MEMBERS ONLY:R&B Soul Singer Bobby Blue Bland Laid To Rest

Boby Bland   tint BlueLion Of The Blues: Celebrated And Laid To Rest  posted by Robert J. Carmack

MEMPHIS – Funeral services for soul-blues singer Bobby “Blue” Bland were held Thursday, June 27, at First Baptist Church in Memphis ,Tenn. Family, friends, colleagues and dignitaries from near and far gathered at First Baptist Church in Memphis to deliver Bland’s praises, listen to his tunes, and mark the passing of a Memphis music giant. The 2 1/2-hour memorial proved a stirring celebration of the life of the veteran R&B singer, who died Sunday June 23, age 83 at his home in Germantown, Tenn. #MEMBERS ONLY

The Bland family decided to allow the public to “share in the celebration” of the singer’s life by streaming the services live. It was not one, but a multitude of Bobby “Blue” Blands’ who were hailed and mourned during the  funeral services at First Baptist on Thursday.To some, he was the “pearl of the blues world”; others, a singer whose artistry was not limited by any single genre or form, but always a man with an abundance of charisma. Bland was remembered as a devoted husband, father and grandfather, but most of all a good friend;to those whom he knew and loved him.

The Blues singer’s casket was flanked by a bevy of colorful wreaths, family members, including  wife, Willie Mae, at the front. A procession of speakers came to the church’s pulpit to tell the story of his life and legacy.Spearheaded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson , as he spoke about his long relationship with the singer, which began five decades ago in South Carolina. Bobby--Blue--Bland-jpg formal NowHe and his wife were just newlyweds when they went to see Blue Bland perform. “For more than 50 years he’s remained relevant..Bobby was a singer, but no one adjective is enough,” said Jackson. “Validated by his fans and peers, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, the Allman Brothers and Elvis Presley, all of them looked up to Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland.”

“Today, death has been robbed,” continued Jackson. “It has taken his frail body, but has not taken the crown prince of melodic music. You belong to us forever, Bobby.”

Former Stax Records executive/producer, Al Bell talked in detail about Bland’s musical contributions, charting his career from his earliest Duke sessions to his ’70s work on ABC, to his later efforts for Mississippi’s Malaco Records. Bell noted that though all the years, changes and albums, the singular spirit in Bland always shined through. “I love the spirit that lived in Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland. And the spirit that lived in that body influenced us through its music, its thoughts, its contemplations and considerations for 83 years,” said Bell. “What a blessing!”

“Even though Bobby Bland is gone, you still can experience that spirit by just listening to his recorded music. You will experience the spirit, the care and love, the power and the glory.”  In attendence at the services were, local politicos who also paid their respects, with former Congressman Harold Ford Sr. and Shelby County Mayor, Mark Luttrell among those paying homage.

Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton also evoked one of Bland’s signature tunes while reflecting on his passing. “Bobby’s soul had to move,” said Herenton. “You know, Bobby left us with a song: ‘Further on Up the Road.’ Well, just a few days ago, Bobby moved a little further on up the road.”

Fellow musicians, including Stax songwriter David Porter, also shared personal insights. Porter told how he and his partner Isaac Hayes included a winking tribute in their classic 1967 hit “Soul Man”, by having Sam & Dave singer Sam Moore do a couple of Bland’s signature vocal “squalls” on the track.

Blues Foundation president Jay Sieleman reflected on Bland’s enduring musical impact, recalling how just this spring the singer was given the state of Tennessee’s highest cultural honor, the Distinguished Artist Award. While the recognition is typically reserved for those in the “fine arts” category, Sieleman noted that Bland represented the finest in any art form, praising him for his “exceptional talent and creativity.”

The eulogy, delivered by pastor Keith Norman, closed a program filled with music, including recordings of Bland’s own work, as well as rousing performances by gospel vocalist Deborah Manning-Thomas, Stax star Shirley Brown and Chicago soul singer and Hi Records artist Otis Clay.

