed the Ron Affif Trio alongside fellow musicians bassist Essiet Okon Essiet and drummer Jeff "Tain" Watts.
Affif's style is reminiscent of Wes Montgomery and George Benson, and Benson once described Affif playing as his "favorite type of guitar player, one that plays with fire."

Ron Affif es un guitarrista de jazz estadounidense (nacido el 30 de diciembre de 1965 en Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), de origen mixto libanés e italiano. Él es el hijo de peso welter de boxeo y de combate de peso mediano Charley Zivic que ser un fan del jazz le inició en la música.  Su madre es Marlene, la hermana del famoso guitarrista de jazz Ron Anthony.
Affif estudió con Jerry Conderata y Negri Joe antes de dirigirse a la costa oeste en 1983 para estudiar con su tío materno y el músico Ron Anthony. Mientras que en Los Angeles, también tomó clases del guitarrista de jazz Joe paso. Se trasladó a Nueva York a finales de 1989, y actualmente vive en Brooklyn.
A finales de 1990, grabó cinco álbumes bajo el sello Fantasy, de los cuales el más conocido es "52nd Street". En 1998, formó el trío de Ron Affif junto con el bajista de músicos Essiet Essiet Okon y el baterista Jeff Watts "Tain".
Affif estilo tiene reminiscencias de Wes Montgomery y George Benson y Benson describió una vez Affif jugar como su "tipo preferido de la guitarra, que juega con fuego".

domingo, 13 de noviembre de 2011

Regina Belle

Regina Belle (born July 17, 1963) is a singer-songwriter who first surfaced in the late 1980s. She is notable for her Grammy award winning duet with Peabo Bryson, "A Whole New World".
Regina Belle was born in Englewood, New Jersey. It was at Englewood's Mount Calvary Baptist Church, and then Paterson's Friendship Baptist Church (presided over by Belle's uncle, the Reverend Fred Belle), that Regina Belle began attracting attention with her vocal abilities. She sang her first solo in church at age 8; and by age 17, she was the church's star singer. Belle attended Dwight Morrow High School where she studied trombone, tuba and steel drums. After graduation, she studied opera at the Manhattan School of Music. At Rutgers University, she became the first female vocalist with the school's jazz ensemble. Belle's musical influences include Phyllis Hyman, Billie Holiday, Donny Hathaway, and Nancy Wilson.
She was introduced to the Manhattans by New York radio DJ Vaughn Harper and began working as their opening act. She recorded the duet "Where Did We Go Wrong" with the group which helped to attract the attention of Columbia Records. They eventually signed her to a record deal.
Belle resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is married to ex-NBA basketball player John Battle (basketball). Battle played 10 years in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers. He is now a pastor in Atlanta, Georgia. Belle and Battle have five children: Winter, Tiy, Jayln, Sydni, and Nyla. Winter, the eldest daughter, is married and has 2 children, Lea and Joshua, making Belle a grandmother.

In 1987, she released her debut album All By Myself. It includes her first hits "Please Be Mine" and "Show Me the Way." Her follow-up album, Stay with Me, released in 1989.
Belle recorded a duet in 1991 with Johnny Mathis, "Better Together" which appeared on his album Better Together: The Duet Album. Continuing her tradition of duets, Belle teamed up with Peabo Bryson for the song "A Whole New World", which was the featured pop single from the soundtrack to the 1992 Disney movie Aladdin. The song hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 and won the Grammy Award in 1993 for "Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal as well as a "Best Song" Oscar in the same year
Later in 1993, Belle released her Platinum selling third album, Passion. The album featured the Disney hit "A Whole New World", "Dream In Color" and "If I Could", which reached # 9 on the R&B charts.
Belle released Reachin' Back in 1995 followed by Believe in Me in 1998.
In 2001, Regina Belle's cover of "Just the Two of Us" from the tribute album To Grover, With Love made a surprising return to the billboard charts, within months Belle would sign with the jazz oriented independent label Peak-Concord Jazz. she released the album This Is Regina!, which featured the R&B hit single, "Ooh Boy." also released were, "Don't Wanna Go Home" and "From Now On" with Glenn Jones.
In 2004, she released a jazz standard album, Lazy Afternoon, produced by George Duke. The album included covers of the Isley Brothers' "For the Love of You" and Tony Bennett's "If I Ruled the World". In 2007, she collaborated with smooth jazz saxophonist Paul Taylor, co-writing and singing on his album "Ladies Choice".

Belle released her debut gospel album Love Forever Shines on May 13, 2008 via Pendulum Records. The 14-track collection features guests Melvin Williams (of the Williams Brothers) and Shirley Murdock.
Belle has appeared in concert with many other performers, including Ray Charles, Boney James, Paul Taylor, The Rippingtons, Gerald Albright, Will Downing, Maze, Frankie Beverly, Phil Perry, Al Jarreau, and Stephanie Mills.

