Tony Terran, Trumpeter For The Wrecking Crew And Desi Arnaz

Intro Solo on “Granada” on I Love Lucy – Watch on YouTube

Tony Terran was one of those musicians who you might not know by name, but who you’ve probably heard on countless albums. As part of the famed “Wrecking Crew,” a group of L.A. session musicians that included Glenn Campbell, Leon Russell, Hal Ashby and Carol Kaye, Terran shows up on tracks for everyone from Sinatra to The Monkees.

Terran got an early break from bandleader Desi Arnaz, with whom he worked in the orchestra for Bob Hope’s radio showLater, when Arnaz and his wife Lucille Ball were starring in I Love Lucy, Terran was part of the show’s Ricky Ricardo Orchestra.

Terran would be a go-to trumpeter for other bandleaders, too, including Lalo Schiflin, Henry Mancini and Nelson Riddle.

Anthony “Tony” Terran, May 30, 1926-March 20, 2017

“I’ve Got A Crush On You,” trumpet solo with Linda Ronstadt and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra – Watch on YouTube


Sib Hashian, Former Drummer For Boston

“More Than A Feeling” – Watch on YouTube

John “Sib” Hashian wasn’t the original drummer for Boston – and he wouldn’t be the last – but he was the drummer for the band’s successful self-titled debut album and its followup, Don’t Look Back. (Boston has sold over 17 million albums to date, including over seven million for its second album.)

In 1975 Hashian replaced original drummer Jim Masdea, who returned for the band’s third album. The band is famous for its multi-layered guitars, creating a 1970s version of Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound.”

At the time of his death, Hashian was playing on a Legends of Rock Cruise with fellow Boston vet Barry Goudreau, as well as former members of Kansas, the Beach Boys and Paul Revere & The Raiders.

“Peace of Mind” on Spotify


Misha Mengelberg, Jazz Pianist and Co-Founder of ICP Orchestra

Jazz in Haarlem (1960) – Watch on YouTube

Misha Mengelberg was an avant-garde jazz pianist whose influences included Thelonious Monk and Herbie Nichols. He recorded his own interpretations of both artists, but was also a prolific composer on his own. Along with Willem Breuker (reeds) and Han Bennink (drums), Mengelberg started the ICP (Instant Composers Pool) Orchestra in the 1960s. Performers would come and go from that group, but Mengelberg and Bennink were often at the core.

Born in Ukraine, Mengelberg spent most of his life in the Netherlands, where he attended the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. In the early 1960s, his trio (with Bennink) backed Johnny Griffin, Eric Dolphy and Cecil Taylor and performed at the 1966 Newport Jazz Festival.

To hear how Mengelberg and the ICP Orchestra interpreted Monk, here are a few takes of  “Four In One,” including one by Monk himself.

Thelonious Monk (Genius of Modern Music: Vol. 2 (Rudy Van Gelder Edition))

Misha Mengelberg Quartet (Four In One)

ICP Orchestra (Herbie Nichols/Thelonious Monk)

“If Thelonious Monk had been born 20 years later in Europe, he may indeed have been Misha Mengelberg.” – Thom Jurek, All Music Guide to Jazz

Misha Mengelberg, June 5, 1935-March 3, 2017

“Hypochristmutreefuzz” on Spotify

James Cotton, “Blast-Furnace Harmonica” Of The Blues

With Muddy Waters on “Got My Mojo Working” (1966) – Watch on YouTube

James Cotton (aka “Mr. Superharp”) was a constant presence in the blues for over 70 years.

As a boy, he was mentored by the great Sonny Boy Williamson II. In the early 50s, he recorded a few of his own discs at Sun Records in Memphis before signing on for a 12-year stint with Muddy Waters.

In 1966, he formed the James Cotton Blues Band, just in time to ride the blues-fueled wave of rock music. He shared stages with megastars like Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin.

