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FUNK: On November 29th, in 1951, producer, guitarists, keyboardist, flautist, singer, songwriter, businessman, bassist, talk box user, harmonica player, vibraphonist, P-Funk protégé of Boosty Collins & original co-founding member of Zapp-Roger Troutman was born in Hamilton, Ohio. Troutman came from a large Midwestern family of 10 children. He was the the fourth born. TV-One did an Unsung special on Roger a few years back, outlining his childhood, rise to fame and collaborations with Hip Hoppers in the 90s. I plan on speaking about the time right before he got famous with Zapp, ‘the grind era’. Pre-Bootsy & George Clinton: Roger’s first band was called the Crusaders (Rick Schoeny, Denny Niebold, Roy Beck & Dave Spitzmiller). They released two sides in the mid 70s (Busted Surfboard b/w Seminole), making some noise locally.
He also had two bands he created with his brothers which would later become Zapp (Little Roger & the Vels and Roger & the Human Body). The latter released a single called Freedom in 1977, which did well in the Ohio Valley region. By 1979, word had gotten to Bootsy about the band via his Cincinnati connections. He in turn passed word to George, who signed the band to his Uncle Jam Records imprint, renaming them Zapp (keeping consistent with the outer space Afronaut theme from P-Funk). Due to legal complications, the label folded and Zapp signed with Warner Brothers subsidiary label owned by Bootsy-Rubber Band Music. They released their first self-titled LP in 1980 which contains the seminal Funk cut "More Bounce to the Ounce." Troutman was murdered via gunshot wounds at his studio on April 25th in 1999. He was 47 years-old.
UK BLUES: On November 29th, in 1933, the Father of the UK Blues Movement, guitarist, singer, producer, keyboardist, harmonica player, songwriter and 6-decade career musician-John Mayall was born in MacClesfield, England. Mayall was born into a musical family, his father was a jazz music fan and guitarist. Mayall was influenced by the American Blues musicians Eddie Lang, Lead Belly, Pinetop Smith and Albert Ammons. He taught himself how to play the harmonica, piano, and guitar. While enlisted as a serviceman in Korea, he bought an electric guitar and played around different bases (like Jimi). In 1956, he started his official music career that went onto last 60 years plus when he formed the band-Powerhouse Four with Peter Ward.
Six years later in 1962, he joined the Blues Syndicate, which a year later would be known as the Bluesbreakers. In 1964, he got his first recording contract with Decca Records. A year later he added guitar player Eric Clapton to his band. Clapton temporarily left the the band in the fall of the same year, but returned in 1966 to make the 2nd LP on Decca-The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton. It was in the top 10 on the British charts (#6), and Clapton took lead vocal responsibilities, singing covers of Blues standards. Mayall went on to work with several prominent Blues & Psychedelic Rock musicians, recorded several LPs, played session music for others and pioneered the UK Blues Movement. He’s 85 today.
ROCK: On November 29th, in 1944, singer, actor, songwriter, percussionist and drummer for psychedelic rock bands the Pink Fairies and Pretty Things-Twink (John Charles Edward Alder, later Mohammed Abdullah) was born in Colchester, Essex, England. His parents were concert pianist and he took a liking to music early on during his childhood. He got his start in 1963 when he joined the R&B band Dane Stephens & the Deep Beats. By 1964, they’d change the name to the Fairies. Abdullah got the name Twink from the brand of perm he’d use for his hair (Twink Brand Home Perm Lotion).
In 1966, he moved to London and joined the R&B based band called The In-Crowd, who later became Tomorrow (featuring Keith West on lead vocals and Steve Howe on guitar-Yes). He did some session work with Santa Barbera Machine Head in 1967. A year later in 1968, he joined Pretty Things replacing Skip Alan. He was featured on their 1968 LP-S.F. Sorrow. By the early 70s, he was member of The Pink Fairies, which was blend of members from Think Pink-a splinter group of Pretty Things, and the Fairies. The band was unique in that it had two drummers. They were mainly a psychedelic rock band. He continued to make music throughout the 80s and 90s. In the early 2000s, he relocated to Morocco and converted to Islam. He’s 74 today.
