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On April 5th, 1934, jazz musician, saxophonist, sideman, younger brother of jazz trumpeter Tommy Turrentine, composer, bandleader, producer, and arranger-Stanley (William) Turrentine was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. TOV covered the artist’s death in the September 12th post. Please refer to it for more information. His mother was a stride pianist, and his father was a saxophonist, who taught Stanley the basics on the saxophone. He developed his own sound & style that, for the most part, was self-taught. The only formal music training he received came after he joined the military in the mid 1950's (Korean War). He’d already been professionally playing with various R&B/soul/blues outfits around the Pittsburgh Area, as well as touring and recording with Lowell Fulson and Earl Bostic. He replaced John Coltrane in Bostic’s band when Coltrane went solo.
After Turrentine returned to the states in 1959, he joined the seminal jazz drummer Max Roach’s band. In 1960 he married the jazz organist Shirley Scott, and that same year made his recording debut on Sunset Records with Look Out! Later that year he recorded with The Three Sounds; and in 1961 he released his first LP with his wife-Dearly Beloved-on Blue Note Records. They’d record three more LPs together during the 1960's, before divorcing in 1971. The majority of Turrentine’s music was recorded during the this time, as he released more than 20 LPs between 1960 & 1969. The 1970's, however, is when he made his best music (on CTI Records). Sugar (1970), his fusion jazz debut for the label, set the tone for the sound he’d use for the next decade. Stanley Turrentine was 66 when he passed away.
On April 5th, 1964, rapper, dancer, actor, comedian, co-star of the House Party film series, co-inventor of the Kid ‘n’ Play Kickstep, video game voice over actor, and former recording artist under Hurby Luv Bug’s production umbrella: Kid (Christopher Reid) was born in The Bronx, New York. It’s funny how time changes things. I say this to mean that when Kid started his professional career as a rapper in 1988, on the 2 Hype LP (Select Records), he and his counterpart Play were riding the success of Salt-n-Pepa. This was customary for hip hop musicians back then. An artist or group would have some success-which legitimized their crew-and coerced record companies to sign them in an attempt to cash in on the genre that was still looked at as a fad or trend in hip hop.
Additionally, during the height of his acting career, he was viewed as the facilitator of jokes-while on the decline, he was the joke (a novelty-not taken seriously). Take for instance the success Kid-n-Play had in the late 80's and early 90's. They brought actors like Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell, Queen Latifah, and John Witherspoon to the greater public in their House Party films. There’s no question that Kid-n-Play were the stars, especially Kid, and Martin was the joke (the stank breath DJ Bilal). However, by the mid 90's, you’d be hard pressed to find Reid in films/TV shows (and if he was in one, his job was to be laughed at, not with). His House Party cast members, Lawrence and Campbell, now had a successful sitcom, Lawrence was the host of Def Comedy Jam, Witherspoon had other memorable roles (Boomerang, Friday, etc), and Latifah was blowing up from her role in the film Set It Off. In the late 90's Reid cut off his well known signature hi-top fade, and started doing stand up comedy. Kid is 55 today.
On April 5th, 1994, we lost a grunge rock pioneer, Rock ‘n Roll Icon, Hall Of Fame Musician, singer, guitarist, songwriter, former spouse to Courtney Love, and leader of the band Nirvana-Kurt Cobain. TOV has covered the artist in several posts (his marriage, fatherhood, birthday, unique stage appearances, video shoots, etc). Please refer to them for more information. He grew up as a socially alienated child-which cultivated his lyrical content shown in later years. He was never part of the ‘in crowd;’ and at some point, the rejection led him to renounce the ‘status quo’ entirely. He became the antithesis of social norms and aspirations. This doesn’t mean Cobain was oppositional, lawless, disrespectful, or an anarchist. He was not. However, it should illustrate how one’s view can change about the imagery and programming used to create a so-called American dream based on the status quo’s acceptance or rejection of the person into their circle…let’s call it ‘dreamland.’
He saw the dream they tried to push on him, without allowing him full access to it, as a bad one-as many like minds do. Instead, he crafted what I’ll call an alternate dream that pertained to letting go of the things the status quo deemed as staples to being successful. The lyrics in his music, his demeanor during interviews, and refusals to open up publicly without his guitar and microphone, made this man a special human being. One that is greatly missed by fans and haters alike. I’m not saying Cobain was the holy grail of Rock ‘n ‘Roll; but these cats nowadays can’t hold a candle to him. Out of respect for his artistry, there’s no need to get into the formalities of his passing. Just know he decided he’d had enough of this stuff. R.I.P Cobain.
HONORABLE MENTION: On April 5th, 1966, grunge rock innovator, guitarist, songwriter, drummer, and member of Pearl Jam-Mike McCready (Michael David McCready) was born in Pensecola, Florida. McCready is most known as the lead guitarist, and as a songwriter for Pearl Jam. He also has worked with The Rockfords, Flight To Mars, Mad Season, and Temple Of The Dog (Soundgarden). He started playing guitar when he was eleven. He put it down for a while in his late teens, before picking it back up in his 20's. McCready helped shape the sound of grunge music, and contributed heavily to the cultural scene that surrounded it. This Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame musician is 53 today.
On April 5th, 1970, we lost a lesser-known (but influential) bluesman, rock ‘n’ roll musician, singer, songwriter, harmonica player, founder of Tommy Louis & The Rhythm Rockers (and Tommy Louis & The Versatiles) Kid Thomas (Louis Thomas Watts). Thomas moved to Chicago when he was young, and started playing harmonica. He’d become very good by his mid teens-and played often with Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, and Elmore James (during the late 1940's and early 1950's). In 1955 he made his recording debut on Federal Records with Wolf Pack. In the late 50's, he switched from blues to rock ‘n’ roll-inspired by Little Richard’s style. Kid Thomas was only 35 when he died.
On April 5th, 1973, producer, singer, rapper, songwriter, designer, TV personality, and co-founder of the production team known as The Neptunes, Pharrell Williams was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Williams grew up in a hot bed of urban artists, that came before him, including: The Clipse, Timbaland, Missy Elliot, D’Angelo, and Jodeci. These artists influenced his sound, and helped him (with his partner Chad Hugo) craft beats that were unique. From this foundation Williams being able to make hits for others as a solo producer/songwriter. He’s worked with Niles Rodgers, Daft Punk, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, N.O.R.E., and many more. Pharrell is 46 today.
On April 5th, 2012, we lost an important figure in sound amplification and engineering-James Charles Marshall. He’s known as 'The Lord Of Loud’ for his patented Marshall Amplification System. If you’ve ever been to a music store, or watched a live show, you’ve seen several-if not hundreds-of amplifiers with the Marshall name stacked on top of one another (The Marshall Stack). The music store owner was inspired by his rock guitarist patrons, who incessantly asked for an amplifier that was bigger and louder. Marshall invented one called The Master Volume Marshall. Artists like Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix were among the first to use them. James Marshall was 88 when he passed away.
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