posted by Robert J. Carmack #@blues2jazzguy
Besides being a big fan since “Live at The Cadillac Club” album which was a great JAZZ album played in heavy rotation in Los Angeles during the late 60s on their prime jazz station,KBCA FM 105.1. I believe and was shocked to find that Billy was older than I thought,Also, that both, he and Barry Gordy had a connection in his early Jazz days.
But, the REAL Story for Billy was the hot new deal with “Philly-Soul Cervantes,” Gamble & Huff . Going East album (1971) was a big favorite of mine , The whole album often found itself being played over and over and over again at my house. On my tape player, turn-table and at the clubs on the juke Box, even on the bandstand by cover bands.
The “Ladies” was buzzing about this brother in the leather hat & aviator glasses singing those erotic love songs and with the pleasantly smooth voice. Talking about “LOVE BUDDIES” Followup that big hit with ME & Mrs Jones, Bam! right between the eyes! Another big album Plus!
I saw him at several clubs in L.A. in the 1970s.
2003, I was producing a Jazz Series in San Francisco, Celebrate a Legend: Jazz in July, when I found out he was due at a concert in the SF Bay area the next day. During a special night we were presenting Freddie Hubbard a Congressional Lifetime Achievement ,We brought Billy in for a surprise appearance and presented him with a lifetime award also. a congressional signature by Congresswoman Barbara Lee. That night with a packed house at the Plush Room in Knob Hill, Billy “nailed” The Old Folks” a jazz standard he performed in a cameo spot while getting his award. that was the last time I saw him live …July 2003.
He never stopped touring & singing until Now.. RIP Billy! You always knew THE RIGHT SONG for the RIGHT MOMENT!
RIP MAURICE & NATALIE
#blues2jazzguy posted by Robert J. Carmack
The founder of soul group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, has died in his sleep early Thursday morning, his brother, Verdine stated emotionally. White, 74, died from complications brought on by Parkinson’s Disease.
His band had a series of hits including Reasons,September, Boogie Wonderland, Shining Star and After the Love has Gone. The singer-songwriter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1992 but his condition was reported to have become worse in recent months. Earth, Wind & Fire were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000, and Maurice was individually inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2010.
“Reese”, as those that worked with him called him, worked with various well-known recording artists such as The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond to name a few. Earth, Wind & Fire have sold more than 90 million albums worldwide.Many of which was under his production leadership.
As a big fan of EWF when they first hit Los Angeles where this writer resides, They were a very strong Jazz-influenced ensemble, fronting strong local LA based musicians and vocalists such as Roland Bautista, Wade Flemmons, Jessica Cleaves, Sherry Scott, Sonny Emory, Johnny Graham, Leslie Drayton to name a few. Many of us college students at the time would flock the outdoor concerts of LA in the 70s to catch Early days of big band battles with EWF, WAR, Mandrill,for bragging rights in the city.Maurice was a big part of the Hip, swagger of a bell-bottomed brother with the cool afro and bright colored outfits belting out love songs and funk, He did “Not Look” like all the “so called pretty boy crooners” of the era.
Before anyone knew it Maurice and his influence in style , approach, vision had taken over.. spinning off other acts too like, The Emotions & Denice Williams, under the umbrella of Kalimba Productions. BOY, are we really going to miss “Reese” and his fingerprints on the music quality.. Thats for sure.
A founder of the supergroup Earth, Wind & Fire, singer, drummer, songwriter and producer Maurice White is known for his stagecraft and inventive compositions
Early Life and Career
Singer, songwriter, producer and percussionist Maurice “Reese” White was born on December 19, 1941, in Memphis, Tennessee. After studying at the Chicago Conservatory of Music, he found work in 1963 as a session drummer for Chess Records. Four years later, he began playing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. In 1969, he formed his own band in Chicago, which was called the Salty Peppers.
Earth, Wind & Fire
After a move to Los Angeles, White renamed his band as Earth, Wind & Fire (the name was a nod to his astrological chart, which had no water signs). He also invited his younger brother, bassist Verdine, to join the group. When their first albums didn’t break out, White shuffled the band’s members. Newcomers included singer Philip Bailey and keyboardist Larry Dunn; guitarist Al McKay became a band mate as well.
Along with its revamped membership—only White and Verdine were holdovers from the group’s first incarnation—Earth, Wind & Fire’s music changed. The band began mixing jazz, R&B, funk, soul and pop music. They also used African sounds, such as White playing the kalimba (an African thumb piano). With a new style and a new record label, Earth, Wind & Fire’s album Head to the Sky (1973) sold more than 500,000 copies. The group proceeded to put out a succession of gold and platinum albums throughout the 1970s and early ’80s.