The most halting moment of the ceremony, however, came near the end, as Bland’s fellow music legend and lifelong pal, guitarist B.B. King, rose from the pews to briefly address the audience. “If it’s possible that I see him again, I’ll have some (wise) cracks for him, which we always had whenever we met up,” said King. “Bobby, I miss you, old boy,” he added, looking toward Bland’s casket. “He was my friend.”

Robert  Bobby “Blue” Bland was buried at Memorial Park Cemetery in Memephis Tenn.


New UnSung E-Zine / Blog Launching July 4 Blues Jazz Soul

Hipster Sanctuary  E-Zine/ Blog for the Unsung  An Enclave for the Serious Music Lover of  Blues, Soul & Jazz launching July 4 2013.  Bobby Dashiki

The Hipster Sanctuary  E-Zine/Blog  is focused primarily on UNSUNG  artists of  Jazz, Blues and Soul Genres. We’ll profile, explore, interview and publicize information to, commemorate, or uplift the legacy of these artists who gave it their all during their time in the public’s eye. 

”By Any Medium Necessary”  

From time to time, we may have special events recognizing these artists as groups, or individually honoring them. We will also include individuals who contributed to the innovations and quality of the music through Press,Radio and Film. Artists emerging or still performing on a high level will be acknowledged as well.

Robert J. Carmack – Editor in Chief

Robert  grew up in Los Angeles (Watts & Compton) and has spent almost five decades in entertainment as musician, actor,producer ,writer and photo/journalist across many genres including Jazz, Soul/R&B and Blues. Co-founded The Paul Robeson Players,  Atlanta International Jazz Society,  SFBAAAM (San Francisco Bay-Area African American Musicians)worked as publicist/promoter and producer, for live concerts and awards shows. Expert in Jazz & blues history, Robert studied Music,Communications and Theater Arts in college. He holds a Bachelors of Arts Degree from California State University Dominguez Hills and is a passionate patron of  Youth in Fine Arts & Education.

We welcome ideas, suggestions,photos, and guest writers to participate as well.

Contact Us: Email    Twitter:#@blues2jazzguy

They Call Me Bobby: Sinatra of the Blues Succumbs at 83

Boby Bland   tint Blue

Los Angeles,CA._ Blues great Robert Calvin Bland, better known a Bobby “Blue” Bland, a distinguished singer who blended Southern Blues and Raw Soul while recording  big hits such as, “Turn on Your Love Light” and “Further On Up the Road,” and  “Stormy Monday” died June 23, he was 83.  Rod Bland said his father died about 5:30 p.m. Sunday due to complications from an ongoing illness at his Memphis, Tenn., home surrounded by relatives.

Bland was known in some circles as the “Lion of the Blues” and heavily influenced by Nat King Cole, often recording with lavish arrangements to accompany his smooth vocals. He even openly imitated Frank Sinatra on the “Two Steps From the Blues” album cover, standing in front of a building with a coat thrown over his shoulder. This brought about a second moniker of  “The Sinatra of the Blues.”   “He brought a certain level of class to the blues genre,” said Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell, son of legendary musician and producer Willie Mitchell.

Born in Rosemark, Tenn., he moved to nearby Memphis as a teenager and, as the Hall Of Fame noted, was “second in stature only to B.B. King as a product of Memphis’ Beale Street blues scene.”Bland was a contemporary of B.B. King’s, serving as the blues great’s valet and chauffeur at one point  early in his young career.

After a stint in the Army, he recorded with Sam Phillips at Sun Records in the early 1950s with little to show for it. It wasn’t until later that decade Bland began to find success. He scored his first No. 1 on the R&B charts with “Further On Up the Road” in 1957. Then, beginning with “I’ll Take Care of You” in early 1960, Bland released a dozen R&B hits in a row. That string included “Turn On Your Love Light” in 1961. His “I Pity the Fool” in 1961 was recorded by many rock bands, including David Bowie and Eric Clapton, who has made “Further On Up the Road” part of his repertoire.

