Month: February 2015

REMEMBERING A HIT MUSIC MACHINE: RIP SKIP SCARBOROUGH


posted by Robert J. Carmack  #blues2jazzguy

Clarence Alexander Scarborough wrote,co-wrote, or produced hit records for Earth Wind & Fire, LTD, Anita Baker, Blue Magic, and so on. How did he do all this, where most people never heard of him, nor did they recognize his face.

Ashford & Simpson wrote for people and you knew what they looked like. Yeah, they also recorded as a performing act too.  So did Lennon & McCartney, Johnny Bristol, McFadden & Whitehead, Isaac Hayes. This phantom like guy with the Hit Parade of songs is Skip Scarborough. He was one of the greatest, most successful Songwriter/Producers ever!

Okay. Let’s see if this list of credits impresses you. “Love’s Holiday” and “Can’t Hide Love” (Earth Wind & Fire), “Love Ballad” (LTD), “Giving You The Best That I’ve Got” (Anita Baker), “Side Show” and “Three Ring Circus” (Blue Magic), “Ffun” (Con Funk Shun), “Don’t Ask My Neighbor” (Emotions), “The Answer Is You” (Phyllis Hyman), “Love Changes” ( Mother’s Finest), “Love Or Let Me Be Lonely” (Friends of Distinction), “Lovely Day” (Bill Withers), “Lover To Lover” (Bobbie Humphrey), “It’s Alright With Me” and “Come What May” (Patti LaBelle), and “Sacrifice of Praise” (Edwin Hawkins).

All songs Skip Scarborough either wrote, co-wrote and/or produced. Most of these he did write singularly or with partners. Hard to believe all those hit songs came from someone who’s virtually unknown outside the music business. He was extremely well known in the business of music. You don’t get to write for the top acts or, write many smash hits and not be known by your colleagues.

Skip was born November 26, 1944 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. At the time of his death, July 3, 2003, he was married to singer, Alton McClain (Scarborough). He married her just as her singing group was breaking up in the 70’s. You may remember all female trio, Alton McClain & Destiny; they had that one big hit, “It Must Be Love. (Skip didn’t write this song.) Destiny also recorded Angela Winbush’s classic, “The Power of Love.” Stephanie Mills had the bigger hit of the three recordings of this song.

Shortly after their marriage, Alton McClain went into the Gospel field where she still shines.

We just wanted to acknowledge this masterful Songwriter/Producer who unselfishly contributed to all our lives with his wonderfully crafted songs. The best way we can celebrate his genius is by PLAYING /POSTING his music and talking to youth just entering the music business ,making them aware of his body of work. Enjoy Skip Scarborough’s classics.

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Do you have a signature sound? No? Better get one…


MY Good friend Tracey Doing her thing in the Southwest

makingmusicmyway

One of the biggest compliments I’ve ever gotten is when another singer asks me to produce them. It means a lot when people love what you do. The only problem is that when they say, “produce me,” it really means that they want what I consider to be my “signature sound.” A sound developed from my early childhood years spent listening to my mom Louise, Aunt Mary and Uncle Jimmy (at the time known as Whitney, Whitney & Whitney) harmonizing while rehearing for a gig or recording date, followed by 15 years singing in my 9 member family group, The Whitney Family. Topped off by a 1991 tour with Ray Charles as a Raelette (and singing the most difficult part, the 4th harmony). All of these influences converged in my little head, and now I sound like “Me,” an amalgamation of all that incredible harmonic foundation. It’s mine, and…

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CLARK ” MUMBLES” TERRY REACHES THE BIRD’S EYE at 94


posted by  Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy

clark Terry
(Clark Terry illustration by Paul Kisselev)

