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JAZZ: On November 26th, in 1931, brother of Cannonball Adderley, Jazz Trumpeter, composer, producer, arranger, bandleader, session trumpet musician and father of Nat Adderley Jr.-Nat Adderley (Nathaniel Carlyle Adderley) was born in Tampa, Florida. He and his brother Cannonball played around the Florida panhandle as their parents were professors at FAMU. Nat attended Florida University, graduating with a degree in Sociology and minor in music. He was going to be a teacher and planned on attending graduate school to start his student teaching, but before he could embark on a career in the classroom, he met seminal bandleader Lionel Hampton who was playing a concert at FAMU
He asked Adderley to sit in, and was so impressed with his playing that he asked him to join his band. Adderley obliged and went north to NYC (1954-55). In 1956, he was trumpeter in his brother’s band-The Cannonball Adderley Quintet (until 1957). Cannonball went on to play with Miles on Kind of Blue (released 1959), and got more notoriety from playing with Davis, but Nat was no amateur. In the 60s, Nat penned 4 infamous tunes that are now considered Jazz standards: The Work Song (made popular by Oscar Brown Jr.’s Pop cover with lyrics), Jive Samba, The Old Country and Hummin’ (heavily sampled). Nat put out over 30 solo LPs from the mid-50s through the mid-90s. He also co-produced his son’s (Nat Adderley Jr.’s) Funk-Fusion-Jazz based band Natural Essence. He passed in 2000 when he was 68 years-old.
SOUL: On November 26th, in 1937, the bassist for Motown’s infamous backing band-The Funk Brothers, and member of Dennis Coffey’s Detroit Guitar Band: Bob Babbitt (Robert Kreinar) was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most people know Babbitt from the basslines he laid on Motown hits during the height of the label’s existence, when they were cranking out hits, coining themselves the Sound of Young America. However, Babbitt also played on Hendrix’s posthumous Crash Landing LP (1975), Herbie Mann’s Surprise LP (1976), Jimmy McGriff’s Red Beans (1976), Lonnie Smith’s Keep on Lovin’ (1976), Stanley Turrentine’s The Man With the Sad Face and Phil Collins’ Going Back LP (2010). He laid the bottom on Coffey’s Scorpio, and other cuts by Coffey that D.I.T.C., Pete Rock & Primo sampled during the Golden Era of Hip Hop.
Babbitt’s musical brother on the bottom (bass) while at Motown was James Jamerson. After Motown moved to LA in 1972, Babbitt went east to NYC, and gigged, toured, performed and did session work for many. He played with TSOP’s Holland-Dozier-Holland production team in the backing band MFSB. He’s listed as the 59th Greatest Bassist of All Time by Bass Player Magazine. You can hear his lines on the What’s Going On LP(Mercy Mercy Me), Signed Sealed Delivered, Band of Gold by Freda Payne and War by Edwin Starr. He passed in 2012 when he was 74 years-old.
…‘ANNA MAE!’…On November 26th, in 1939, the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, a woman who has not been matched in energy or longevity by any popular female-artist to date, singer, dancer, producer, choreographer, actress, songwriter and former member of Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm-Anna Mae Bullock AKA Tina Turner was born in Nutbush, Tennessee. She got her start singing in the church choir with her sister Alline. By the time she had graduated high school in 1958, she had been a cheerleader, basketball player, sang on stage live with Ike Turner, and had her first recording on Ike’s Box Top as Little Ann (1957).
She met him when he was on stage performing at the the Club Manhattan just across the muddy the Mississippi in East St. Louis (commonly known as East Boogie). She said Ike’s music put her in a trance and she was compelled to sing with him. His drummer gave her the mic during an intermission, and she sang a Blues cut by B.B. King. Once Ike heard her, he asked her to sing with the band. They eventually married in 1962 and remained together until 1974. From 1956 when she first hit the stage with Ike to 1974, the couple released over 20 LPs, 5 in 1969 alone (The Hunter, Her Man-His Woman, In Person, Get it Together and Fantastic). She divorced him and went solo in 1974, releasing 4 LPs and appearing in a few movies. 10 years later, her 1984 Private Dancer LP sent her to worldwide fame. The 11-time Grammy winner is still doing it, on all levels at age 79.