Being one of the last of the living connections to the roots of the genre,Blues.

Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

“He’s always been the type of guy that if he could help you in any way, form or fashion, he would,” MusicObitBobbyRodd Bland said.

In the world of Soul,Blues and R&B, young singers can stand on the shoulders of true  pioneers, like Bland, who truly paved the way while doing all the heavy lifting. Bobby Blue Bland will be sorely missed with very few left to fill the void left in his absence.

Robert J. Carmack – Editor-in-Chief ** you can follow this writer on twitter:@blues2jazzguy

Barons of Hard Bop Piano: One Night Only Lincoln Center Jazz

Jazz Piano Summit: Cedar Walton & Barry Harris

The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center     New York City, N.Y.

jazz-piano-sumit-920Two jazz piano greats, Cedar Walton and Barry Harris, share the stage for what promises to be one great night of music. Best known for his hard bop style, Walton made a name for himself early on performing in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, alongside Wayne Shorter and Freddie Hubbard. He’s also the composer of several jazz standards, such as “Firm Roots, “Bolivia,” “Cedar’s Blues” and “Fantasy in D” (aka “Ugetsu”). Barry Harris’ bebop stylings have been heard jamming with such luminaries as Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins and Dexter Gordon. Extremely prolific, Harris has recorded 19 albums as a lead artist and has been honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. These two piano legends will be joined by Buster Williams on bass and Willie Jones III on drums.

Follow this story with #Bop Barons on twitter @blues2jazzguy

TWO SHOWS ONLY    SATURDAY,  JUNE 22   7:30pm   &  9:30pm 


Lenny White  black and white

Drummer  says Much of Today’s Music Lacks “Evenness and Identifiable Sound”

By Margaret Summers

Renowned drummer Lenny White built his reputation through his work with Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, and has clearly listened to, been influenced by, and respects classic jazz artists. But his jazz knowledge was thoroughly challenged Thursday, June 6, during a live JazzTimes “Before & After” listening session. The free event was held at The Hamilton music venue and supper club in downtown Washington, D.C. White was in town to play at The Hamilton with Nicholas Payton as part of the D.C. Jazz Festival taking place around the city at various locations June 5 to June 16.

Hosting the session was Willard Jenkins, a D.C.-based independent consultant, writer and producer under his Open Sky Jazz company. He is also a former radio broadcaster with, among other places, national satellite radio network Sirius XM and “jazz and justice” D.C. public radio station WPFW-FM.

With Jenkins and White seated on a stage facing each other, excerpts of jazz compositions were played over the performance space’s speakers. White was to guess the names of the compositions, the artists playing them, and critique what he heard.

Among the compositions was Stevie Wonder’s “Do I Do,” which White defined as “having more of a hip-hop vibe.” White couldn’t identify the instrumental that followed, but he shook his head and chuckled, saying of its style, “(Miles Davis’) ‘Bitches Brew’ messed up a lot of folks!

“This music has a ‘Bitches Brew’ vibe. ‘Bitches Brew’ was released in 1969, but you can still hear its influence, its insolence, in jazz today.” Jenkins said the music came from a not yet completed CD by a cooperative band called Tarbaby, which is recording on Hipnotic Records, a D.C. label.

After the Tarbaby piece, an excerpt of music was played in which the lead saxophonist dominated. “The saxophone is the loudest instrument on this cut,” White commented. “This has to be a sax player’s CD.”

“It’s Joe Lovano and Us 5,” confirmed Jenkins. “It’s from his recent CD “Cross Culture” on Blue Note. “I knew it!” White responded. “It’s nothing against it, just that the sax is so loud.

“Lovano used two drummers throughout this CD (Otis Brown III and Francisco Mela),” Jenkins noted. “But the sax is so loud you don’t get the sense of two drummers playing on this cut,” White insisted.

