| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
On February 12th, 2000, we lost singer, actor, guitarist, songwriter, pianist, film producer, aspiring opera singer, horror music originator, and Rock ‘n’ Roll Innovator-Screamin’ Jay Hawkins (Jalacy Hawkins). TOV covered the artist’s birthday in the August 18th post. Please refer to it for more information. Hawkins was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He got into music at an early age, and started taking classical piano in his elementary years. His biggest influence at the time was Paul Robeson. In fact, Hawkins initially wanted to become an opera singer.
He also boxed-becoming a Golden Gloves Champ when he was 15 (1944). Later that year, he enlisted in the Army. He performed as an entertainer, and returned to the states in the late 1940s. He continued to box-winning the Alaskan Middleweight Title in 1949. In 1951, he joined Tiny Grimes’ group, recording a few sides with him before pursuing a solo career. In 1956, on his 27th birthday, he recorded his infamous hit (for the second time)-I Put A Spell On You for Okeh Records. The song was originally recorded in 1955, for Grand Records, but it was never released. Hawkins passed away in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France at he age of 70.
On February 12th, in 1983, we lost a jazz musician, sideman, pianist, bandleader, composer, arranger, and Ragtime Jazz Legend-Eubie Blake (James Hubert Blake). The Baltimore native grew up rough. His parents were both former slaves that bore eight children, including Blake who was the only survivor. At the age of seven, he started taking pump organ lessons from his church organist Margaret Marshall. He moved to piano in his early teens, and was the moonlighter at Aggie Shelton’s Baltimore Bordello. His reputation as a great pianist grew quickly, which lead to then-lightweight champion (Ring Magazine’s Greatest Lightweight Boxer Of All-Time) Joe Gans hiring Blake to play piano his Goldfield Hotel in Baltimore.
Blake started performing ragtime with vaudeville acts like James Reese’s Europe Society Orchestra in 1912. He used his skills of memory to recall the songs he composed, until he met Noble Sissle, who helped show Blake how to write and read music post-WWI. The two combined to write I’m Just Wild About Harry. Their sheet music catalog was very extensive, and in 1917 Blake made his recording debut with Pathe Records. He also recorded for Ampico, Victor, and Emerson Records. Blake’s musical legacy spans two centuries (1800s & 1900s), and can be found in movies, stage plays, and vaudeville made in the early 1900s thru 1920s. He continued to perform and educate until to his death. He passed away just five days after his 96th birthday in Brooklyn, NY.
On February 12th, 1959, jazz musician, sideman, session drummer, arranger, and composer-Omar Hakim was born in New York City, New York. He’s the son of Hasan Hakim, the infamous trombonist with Count Basie and Duke Ellington. Omar started playing drums as a child, and attended The New York School of Music And Art. He began his professional career playing drums as a session musician for R&B and soul groups during the late 1970s. In 1980, he got his big break via Mike Mainieri (jazz vibraphonist), who hired Hakim to play drums in a video he made called The Jazz Life. After people saw the young drummer, and heard his skills, musicians quickly came calling asking Hakim to play for them.
Some of these artists include: Carly Simon, David Bowie (Let’s Dance & Tonight), Dire Straits, Sting, Madonna, Roy Ayers, Joe Sample, Miles Davis, Lee Ritenour, Najee, George Benson, David Sanborn, and John Scofield to name a few. In 1989 he made his recording debut releasing a soul/jazz mashup LP called Rhythm Deep. Hakim earned a Grammy nomination for the album, and continued to tour and do session work for other artists like Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, and Jewel. By the 2000s, he released The Groovesmith, married pianist Rachel Z, and they formed their own band-The Trio Of OZ. His third solo LP We Are One dropped in 2014. Hakim could sing and play, which is why his soul/jazz style is so unique-he didn’t have to hire a singer, he could carry out the duties himself. He turns 60 today.
On February 12th, 1935, singer, songwriter, saxophonist, trumpeter, producer, and co-founding member of The Echoes Of Joy-Gene McDaniels (Eugene Booker McDaniels) was born in Kansas City, Missouri. TOV covered the artist’s death in the July 29th post. Please refer to it for more information. Gene is the man that penned the famous ballad Feel Like Making Love, which has been covered by many from numerous genres. This song was made most famous by Roberta Flack, who collaborated with Gene often. Some of his own solo work has also been sampled heavily by Hip Hop producers like D.I.T.C., A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, The Beatnuts, DJ Mark The 45 King, Pete Rock, & many others.
McDaniels started off singing gospel in the church and playing jazz. He founded gospel outfit The Echoes Of Joy, who later changed their name to The Sultans. McDaniels then went to the University Of Omaha Conservatory Of Music, before joining The Mississippi Piney Woods Singers. While on tour in California, he met Les McCann who got him a deal with Liberty Records. In 1961 he recorded his first hit-100 Pounds Of Clay. He moved to the Columbia imprint in the mid 1960s, where creative freedom was allowed; and he produced some of his best works for the label. He was 76 when he died in 2011.
HONORABLE MENTION: On February 12th, 2017, singer, songwriter, percussionist, and purveyor of Jazz Scat-Al Jarreau (Alwin Lopez Jarreau) was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Al got his professional start with George Duke in the late 1960s, making jazz his primary profession in 1968. He’s worked with Vesta Williams, Chick Corea, George Benson, Miles Davis, Joe Sample, Jay Graydon, and Ray Reach to name a few. One of his most slept on breakbeat tracks is his cover of Bill Wither’s Kissing My Love. The opening drum solo has been sampled by so many people that it would take two posts to list them. He passed away at age 76.
On February 12th, 1997, Tupac had passed away, and the East vs West hip hop beef was in full-effect. Puffy & Snoop held a press conference to call an end to the violence between the artists on the Right (east) and Left (west) side of the country. Snoop was quoted as saying "Kids around the world are watching. By calling for a truce, we’re giving them something to live for…" A month later, Biggie was shot and killed. The press conference was a move in the right direction, and after Biggie’s death, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Quincy Jones, and Russell Simmons held another meeting with hip hop artists, and the media-driven beef was pretty much squashed.
On February 12th, 1956, comedian, actor, writer, TV show producer, and the man that created The Arsenio Hall Show-Arsenio Hall was born in Cleveland, Ohio (home of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame). Hall is also known for his comedic roles in movies with Eddie Murphy, like Coming To America and Harlem Nights. However, he does not get enough credit for spawning the careers of several Hip Hop and R&B musicians’ careers during the early through the late 1990s. Many careers may have faltered or ceased to exist without help from Arsenio. He also helped Bill Clinton get elected when he had him on to play his saxophone, and talk about weed smoking while campaigning for president. Arsenio is 63 today.
On February 12th, 1939, singer, pianist, songwriter, filmmaker, and co-founding member of The Doors-Ray Manzarek (Raymond Daniel Manczarek) was born in Chicago, Illinois. Manzarek met Jim Morrison in California when both attended The UCLA Film Program. He had been a seasoned musician by then, and encouraged Morrison to write. When he heard the songs that Jim wrote, they formed The Doors on the spot in 1965. Manzarek also practiced Transcendental Meditation (Maharishi Yogi), which he said directly affected The Doors' sound and song lyrics. He was 74 when he died in 2013.
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