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Archive for the ‘Black Composers’ Category

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 10


Frederick Douglass Patterson

1. Frederick Douglass Patterson, Former president of  Tuskegee University (1935–1953) and founder of the United Negro College Fund (1944, UNCF). In 1987, President Ronald Reagan awarded Dr. Patterson the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Patterson received his DVM in 1923 and M.S. in 1927 from Iowa State University, and his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1933.  Patterson is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Ivory Joe Hunter

2. Ivory Joe Hunter, was an R&B singer, songwriter, and pianist, best known for his hit recording, “Since I Met You, Baby” (1956). Billed as The Baron of the Boogie, he was also known as The Happiest Man Alive.

Harry Sweets Edison

3. Harry “Sweets” Edison, was a jazz trumpeter and member of the Count Basie Orchestra.

Theolonius Sphere Monk

4. Theolonius Monk is born in Rocky Mount, NC. He was only one of 3 jazz musicians ever featured on the cover of Time magazine.  A jazz pianist and composer considered “one of the giants of American music”.  Monk had a unique improvisational style and made numerous contributions to the standard jazz repertoire, including “Epistrophy”, “‘Round Midnight”, “Blue Monk”, “Straight, No Chaser” and “Well, You Needn’t”. Monk is the second most recorded jazz composer after Duke Ellington,

Ben Vereen

5. Ben Vereen, an  actor, dancer, and singer who has appeared in numerous Broadway theatre shows. He starred in the television series Ten speed and Brown Shoe, but is probably best known for his role as “Chicken George” Moore in Roots.

Cyril Neville

6. Cyril Neville, is a percussionist and vocalist who first came to prominence as a member of his brother Art Neville’s funky New Orleans-based band, The Meters. He joined Art in the prestigious Neville Brothers band upon the dissolution of the Meters.

Derrick Wayne McKey

7. Derrick Wayne McKey, retired basketball player who played the most part of his NBA career between the small forward and the power forward positions.

Michael Bivins

8.  Michael Lamont Bivins, a.k.a. Biv  is the founder and member of the R&B group New Edition and the hip hop group Bell Biv DeVoe. Not only does he perform in both groups, but he also discovers, manages, and produces for other acts, most notably Another Bad Creation, MC Brains, Boyz II Men, and 702, all of whom were signed to his Motown distributed label Biv 10 Records. He serves as the music entrepreneur and A&R man of both of his own acts.

Bivins had a minor role in the film Friday After Next, and guest-starred as a DJ on the pseudo-radio station CSR 103.9 in the hit video game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Most recently, he made an appearance in the basketball film Crossover as a character known as Heart Attack. He is also in charge of Artist Development for Making the Band 4. He is CEO of his own label Sporty Rich Enterprises.

Mya

9. Marie Harrison,  professionally referred to as Mýa, is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and actress. Born and raised in Washington D.C., Harrison’s eponymous debut album with Interscope Records was released in April 1998, and sold over one million copies in the United States, producing the gold-certified top ten single “It’s All About Me” featuring Sisqó.

Her second studio album, platinum-selling Fear of Flying, was released in 2000 and became a success worldwide, with single “Case of the Ex” becoming Mýa’s breakthrough hit, reaching number-one on the Australian Singles Chart.[1][2] A year after, Harrison won her first Grammy Award for the worldwide number-one hit “Lady Marmalade”, a cover version she recorded alongside Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, and Pink for the soundtrack of the film Moulin Rouge! (2001).

The singer’s third studio album, Moodring, was released in July 2003 and certified gold by the RIAA.[1] Following several label changes, Mýa’s often-delayed fourth studio album, Liberation (2007), received a download-release in Japan only and led to her 2008 Japan-exclusive album Sugar & Spice.

Having expanded her career to acting and product endorsement deals, Harrison has been engaged in product endorsement deals with brands such as Coca-Cola, Gap, Iceberg, Tommy Hilfiger, and Motorola and has had small roles in films such as Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004), Shall We Dance? (2004), and Cursed (2005). In 2002, she had a supporting role in the film adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical Chicago, for which she won a Screen Actors Guild Award.  Billboard named Mýa the 97th Hot 100 Artists of 2000s

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For October 07


William Sill

1. William Sill, Chronicler of The Underground Railroad Records, abolitionist, conductor on the Underground Railroad, writer, historian and civil rights activist.

