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On March 9th, 1997, rapper, Bad Boy Records artist, former husband of Faith Evans, and founding member of Junior Mafia-The Nortorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls, aka Biggie (Christopher George Latore Wallace) passed away. Biggie died from gunshot wounds in Los Angeles, California. He’d traveled west to shoot his video for the single Hypnotize. The prior day he had attended The 11th Annual Soul Train Music Awards, and presented an Award to Toni Braxton. Tupac had been shot a few months earlier, and there was a pink elephant in the room pertaining to the west coast/east coast beef that was still lingering. B.I.G. received some scattered boos from the audience during his presentation.
After the award show, he decided to go to the Vibe Magazine & Qwest Records afterparty that was being held at The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Of course being in LA, you had your gang affiliates there-Crips & Bloods mostly-scattered among the celebrities (Aaliyah, Faith Evans, Puffy, and others). The party filled quickly, causing the fire department (with the aide of The LAPD) to shut the party down due to overcrowding. Biggie left with his people, and on his way back to his hotel, he was shot at a red light about 150 feet from the party. A Chevy Impala had pulled up next to his vehicle and shot Wallace four times. Christopher Wallace was pronounced dead at 1:15 am on March 9th. He was 24.
On March 9th, 1930, jazz musician, composer, saxophonist, arranger, sideman, trumpeter, producer, violinist, bandleader and free jazz innovator-Ornette Coleman (Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman) was born in Fort Worth, Texas. He got his professional start in high school, playing in the I.M. Terrell High School band. He got kicked out of the band for breaking into a jazz solo (improvisation) during their playing of the-Washington Post march. He was noticed by Prince Lasha and Charles Moffett who asked Coleman to join their outfit called the Jam Jivers. He left Texas shortly after and joined Silas Green in Louisiana, touring New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
Someone assaulted him and destroyed his tenor sax, which made him switch to alto. It became his primary instrument (1949). He joined Pee Wee Crayton’s band, and toured with them in southern California. He moved to NYC in the early 50s and started working as a sideman for others like Ed Blackwell, Don Cherry and Dewey Redman. In 1958, he had his solo recording debut, releasing Something Else!!! On Contemporary Records. He used a plastic saxophone instead of a metal one, which altered his sound. He then started experimenting more with rhythms and compositions which led to him innovating a free jazz sound. He was 56 when he passed (2015).
On March 9th, in 1948, Jeffrey Osborne, seminal R&B vocalist, drummer and member of L.T.D. (Love Togetherness Devotion)-Jeffrey Osborne was born in Providence, Rhode Island. Jeffrey got his start in music via his father who was a trumpeter with Lionel Hampton, Duke Ellington and Count Basie. Osborne’s brother Billy became one of the members of L.T.D. as well. The original name of the band was Love Men Ltd. They formed in Greensboro, North Carolina in 1968 (without Osborne). The band traveled to Harlem, NYC, NY and further north to Providence where they picked up Jeffrey as a drummer and vocalist (1970).
They gigged around the eastern seaboard and got signed by A&M Records in 1974. They released two LPs that year-Love Togetherness & Devotion and Gittin’ Down, both of which made the top 100 on the US R&B chart. After that, the toured for a couple years before releasing their 3rd LP in 1976-Love To the World. This LP is considered one of their best, which features the title cut-Love to the World which is now a Hip Hop breakbeat classic. It also has the seminal song-Love Ballad. Osborne continued to record with the band in the 70s, but was now a front man, much like Teddy Pendergrass with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes. He went solo in the early 80s. He’s 71 today.
HONORABLE MENTION: On March 9th, in 1970, James Brown was being somewhat extorted by his then band led by Pee Wee Ellis. As the story goes, his band mates wanted more money. They were set to perform in Columbus, Georgia but decided they wouldn’t unless James paid more. In true star fashion, James had Bobby Byrd fly in the Pacemakers AKA the Houseguests which were a funk band out of Cincinnati that contained members: Bootsy and Catfish Collins. They replaced James’ old band, and James gave them the a new moniker of the ‘New Breed’-later changed to the J.B.'s. The Cinemax show-Tales From the Tour Bus relays this story in depth, as well as the Mick Jagger documentary on James Brown-Mr Dynamite!.
On March 9th, in 1971, actor, pop culture figure, star of the sitcom Webster and good friend of Michael Jackson during the 80s-Emmanuel Lewis was born in Brooklyn, NYC, NY. He’s most known for playing Webster on the sitcom of the same name during the mid to late 80s. He was the spokesperson for the Burger King Whopper and also hung out with Michael at several events. Lewis is also an alumni of Clark Atlanta University (graduated in 1997). I’m pretty sure Michael didn’t try Lewis like he ‘supposedly’ did others because Emmanuel knows Taekwondo. He’s 48 today.
On March 9th, in 1977, The Jacksons’ variety show on CBS had its last show. It had 12 30-minute episodes in all, that started in the summer of 1976. It stands as the first variety show where the entire cast were siblings: Rebbie, Jackie, Tito, La Toya, Marlon, Michael, Randy and Janet. Surprisingly, Jermaine was not a part of the cast. The March 9th episode featured comedian David Letterman and Tim Conway. The songs the family performed included during the final episode were: Dancing Machine, Yes Sir-That’s My Baby, World of Sunshine, On the Wall, Body Language and I’m Going to Jackson to name a few.
On March 9th, in 1987, rapper, actor, TV personality, former child star, dancer and one of the few acts discovered by Snoop Dogg, who also gave the artist his stage name-Lil Bow Wow (Shad Gregory Moss) was born in Columbus, Ohio. Bow Wow got his professional start in 1998 when he was 11. Snoop spotted him in 1993 and passed his info on to Jermaine Dupri who signed him in 1998. He then did a song for the Wild Wild West soundtrack in 1999. Bow Wow went on to record solo records and act in several films and TV shows. He’s 32 today.
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