Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
I hear babies cry and I watch them grow. They'll learn much more than we'll know. And I think to myself: What a Wonderful World
You may not know who Israel "Brudda Iz" Kamakawiwoʻole was, but you're probably familiar with his medley of "Over the Rainbow / What a Wonderful World," which has been included on several movie soundtracks and used on television shows & commercials throughout the world.... [more inside]
Though she didn't enjoy the same level of fame and fortune as her younger brother Cab, singer and bandleader (said to be the first African-American woman to lead an all-male orchestra) Blanche Calloway is a musician worth remembering and checking out if you're a fan of 1920s/30s jazz stylings. It's Right Here For You, It Looks Like Susie, I Gotta Swing, Last Dollar and I Got What It Takes.
Melody Gardot was a New York fashion student, until a hit-and-run driver left her disabled and in need of therapy—musical therapy. [more inside]
We've previously agreed that Dr. Nina Simone created some amazing music. As a person, she was openly angry and, yes, a smidgen nuts. Big surprise... she was also not the easiest interview. (Big understatement.)
RIP Oscar Brown Jr. Truly one of the greats, a legendary singer, songwriter, playwright, poet and civil rights activist, the world of jazz has lost a major member of the family.
Is That All There Is? Goodbye Peggy Lee.