Many of the band’s hit songs were ones that White helped compose, such as “Shining Star,” “September” and “Let’s Groove.” White won six Grammys with Earth, Wind & Fire, and received an award of his own for arranging “Got To Get You Into My Life.” As a musician and vocalist, White also participated in the group’s spectacular concerts, which featured exotic touches such as pyramids and disappearing acts.
Though he spent time on outside projects—such as an album for Deniece Williams—White remained with Earth, Wind & Fire until the band took a four-year break from 1983 to 1987. After reuniting, White toured with the group until 1995. Though he stopped touring, he continued to work with Earth, Wind & Fire as a producer and songwriter. He was also with the band for its 2000 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
posted by blues2jazzguy Robert J. Carmack
Recently at the jazz club Catalina’s in Hollywood California, a crowd of fans, former schoolmates, neighbors, teachers all came together for a reunion concert by The Harold Johnson Sextet. Johnson is an accomplished producer,writer and arranger whose Jazz group kicked off their early music careers with a “hit album” right out the gate in House on Elm Street released in 1967..the album was not only popular in Los Angeles which is Harold’s native city,but it enjoyed heavy rotation on Jazz and soul radio stations all over California and beyond.
The Reunion concert was an idea spawned from the latest CD released by Harold Johnson Sextet entitled, “Back on Elm Street” Reunion, featuring some of the original members of the band . David Crawford on Flute, and hit-songwriter,producer and highly sought after drummer, Leon Ndugu Chanceler.
Rounding out the Reunion band’s personnel ; Munyungo Jackson Percussionist, Welton Gite Bass, Gemi Taylor Guitar, The Vincent Sisters vocals and Olivia Reese vocals.
There was a particular buzz in the room as the swelling audience began to feel the electricity of the evening that was building as the show’s Master of Ceremonies, Robert J. Carmack , founder and editor of Hipster Sanctuary.Com began to warm up the audience with a little welcome cheer.
After the introduction of Harold Johnson ,the bandleader appeared alone on stage at the piano and began the evening’s festivities with a gospel-tinged solo composition, Pass It On. Johnson then started into another fanfare piece as he brought on-stage each member of the band and vocalists. Upon the first few notes the audience recognized the popular and finger-poppin’ melody of House on Elm Street title-track with original member David Crawford lit into swirling trills,grace-notes and sweet arpeggios on Flute. Crawford’s solo was followed up by the leader Harold Johnson on Electric piano. Over 40 of Harold Johnson’s songs have been recorded by major hit-makers over the years like LTD, Diana Ross, Stephanie Mills, Dennis Edwards,Thelma Houston,Jeffrey Osbourne, OJays,Temptations and many more.
We were entertained with a trip down memory lane of jazz and R&B songs from the many hits he wrote for other artists. He also introduced us to cuts from the new CD, BACK ON ELM STREET REUNION, “Main Squeeze” and “Til’ We Meet Again”. In addition to a reunion of band mates were local school alumni who attended school with Harold Johnson or his band personnel.
I spoke with Johnson about future projects plans and actions, he mentioned that He’s already in motion for a “Back On Elm Street Reunion Volume 2. we can hardly wait.
For More information or you want to purchase go to http://www.cdbaby.com and search
Harold Johnson Sextet-Back On Elm Street Reunion.
posted by Robert J. Carmack #blues2jazzguy
When this writer was a very young kid he use to watch these old black and white movies with Mickey Rooney where the friends all wanted to get the band together and do shows. Years later, Now in high school he performs in talent shows and weekend parties. He meets others like him who are talented and want to pursue their dreams of reaching their music and entertainment goals.
Harold Johnson is one of those people who dreamed about one day making it in the entertainment. While most of us teenagers was chasing girls around the campus or showing off on the athletic field, Harold Johnson and a close-knit group of guys were huddled up “talking sharps and flats” in the music room. Then on weekends they would jam at each other’s parent’s den or garages , trying to get tight so they could get a gig. the “Ultimate” for any budding young musician.
Along the way there were great music teachers and people of influence, one such person that taught young Harold was the late Jazz Crusaders piano, Joe Sample…apparently Joe taught him well… about theory, performance and production, including the “Business” part of the music world.
