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Posts Tagged ‘Roberta Flack’

RIP, Alphonse Mouzon (December 26, 2016) Jazz Fusion Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on December 26, 2016

Alphonse Mouzon
November 21, 1948 – December 26, 2016

Alphonse Mouzon was a jazz drummer who came to be one of the architects of American jazz fusion during the late ’60s and early ’70s.  Born in Charleston, SC, Mouzon realized in high school that he had what it took to make a living as a musician.  Upon graduation, he moved to New York City where he studied music and drama.  Mouzon’s first gig of note was playing percussion in the Broadway show, Promises, Promises.   He then went to work with jazz great, McCoy Tyner, and spent about a year in Weather Report before being signed to Blue Note Records as a solo artist in 1972.  In 1973, he joined up with Larry Coryell‘s Eleventh House, one of the premiere fusion bands of its time.  He played with Coryell for about two years and can be heard on such albums as Introducing The Eleventh House and Level One.  Throughout his career, which spanned over 45 years, Mouzon also recorded or performed with the likes of Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Roberta Flack, Robert Plant, Stevie Wonder, and Eric Clapton – to name a few.  Alphonse Mouzon died from neuroendocrine carcinoma on December 26, 2016.  He was 68.

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Died On This Date (December 18, 2011) Ralph MacDonald / Percussionist & Hit Songwriter

Posted by themusicsover on December 18, 2011

Ralph MacDonald
March 15, 1944 – December 18, 2011

Ralph MacDonald was an in-demand percussionist and hit songwriter who could count two of the biggest R&B songs of the ’70s as his own.  Growing up in a musical family in Harlem, New York, MacDonald first picked up the steelpan as a youngster.  By the time he was 17, he had already played his first big gig at a local Harry Belafonte show.  He continued on with Belafonte for the next ten years until parting ways in 1971.  MacDonald soon became one of contemporary music’s most in-demand session players, performing on countless R&B, jazz and disco records.   The list  of those he recorded with includes George Benson, Paul Simon, Jimmy Buffett, Carole King, Average White Band, the Brothers Johnson, Amy Winehouse, Aretha Franklin, and David Bowie.  MacDonald also released several albums under his own name. His song, “Calypso Breakdown” can be heard on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  As a songwriter, MacDonald scored to massive c0-writing hits; “Where Is The Love,” the 1971 hit for Roberta Flack, and “Just The Two Of Us,” the Grammy-winning hit for Bill Withers in 1981.  Ralph MacDonald was 67 when he died of lung cancer on December 8, 2011.

Thanks to Paul Bearer for the assist.

Posted in Jazz, Musician, R&B, Songwriter | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Died On This Date (July 29, 2011) Gene McDaniels / Had Several R&B Hits In the ’60s

Posted by themusicsover on July 29, 2011

Eugene McDaniels
February 12, 1935 – July 29, 2011

Gene McDaniels was an American singer who scored six U.S. hits during the early 1960s. He was one of a group of African-Americans who successfully bridged the gap between jazz and early rock ‘n roll.  McDaniels’ hits included “Tower Of Strength” which peaked at #5 on the pop charts, and “A Hundred Pounds Of Clay” which reached #3 in 1961 and sold over one million copies.  McDaniels was also a successful songwriter, with his late ’60s output sometimes gravitating toward protest.  He has been covered by Less McCann, D’Angelo, George Benson, and Roberta Flack who took his “Feel Like Making Love” to #1, earning him a Best Song Grammy and Flack a Best Record and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammy.  McDaniels can also be seen in such films as It’s Trad, Dad!, The Young Swingers, and Uptown Saturday Night.  He continued to make music well into the 2000s, his last album being 2009’s Evolution’s Child.   Gene McDaniels was 76 when he passed away on July 29, 2011.

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Best of Gene McDaniels - A Hundred Pounds of Clay (1995 Remaster) - Gene McDaniels

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Died On This Date (July 23, 2011) Fran Landesman / Respected American Lyricist

Posted by themusicsover on July 23, 2011

Fran Landesman (Born Francis Deitsch)
October 21, 1927 – July 23, 2011

Fran Landesman was an American poet and lyricist who achieved international acclaim for penning the words to such songs as “The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men” and “Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most.”  Born in New York City, Landesman eventually settled with her husband in St. Louis, Missouri where they owned and operated the Crystal Palace, a world-renowned night club that hosted the likes of Barbra Streisand, Lenny Bruce and Woody Allen.  It was while sitting at the bar listening to the singers that Landesman was inspired to take a stab at writing song lyrics herself.  The year was 1952, and it was then and there that she began collaborating with the club’s house pianist on a string of songs, some of which became hits as recorded by others.  That list of singers includes R0berta Flack, Rickie Lee Jones, Bette Midler, Sarah Vaughan, Petula Clark, Dudley Moore.  Landesman wrote countless songs over the course of her career, over 300 of which since 1994 alone.  In 1999, she donated her collection of writings to the University of Missouri, St. Louis but continued to make public appearances – reciting poetry or singing her songs – right up until her final days.  Fran Landesman was 83 when she passed away on July 23, 2011.

Thanks to Scott Miller for the assist.

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Died On This Date (July 1, 2005) Luther Vandross / R&B Great

Posted by themusicsover on July 1, 2010

Luther Vandross
April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005

lutherLuther Vandross was one of America’s most successful R&B singers during the ’80s and ’90s, selling over 25 million albums and scoring eight Grammy wins.  In the early part of his career, Vandross sang back up for the likes of Robert Flack, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Bette Midler, and Barbra Streisand.  By 1981, Vandross was on his way to becoming a superstar in his own right.  The new decade saw him release hit after hit with songs like “Never Too Much,” “A House Is Not A Home,” and “Stop The Love.” But perhaps his biggest legacy is his 1989 recording of Terry Steele’s “Here And Now,” one of the most popular wedding songs out there.   In 1985, tragedy struck in the form of a fatal car accident.  While at the wheel, Vandross crossed a center divider and crashed into two oncoming vehicles, killing one of his passengers.  Vandross pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter and later reached an out-of-court financial settlement with the victim’s family.  Vandross continued to stay active through the ’90s and into the early 2000’s.  Suffering from diabetes and hypertension, Vandross suffered a stroke in early 2003.  He suffered a fatal heart attack on July 1, 2005.

What You Should Own

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The Ultimate Luther Vandross (Collector's Edition) - Luther Vandross

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