Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

R I P Louis Bellson, Hometown Boy Makes Good

I met him as a kid when he did a demonstration on how to play at a music store. He grew up in Moline and came back frequently. He was one of the guys who got me interested in time keeping and playing drums. I loved his quote about the double bass drum and I wish that more rock drummers felt that way. I always (for some reason) admired the fact he was married to a black woman (don't ask me why), that woman being Pearl Bailey, a legend in her own right. Can you imagine sitting around THAT house after the sun went down? Wow. Thanks Louie, for putting Moline on the map. Here's the obit:

LOS ANGELES – Big band and jazz drummer Louie Bellson, a master musician who performed with such greats as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and his late wife, Pearl Bailey, has died. He was 84.
Bellson died Saturday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles of complications of Parkinson's disease following a broken hip in November, according to his wife, Francine.
Bellson's career spanned more than six decades, performing on more than 200 albums with jazz greats including Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Oscar Peterson, Woody Herman, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie and Louis Armstrong.
It was through Ellington that he met Bailey, the great singer and Broadway performer. They married in 1952, and when she died in 1990 at age 72, he told the Philadelphia Daily News that "I just lost my best friend."
He was designated as a "master of jazz" in 1994 by the National Endowment for the Arts, which said he "ranks among the foremost big-band drummers of the swing and post-swing eras and is best known for his precise technique and the invention of two pedal-operated bass drums."
Bellson wrote more than 1,000 compositions and arrangements in several genres, including jazz, swing, orchestral suites, symphonic works and ballets. As an author, he published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion.
His final recording, "Louie & Clark Expedition 2" with trumpeter Clark Terry, was released last year.
Bellson was born in 1924 in Rock Falls, Ill., son of Italian immigrants whose family name was originally Balassoni. He told Jazz Connection, an Internet magazine, that he was entranced by the sound of drums when his father took him to a parade when he was 3. His father, who eventually opened a music store, taught his son to play drums and other instruments.
Bellson was still in his teens when he pioneered the double bass drum set-up, and two years later he went on to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa drumming contest.
"I've been of the opinion that all a drummer really needs is one bass drum, a snare drum, some tom-toms, a ride cymbal, a crash cymbal, sticks and brushes," Bellson told Jazz Connection. "If you can't do it with that, you better go back to the drawing board. The extra bass drum is frosting on the cake. It doesn't mean that every drummer needs to play two bass drums. For me, it works."
There are tentative plans for a Los Angeles-area memorial service, followed by a funeral and burial in his boyhood home of Moline, Ill., according to his Web site.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Day Before The Big 5-3

It's the eve of another one, guys. Bruce has a great song on his new CD called "Surprise, "Surprise"...
"Well today is your birthday. We've traveled so far we two. So let's blow out the candles on your cake, and we'll raise a glass or two. And when the sun comes out tomorrow, it'll be the start of a brand new day. And all that you have wished for I know will come your way"

I thought I would have some fun on Monday night and get out my Billboard Hot 100 Charts of the seventies. I put the ten years into my hat and pulled out 1973. I was getting ready to turn 17 and here were the top songs on this day, 1973.

10. "Don't Expect Me To Be Your Friend"-Lobo (karaoke version)...hey, man this was OUR song

9. Rocky Mountain High- John Denver (lost my virginity to this one) I still think there's some resemblance to me at that time

8. Also Sprach Zarathustra-Deodato I still love the long version on the Ipod

7. Love Train-O'Jays Soul Music at it's utmost zenith, never better than this one

6. You're So Vain-Carly Simon I bought this album just for the cover

5. Crocodile Rock-Elton John This guy certainly helped get me through high school

4. Could It Be I'm Falling In Love-Spinners (see OJays comments) one of my all time favorites, I never get tired of this song (Midnight Special version)

3. Last Song-Edward Bear (well, they can't all be great)

2. Dueling Banjos-Eric Weissberg er, uh, great movie

1. Killing Me Softly With His Song-Roberta Flack A song written about Don McLean. One of the all time greats. She just turned 70! Still gives me chills.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Ipod Jukebox

As I was sitting down this morning, catching up on some correspondence, working on some written stuff, and adding pages to the book I'm writing (oh boy!), I decided some tunes would be in order this beautiful Sunday morning. God has given us a gorgeous day and I will repay the favor by going to Mass at 6pm tonight, sprained ankle and all (Oops, I did it again).....

It's time to check in on the old IPOD jukebox and find out what tasty treats Randy has in store for us today...

Crying-Roy Orbison

Mercury Blues-Steve Miller

29 Palms-Robert Plant

Isn't She Lovely-Stevie Wonder

A New Rock and Roll-Mahogany Rush

Rock Steady-Sting

Dangerous-Doobie Brothers

Tomorrow Never Knows-Phil Collins

The Boxer-Emmylou Harris

Detroit Breakdown-J. Geils Band

No, No, No-Deep Purple

Angel of Death-Hank Williams

I'm Leaving-Taxxi

French Foreign Legion-Frank Sinatra

Long, Lonesome Highway-Michael Parks

Ghost Town Parade-Les Dudek

Wild Night-Van Morrison

What A Fool Believes-Kenny Loggins

Young Lust-Pink Floyd

Blue-Joni Mitchell

Brightest Star-Santana

Travelin Band-CCR

Help Me Rhonda-Beach Boys

Nice mix, wouldn't you agree?

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