In 1977 he reunited with Muddy Waters on a Johnny Winter-produced album, Hard Again. It won a Grammy for best ethnic or traditional recording. Cotton would be honored by the Grammys again for Deep In The Blues, a 1996 album he recorded for VerveHis final album, Cotton Mouth Blues, recorded for Alligator Records in 2013, was nominated for a Grammy. He was honored at Lincoln Center in 2010 and received the B.B. King Award in 2015 at the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal.

“I guess I was born with the blues, and I don’t know nothing else but the blues.” –James Cotton (July 1, 1935-March 16, 2017)

“Cotton Crop Blues” on Spotify




Chuck Berry, Bottled The Essence of Rock And Roll

Chuck Berry on The Tonight Show (1987) – Watch on YouTube

I usually try to keep my videos to a shorter length, but the above video of Chuck Berry on The Tonight Show is worth watching in full. First, you get to hear Berry perform three full songs, but you also hear Berry talk at length about his many influences. Among them:

Louis Jordan, for his lyrics. Here’s Jordan’s “G.I. Jive.”

Nat King Cole, for his voice. Here’s Cole’s “Orange-Colored Sky.”

Charlie Christian, for his electric guitar work with Benny Goodman. Here’s Christian with Goodman in “Wholly Cats.”

Carl Hogan, for his guitar riffs as part of Jordan’s Tympani Five. You’ll hear the prototype for the “Johnny B. Goode” intro in Hogan’s opening to “Ain’t it Just Like a Woman.”

Muddy Waters, for his soul. Waters introduced Berry to Chess Records, and “Maybellene,” Berry’s first hit, was the result. Here’s Waters on “Sugar Sweet” recorded in 1955, around the time he met Berry.

Berry doesn’t mention it on The Tonight Show, but according to the New York Times, “Maybellene” was a variant of the old country tune “Ida Red”, here performed by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys.

I appreciate Elvis and what he did to kickstart the rock-and-roll era, but to me Berry is really the one who put it all together: the irreverent attitude, the primacy of the guitar, the focus on youth, the melting pot of genres. Elvis would become a crooner, but Berry kept on rockin’, as his 1987 appearance on Carson – when he was 60 years old and still able to “duck walk” – says it all. The audience was having so much fun that Carson dropped his last two guests and let Berry stay on and perform “Johnny B. Goode.”

“Roll over Beethoven and tell Tchaikovsky the news…” –Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry, October 18, 1926-March 18, 2007.


“Maybellene”on Spotify

Kurt Moll, Basso Profondo Who Could Hit A Low C

“Da Lieg Ich” from Der Rosenkavalier – Watch on YouTube

A “basso profondo” is an especially low bass voice.  While a typical bass can hit E2 (the second E below Middle C), Kurt Moll (April 11, 1938-March 5, 2017) could drop his voice to a Low C, two full steps lower. (This is what it sounds like on a piano.)

The boorish Baron Ochs from Richard Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier is a role that calls for its singer to hit Low C., and Moll performed it frequently. He made seven complete recordings as Ochs, including a 1984 album with Herbert von Karajan, which Moll was particularly fond of. Through the 1960s, he performed with various German companies and became a regular on European and U.S. stages in the 1970s.

“…an exceptional basso profondo that proved as remarkable for its easy production as for its velvet timbre.” – Opera News

“Mein Lieber, Hippolyte” from Der Rosenkavalier on Spotify

(Listen for the Low C.)

To follow 2017’s complete LGMR Classical/Opera playlist, click here.






Horace Parlan, Jazz Pianist Who Turned Disability To His Advantage

With Dizzy Gillespie and Cliff Jordan in Köln (1986)–Watch on YouTube

Horace Parlan was a hard bop jazz pianist, who initially became known through his work with Charles Mingus. As a child, Parlan contracted polio, and he lost the use of the fourth and fifth fingers on his right hand as a result. He compensated by using his thumb, index and middle fingers to complete chords from his left hand. For solos, he did short melodic runs with his right that led into percussive chords.

Hard bop is jazz influenced by rhythm and blues. Some consider it a reaction to the laid-back LA “cool jazz” and a reassertion of the African-American roots of jazz. Along with Mingus, Art Blakely and Miles Davis, Parlan contributed to this style through recordings he did for Blue Note in the 60s.

