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Ralph MacDonald

Grammy-award winning percussionist, songwriter and producer Ralph MacDonald was born in Harlem, NY in 1944. As the son of Trinidad-immigrant and Calypso performer "Macbeth The Great," Ralph grew up amidst the rise of Calypsonian revolution in New York City. The young boy was often placed playfully on his father's drums for a moment or two and, when he got older, MacDonald dreamed of someday achieving the regional success of his father. At 17, Ralph helped a friend carry his steel drums into an audition for legendary performer Harry Belafonte. The friend got the gig, and MacDonald became a regular at rehearsals

ARTICLE: UNDER THE RADAR

Big in Japan: A History of Jazz in the Land of the Rising Sun, Part 1

Read "Big in Japan: A History of Jazz in the Land of the Rising Sun, Part 1" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Part 1 | Part 2The music market in Japan--second only to the U.S. in terms of revenue--generates more than two-billion dollars in sales annually. Enthusiasts and collectors of jazz recordings had long ago discovered that Japan's robust music scene, and the now virtual accessibility to products have made the country a go-to resource for ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Milt Jackson: Sunflower / Goodbye

Read "Sunflower / Goodbye" reviewed by Jakob Baekgaard

Even if vibes player Milt Jackson had just played with The Modern Jazz Quartet and not embarked on a solo career, his place in jazz history would be secure. However, Jackson was much more than a vital part of the famous chamber jazz group and he recorded a string of excellent albums, including three sessions as ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Les McCann: Never Say No Again

Read "Les McCann: Never Say No Again" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

"Be who you are and not who you ain't. Because when you are who you ain't, you're not who you are." Keyboardist, vocalist, bandleader, songwriter and photographer Les McCann really talks like this. About his music, about musicians, about his career--about everything. I learned this during the following interview, scheduled to discuss Omnivore Records' ...

NEWS: RECORDING

Les McCann "Invitation To Openness" Reissued on Omnivore Recordings

Les McCann "Invitation To Openness" Reissued on  Omnivore Recordings

Through the chart-topping 1969 song “Compared To What, “ Les McCann became known to thousands of people as an inspirational “soul-jazz" pianist and vocalist. Since its first release in 1972, Les McCann's Invitation To Openness album (Atlantic Records) has remained a landmark statement in free-form improvisation mixed with soulful grooves, featuring a 26-minute continuous track with ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

All Star Tribute to Ralph MacDonald at Holy Cross College

Read "All Star Tribute to Ralph MacDonald at Holy Cross College" reviewed by Nigel Campbell

Etienne Charles with his All Star Band Jazz on D Hill Holy Cross College Arima, Trinidad May 11, 2014 On a picturesque plateau above the town of Arima overlooking the distant Caroni plains on the island of Trinidad, the Holy Cross College Alumni produced a jazz event ...

NEWS: INTERVIEW

Grover Washington, Jr.

Grover Washington, Jr.

Grover Washington, Jr., was born on this day in 1943 and died on December 17, 1999. He was a tenor, alto and soprano saxophonist who had huge success as a popular artist, in great part because his 1974 album Mister Magic was high on the pop, soul and R&B charts for weeks. He followed with additional ...

ARTICLE: EXTENDED ANALYSIS

The Complete Arista Albums Collection

Read "The Complete Arista Albums Collection" reviewed by John Kelman

When fusion first emerged in the late 1960s/early '70s with artists like trumpeter Miles Davis, pianist Chick Corea and guitarist John McLaughlin, the emphasis was on guitar and keyboard heavy lineups like Return to Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra, with an equally strong predilection for the intensity and volume of rock and a kind of thundering funk ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Lisa Marie Baratta: Summertime Jazz

Read "Summertime Jazz" reviewed by Edward Blanco

Born in Ancon, Panama, Lisa Marie Baratta came from a naval family, growing up in many places but finding music to be that certain constant, no matter where she traveled to next. Attracted to the woodwinds at an early age, Baratta also gravitated to alto and soprano saxophones, but became equally comfortable on flute. She plays ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Toph-E & The Pussycats: No Ordinary Day

Read "No Ordinary Day" reviewed by Woodrow Wilkins

Toph-E & The Pussycats is a contemporary band with old-school ideas. Its repertoire combines jazz, funk and R&B properties. For No Ordinary Day, those elements are augmented by hints of Brazilian and Latin rhythms. Part of the group's name comes from a variation of drummer Christopher Parker's nickname, “Toph." Collectively, the group's members bring ...


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