“Do you think the producer felt it would be hard to hear the sax with two drummers, and increased the (microphone) volume on the sax?” asked Jenkins. “What sense does that make?” said White. “They were in a recording studio, which is already a controlled environment.

“When I was coming up,” White explained, “the music on jazz records was even. You could hear everyone in the band equally. You could hear Art Blakey. You could hear Wayne Shorter.” One instrument didn’t dominate or drown out the others, he said. “You think of compositions like ‘Kind of Blue,’ ‘Time Out,’ ‘Speak No Evil.’ ”

White listened intently to the next jazz excerpt. “I like it already,” he said, breaking into a smile. “It’s musical, I can hear everybody. I don’t know who this (artist) is, but I liked it.” Jenkins said it was drummer Winard Harper and Jeli Posse, playing “Helen’s Song,” from their recent CD “Coexist” on the Jazz Legacy Productions label.

Although White didn’t know who the next artist was, he correctly identified the composition. “‘Teen Town,’ that’s my favorite Jaco Pastorius tune,” he said. “When he recorded it, he was at a high point of his virtuosity, his performance. What I miss in this version is the rhythm. In the original composition, it (the rhythm) was brilliant.” Jenkins said the version of “Teen Town” was by drummer Matt Wilson and Arts & Crafts, from their most recent CD, “Attitude for Gratitude” on the Palmetto label.

The “Before & After” session concluded with a snippet of a composition by drummer Allison Miller, which White described as “Nice” and “Free flowing.” “Everything you played for me is great.  It ran the gamut,” said White. If he had one overall criticism, he said, it’s that “Today’s musicians don’t think in terms of having a specific sound. If I had heard (some of the) artists 15 years ago, it would have been difficult to identify them.”


MarvinJuniorNice1 Now
CHICAGO, IL  – Marvin Junior, lead singer of  Soul group The Dells, was cremated Wednesday (06-05-13) after a sudden death at his home last week.  Junior, 77, died on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, with family members bedside at his home in Harvey, Illinois  from complications associated with kidney failure. Born January 31, 1936, in Harrell, Arkansas.
Both parents preceded him in death. Junior was the oldest of four siblings: Nathaniel Dabon (deceased), Melvin Dabon (deceased) and, Jack Dabon. He moved to Harvey, Illinois, when he was only six months old, and was raised by his mother, maternal aunt and her husband, Frankie and Bill Boylen. Junior’s musical development was rooted in the church, where he participated in the choir at a young age. He attributed his talent and love of music to his parents; his voice from his mother who sang in a spiritual group, and his father who played guitar. When asked who else inspired him, he said, “We listened to groups like the Moonglows, the Five Keys and always Ray Charles.” By the time he was 14, singing emerged as his passion.
Junior married his  true love, Ruby Caldwell in 1960. During their 53-year marriage, they had six children, and 12 grandchildren. When asked why some of his contemporaries, other male entertainers, struggled and did not have the support they needed during their elderly years, Junior commented, “Marrying the right woman, a good woman, like Ruby makes all the difference. I married the right one.”
As a teenager, he helped form the musical group which would become The Dells, who would go on to perform  over six decades and sell millions of records. Often considered the most enduring and endearing vocal group in music history, beginning their recording career as the El Rays. Soon after, they re-named themselves,The Dells. Mentored by Harvey Fuqua of  The Moonglows  on five-part vocal harmony and gaining experience as background touring singers,
The Dells recorded the original “Oh What A Night” written by Marvin Junior and Johnny Funches in 1956,  their first big seller.The rest as they say is musical history. Marvin Junior without question, have left a strong and vibrant legacy in the pantheon of soul and popular music.

Coming in August..The Dells:Oh What a Life

A special expose on a group who’s probably has the most  continuous time together as a group with  original members.  Also, special profiles on the late Marvin Junior and Johnny Carter .  dells05  the Use Now 1