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On August 21st, in 1904, the Original Big Band Man-Count Basie (William James ‘Count’ Basie), in Red Bank, New Jersey. Due to the racial tensions of the time, a lot of his music was regulated to the Chitlin' Circuit down South, The Northeastern market, and the Westcoast Jazz scene that was just starting to flourish at the height of Basie’s career.
He worked with notables such as Dinah Washington, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young, Joe Williams, and many others. A Kansas City Jazz Representative, Basie would spark the likes of a young Charlie Parker, who later changed Jazz’s sound to Be-Bop or Hard Bop. Basie’s influence of Jazz and musicians outside the genre can’t be denied.
On August 21st, in 1932, Melvin Van Peebles was born in Chicago, Illinois. The man that got a nice loan from Bill Cosby to put out his Sweetback’s BaadAsssss Song Movie. :Happy Birthday to Melvin Van Peeples who turns 82 today. Melvin acts, writes, directs and composes. His son Mario followed in his footsteps minus the music composition.
Strangely enough, the group that did the soundtrack for this movie also hail from Chicago, Illinois-Earth Wind & Fire. They collaborated with Melvin and the LP that resulted has been sampled by many. Melvin went on to guest star in sit-coms, write and direct plays and collaborate with his son on movie projects. He’s 86 years old.
On August 21st, in 1952, The Clash’s co-founder, songwriter, musician, singer and actor-Joe Strummer (John Graham Mellor) was born in Ankara, Turkey. The Clash had a No.11 UK single with London Calling, and a No. 8 US single with Rock the Casbah. In 1991, they saw some glory from their nine year-old rehashing of the song:
Should I Stay or Should I Go. The song was first released in 1982. Their 1991 UK No.1 single 'Should I Stay or Should I Go', was first released 1982. Joe Strummer ended up forming another band under the moniker: Joe Strummer & the Mescaleors. Official reports show that he passed away in 2002 from a heart defect.
Sidebar: I had to hit up Dee Jay Tron & Sith1Emcee for clash songs cuz all I have is the London Calling cassette. Tron hit back with: 'Oh Shit, My Band! Rudie Can't Fail, Clampdown, Revolutionary Rock.'
On August 21st, in 1957, One of the many sisters from Sister Sledge-Kim Sledge (far R) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She’s the daughter of a Broadway Tap Dancer (father) and actress (mother)-hence, talent runs in the blood. Sister Sledge saw a lot of hits during the disco era.
(Kim-3rd R) Niles Rodgers name appears on a lot of their Cotillion Records songs. However, they have some deep cuts too, ones that get less spins, but are still heaters. A young, lesser known Sister Sledge made a cameo appearance and performance in the Ali/Frazier fight for Rumble in the Jungle. Kim & sisters’ music still get plenty spins and pack dancefloors to this day! She’s 61.
On August 21st, in 1976 the Ohio Players minus Walter Junie Morrison had a No. 1 US R&B chart single with Who’d She Coo? It’s a cool song, but I like the Westbound sound of the Ohio Players. The gritty Ohio Players with Walter Junie Morrison. This Ohio Funk collective had a bunch of sample thick jams on the Westbound imprint.
J-Dilla, Grand Puba Maxwell, Biggie, Jay Z, Dr. Dre, AMG, Too-Short and several others have sampled their catalog. They group manages to merge a lot of genres into one LP: Jazz, Blues, Funk, Soul, & Rock. Some songs have all these elements in them. One thing I like about the Ohio Players on Westbound is the way they had different changes in their funk instrumentals. Breaks, where the whole song changed.
On August 21st, in 2005, Dr. Robert Moog-the man that invented the Moog synthesizer passed away. He'd been diagnosed with brain cancer about four months prior. He died at age 71. He was the inventor of the 'synthesizer'.
Dr Moog-sounds like a Sci-Fi name of some villain, but he made a dope instrument themed off the theremin. A technological protégé, Moog assembled his first Mini Moog at age 14. This compact synthesizer made it simple to make music on the go and served as a prototype for the portable samplers that would be used by many producers.
On August 21st, in 1928 Jazz Trumpeter, composer and musician Art Farmer was born in Council Bluffs, Iowa. He died in 1999, age 71. For more information on Art Farmer stayed tuned for the upcoming Looking 4 the Perfect Beat Vol. 5 blog post.
On August 21st, in 1979, Nas’ first wife-Kelis was born in New York City, New York. The singer, songwriter is known for her hit single ‘Caught Out There’ produced by the Neptunes. Her first LP, Kaleidoscope (1998), was her best LP in my opinion. I have both, neither is wack.
…’I’m Rick James Bitch!’…On August 21st, in 1996, Rick James was released from Fulsom Prison after he served 2 years and a little over a month of a five year bid. He wrote several songs while he was locked up. Many of which he’d use on his 1997 Urban Rhapsody album.