Regina Belle, cantante de soul y urban nacida en Englewood el 17 de julio de 1963. Surgió en los años 80s y se consolidó como una de las cantantes más prolíficas del panorama musical de su tiempo.
Nació en Nueva Jersey, y a una temprana edad comenzó a cantar gospel, mientras en su juventud su gusto se decantaba por el R&B. Estudió música durante años en clases de trombón, tuba y batería. A los 12 años ganó un concurso escolar cantando el tema de The Emotions "Don't Ask My Neighbors". Desde ese momento cantó en un grupo local de Nueva Jersey, y estudió ópera y jazz. El dj de Nueva York Vaughn Harper, la presentó al grupo The Manhattans, con los que hizo una gira como telonera. Hizo un dúo con ellos, "Where Did We Go Wrong", producido por Bobby Womack en 1986. Un año después comenzó su carrera en solitario fichando por Columbia. Lanzó el single "Please Be Mine" que alcanzó el segundo puesto en las listas de R&B, y su sucesor "So Many Tears" llegó al top20. Se unió a Peabo Bryson en el tema "Without You", dentro de la banda sonora de la película "Leonard, Part 6".

Con su segundo Lp "Saty with me" se consagró definitivamente dentro del panorama musical. A este segundo disco, le siguieron otros durante toda la década de los 90s. Su último álbum data de 2004 "Lazy afternoon".

Kai Winding

Kai Chresten Winding (May 18, 1922 – May 6, 1983) was a popular Danish-born American trombonist and jazz composer. He is well known for a successful collaboration with fellow trombonist J. J. Johnson.
Winding was born in Aarhus, Denmark. In 1934 his family immigrated to the United States. He graduated in 1940 from Stuyvesant High School in New York City. His career as a professional trombonist began in 1940 with Shorty Allen's band. Subsequently, he played with Sonny Dunham and Alvino Rey until he entered the United States Coast Guard during World War II.
After the war, Winding joined Benny Goodman's band, and later moved on to Stan Kenton's orchestra. Winding participated in the first of the Birth of the Cool sessions in 1949, appearing on 4 of the 12 tracks (while Johnson appears on the other eight, having participated on the other two sessions). In 1954, at the urging of producer Ozzie Cadena, he joined forces with Johnson to produce a highly successful series of trombone duet recordings, which were initially on Savoy Records and then on the Columbia Records label. While at Columbia, Winding experimented with different instrumentation in brass ensembles: the 1956 album Jay & Kai + 6 features a trombone octet, as well as Winding and Johnson performing on the trombone-like valved horn called the trombonium. Winding also arranged and/or composed many of the tracks he and Johnson recorded.
During the 1960s, Kai had a long stint at Verve Records and under producer Creed Taylor made some of his most memorable jazz-pop albums. His best-known recording from this period is More, the theme from the movie Mondo Cane.

Arranged and conducted by Claus Ogerman, "More" featured what is probably the first appearance of the French electronic music instrument the Ondioline on an American recording. Though Winding himself was credited with playing the Ondioline, guitarist Vinnie Bell, who worked on the session, has said he remembers distinctly that the French electronic-music pioneer Jean-Jacques Perrey was the actual player.
While at Verve, Kai further experimented with various ensembles, made solo albums, and even an album of country music with the Anita Kerr Singers. In the late 1960s, Kai followed Creed Taylor to his new recording label at A&M/CTI and made at least two more albums with Johnson.
In the 1970s and early 1980s, Kai recorded for a number of independent record labels. During this time, he continued to give clinics, play jazz concerts and even reunited with Johnson for a live concert in Japan. He was a member of the all-star jazz group Giants of Jazz in 1971-2. He also wrote instructional jazz trombone books that included transcribed solos.
Winding died of a brain tumor in New York City in 1983. He was survived at the time by his wife, the accomplished painter Ezshwan Winding, and his son, the session keyboardist Jai Winding.

Kai Winding fue un trombonista estadounidense de jazz de origen danés.

