I was saying to someone the other day that one of the very first gigs we did – I don’t even think we were the Beatles, it was the Quarrymen – one the very first times I ever played with John, we did a very early gig at a thing called a Co-Op Hall, and I had a lead solo in one of the songs and I totally froze when my moment came. I really played the crappiest solo ever. I said, “That’s it. I’m never going to play lead guitar again.” It was just too nerve-wracking onstage. So for years, I just became rhythm guitar and bass player and played a bit of piano, do a bit of this, that and the other. But nowadays, I play lead guitar, and that’s the thing that draws me forward. I enjoy it. So, yeah, that means the answer to “Are you going to retire?” is “When I feel like it.” But that’s not today.
At the deepest level, McCartney has little idea where all the melodies come from. He still hasn’t figured out how he wrote “Yesterday” in his sleep. “I don’t like to use the word ‘magic,’ unless you spell it with a ‘k’ on the end, because it sounds a bit corny. But when your biggest song – which 3,000 people and counting have recorded – was something that you dreamt, it’s very hard to resist the thought that there’s something otherworldly there.”
Dubbed by one critic “the Picasso of children’s literature” and once addressed by former President Bill Clinton as “the King of Dreams,” Maurice Sendak illustrated nearly a hundred picture books throughout a career that spanned more than 60 years. Some of his best known books include Chicken Soup with Rice (1962), Where the Wild Things Are (1963), and In the Night Kitchen (1970). Born in Brooklyn in 1928 to Jewish immigrant parents from northern Poland, Sendak grew up idolizing the storytelling abilities of his father, Philip, and his big brother, Jack. As a child he illustrated his ﬁrst stories on shirt cardboard provided by his tailor-father. Aside from a few night classes in art after graduating high school, Sendak was a largely self-taught artist.
More on Maurice Sendak~
Classical Music Fueled Maurice Sendak’s Creative Muse~
They called him “Mr. Excitement,” and indeed Jackie Wilson was a gifted singer of considerable range and a charismatic showman who commanded a stage like few before or since. Wilson possessed a natural tenor. He sang with the graceful control of Sam Cooke and moved with the frenzied dynamism of James Brown…A mainstay of the R&B and pop charts from 1958 to 1968, Wilson amassed two dozen Top Forty singles, all released on the Brunswick label.
Wilson launched his solo career in November 1957 with the single “Reet Petite (The Finest Girl You Ever Want To Meet).” The song was written by Berry Gordy, Jr., a struggling songwriter who had yet to found his Motown empire. Another Gordy composition, “Lonely Teardrops,” was Wilson’s breakthrough, topping the R&B chart and becoming a Top Ten hit on the pop side. More R&B chart-toppers followed in quick succession
Jackie Wilson Discography~ http://www.discogs.com/artist/69375-Jackie-Wilson
1978 SPECIAL CITATION for distinguished service to the arts (Posthumous)~
NAXOS: George Szell~ http://www.naxos.com/person/George_Szell_38224/38224.htm
“Szell stories”—tales of his irascibility, hauteur and genius—are still popular when musicians gather to drink and dish after concerts. Pianist Glenn Gould referred to Szell’s “Dr. Cyclops” reputation and nearly walked out of his one and only collaboration with the conductor. (“That nut’s a genius” was Szell’s personal appraisal of Gould.) In 1946, his first year as music director of the Cleveland Orchestra, Szell fired 22 of the 94 musicians in the group, and he later dismissed his brilliant principal oboist of almost two decades for a single insubordinate comment at a rehearsal. Most of his players were terrified of him; some frankly despised him. After Szell’s death, one Cleveland violinist refused to cut his hair, letting it grow down to his waist in posthumous rebuke to the martinet who could no longer object.
And yet Szell’s accomplishments in Cleveland cannot be overstated. He summed up his approach succinctly three years before his death. “My aim in developing the Cleveland Orchestra has been to combine the finest virtues of the great European orchestras of pre-World War II times with the most distinguished qualities of our leading American orchestras,” Szell wrote. “We put the American orchestra’s technical perfection, beauty of sound, and adaptability to the styles of various national schools of composers into the service of warmhearted, spontaneous music-making in the best European tradition.” And indeed, such was his legacy.
Baker, Josephine (3 June 1906-12 Apr. 1975), dancer, singer, and civil rights activist, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Eddie Carson, a musician, and Carrie Macdonald. Her parents parted when Josephine was still an infant, and her mother married Arthur Martin, which has led to some confusion about her maiden name. Very little is known about her childhood, except that she was a witness to the East St. Louis riot in 1917.
Josephine Baker…began her career in “tent shows,” touring musical ensembles that played mostly in the southern states. Her first success was as a comic dancer in a show…Her Broadway debut was in The Chocolate Dandies at the Colonial Theatre in September 1924…
Subsequent appearances in New York City…led to Baker’s engagement as one of the featured performers in La Revue Nègre, an all-black show…La Revue Nègre was destined to become one of the key influences in Parisian theater and visual arts in the late 1920s.