“C-Jam Blues” on Spotify

Clyde Stubblefield, Drummer With “Most Sampled Groove In The World”

Talking About “Cold Sweat” and “Funky Drummer” with Drummerworld–Watch on YouTube

Clyde Stubblefield was a hard-working, prolific drummer whose most famous work was done with James Brown. He and fellow drummer John “Jabo” Starks supplied the beats to most of Brown’s 1960s hits. The break he created for Brown’s “Funky Drummer” became the most-sampled drum beat of all time.

Stubblefield ( April 18, 1943-February 18, 2017) is listed as a “Top 500” drummer in Drummerworld. In addition to Brown, he performed with Otis Redding, John Scofield, Bootsy Collins, fellow-Madisonian Ben Sidran* and a host of others in the R&B and jazz worlds. If you’ve been a listener to the public radio show Whad ‘ Ya Know? you’ve heard Stubblefield with the house band.

Stubblefield’s drumsticks are in the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame and he was inducted into the WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) Hall of Fame in 2000.

*Stubblefield grew up in Tennessee, but lived for the latter part of his life in Madison, WI.

Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, Minnesota Maestro

Bruckner Symphony No. 9 with the Frankfurt Radio Symphony–Watch on YouTube

During the 60s and 70s Stanislaw Skrowaczewski was kind of a musical version of Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins: he helped the Minnesota Orchestra increase its standing in the big leagues.

During his tenure  (1960-79), he oversaw the change in name from the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra to the more state-embracing Minnesota Orchestra (1968). He facilitated the move from rented quarters (Northrup Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus) to Orchestra Hall, an architecturally and acoustically noteworthy home of its own (1974).* He expanded the Orchestra’s membership and season to 50 weeks a year. He conducted a concert at the U.N. on Human Rights Day (1965) and hosted a guest appearance of Stravinsky (1966).

Unlike the current music director, Osmo Vänskä, however, he does not appear to have had quite as distinguished a recording career. In my research of a number of classical guides, I only found one mention of a Skrowaczewski recording. It was as an “Additional Recommendation” in the Gramophone Classics Music Guide 2012 for Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 in D MinorThe Guide’s recommendation was for a version with the Saarbrücken Radio Symphony Orchestra, not the Minnesota Orchestra’s recording, which I reference below. The Minnesota Orchestra uses the original 1894 version and the Nowak edition, which came out in 1951.

*Tonally it is one of the most remarkable concert halls in the world.”–New York Times, October 23, 1974

Symphony No. 9 in D Minor: I. Feirerlich, misterioso with Minnesota Orchestra on Spotify

Larry Coryell, The “Godfather of Fusion”

Larry Coryell and Eleventh House Live in Oslo (1975)–Watch on YouTube

Music genres get named and walls go up. Jazz lives in one room; rock ‘n roll in another. Purists don’t like intruders. Then along comes a musician like Larry Coryell and he doesn’t just knock on the door, he kicks it down. As a jazz-rock guitarist, he helped launch a new genre himself, fusion.

Coryell (April 2, 1943-February 19, 2017) came of age in the rock era, but he was a guitarist who had a healthy respect for jazz forbears like Wes Montgomery. For some listening suggestions, check out Mark Myers’ excellent blog JazzWax. His February 21st and 22nd posts provide a helpful survey of Coryell’s career, as well as memories from artists that Coryell collaborated with or inspired–Gary Burton, Randy Brecker, Steve Khan and John Scofield.*

“If music has something to say to you, whether it’s jazz, country-and-western, Indian music or Asian folk music, go ahead and use it.” Larry Coryell

I started this blog because I’m endlessly curious about different music styles. When someone asks, “What do you like to listen to?” I have a hard time coming up with a single answer. Like Coryell, I want to walk into different rooms. Thanks to artists like him, we can.

*Scofield, who just won two Grammys for his genre-mixing Country For Old Men, will be at the Dakota in Minneapolis on Saturday, February 25.

“General Mojo’s Well-Laid Plan” with the Gary Burton Quartet on Spotify