Sargent Claude Johnson

2. Sargent Claude Johnson, Harlem Renaissance Sculptor, was one of the first Californian African-American artists to achieve a national reputation.  He was known for Abstract Figurative and Early Modern styles. He was a painter, potter, ceramist, printmaker, graphic artist, sculptor, and carver. He worked with a variety of media, including ceramic, clay, oil, stone, terra-cotta, watercolor, and wood.

Clarence Muse

3. Clarence Muse, an actor, screenwriter, director, composer, and lawyer. He was inducted in the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame in 1973. Muse was the first African American to “star” in a film. He acted for more than sixty years, and appeared in more than 218 movies.

Elijah Muhammad

4. Elijah Muhammad (born Elijah Robert Poole), was a religious leader, and led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975. Muhammad was a mentor to Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Muhammad Ali; and his son Warith Deen Mohammed.

Desmond Tutu

5. Desmond Tutu, is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid. He was the first black South African Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa and primate of the Church of the Province of Southern Africa (now the Anglican Church of Southern Africa).

Toni Braxton

6. Toni Braxton, R&B singer, songwriter and actress. Braxton has won six Grammy Awards, seven American Music Awards, and five Billboard Music Awards and has sold over 60 million records worldwide.

7. Omar Benson Miller, actor.  He has played minor roles in various television shows and movies, including Sex, Love & Secrets, American Pie Presents: Band Camp, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, The Express, Transformers and 8 Mile.

Miller has signed on as a CSI: Miami regular. Starting October 5, 2009, Miller is appearing on the crime drama as Walter Simmons, a Louisiana native and art theft specialist who joins the team led by Horatio (David Caruso).

Events In African American History For Sept 27


 

1. In 1876, Edward Mitchell Bannister upsets racist whites who believe blacks have no artistic skill by winning a bronze medal for a painting he displayed at the American Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.

2. In 1877, John Mercer Langston named minister of Haiti.

3. In 1892, A. L. Lewis received Patent for Window cleaner.

4. In 1912, W.C. Handy published (Memphis Blues) the first Blues Song.

5. In 1915, Xavier University, the first Black Catholic college in the US, opens in New Orleans.

6. In 1950, Charles H. Houston awarded the Spingarn Medal posthumously for his pioneering work in developing the NAACP legal campaign.

7. In 1950, Ezzard Charles defeated Joe Louis in heavyweight championship fight in New York City.

8. In 1950, Gwendolyn Brooks awarded Pulitzer Prize  for her book of poetry, Annie Allen. She was the first Black cited by the Pulitzer committee.

9. In 1950, Ralph J. Bunche is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in mediating a conflict between Palestinians and the newly established Jewish state of Israel. Arabs had gone to war arguing the Jewish state had been established on land which rightfully belonged to the Palestinians.

10. In 1967, Washington D.C.’s Anacostia Museum dedicated to informing the community of contributions by African Americans to U.S. political, social, and cultural history, opens.

11. In 1969, Baby, I’m For Real” by the Originals is released, Until then the greatest piece of pure soul ever to come from Motown

12. In 1970, Diana Ross’ “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” is the #1 pop single and Ross’ first #1 hit as a solo artist.

13. In 1973, Fashion Fair Cosmetics went on sale at Marshall Field’s, Chicago.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For September 20th


1. Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe, known professionally as Jelly Roll Morton, was a  ragtime and early jazz pianist, bandleader and composer.

Widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early jazz, Morton is perhaps most notable as jazz’s first arranger, proving that a genre rooted in improvisation could retain its essential spirit and characteristics when notated.  His composition “Jelly Roll Blues” was the first published jazz composition, in 1915.  Morton is also notable for naming and popularizing the “Spanish tinge” of exotic rhythms, and for penning suchstandards as “Wolverine Blues,” “Black Bottom Stomp,” and “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say”, the latter a tribute to turn-of-the-century New Orleans personalities.


2.  Clarice Taylor, 
 stage, film and television actress,  best-known for her recurring role on television on The Cosby Show as Dr. Heathcliff “Cliff” Huxtable’s (Bill Cosby) mother, Anna Huxtable. She was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1986 for the role. She also played Harriet on Sesame Street and appeared as Grady’s cousin Emma on Sanford and Son.

