Saying that Sonny Rollins had a ”great” seven decade long career is an understatement. Rollins is not only one of the most significant jazz musicians in music, but he is a living inspiration and amazing composer who has received accolades such as the National Medal of Arts , Polar Music Prize, multiple Honorary Doctor of Music awards, and elected to the American Academy of Arts of Sciences. Yet, it is not just the awards that represent just how astonishing Rollins’ career has been. Even if Rollins was not as recognized or given so many awards, his music’s quality is momentous and exceptional. Whether he was a saxophonist creating music for Blue Notes Records, Okeh Records, Prestige, RCA, or any other recording company…his compositions will forever be rich jazz standards that are a part of music history since the late 1940’s. Thank you Mr. Sonny Rollins. Here is one of my favorite performances/song from live in Denmark, 1965, ” There Will Never Be Another You.”
1520 Sedgwick Avenue and D.J Kool Herc are names forever synonymous with a part of the origins of rap music. In 1973 on August 11th, Kool Herc hosted a back to school party for his sister at the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue apartment building. At the community house party, he introduced a technique that involved two turntables, a mixer, two copies of the same record, and playing another song at the beginning or middle of the record while focusing on ”the break” in each one. With D.J Kool Herc presenting his technique, his friend Coke La Rock began to rap and many legendary rappers like Afrika Bambaataa and Grand Master Flash all claimed to have witnessed this historic significant event in music history. In honor of The Boogie Down Bronx, here are some truly amazing and influential photos that shows why The Boogie Down Bronx will always be considered a birthplace of the rhythmic poetic art we call Hip Hop.
John Coltrane’s 1958 released album Blue Train is one of his gems that is both timeless and significant in any era. Not only was the label Blue Note Records a legendary & important part of music history, but it is Coltrane’s brilliance playing the tenor saxophone, Lee Morgan on the trumpet, Curtis Fuller’s trombone skills, Kenny Drew playing the piano, Paul Chambers on base, and Philly Joe Jones as the drummer that completes this album in such a compelling manner . The album was produced by Blue Notes Records co-founder Alfred Lion and Coltrane wrote nearly all of the music, with Johnny Mercer and Jerome Kern writing the song ”I’m Old Fashioned.” The album has two sides, which includes ”Moments Notice” and my personal favorite ”Blue Train” on side one. Side two includes ”Locomotion”, ”I’m Old Fashioned”, and ”Lazy Bird”. In 1997, alternate take bonus tracks were released of ”Lazy Bird” and ”Blue Train”. This was only Coltrane’s second solo album & although it is considered ”Hard Bop”, I think all of his music is beyond just one specific genre. Of course, not long after releasing Blue Train, Coltrane would go on to create an album that was chosen as one of the 50 recordings picked by The Library of Congress & added to the National Recording Registry…the groundbreaking & innovative classic Giant Steps.
Gordon Parks is not only one of my favorite photographer- artists, but he is also an icon that has captured some of the most memorable photos for legendary magazines like Life and has directed classics like Shaft. Each and every one of these photographs describes a story, a time, and a place that are all historic in some specific way. Here are some of my favorite Gordon Parks photographs.
Jamel Shabazz, a fashion/fine art/documentary photographer created a book called Back in The Day in 2001, and this photography book has some of the best photos of everyday people in the 80s. His other amazing photography books includes A Time Before Crack, Alex Fakso, & The Last Sunday In June. The significance of these classic photographs are a major part of fashion, culture, music, lifestyle, and art. These people were living and a part of a golden era and innovative time in music and lived in New York City, a place that is home to Boogie Down Bronx/ 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. If anyone loves old school rap and knows it’s history/birthplace, then those locations/references are significant and means a lot when it comes to music history/culture. It is interesting seeing photos of everyday people who were in the midst of it all. Here are just some of my favorites.
The Golden Era included legendary rappers like this one. Big Daddy Kane not only created classic songs like ”Ain’t No Half Steppin” and ”Raw”, but he is also a man whose style/hair cut is often imitated and the inspiration behind many popular looks. Classic rap (80s and 90s) & the culture/trends of these eras will never get old or go out of style.
Above The Rim is not only a great movie, but the soundtrack-album is a classic as well. Here are three songs that were included on the soundtrack that are timeless and legendary. I’m pretty sure a lot of people have this soundtrack or these individuals songs on one of their playlists. This movie or these songs will never get old.
Here is a perfect example of the vibe/style of classic 90s electronic/dance music that was popular years ago. However, for those of us who love 90s electronic music, then music like this will always be current. Whether they called it big beat, breakbeat, hardcore, rave, triphop, dance or whatever….the 90s had some of the best electronic music that has ever been created.