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On September 23rd, in 1926-one of the best saxophonist to ever do it-composer, arranger, bandleader, and spiritually based musician-John Coltrane was born in Hamlet, North Carolina. John was inspired by Bird early on in his career. He joined the Navy & played in the Naval Band, cutting one LP with the group. His riffing was very similar, but not as good as Parker’s on that first LP. After he returned to the states, Coltrane settled in Philly, playing with Jimmy Heath while there. He also frequented New York City, and linked with Miles and others to cut the Kind of Blue LP (Adderley, Evans, Chambers, etc).
Coltrane got fired by Miles, overcame his heroin addiction and started his solo career. He cut some LPs before Kind of Blue (Coltrane 1957 & Blue Train 1957). These are classics. His first breakthrough LP was Giant Steps, cut on Atlantic in 1960. He followed this up with My Favorite things in 1961 (with 2 more LPs between them). John was a workaholic, and put out so much music, it’s hard for collectors to keep up. He married Harpist & Pianist Alice Coltrane, both of whom helped innovate the Free Jazz & Avant Garde Jazz movement. Coltrane returned home in 1967 due to a bout with cancer. He was 40 years young.
On September 23rd, in 1930, pianist, singer, songwriter, producer and one of the Godfather’s of Soul-Ray Charles (Ray Charles Robinson) was born in Albany, Georgia. Ray went blind at an early age, but before he lost his vision, he fell in love with the piano and was mentored by Wylie Pittman-the Boogie Woogie pianist that had a club in Greenville, Florida (The Red Wing). After learning from Pittman, Charles went on to pursue a professional career. He did covers mostly at first, with the Ray Charles touch added in. He recorded most of these pop tunes on Swingtime.
It wasn’t until Atlantic signed him that his career really took off. Ray also was an avid admirer of Gospel and Country Music. He felt both genres utilized lyricism that told good stories to the listener. Ray would use elements of both of these genres to make his own unique brand of Soul. As a result of Ray making much noise on Atlantic, other acts would sign that were just as dope, if not doper (Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding). Ray Charles passed away in 2004. He was 73 years-old.
On September 23rd, in 1943, Singer, Dancer, Choreographer, filmmaker, actress and former High School Cheerleader-Toni Basil (Antonia Christina Basilotta-only female) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the daughter to parents involved in comedy and vaudeville. Her folks relocated to Las Vegas, where Basil was cheerleader for her High School. After which she began pursuing her dance career and ended up being the choreographer for David Bowie’s Dog Days Tour in the mid 70s.
In the late 70s, she got into the Westcoast street dance movement that would later become Hip Hop. She was a founding member and manager of The Lockers which included Ozone from the movie Breakin’ and Re-Run from TV sit-com What’s Happening. She then embarked on a singing career and had a number one UK & US hit with Mickey. Toni Basil is one of the people instrumental in bringing Hip Hop Culture-mainly dance, to the forefront. She’s 75 today!
On September 23rd, in 1949, The Boss-guitarist, songwriter, singer and bandleader-Bruce Springsteen (Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen), was born in Long Branch, New Jersey. Springsteen was a New Jersey Rocker that created songs reflective of the environment he was in. Critics claimed early on that Springsteens poetic, and substance based lyrics were reminiscent of Bob Dylan. He was influenced by a lot of different acts during the early 70s like:
Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Tom Petty-whom he worked closely with, and Van Morrison. His Born in the USA LP put him on the worldwide map, before that 80s release, he’d been known by the dedicated Blues based Rock admirers. The LP awarded him Grammys and is one of the major reasons for his overall fame. Bruce continues to write, produce and tour to date. He’s still living in Jersey as well. He’s 69 today!
On September 23rd, in 2004, Lil Kim’s bodyguard-Suif Jackson & Capone-N-Norega’s (CNN) entourage had a moment of chaos and confusion. Jackson saw the entourage that had been somewhat beefing with one another at a New York City radio station. They got to arguing and gun play was involved. Jackson letoff 20 shots at the radio station, but didn’t hit anyone.
When he appeared in court, the judge sentenced him harshly claiming that anyone that would let off 20 shots in a building, was a imminent danger to society. We the people would need to be protected from Jackson’s weaponry, and use of it. The judge gave him 12 years in prison… ‘society needs protection from a gun-toting man with 5 convictions’…yep Jackson had 5 priors too. Lil Kim wasn’t playing around when it came to her security, she wanted those cats that were willing to let off under any circumstances.
Honorable Mention: On September 23rd, in 1863 Woman’s Activist, Civil Rights, Journalist-Mary Church Terrell (‘Mollie’) AKA Euphemia Kirk was born in Memphis, Tennessee. She was the first ‘documented’ Woman of African Descent in America that earned a college degree, graduating from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. Ms. Terrell was President of the National Association of Colored Women (NACW), and I believe she’s a paternal relative of mine, being from the Memphis area which is where a lot of Terrell’s hail from.
On September 23rd, in 1927 Blues Guitarist, Chicago Blues Sound Innovator-Mighty Joe Young (Joseph Young Jr.) was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. He was one of Chicago’s original Blues Guitarists that worked with Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Bobby Rush, Koko Taylor, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Didley, Leonard Chess of Chess Records, Charles Stephney-Ramsey Lewis & Rotary Connection with Minnie Riperton producer, and Buddy Guy. He passed away in 1999. He was 71 years-old.
On September 23rd, in 1974, founding member of The Blue-eyed Funk Band-Average White Band, singer and drummer-Robbie McIntosh died from a Horse OD. He was found dead at a Hollywood party. As the story goes, McIntosh thought that he was snorting cocaine and it was pure heroin. The musician wouldn’t get to see the success of the band that would occur less than a year later when Pick Up the Pieces went Number 1 and was nominated for a Grammy.
On September 23rd, in 1980, Robert Nesta Marley collapsed again, while onstage in Pittsburgh at the Stanley Theater. He had passed out two days prior while jogging in NYC’s Central Park. The doctors in the Big Apple diagnosed him with cancer, and it was obvious that Bob wasn’t feeling well with all the passing out. His management and label wanted to kill the tour, but Bob refused and went to Pittsburgh. As a result, the Pittsburgh performance would be the last time he was on stage.
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 Plethora of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!