Speech at the March on Washington~ http://www.blackpast.org/1963-josephine-baker-speech-march-washington
FBI files~ http://vault.fbi.gov/josephine-baker
Born in Chicago, Illinois in the United States, into a large, impoverished family of immigrants. Goodman experienced hard times while growing up. Encouraged by his father to learn a musical instrument, Goodman and two of his brothers took lessons; as the youngest and smallest he learned to play the clarinet. These early studies took place at the Kehelah Jacob Synagogue and later at Hull House, a settlement house founded by reformer Jane Addams. From the start, Goodman displayed an exceptional talent and he received personal tuition from James Sylvester and then the renowned classicist Franz Schoepp. Before he was in his teens, Goodman had begun performing in public and was soon playing in bands with such emerging jazz artists as Jimmy McPartland, Frank Teschemacher and Dave Tough. Goodman’s precocious talent allowed him to become a member of the American Federation of Musicians at the age of 14 and that same year he played with Bix Beiderbecke. By his mid-teens Goodman was already established as a leading musician, working on numerous engagements with many bands to the detriment of his formal education.
The summer of 1932 saw Benny organise his first band which starred singer Russ Columbo. The second band that he formed (in 1934) got a job at Billy Rose’s Music Hall. This band made some great recordings and began appearing on the 3-hour NBC radio program called “Let’s Dance.”
After this, the Benny Goodman Orchestra began touring (with not so fantastic results) until August 21, 1935, when the Benny Goodman Orchestra opened in the Palomar Ballroom in Los Angeles. After playing a few dance tunes, he told the band to play some Fletcher Henderson arrangements. The mostly young crowd promptly started something of a riot. After this public approval of the music – this thing called “Swing” – there was no looking back!
His was the most popular and influential swing band of the 1930s and ‘40s, and his unique trios, quartets and sextets shaped small-band Jazz style. Before Benny, clarinet was rarely a lead instrument for a band. His success made it the most popular instrument for other bandleaders like Artie Shaw, Jimmy Dorsey and Woody Herman.
Benny Goodman Discography: http://www.discogs.com/artist/254768-Benny-Goodman
The riot turned the work into a symbol of all that modernist art was supposed to be: a break with tradition and a thumb in the eye of bourgeois taste. Yet for quite some time scholars have called into question the size, the ferocity, and the immediate effects of what definitely was a disturbance on opening night. Did old women hit bohemians with their parasols? Perhaps. Did Stravinsky leave his seat in the theater out of fear? Perhaps, but only to watch backstage. And he did manage to appear for four or five curtain calls at the evening’s end—a detail not often marked in accounts of the riot?… Did the police come at all? It is unclear.
But the extent to which this disturbance counts as a riot really is beside the point, as is the question of what actually happened that night. What matters most is that whatever it was, it never happened again. Spring Fever~ http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2013/07/11/spring-fever/
A Reconstruction Of ‘The Rite Of Spring”, 2013~ http://artery.wbur.org/2013/03/15/rite-of-spring
Biographical background~ http://www.cco.caltech.edu/~tan/Stravinsky/biography.html
“The Hot Mikado,” starring Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, was a big Broadway hit. It was noted for its wild costuming and all black cast. It ran at the Broadhurst Theater, in Manhattan, from March 23 to June 3, 1939.
Producer Mike Todd announced he was moving the show to the New York World’s Fair. The show became one of the biggest hits at the fair and opened at the Hall of Music on June 22, 1939.
Silent movie film footage of the Michael Todd production at the New York World’s Fair 1939-1940:
Erskine Hawkins Orchestra – Two Selections from “Hot Mikado”~
The New York Public Library Digital Collections: “Hot Mikado”~
Ovrtur database for “Hot Mikado”~ http://www.ovrtur.com/production/2880750#pagetop
Bill “Bojangles” Robinson~ http://atdf.org/awards/bojangles.html
Bob Dylan Through The Years~
Bob Dylan: Official Site~ http://www.bobdylan.com/us/home
Waller, Fats (21 May 1904-15 Dec. 1943), jazz and popular pianist, singer, and songwriter, was born Thomas Wright Waller in New York City, the son of Edward Martin Waller, a Baptist preacher, and Adeline Lockett. From age six Waller was devoted to the piano but initially failed to practice properly or learn to read music well, because he could memorize lessons immediately. In his youth he also played reed organ in church. He studied piano, string bass, and violin at P.S. 89, which he attended to about age fourteen or fifteen. Although his girth had earned him a nickname by this time, the names Thomas and Fats appeared interchangeably (and sometimes together, as Thomas “Fats” Waller) in his professional work until at least 1931. Later in his career, and posthumously, the nickname prevailed.
Intermittently from 1919 into the mid-1920s he played organ at the Lincoln Theater in Harlem. After his mother’s death in 1920, he moved in with the family of pianist Russell Brooks, who introduced Waller to James P. Johnson. Upon discovering that Waller had learned “Carolina Shout” from Johnson’s piano roll, Johnson offered Waller piano lessons and in turn introduced him to Willie “the Lion” Smith, whom Waller replaced at Leroy’s saloon. Johnson, Smith, and Waller became the leading figures in the jazz style that came to be called stride piano, and through the decade their improvisational competitions were a fixture of Harlem rent parties.