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On February 14th, 1943, funk innovator, James Brown band member, sideman, member of The Horny Horns, P-Funk collaborator, flautist, composer, songwriter, arranger, vocalist, saxophonist, and leader of Maceo & All The King’s Men-Maceo Parker was born in Kinston, North Carolina. Part of a musical family, his brother Kellis played the trombone and his other brother Melvin played the drums. Maceo met James Brown in 1964, and joined his band via his brother Melvin's referral. Interesting Fact: James only wanted Melvin-but agreed to take Maceo on at his brother's request. In 1970, The Parker Brothers and the rest of the band felt James was being really stingy with the money. They extorted him for more pay before a show, and refused to go on if he didn’t come with more loot.
James had back up, via Bobby Byrd, who flew in The House Guests featuring Bootsy and Catfish Collins. As a result, Maceo & Melvin left James’ band and formed Maceo & All The King’s Men. They worked the budding funk circuit for two years and released two LPs in 1970 & 1972. In 1973, Maceo went back to James’ band and released the seminal album US on People Records (1974). In 1975 he joined Parliament, and kept recording as a solo artist. He stayed with the P-Funk camp until the early 1980s. In 1984, he went back to James’ band, and played with him until 1988. In the 90s he worked with Prince And The New Power Generation, De La Soul (who had sampled a lot of his works), and kept recording as a solo artist. Maceo turns 76 today.
On February 14th, 1978, singer, pianist, songwriter, rapper, bassist, composer, guitarist, producer, flautist, trumpeter, percussionist, drummer, flugelhornist, and neo soul innovator-Dwele (Andwele Gardner) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Dwele started playing piano when he was six-then added guitar and bass in his latter years. Inspired by fusion jazz, hip hop, and 70s soul artists like: Roy Ayers, Freddie Hubbard, Miles Davis, A Tribe Called Quest, Donny Hathaway, & Stevie Wonder, he collaborated with Slum Village in his teens after selling his self-produced home-studio EP The Rize. This opportunity came about after J-Dilla heard his songs, and asked him to sing hooks and play instruments on several of Slum's tracks.
This work led to collaborations with other artists like Lucy Pearl, Bahamadia, and The New Sector Movement out of London, England (a neo soul collective similar to 4hero). In 2003, Dwele singed to Virgin Records and released his full-length debut Subject. This LP put him on the map from an international standpoint. Most of the rare groove seekers could identify with his sound. He released four LPs between 2003 & 2010. Dwele is an original voice in a market with over saturated pop trends and carbon-copied melodies. His musical works can be heard in socially conscious ‘bohemian’ haunts from The US to overseas. He’s 41 today.
On February 14th, two significant events occurred, five years apart, in Prince’s life. In 2001, The Artist known as Prince opened his own music service on the world wide web. He launched his NPG (New Power Generation) Music Club. Being the innovator that he is, Prince became one of the first musicians to have his own site where fans could purchase songs, get exclusive releases, great concert seats, or discounts on tickets. You could also get privy to Prince-related info, and a host of other things. The site quickly became the major virtual meeting space for all things Prince. His fans (he hated the word fans-saying that it was short fanatics) started splinter groups that linked back to the site, and it blossomed from 2003 until 2005.
The site was dissolved in 2006. Too many people had caught on to the new virtual music club trend, and never one to be a copied, Prince stopped its services stating "It has gone as far as it can go." In 1996, he married NPG dancer Mayte Garcia. The couple wed in a Minneapolis church, with Prince debuting a song he penned especially for her-Friend, Lover, Sister, Mother, Wife. Mayte was mad young when Prince met her (still in her teens). She was once billed as The World’s Youngest Belly Dancer. The couple divorced in 1998, following the miscarriage of their first child.
On February 14th, 2009, jazz musician, drummer, sideman, composer, arranger, former spouse of pop/jazz vocalist Pearl Bailey, double bass drum pioneer, producer, bandleader, and educator-Louie (Louis) Bellson (Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni) was born in Rock Falls, Illinois. He started playing drums at the age of three years old. During his middle school years he wanted a bigger bass sound; so he started experimenting with using two bass drums. By the time he was 15, he’d honed his skills and started gigging around town. When he was 17 he used his double bass drum kit to beat over 40,000 drummers in The Slingerland National Gene Krupa drummer’s contest; and shortly after high school, joined Benny Goodman’s band (then later Tommy Dorsey’s).
Bellson played with Dorsey for a few years, before going to work with Duke Ellington. He married Pearl Bailey in 1952, and acted as her musical director for years (with The Dorsey Brothers). Two of his biggest drumming influences were Philly Jo Jones and Chick Webb. As a bandleader, Bellson introduced Clark Terry, Ray Brown, Blue Mitchell, and Roger Ingram as sidemen. He also became a drum teacher, and hosted clinics at high schools & universities nationwide. His compositions and arrangements are largely underrated. His sound is based in improvisation, with steady melodies and drums as the foundation. Bellson was 84 when he passed away in 2009.
HONORABLE MENTION: For the sentimental Valentine’s types, TOV is covering MUSICIAN MARRIAGES: On February 14th, 2008, Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher, and All Saints lead singer Nicole Appelton, eloped. In 1994, Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead married Deborah Koons. In 1984, then ‘in the closet’ Elton John married his recording engineer Renate Blauer. They stayed together for four years, before Elton came out. In 1980, Lou Reed got married to Sylvia Morales. The festivities were held at his NYC apartment. In 1974, Toni Tennille and Daryl Dragon of Captain & Tennille were married. They divorced in 2014 (40 years strong?).
On February 14th, in 1992, the popular SNL skit-based feature film Wayne’s World, made its national debut in U.S. theaters. The film featured cameos from all types of musicians, athletes, and celebrities. Meat Loaf & Alice Cooper were among the more notable rock musicians that appeared. The film single-handedly reinvented Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, by having it surge to #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. The song hadn’t been on the charts in over 20 years. Wayne’s World as a skit on SNL was the live action version of Beavis & Butthead (unintentionally).
Speaking of Saturday Night Live: In 1981, the show had its first hip hop act grace the stage as musical guests. The Funky 4 + 1, which features Keith Keith, Rahiem, Lil’ Rodney Cee, K. K. Rockwell, and Sha-Rock (the Female Emcee of the crew, hence the +1) performed their classic hit That’s The Joint! The group formed in The Bronx shortly after Henry Chaflant aired his Wild Style movie/documentary. Fab 5 Freddy, Lee Quinones, Blondie, and the Rock Steady Crew all appear in the film. Style Wars is another film of this era in early Hip Hop that’s definitely worth watching.
Louie Bellson owes this next artist a lot of credit, for his invention on the drum kit that led to Bellosn’s double bass drum. On February 14, 1959 jazz musician, drummer, sideman, bandleader, jazz innovator, and the man that invented the kick drum-Warren “Baby” Dodds passed away in Chicago, Illinois. TOV covered the artist’s birthday in the December 24th post. Please refer to it for more information. Dodds is credited with moving the stand alone bass drum, to the snare and toms kit. He put it on the floor, making it the 'kick drum' (you kick the push pedal to play it). This invention alone increased the sound of the bass-making it the loudest instrument in a band. Dodds was 60 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