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…the three artists that will be highlighted in today’s post have provided hip hop producers with breaks that have helped shape the music. The breaks are those segments of music found in any song, from any era, or any genre, that yield a response from the listener, making them want to loop or extend it to prolong the sound. With that said, on March 31st, in 1921, break beat provider, west coast bluesman, singer, guitarist, songwriter, and US Navy Veteran-Lowell Fulson (Lowell Fulsom, Lowell Fullsom) was born in Atoka, Oklahoma. He’s most known for the staple break beat-Tramp off his 1966 Kent Records LP-Tramp. The song has been, and continues to be sampled and beat juggled by:
Diamond D, Pete Rock, RZA, DJ Muggs, Salt-n-Pepa, Erick Sermon, Marley Marl and Dr Dre. He started playing guitar professionally around his mid teens (late 30s). In 1940, he linked with Alger Texas Alexander before moving to California and joining a band with a teen-aged Ray Charles. If you’ve seen the movie ‘Ray’-Lowell was one of the main musicians that played lead with Charles as backing pianist and vocalist. He sang some blues standards like-3 O’Clock Blues and Reconsider Baby. He also worked closely with Ray Charles’ tenor saxophonist-David Fat Head Newman. He recorded for Chess, Kent, Rounder and Swing Time Records. He was 77 when he passed.
On March 31st, in 1948, another classic breakbeat provider, seminal soul vocalist, songwriter, producer, member of the Moments & co-founding member of Ray-Goodman & Brown-Al Goodman (Willie Albert Goodman-c) was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He sang for parties and around the house as a child. By the time he reached his teens, his bass vocals stood out, and he sang doo wop with various outfits. After high school, he moved to New York City to pursue music full-time. While there, he got a job with All Platinum record executive Sylvia Robinson. Interesting fact-Sylvia is also the owner of Sugar Hill Records. She’s been involved with the creation of hip hop since it’s inception. Goodman's would often sing to himself around the studio.
One day, Sylvia heard him and decided to re-introduce the Moments to the world. Billy Brown was on co-lead with Harry Ray, while Goodman (above-standing, inset-seated) sang back up. She signed them to her Stang imprint and they released the seminal breakbeat-Sexy Mama. It’s been sampled by Lord Finesse, The Beatnuts, Dr Dre, Ice Cube, J Dilla, 9th Wonder and Mad Lib. They released several hits during the 70s like Look at Me (I’m in Love), Girls and Special Lady as Ray Goodman & Brown. Their second breakbeat comes from the same LP-Another Day. It was sampled by Grand Puba. The group continued to tour, but didn’t record as much in the 80s and 90s...Their legacy had been solidified in the 60s and 70s. Goodman was 57 when he passed (2010).
On March 31st, in 2006, we lost a break beat provider for two genres of music-hip hop and house, jazz musician, avant-garde/free jazz innovator, composer, sideman, saxophonist, educator and bandleader-Jackie McLean (John Lenwood McLean). McLean’s most known for a song that was a foundation in hip hop mixtape culture during the late 70s-mid 90s: Soul-sampled by Large Professor. Soul is more of a spoken word free jazz piece that dee jays would use for their intros into other songs or breaks in the mix. His other track for hip hop heads is called On the Slick Side (1975). It’s more of a ‘rare groove’ track. He also provided house producers with the seminal-Mister Funk (1979). Theres a conga break, and a drum intro with hand claps. Producers like Wise D & Kobe, Carl Cox and TJR have used this break.
Several B-Boys have also battled to beat juggling of the intro. McLean was a NYC native that was learning jazz from his father, godfather, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker during his childhood, in his teens he was playing with Sonny Rollins and Kenny Drew, and during his 20s he was playing with Miles Davis (on his Dig LP), Charles Mingus, Art Blakey and Gene Ammons. He battled a mean heroine addiction and lost his cabaret for a while. In the 60s, he worked for Blue Note and got into free jazz. He founded the Artists Collective, Inc. in 1970 with jazz bassist Paul Brown. The NEA Jazz Master and DownBeat Hall of Fame musician was 74 when he passed.
HONORABLE MENTION: On March 30th, in 1878, the first Black heavyweight boxing champion of the world-Jack Johnson (John Arthur Johnson) AKA the Galveston Giant was born in Galveston, TX. Johnson is most known for his pure boxing skills, being very outspoken socially and politically during the implementation of the Jim Crow era. He also regularly dated and married outside of his ethnicity. He ran a successful ethnically diverse nightclub and fought for the equal status of Blacks in America. He was a brawler during his teens, and turned pro when he was 20 (1989). He often fought over 12 rounds (14 to 20 usually). Miles Davis did the soundtrack for the story of his life, while James Earl Jones played Johnson. He was 68 when he died.
On March 30th, in 1986, singer, songwriter, and co-founding member of the Isley Brothers-O’Kelly Isley Jr (r) passed away in Alpine, New Jersey. He was the co-writer on some of their early hits like Twist & Shout, It’s Your Thing, and this Old Heart of Mine. In the late 60s, when they started their own imprint (T-Neck), he continued to co-write and sing on tunes like Atlantis, For the Love of You, the Pride and Footsteps in the Dark. He also discovered and hired Jimi Hendrix as a guitarist for the band. He worked with Phil Collins in the 80s, singing most of the lead on If Leaving Me is Easy. His signature saying came from Harlem Renaissance writer Wallace Thurman-The Blacker the Berry, the Sweeter the juice. He was 48 when he passed.
On March 30th, in 1991, we lost an important jazz musician, saxophonist, composer, sideman, clarinetist, flautist, arranger, producer and bandleader-John Wallace Carter. The Forth Worth, TX native attended M. Terrell High School with Ornette Coleman and Charles Moffett in the mid 40s. Unlike Coleman and Moffett who migrated east to NYC to pursue their jazz careers, Carter went west and started playing with Bobby Bradford in the mid 60s. He worked on the New Jazz Art Ensemble and performed at numerous Jazz festivals during the late 60s and throughout the 70s. He went behind the scenes in the 80s, composing music for others and musicals. He was 61 when he died.
On March 30th, in 1995, we lost a Tejano music superstar, seminal vocalist, dancer and Latino cultural icon-Selena (Selena Quintanilla-Perez). She’s a Tejano music pioneer that had a rocky start in the early 80s. By the late 80s, she’d won the Tejano Music Award for singer of the year. She made her recording debut in 1989 and followed in 1992 with with Entre a Mi Mundo (Enter my world). It stayed on the Mexican music charts for 8 months. She was killed by her assistant Yolanda Saldivar (her former fan club president). Her death was a senseless tragedy…J-Lo starred in the 1997 film about her life. She was 23 when she passed.
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