In the middle of the “Motown Era” circa 1966 a group of high students got together with a mature 16-year-old Harold. They secured the funds to go into the studio, and come out with a Hot product(“Sorry ‘Bout That“) which began to pick up traction on the local radio scene. Along with live concerts at the high schools,community centers and anywhere they could get a crowd and play, soon a large record label(REVUE) came along and pushed out an album that commanded major air-time. Even the major jazz and soul stations played the 45.
It was heard at college stations, high schools, on Juke boxes in cafes, barber shops, there were few places you didn’t hear House on Elm Street. Even Cats from the Nam‘ had heard about it and shared the music overseas . I was lucky enough to see them live at the beginning of their musical journey…I was in the Centennial High School Band with one of the members, David Crawford, Flute , who at that time already had “Hubert Laws/Herbie Mann skills” reputation around campus ala the very talent rich school shows in the mid-1960s. members of recording band were Jimmy Nash on Bass,Alfred Patterson Alto sax,Eddie Synigal Alto sax, Mike Shaw Tenor sax,Ronald Rutledge Drums,Billy Jackson Congos/percussion, David Crawford Flute, and Harold Johnson leader/Piano.
The hot album , House On Elm Street released in 1967, made Harold very popular on his high school campus at Washington High School in Los Angeles. while being another school chock full of talented student musicians (Darryl”Munyungo” Jackson, Nate Morgan). By the second album, Everyone Loves a Winner, some new players joined the group or recorded with Harold , a very young Leon “NDUGU” Chanceler, drums, Vibes with Larry Nash,(brother of Jimmy Nash).
Currently,Harold T. Johnson Sr. is an accomplished Producer, Writer and Arranger. He’s a California State University Dominguez Hills Graduate, with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education. Also a Gold Album recipient for Thelma Houston’s “Anyway You Like It” Album and the 5th Dimension “Star Dancing” Album and Platinum Album recipient for the Temptations Christmas Classic “Give Love At Christmas.” Major hits writer for LTD Concentrate on You & Atlantic Starr “Get Closer (than Close) just to name a couple.
While a Producer, Writer and Arranger: Over forty of Harold’s songs were recorded by Artists such as Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Stanley Turrentine, Devastating Affair, Smokey Robinson, Sylvester, Nate Dogg, Harold Johnson II, Natalia Johnson, Stephanie Mills, Olivia Reese, Liz Mc Comb, Jerry Butler, 21st Creation, Three Ounces Of Love, Dennis Edwards, Z.Z. Hill, Thelma Houston, Tata Vega, Michael Wycoff, Atlantic Starr, Rockie Robbins, Gloria Gaynor, LTD and Jeffrey Osbourne, The OJAYS, The Temptations and more.
Through-out his illustrious career as “industry-behind-the-scenes” legend, He also worked as an educator inside the LA Unified School district. Capturing a NAACP image award nomination for a Musical-2005 ~ “At the Lincoln”
After 50 years as a professional entertainer,producer,arranger & musician.. He’s still hungry for new music and creating new songs, but his real passion is now “pastoring” his own flock at his church,just as his father did before him..Bravo Harold T. .Bravo!!
Catch Harold Johnson & Friends at Catalina’s Bar & Grill.
Harold JOHNSON Sextet & Company “Back On Elm Street Reunion” w/ Harold Johnson(keys, vocalist & writer)
Feat: David Crawford(flute), Ndugu Chanceler(drums), Welton Gite(bass),, Munyungo Jackson(percussions), Gemi Taylor(guitar), Rickey Woodard(saxophone), vocals by Deborah White, Joyce Wilson, Pamela Vincent & Olivia Reese
Thursday, Jan 14, 2016 8:30 PM
Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood, CA.
6725 West Sunset Blvd.
Hollywood California 90028
Phone: (323) 466-2210
(one block EAST of Highland Ave.)
ENTRANCE on McCadden
posted by Robert J. Carmack blues2jazzguy
One of the Original members of the R&B group,The Whispers has passed at the age of 71. The cause of death are not totally clear as Caldwell was facing several life threatening challenges as recently as part of last year , when he went on the record and wrote an open letter to his public and fans about his bout with Congestive Heart Failure and was optimistic about some alternative medical procedures that would elongate his life.
Some fans were treated toward the last of 2015 with actually seeing Nick as he was called by friends and fans alike perform with the group, The Whispers. In speaking to a close friend today, who had just spoke to Nick as recently as New Years eve, said, “We talked for a longtime on the phone and he gave me the impression he was feeling good and was looking forward to more shows in the near future. No indication that there was new setbacks. Four days later, Nicholas Caldwell, 71, passes on to the great jam session with Natalie Cole and the rest in the sky.