The American Jazz community is jarred once again by the passing of trumpet master,Clark Terry (94). He was considered a major influence on trumpet coming out of the swing and Bebop eras, while bringing style and hip humor to generations of musicians, including Miles Davis and Quincy Jones. The seventh of 11 children, Clark Terry was born into a poor St. Louis family on Dec. 14, 1920. Louis Armstrong was his mentor. Dizzy Gillespie once described him as “the greatest trumpet player on earth.”       My first experience with Terry was  where he’s playing solo with Doc Severson and the Tonight Show Orchestra with Johnny Carson. Often, his stage signature tune was a humorous vocalese- based riff tune called mumbles. 1960s, Terry went on to record an entire monologue based around the mumbles character having an argument with his girlfriend , thus, it was his calling card over the decades of his career. I kind of saw him as another Hipster like Dizzy,with the Tam and big glasses, who played trumpet on the top shelf. when injecting humor and style into his personality, that made watching him so cool .He was also one of the first black musicians to hold a staff position at a television network ,and was for many years a mainstay of the “Tonight Show” band. One of the most high-profile proponents of teaching jazz at the college level. Clark was a well respected , serious Jazz musician with a great sense of humor. Also, a perennial favorite at all the traditional Jazz festivals. He will be sorely missed by all of the jazz audiences around the world and right here in the USA.

Clark Mumbles Terry
RIP CLARK TERRY… You were the Best of the Best!

POP ICON SHEILA E’s E-SPOT LOUNGE PROVES MUCHO CALIENTE


posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy  #E-SpotLounge

   “Where The Stars Go to Shine”

Stephanie Spruiell

Stephanie Spruill will be at (Sheila E’s) E. Spot Lounge  Friday-March 13th, 2015- 8PM showtime
4349 Tujunga Ave, Studio City, Ca 91604 

(formerly Vitello’s Upstairs)

Call for Reservations / More information 818-769-0905

Steph & Sheila E.
Songsational Stephanie Spruill with Pop Icon Sheila E

CBS STEVIE WONDER’S SONGS IN THE KEY OF LIFE CELEBRATION “GOT IT RIGHT”


posted by robert j. carmack #blues2jazzguy #chefrobb #GrammyAwards #GrammySalute  #CBSNetwork

“Songs in the Key of Life: An All-Star Grammy Salute” aired Monday on CBS, which featured the best of the new generation performers, all paying respect to the legendary Stevie Wonder.

http://www.complex.com/music/2015/02/beyonce-ed-sheeran-gary-clark-jr-cover-stevie-wonder-higher-ground

Performers including Beyonce, Ed Sheeran, Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Pharrell, Tony Bennett and The Band Perry paid homage to the singer/songwriter and his muscular music catalog during the show, which was taped last week in Los Angeles. I don’t watch the Grammy Awards show and have not in over twenty years because of low quality shows and antics by publicity-starved pseudo mega stars.  I saw one of the best show openers in any Grammy-related or, not TV show by Beyoncé, with less “Rump-Shaking and more soulful singing along with two very talented young singers I was not aware of.

Singer/guitarist Gary Clark Jr. joined Beyonce and Sheeran for medley of Wonder hits that included “Higher Ground.”

A “Dialed back”  Lady Gaga played the piano and performed a spirited version of “I Wish” after sharing that Wonder’s SONGS album was the first she ever played on her own as a child. we watched on-screen as Stevie mouthed the words “Oh Wow” when she told of his influence on her as a 6 year old child.

Singer/songwriter Babyface joined Ariana Grande for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” Overall, a remarkable tribute to a man who began the journey as an eleven year old boy in 1961 at Motown Records, “Little Stevie Wonder”.

Quote of the Year by Jamie Foxx: ” Let’s be Honest, STEVIE WONDER has more talent in One Braid than most of the people we hear today “

WAS THIS SHOW BETTER THAN THE GRAMMYS ? Stripped of all the Punk & Circumstances it’s a resounding YESSSSSSS!!!!! IMHO.

RIFFIN’ WITH THE HIPSTER: DERF REKLAW & BOBBY WEST JAM AT ZAMBEZI-LEIMERT PARK VILLAGE


posted by Robert J. #blues2jazzguy

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Customers and even looky- loos were entertained beyond delight as percussionist/flautist /Griot, Derf Reklaw  and veteran pianist, Bobby West traded fours at the new location of  ZAMBEZI BAZAAR, an AFROCENTRIC  emporium formerly on Degnan. now at the 42nd street & Degnan location in the Village.  What a treat for the Friday evening shoppers, great gift items and of course, ALL THAT JAZZ!!

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Derf Reklaw blowing an intense solo
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BOBBY WEST bangin out some modal based comping