Nacido en Dinamarca, la familia de Kai Winding emigró a Estados Unidos en 1934, cuando el músico contaba sólo con 12 años. Tras su paso por las orquestas de Alvino Rey y Sonny Dunham, Winding ingresa en una banda militar y permanece allí durante tres años. En 1946 entra en la orquesta de Benny Goodman, pero su salto a la fama tiene lugar poco más tarde, cuando ingresa en la orquesta de Stan Kenton. Allí, su estilo y sonido son imitados por otros músicos de la orquesta, lo que eventualmente daría lugar a un cambio en el sonido de la orquesta misma. A finales de la década de 1940 Winding participa en sesiones con músicos bebop, toca con Tadd Cameron y toma parte en las grabaciones del noneto de Miles Davis que darían lugar al surgimiento del cool jazz. Tras ello, Winding trabaja con Charlie Ventura y Buddy Steart, y finalmente forma un quinteto con el gran trombonista J. J. Johnson que efectuaría diversas grabaciones para vario sellos discográficos de 1954 a 1956, período durante el cual el sonido de ambos trombonistas es indistinguible. La banda pasa a la historia del jazz por la calidad de su propuesta, pero tras 1956 las reuniones de Winding y Johnson tendrían lugar ya sólo esporádicamente.
Desde finales de la década de 1950, Winding lidera intermitentemente un septeto con cuatro trombones, y ya en la década de 1960 se convierte en el director musical de los Playboy Clubs en Nueva York. En la década de 1970 forma parte de Giants of Jazz, una All-Stars Band que contaba con la participación de figuras de la talla de Dizzy Gillespie, Sonny Stitt, Thelonious Monk o Art Blakey; sus trabajos se van haciendo cada vez más esporádicos y el músico establece su segunda residencia en España. Kai Winding pasó los últimos años de su vida en Nueva York, retirado de la actividad musical.

viernes, 11 de noviembre de 2011

Skip James

Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James (June 9, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter, born in Bentonia, Mississippi, died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
He first learned to play guitar from another bluesman from the area, Henry Stuckey. His guitar playing is noted for its dark, minor sound, played in an open D-minor tuning with an intricate fingerpicking technique. James first recorded for Paramount Records in 1931, but these recordings sold poorly due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. After a long absence from the public eye, James was "rediscovered" in 1964 by three blues enthusiasts, helping further the blues and folk music revival of the 1950s and early 60s. During this period, James appeared at several folk and blues festivals and gave live concerts around the county, also recording several albums for various record labels.
His songs have influenced several generations of musicians, being adapted by Kansas Joe McCoy, Robert Johnson, Cream, Deep Purple, Chris Thomas King, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Beck, Big Sugar, and Rory Block.
James was born near Bentonia, Mississippi. His father was a converted bootlegger turned preacher. As a youth, James heard local musicians such as Henry Stuckey and brothers Charlie and Jesse Sims and began playing the organ in his teens. He worked on road construction and levee-building crews in his native Mississippi in the early 1920s, and wrote what is perhaps his earliest song, "Illinois Blues", about his experiences as a laborer.
Later in the '20s he sharecropped and made bootleg whiskey in the Bentonia area. He began playing guitar in open D-minor tuning and developed the three-finger picking technique heard in his recordings. In addition, he began to practice piano-playing, drawing inspiration from the Mississippi blues pianist Little Brother Montgomery.
In early 1931, James auditioned for Jackson, Mississippi record shop owner and talent scout H. C. Speir, who placed blues performers with a variety of record labels including Paramount Records. On the strength of this audition, James traveled to Grafton, Wisconsin to record for Paramount.[3] James's 1931 work is considered idiosyncratic among pre-war blues recordings, and formed the basis of his reputation as a musician.

As is typical of his era, James recorded a variety of material — blues and spirituals, cover versions and original compositions — frequently blurring the lines between genres and sources. For example, "I'm So Glad" was derived from a 1927 song by Art Sizemore and George A. Little entitled "So Tired", which had been recorded in 1928 by both Gene Austin and Lonnie Johnson (the latter under the title "I'm So Tired of Livin' All Alone"). Biographer Stephen Calt, echoing the opinion of several critics, considered the finished product totally original, "one of the most extraordinary examples of fingerpicking found in guitar music".
Several of the Grafton recordings, such as "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues", "Devil Got My Woman", "Jesus Is A Mighty Good Leader", and "22-20 Blues" (the basis for Robert Johnson's better-known "32-20 Blues", and the band name for the English group 22-20s), have proven similarly influential. Very few original copies of James's Paramount 78 RPMs have survived.
The Great Depression struck just as James' recordings were hitting the market. Sales were poor as a result, and James gave up performing the blues to become the choir director in his father's church. James himself was later ordained as a minister in both the Baptist and Methodist denominations, but the extent of his involvement in religious activities is unknown.
For the next thirty years, James recorded nothing and drifted in and out of music. He was virtually unknown to listeners until about 1960. In 1964 blues enthusiasts John Fahey, Bill Barth and Henry Vestine found him in a hospital in Tunica, Mississippi. According to Calt, the "rediscovery" of both James and of Son House at virtually the same moment was the start of the "blues revival" in the US. In July 1964 James, along with other rediscovered performers, appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. Several photographs by Dick Waterman captured this first performance in over 30 years. Throughout the remainder of the decade, he recorded for the Takoma, Melodeon, and Vanguard labels and played various engagements until his death in Philadelphia from cancer in 1969.