3. Chico Hamilton (born Foreststorn Hamilton),  jazz drummer and bandleader.  He had a fast-track musical education in a band with Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso. Engagements with Lionel Hampton, Slim & Slam, T-Bone Walker, Lester Young, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Charlie Barnet, Billy Eckstine, Nat King Cole, Sammy Davis Jr., Billie Holiday, Gerry Mulligan and six years with Lena Horne established him as a jazz drummer, and he struck out on his own as a bandleader in 1955.

 

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For this date Sept 19


1. Cora Calhoun (Lovie) Austin, Chicago bandleader, session musician, composer, and arranger during the 1920s classic blues era. She and Lil Hardin Armstrong are often ranked as two of the best female jazz blues piano players of the period.

2. Billy Ward, The second of three sons of Charles Williams and Cora Bates Williams, and was a child musical prodigy, winning an award for a piano composition at the age of 14. Following military service with the U.S. Army he studied music in Chicago, and at the Juilliard School of Music in New York. While working as a vocal coach and part-time arranger on Broadway, he met talent agent Rose Marks, who became his business and songwriting partner.  Billy Ward and His Dominoes vocal group, one of the best-selling R&B groups of the 1950s  began the careers of both Clyde McPhatter and Jackie Wilson.

3. Brook Benton, singer and songwriter who was popular with rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and pop music audiences during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he scored hits such as “It’s Just A Matter Of Time” and “Endlessly”, many of which he co-wrote.

He made a comeback in 1970 with the ballad “Rainy Night in Georgia.” Benton scored over 50 Billboard chart hits as an artist, and also wrote hits for other performers.

4. Freda Charcilia Payne, singer and actress best known for her million selling, 1970hit single, “Band of Gold”. She was also an actress in musicals and film, as well as the host of a TV talk show.[1] Freda is the older sister of former Supremes member, Scherrie Payne.  Starred in Black Horror movie “Rag Doll”

5. Nile Gregory Rodgers, musician, composer, arranger, and guitarist.  Rodgers began his career as a session guitarist in New York, touring with the Sesame Street band in his teens, and then working in the house band at Harlem’s world famous Apollo Theater, playing behind Screaming Jay Hawkins, Maxine Brown, Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King,Betty Wright, Earl Lewis and the Channels, Parliament Funkadelic, and many other legendary R&B artists.

Nile met bassist Bernard Edwards in 1970. Together they formed The Big Apple Band that backed R&B act New York City (“I’m Doing Fine Now”). The band’s one hit allowed them to tour extensively, even opening for The Jackson 5 on the American leg of their first world tour in 1973. The band dissolved after their second album failed to yield a hit, but Nile and Bernard joined forces with drummer Tony Thompson, and worked and recorded as a Funk Rock band called The Boys, which played numerous gigs up and down the East Coast. Despite major label interest in their demos, they could not get a record deal when the record companies discovered they were black; the excuse was that black rock artists would be too hard to promote. The band continued playing mostly local bars.

As The Big Apple Band, Rodgers and Edwards worked with Ashford & Simpson, Luther Vandross and many others. Since another New York artist, Walter Murphy, had a band also called The Big Apple Band, Rodgers and Edwards were forced to change their band’s name to avoid confusion. Thus, in 1977 the band was renamed as Chic. Between gigs they recorded their first album with then-boss Luther Vandross, who provided background vocals on the group’s early recordings. The band scored numerous top ten hits and helped propel disco to new levels of popularity. Chic’s chart-topping songs “Le Freak”, “I Want Your Love”, “Everybody Dance”, “Dance, Dance, Dance”, “My Forbidden Lover”, and “Good Times” have become club/pop/R&B standards. “Le Freak” is Atlantic Records’ only triple platinum selling single and “Good Times” shot to the #1 spot.

The success of Chic’s first singles led Atlantic to offer Rodgers and Edwards the opportunity to produce any act on its roster. They chose Sister Sledge, whose 1978 album, We Are Family, peaked at #3 and remained on the charts well into 1979. The first two singles, “He’s the Greatest Dancer” and the title cut “We Are Family” both reached #1 on the R&B chart, and #6 and #2, respectively on the Pop chart. “He’s the Greatest Dancer” was sampled in 1998 to create Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It”.

6. Kevin Hooks, actor, and a television and film director; he is notable from his roles in Aaron Loves AngelaSounder, but may be best-known as Morris Thorpe from TV’s The White Shadow.

