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On November 7th, in 1943, painter, singer, Appalachian dulcimer player, songwriter, pianist, guitarist, producer and Folk Music Mogul-Joni Mitchell (Roberta Joan Anderson-Joni Anderson) was born in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada. She got her start in western Canada, playing sets in clubs from Saskatoon to Toronto during the early 60s. In the mid 60s, she moved to Southern California and cut her debut LP in 1968-Song to a Seagull (Reprise Records-Mitchell created the artwork for the LP). People were covering her songs before she released her LP, which shows how influential her music is. She’s cut music in four major genres: Folk, Jazz, Pop & Rock.
Mitchell also is credited as the main producer on most of her LPs. She always was a fan of Jazz, but she got directly involved with it in the 70s. During this decade she worked with: Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny and Wayne Shorter (the latter four were heavily into Fusion Jazz at the time-Weather Report & Headhunters). Joni, who’s roots were Folk based, shocked many fans when she embraced electronic music and pop towards the end of the 90s, going into the 2000s. She is an award-winning musician that has influenced many artists from many different genres of music. She’s 75 today.
Someone we missed last month: on October 7th, in 1943, actor-Austin Stoker was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago. He is most known for his role in the 1976 John Carpenter film-Assault on Precinct 13. He’s one of the heroes in the movie, saving his Precinct from constant attacks by a criminal gang. His other movie that Sci-Fi & Horror buffs know him from is Time Walker (1982). The film was aired in 1992 on Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode 405 (title was changed to: Being from Another Planet). Austin appeared in Sheba Baby starring Pam Grier in 1975 (Brick Williams), and Airport starring Charlton Heston the same year (Air Force Sgt.).
Millennials may have recognized the name from the 2010 film-Machete Joe where Austin plays Raymond Sinclair, or in the 2015 Give Til it Hurts where he plays Reverend Bishop. From 1973 to 2017, he’s appeared in over 20 films. Most of them between 1973 and 1982. He is one of the few Black actors cast in major motion pictures during the Blaxploitation era that was cast as a hero. Most of the roles granted to Blacks in films during that time were crime lords, thugs, pimps, prostitutes, maids and service workers. Much like Hollywood today… He turned 75 a month ago on the 7th. Sorry for missing you Austin Stoker.
On November 7th, in 1949, Free Jazz & Avant-Garde Jazz innovator, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader and Jazz Saxophonist-David (Spencer) Ware was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. Ware is a veteran of the Loft Jazz Scene during the early and mid-70s in NYC. It was an avant-garde movement where Jazz musicians performed in SOHO, NYC converted lofts. He was a cabby by day and wooodwind blower by night. He released his first recording with pianist Gene Ashton and drummer Marc Edwards in 1979 (HatHut). He also worked with Cecil Taylor on recordings and live performances.
In the late 80s, Ware comprised his own quartet (1989: William Parker on bass, Marc Edwards on drums and Matthew Shipp on piano-The David S. Ware Quartet). The drummer’s chair would change a few times over (Susie Ibarra, Guillermo E. Brown and Whit Dickey). The quartet got critical acclaim during the 90s, touring Europe and the US and recording a few LPs on the Columbia imprint (he got signed via Branford Marsalis’s referral). He put out a tribute to himself to celebrate being in the Jazz game for 50 years (2009-he released a two volume LP: Planetary Unknown). Ware is one of the few Jazz saxophonist that was able to take the Free-Jazz genre further. He’s 69 today.
On November 7th, in 1957, one of the original House Music producers, innovator of EDM, awesome Dee Jay, producer, drummer, songwriter, guitarist and song remixer-John Jellybean Benitez was born in the South Bronx, NYC, NY. He’s worked with the King of Pop (Michael Jackson), Whitney Houston, Madonna, and the Pointer Sisters to name a few. The first generation American born Puerto Rican got his nickname from his sister Debbie. She called him Jellybean because his initials were JB and from the old euphemism: You know what I mean Jellybean?
He was a ‘club kid’ in the late 70s, early 80s. He started out remixing songs for Bambaataa (Planet Rock). He also met and had a romantic relationship with Madonna during the early 80s when she put out her first LP. He produced Holiday and remixed Luck Star, Everybody and Borderline. His remixing skills are what he’s most known for. He remixed songs for: Hall & Oates, George Benson, Paul McCartney, Patti Austin, Shalamar, Billy Joel, Jocelyn Brown, Talking Heads, Fleetwood Mac, James Ingram, A-Ha, Bobby O and John Waite. He’s the executive producer for Sirius XM Channel 54 (Studio 54) which features Deep House classics from the 70s-80s. He’s 61 today.
On November 7th, in 1971, guitarist and former member of Nine Inch Nails & Guns & Roses-Robin Finck (Robert John Finck) was born in Park Ridge, New Jersey. He was raised in the suburbs of Atlanta and gigged with numerous bands from the area before joining Nine Inch Nails for touring purposes from 1994-1995 (was not featured on recordings prior to 1994). He was their guitarist at Woodstock ’94. He also appeared in the video for the song Closure in 1997. After he completed the two tours with NIN, he worked as a musician for the traveling troupe-Cirque du Soleil (1997).
1997 proved to be a big year for Finck who signed a two-year contract with Guns & Roses. He replaced Slash and was featured on the Chinese Democracy LP. In the late 90s, he returned to NIN for two of their LPs (Fragility v1.0 and Fragility v2.0 (1999). In 2001, he returned to Guns & Roses for a couple years, helping them on tours and with recording. Guns and Roses mentioned that Finck would always be a member of the band, especially since he worked on Chinese Democracy with them. Finck swung back and forth between Guns & Roses and NIN for most of his early career. He’s 47 today.
Honorable Mention: On November 7th, in 1837, we lost a Slavery abolitionist to domestic terrorism. Elijah P. Lovejoy was an outspoken writer and abolitionist that was attacked by a pro-slavery mob at his business (abolitionist publication the Alton Observer). The pro-slavery mob killed him while he was attempting to stop them from destroying it. He was a leader of the Illinois Abolitionist organization, that was taken over by his brother Owen Lovejoy when he died. He was 34 years-old.
On November 7th, in 1972, two Black Americans made history. Politicians Andrew Young (Georgia Senate) & Barbara Jordan (Texas Senate) were elected into Congress from southern states. They were the first people to achieve this feat from a southern state since the Reconstruction era. Both representatives belonged to the Democratic Party and were well-known in the Civil Rights era for championing the just and equal treatment for all American citizens.
On November 7th, in 1991, we lost a great soul singer, songwriter, producer and later important spiritual figure for the Black community in America-Carter Cornelius. He was a member of the Cornelius Bros. & Sister Rose vocal group. In the late 70s, he went into seclusion for spiritual purposes, changed his name to Yahweh Ben Yahweh (later Prince Gideon Israel) and founded the Nation of Yahweh in Miami, Florida. He composed music and directed music videos for the Nation. He was 43 years-old when he died.
On November 7th, in 2011, heavyweight boxing legend from Beaufort, South Carolina-Joe Frazier (Smokin’ Joe Frazier AKA Joseph William Frazier) passed away in his adopted city-Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s most known for his bouts with Muhammad Ali & George Foreman during the 70s. He’s a Golden Gloves champion, Olympic gold medalist (1964), and he held the world Heavyweight title for 3 years (1970-1973). He died from complications with cancer at age 67.
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!