Always the one all the ladies would whisper about in the audiences , Nick’s outgoing personality and suave and sophisticated moves on stage set the group apart from their contemporaries, which Nicholas was charged with that responsibilty to keep the group moving and grooving. In addition to choreography, Caldwell also wrote a lot of the Whispers classic songs, centered around love and romance. This writer who saw them from the very beginning of their recording career in 1964 with Dore records as a Teenager. The Whispers were a favorite at the Hunter Hancock (local DJ) Record Hops. Hancock was one of most popular R&B soul DJ in Los Angeles at Radio station KGFJ.
NIcholas Caldwell was born and bred in Los Angeles, when Walter & Scotty (Twins) met him. They were competing against each other at teen record hops in Watts (now called South Central Los Angeles) and at Jordan High school which he attended with other members , Marcus Huston, The Two twins and the other original member Gordy Harmon was much older, but lived in Watts close to Jordan Downs projects gymnasium. It served as the early “gig spot” for the budding group The Whispers. Formed in L.A. in the early 1960s, the Whispers certainly took a “slow and steady” career course in which they have quietly become one of the most successful modern soul groups. Consisting of twin brothers Walter and Wallace (Scotty) Scott, Nicholas Caldwell, Marcus Hutson and Leaveil Degree (who replaced departing member Gordy Harmon in 1973), the Whispers first recorded for local LA label Dore Records, hitting the pop and R&B charts with “Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong” in 1970.
They continued to be a mid level charting act throughout the 70s on the Don Cornelius/Dick Griffey “Soul Train” label but gained momentum toward the end of the decade when Griffey, who was their manager, created his own SOLAR label and worked with the group on their SOLAR debut album Headlights, which scored a moderate with “Olivia.”
posted by blues2jazzguy
Singer-songwriter Natalie Cole, daughter of world renown crooner, Nat King Cole. She’s best known for her Grammy Award-winning album Inseparable. Natalie Cole was born in Los Angeles,California on February 6, 1950, to singers Nat “King” Cole and Maria Cole. After battling life’s trials/tribulations and poor health in latter years, Natalie Maria Cole,65 has passed due to Congestive Heart Failure.
“REST IN LOVING PEACE SWEET NATALIE, WE LOVED EVERY MINUTE WE HAD WITH YOU”
ROBERT “HIPSTER” CARMACK
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.
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.
Posted by Robert J. Carmack Photos by Cornell Francois #@blues2jazzguy
The Hub City Pride organization recently held an “Old School Dance & Show at the new Ascension Ballroom in Compton,California. The “Home Grown Series is all about Compton’s Own helping one another and promoting “Goodwill”. Compton is also known to many past and present residents as “Hub City”. HCP , headed up by longtime Compton resident Keith Bernard, has partnered with close friends Mahlon Potts and Art Levias to promote social and business events by people who grew up, went to school or established a longtime residence in the Hub City . One of the small business owners, Bludso’s Bar-B-Q of Compton and L.A., decided to lead the way by co-sponsoring the event at their new entertainment facility adjacent to their Take-out eatery located at 811 S. Long Beach Blvd. Compton(Hub City) California. Kevin Bludso & the Bludso family are aggressively leading the way for other merchants in the city to invest more into Compton’s future and help restore the pride and sense of community . Not just have giant chains coming in and smothering, but actually partnering with the small businesses to enhance their success as well. Hub City Pride is to be commended on working towards that goal.
(l-r) Keith Bernard, Art Levias, Mahlon Potts
Being that this writer grew up in Compton and graduated from Centennial High School in the glory days before high crime and gangs chased away many businesses and residents. I was very curious. It’s a new day and groups like HCP are reaching out to alumni from the three Compton City High schools (all years) and recruiting them to assist by physically supporting small businesses or referring their friends who are still living in Compton or near by. With over 1500 members and counting, there’s nothing left but, to succeed. I had a great time just going around the room and talking to different people and, getting their perspectives on what they thought about the new facility and Bludso’s future remodeling plans. Their reactions were overwhelmingly positive. http://www.bludsosbbq.com/
I was quite impressed with the show portion of the evening’s activities, as we were quite entertained by comedian, SCREW and Starbrite Productions featuring vocalist, composer,musician Anqui Heming. An assortment of choreographed dancers and a hot band with very talented backup singers, that took us into the late evening, with all of this embellished by a hip lady DJ.
Comedy by “SCREW”