In 1986, he starred in the short-lived ABC sitcom He’s the Mayor. He directed Wesley Snipes in Passenger 57 and also Laurence Fishburneand Stephen Baldwin in Fled. Hooks worked as a director and producer on the series Prison Break. He also directed two episodes from the first season of Lost, “White Rabbit” and “Homecoming”.

In 2003, Hooks revisited Sounder. He directed ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney’s TV remake of the film, with Paul Winfield, his co-star from the original, playing a different role.

Hooks was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Yvonne, a state employee, and Robert Hooks, a director and actor who starred in many films in the 1970s. Kevin’s nickname amongst his friends is “King Royal”.

7. Sanaa McCoy Lathan, Actress and voice actress. She has starred in numerous movies, including the box-office hits Love & BasketballAlien vs. PredatorSomething New, and The Family That Preys. Lathan was nominated for aTony Award for her performance on Broadway in A Raisin in the Sun. In 2010 she starred in the all-black performance of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre in London.

8. María de la Soledad Teresa O’Brien, television personality. She is currently the host of the “In America” documentary unit on CNN, and is best known for anchoring the CNN marquee morning newscast American Morning from July 2003 to April 2007, with Miles O’Brien. Their common surname is coincidental.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For Sept 15


Jan E. Matzeliger

1. Jan E. Matzeliger, inventor in the shoe industry.(Shoe lasting Machine).     Matzeliger obtained a patent for his invention in 1883.   His machine could produce between 150 to 700 pairs of shoes a day, cutting shoe prices across the nation in half.  In recognition of his accomplishment, he was honored on a postage stamp on September 15, 1991.

Silas Hogan

2. Silas Hogan, Bluesman (Swamp Blues), blues musician. Hogan most notably recorded “Airport Blues” and “Lonesome La La”, was the front man of the Rhythm Ramblers, and became an inductee in the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame.

Nipsey Russell

3. Julius Nipsey Russell, comedian, best known today for his appearances as a guest panelist on game shows from the 1960s through the 1990s, especially Match Game, Password, Hollywood Squares, To Tell the Truth and Pyramid. His appearances were distinguished in part by the short, humorous poems he would recite during the broadcast. These lyrics became so closely associated with Russell that Dick Clark, Bill Cullen, Betty White, and others regularly referred to him as “the poet laureate of television.” He also had a leading role in the film version of The Wiz. Russell was also a frequent guest on the Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts.

Snooky Pryor

4. James Edward (Snooky) Pryor, Chicago blues harmonica player.  While serving in the U.S. Army he would blow bugle calls through the powerful PA system, which led him to experiment with playing the harmonica that way. Upon discharge from the Army in 1945, he obtained his own amplifier, and began playing harmonica at the outdoor Maxwell Street market, becoming a regular on the Chicago blues scene.

Bobby Short

5. Bobby Short,  cabaret singer and pianist, best known for his interpretations of songs by popular composers of the first half of the 20th century such as Rodgers and Hart, Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Noel Coward and George and Ira Gershwin.

He also championed African-American composers of the same period such as Eubie Blake, James P. Johnson, Andy Razaf, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, presenting their work not in a polemical way, but as simply the obvious equal of that of their white contemporaries.

His dedication to his great love – what he called the “Great American Song” – left him equally adept at performing the witty lyrics of Bessie Smith’s “Gimme a Pigfoot” or Gershwin and Duke’s “I Can’t Get Started.”

Short always said his favorite songwriters were Ellington, Arlen and Kern, and he was instrumental in spearheading the construction of the Ellington Memorial in his beloved New York City.

Julian Edwin (Cannonball) Adderley

6. Julian Edwin (Cannonball) Adderley, was a jazz alto saxophonist of the hard-bop era of the 1950s and 1960.  Adderley is remembered for his 1966 single Mercy Mercy Mercy, a crossover hit on the pop charts, and for his work with trumpeter Miles Davis, including on the epochal album Kind of Blue (1959). He was the brother of jazz cornetist Nat Adderley, a longtime member of his band.

Jessye Norman

7. Jessye Norman, opera singer.  Norman is a well-known contemporary opera singer and recitalist, and is one of the highest paid performers in classical music.   A dramatic soprano, Norman is associated in particular with the roles of Aida, Cassandre, Alceste, and Leonore..