On November 29th, in 2001, we lost one of the pioneers of the British Invasion, singer, songwriter, producer and guitarist for the Beatles-George Harrison passed away in L.A., CA from a bout with lung cancer. He was only 16 years-old when he joined the Beatles, making him the youngest member of the group. He wrote several songs for the band that Paul & John refused to record. Harrison used these unrecorded songs for his solo career, which was very successful. He penned one of my favorite songs by the band-Taxman. Many people have covered the song.
The lyrical content and message is universal when it comes to the powers that be and finances they claim they need from the citizens. He also wrote Here Comes the Sun, While My Guitar Gently Weeps (converted to a Jazz standard by many-Jimmy Ponder), and Something. Harrison went solo in the late 60s and released his seminal debut triple album: All Things Must Pass (1970). He had a number one worldwide hit off this LP-My Sweet Lord. He also was a member of the Traveling Wilburys. Harrison’s guitar playing and songwriting skills inspired his generation, and all those that have come after. His musicianship is greatly missed.
HOLLYWOOD: On November 29th, in 1964, actor, producer, director, screenwriter & author Don Cheadle (Donald Frank Cheadle Jr.) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. His family moved to Denver, where he graduated from East High School in 1982. Although he got his acting start in 1984 in the movie "3 Days," playing the role of Angel, I like him best in the following films: 1988’s "Colors" as Rocket; 1996’s "Rebound: The Legend of Earl The Goat Manigault;" 1997’s "Boogie Nights" (Buck Swope); 2001’s "Rush Hour 2" (Kenny); "Hotel Rawanda" as Paul Rusesabagina (2004); "Talk to Me" in 2007 as Petey Green; in 2010's "Brooklyn’s Finest" as Clarence Tango Butler and 2015’s "Miles Ahead" as Miles Davis.
The latter is probably his best role in my opinion. Cheadle depicted Miles as well as, if not better than Denzel portrayed Malcolm. Yes, I said it… If you’ve not seen the movie, then watch it. Also, know your Miles history going in, his autobiographies, and the small nuances found in his personality. Several Jazz Historians and close friends of Miles that worked on the film, found themselves doing double takes when it came to seeing Cheadle play Miles on the set. He even spoke with the raspy voice that Miles had. Cheadle did his thing as Petey Green too, the seminal Washington D.C. Talk Radio DJ and News broadcaster. He’s 54 today.
Honorable Mention: On November 29th, in 1915, the man behind the scenes that helped compose Duke Ellington’s standards-Billy Strayhorn (William Thomas Billy Strayhorn) was born in Dayton, Ohio. He worked with Ellington as a composer, arranger and pianist. He has co-writing credits for the classic "Take the A Train," along with several other Jazz Standards that are from the Ellington camp. He collaborated with Duke for over 25 years. He was 51 years-old when he passed.
On November 29th, in 1939, the man that discofied the Star Wars Theme-Meco Monardo (Domenico Monardo) was born in Johnsonburg, Pennsylvania. He was the innovator of what is called Space Disco, essentially an easy listening form of Disco. He worked with Neil Diamond, Gloria Gaynor and did commercial music for companies like Coca Cola. Sidebar: somebody tell me the etymology on all the Burgs in PA.
On November 29th, in 1979, emcee and Westcoast Hip Hop representative-The Game (Jayceon Terrell Taylor) was born in Compton, CA. The former Piru Blood, and Washington State University Basketball player, got his start with Dr. Dre in 2003. His rhyme style is lyrically thorough and street. His name derived from his grandmother’s favorite movie called the Game starring Michael Douglas (1997). He’s 39 today.
On November 29th, in 1999, we lost a prominent songwriter, singer, bandleader, composer, arranger, recording artist and innovator of Rock ‘n’ Roll-Curtis Knight (above-c, inset l-Mont Curtis McNear) passed away in Lelystad, Flevoland, Netherlands. Known for having a eye for talent, he briefly had Jimi Hendrix in his band. Just long enough to record the guitar phenom on over 35 live recordings, 26 studio sets, and 60 songs. He was a great vocalist that sang under the moniker: Curtis Knight & the Squires. He was 54 years-old when he died.
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on the Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!