Although James was not initially covered as frequently as other rediscovered musicians, the British rock band, Cream, recorded two versions of "I'm So Glad" (a studio version and a live version), providing James with the only windfall of his career. Despite the band's well-known musicianship, Cream based their version on James's simplified 1960s recording, instead of the faster, more intricate 1931 original. Deep Purple covered "I'm So Glad" on their first album, Shades of Deep Purple. English blues rock band 22-20s (initially active between 2002 and 2005 and reformed in 2008) named themselves after "22-20 Blues". Singer Dion DiMucci released an album in November 2007 titled Son of Skip James.
Since his death, James's music has become more available and prevalent than during his lifetime — his 1931 recordings, along with several rediscovery recordings and concerts, have found their way on to numerous compact discs, drifting in and out of print. His influence is still felt among contemporary bluesmen.[citation needed] James also left a mark on Hollywood, as well, with Chris Thomas King's cover of "Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" on O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and the 1931 "Devil Got My Woman" featured in the plot and soundtrack of Ghost World. In recent times, British post-rock band Hope of the States released a song partially focused on the life of Skip James entitled "Nehemiah", which charted at number 30 in the UK Singles Chart. "He's a Mighty Good Leader" was also covered by Beck on his 1994 album One Foot in the Grave.
James was known to be an aloof and moody person. "Skip James, you never knew. Skip could be sunshine, or thunder and lightning depending on his whim of the moment" commented Dick Spottswood on James's personality. He seldom socialized with other bluesmen and fans.[citation needed] Like John Fahey, James loathed the so-called "folkie" scene of the 1960s. He held a high regard for his own work and was reluctant to share musical ideas with other performers.[citation needed] Though the lyrical content of some of his songs led to the characterization of James as a misogynist, he remained with his wife Lorenzo (niece of Mississippi John Hurt) until his death. He is buried with his wife at a private cemetery (Merion Memorial Park) just outside of Philadelphia in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
James often played his guitar with an open D-minor tuning (DADFAD), resulting in the "deep" sound of the 1931 recordings. James purportedly learned this tuning from his musical mentor, the unrecorded bluesman Henry Stuckey.[citation needed] Stuckey in turn was said to have acquired it from Bahamanian soldiers during the First World War[citation needed], despite the fact that his service card shows he didn't serve overseas. Robert Johnson also recorded in this tuning, his "Hell Hound On My Trail" being based on James' "Devil Got My Woman." James' classically-informed, finger-picking style was fast and clean, using the entire register of the guitar with heavy, hypnotic bass lines.

James' style of playing had more in common with the Piedmont blues of the East Coast than with the Delta blues of his native Mississippi.
James is sometimes associated with the Bentonia School, which is either a sub-genre of blues music or a style of playing it. Calt, in his 1994 biography of James, I'd Rather Be the Devil: Skip James and the Blues, maintains that there was indeed no style of blues that originated in Bentonia, and that this is simply a notion of later blues writers who overestimated the provinciality of Mississippi during the early 20th century, when railways linked small towns, and who failed to see that in the case of Jack Owens, "the 'tradition' he bore primarily consisted of musical scraps from James' table". Owens and other musicians who may have been contemporaries of James were not recorded until the 60s revival period. As such, the extent to which the work of said musicians is indicative of any "school", and whether James originated it or was simply a "member", remains an open question.

Nehemiah Curtis "Skip" James (21 de junio de 1902 – 3 de octubre de 1969) fue cantante, guitarrista, pianista y compositor de blues norteamericano.
El sonido de Skip James era único y aunque su influencia se deja notar en otros músicos de blues, siendo Robert Johnson el más notable, pocos han sido capaces de recrear su estilo. Su aguda voz suena frágil y como si fuera de otro mundo, incluso en sus tempranas grabaciones. Se dice que tenía una forma de cantar propia de un predicador. James también era un dotado y original guitarrista. Usaba a menudo una afinación en Re menor abierto (Re, La, Re, Fa, La, Re) y su estilo de mano derecha sin púa era rápido y límpio. Usaba el registro completo del instrumento, creando líneas de bajo hipnóticas.

Skip James es frecuentemente tratado como uno de los máximos exponentes de la Escuela de Blues de Bentonia. Tradición continuada posteriormente por el guitarrista y cantante Jack Owens. Otros estudiosos niegan que exista tal escuela o tradición. En cualquier caso, James queda como uno de los intérpretes de blues más originales de todos los tiempos.