Claude McKay

8. Claude McKay, was a writer and poet. He was a  figure in the Harlem Renaissance and wrote three novels: Home to Harlem (1928), a best-seller which won the Harmon Gold Award for Literature, Banjo (1929), andBanana Bottom (1933). McKay also authored a collection of short stories, Gingertown (1932), and two autobiographical books, A Long Way from Home (1937) and Harlem: Negro Metropolis (1940). His book of poetry, Harlem Shadows (1922) was among the first books published during the Harlem Renaissance.

Birthdays Of Famous African Americans For Sept 12


Gus Cannon

1. Gus Cannon, blues musician who helped to popularize jug bands (such as his own Cannon’s Jug Stompers) in the 1920s and 1930s.

Alger Alexander

2. Alger “Texas” Alexander,  blues singer from Jewett, Texas. In November 1928, Alexander recorded what has been believed by some to be the earliest version of “The House of the Rising Sun.” However it is actually a completely different song called The Rising Sun. Other songs he recorded include “Mama’s Bad Luck Child,” “Sittin’ on a Log,” “Texas Special,” “Broken Yo Yo” and “Don’t You Wish Your Baby was Built Up Like Mine?”.  He was the cousin and uncle of Texas country blues guitarists Lightnin’ Hopkins and Frankie Lee Sims respectively.

Jesse Owens

3. Jesse Owens, Track and field athlete who specialized in the sprints and the long jump. He participated in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, Germany, where he achieved international fame by winning four gold medals: one each in the 100 meters, the 200 meters, the long jump, and as part of the 4×100 meter relay team. He was the most successful athlete at the 1936 Summer Olympics, a victory more poignant and often noted because Adolf Hitler had intended the 1936 games to showcase his Aryan ideals and prowess.

He has the Jesse Owens Award accolade named after him in honor of his significant career.

jewel akens

4. Jewel Akens, singer and record producer. He first recorded with Eddie Daniels as Jewel and Eddie on the Silver Records label in 1960. A number of his recordings featured Eddie Cochran on guitar.

He later went solo and recorded “The Birds And The Bees” in 1965, on the Era Records label. The single went to Number 3 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and Number 2 on the Cash Box chart.

Barry White

5. Barry White, Composer, record producer and singer-songwriter.  A five-time Grammy Award-winner known for his rich bass voice and romantic image, White’s greatest success came in the 1970s as a solo singer and with his Love Unlimited Orchestra, crafting many enduring hit soul, funk, and disco songs. Worldwide, White had many gold and platinum albums and singles, with combined sales of over 100 million.

Vernon Maxwell

6. Vernon Maxwell,  retired  professional basketball player who played in the NBA from 1988-2001, with his longest tenure being with the Houston Rockets. The nickname “Mad Max” was bestowed upon Maxwell by color commentators for his clutch three-point shooting, which reached its pinnacle in the deciding game of the 1994 NBA Finals between Houston and New York.

Jesse Powell

7. Jesse Powell, Grammy-nominated American R&B/soul songwriter-singer. His sisters, Trina & Tamara Powell are also singers as well.

Ruben Studdard

8. Christopher Theodore Ruben Studdard , best known as Ruben Studdard, is an American R&B, pop, and gospel singer. He rose to fame as winner of the second season of American Idol. He received a Grammy Award nomination in December 2003 for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance for “Superstar.”

Jennifer Kate Hudson

9. Jennifer Kate Hudson,  recording artist, actress and spokesperson.[1] She came to prominence in 2004 as one of the finalists on the third season of American Idol coming in seventh place. She made her film debut in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which won her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an NAACP Image Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award.

She won a Grammy Award for her eponymous debut album, Jennifer Hudson, which was released in 2008 on Arista Records and was certified gold by the RIAA for selling over 800,000 copies in the US; sales exceeded 1 million copies worldwide. Additionally, it spawned the hit single Spotlight. Her second album I Remember Me was released in March 2011, and has reached number two on the Billboard 200, selling 165,000 copies in its first week of release.

In late 2008, after Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were killed in a shooting, Hudson stepped out of the limelight for three months. Hudson resumed her public appearances in 2009, and has since performed at the Super Bowl XLIII, the Grammy Awards, American Idol, and The Oprah Winfrey Show.  Hudson has been described as a friend of President Barack Obama, who invited her to appear with him at a fundraiser in Beverly Hills in May 2009.  She also performed at the White House at the “Celebration of Music from the Civil Rights Movement” event.   Her vocal range is mezzo-soprano

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