On November 26th, in 1944, R&B-Soul-Jazz singer, sister of WBA Heavyweight Champ Ernie Terrell and former singer with the Supremes-(Velma) Jean Terrell was born in Belzoni, Mississippi. Her brother Ernie stopped fighting professionally (once fought Muhammad Ali for the title) and started up a band called Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights. Jean sang with the band during the late 60s. In 1968, when she was 24 years-old, Berry Gordy heard her singing with her brother’s band in Miami, Florida. Gordy was on the hunt for a replacement for Diana Ross. Originally, he signed Jean as a solo artist, but after Diana officially left the group (01-14-1970), Gordy added her to the Supremes lineup publicly.
The event took place in Las Vegas, where Jean and the rest of the group took questions from the press. The new trio was: Mary Wilson (r), Jean Terrell (c) and Cindy Birdsong (l). She made her recording debut as lead for the group on 1970’s Right On LP. She was lead singer for the group until 1973, then she went solo stating that they were no longer promoted like a ‘big act’ on Motown. She was replaced with Scherrie Payne (Freda Payne’s little sister). Jean released a couple solo joints during the late 70s and early 80s for A&M Records. In 1985, she became a member of F.L.O.S. (former ladies of the Supremes-Mary Wilson, Lynda Laurence & Scherrie Payne). She is 74 years-old today.
ROCK: On November 26th, in 1946, bassist for the lesser-known, but awesome Dutch Prog Rock band-Focus, producer, composer and arranger-Burt Ruiter (Albertus Clemens Ruiter) was born in Amsterdam. He got his start playing guitar when he was 12 years-old. He learned by ear, and then switched to bass during his teens. In 1966, he joined The Caps, acting as bassist for the group (replacing Dick Ankersmit). During the late 60s, he joined Fullhouse and then the Jay-Jays. In 1971, he replaced Cyril Havermans on bass for Focus. He was a lasting member of the Prog Rock outfit that stayed with the group until they split in 1978.
After which, he joined Earth & Fire-the chart-topping band from the Netherlands featuring Jerney Kaagman on vocals. The two would continue to record together as a duo of sorts when they both left Earth & Fire. Some of Burt’s best work is with Focus. The band has a sound similar to Pink Floyd and Soft Machine. They put out several LPs throughout the 70s, with some fanfare, but little worldwide recognition. His basslines are thick and sparse…at times he pauses like a Jazz bassist would and allows the reverb for his notes to to lead to the next note. He’s not a slap bassist, but more of a guy who plays in an upright bass style, on a bass guitar. He has plenty of sample worthy material for aspiring and established producers to pick from. To my knowledge, he’s still alive, making him 72 today.
Honorable Mention: On November 26th, in 1883, we lost a prominent historical figure that pioneered Human Rights, standing as an activist for the abolition of slavery and political implementation of Women’s rights-Sojourner Truth. She was 86 years-old when she passed. Originally named Isabella Baumfree, Truth was one of the few Blacks in America that was a published author. She gave herself the name Sojourner Truth, when she had a spiritual experience with God, who calling for her to go to rural areas and spread the Truth.
On November 26th, in 1988, the Red Team-Soviet Republic had a few of their astronauts in outer space with a Pink Floyd cassette-Delicate Sound of Thunder. They were on Soyuk 7 and played the tape making the band the first Rock band to have their music played in outer space. Band members Nick Mason & David Gilmour were at the Soyuk 7’s launching. This was during the end of the Reagan era.
On November 26th, in 2006, singer, songwriter, composer, arranger, producer, bandleader and pioneer of Rock ‘n’ Roll: H-Bomb Ferguson (Robert Percell Perguson). passed away in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of a preacher that started playing piano and signing as a child. By 19, he was on the road with The Honey Drippers featuring Joe Liggins. He moved to NYC, went solo (known as the Cobra Kid) and played Jump Blues & R&B around the city. He created a Jump Blues sound that would be used in Rock ‘n’ Roll. He was 77 when he died.
…‘On the Road Again’…On November 26th, in 2010, the older homey, Pasty Cline’s God send, (he wrote her song Crazy), singer, songwriter, producer and seminal legalization of marijuana supporter-Willie Nelson was busted for possession of six ounces of ganja while he was going from LA to Texas. He was on his tour bus when the cops roped him. He posted $2500 bond and returned to court later. The judge gave him a $100 fine and asked him to sing Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain instead of getting time…He sang it right there in the court room.
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