Cannonball Adderly, George Duke-Music Masters

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Cannonball Adderly

When the names Cannonball Adderly and George Duke come up, music masters come to mind. I rediscovered Cannonball Adderly the other day after listening to an album recorded in 1969- Country Preacher.

I played trumpet in my high school jazz band, and attended a University of Illinois Jazz Workshop in 1970 or 71. One of the guests at this workshop was saxophonist extraordinaire- Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderly. Standing less than fifty feet from him as he whipped out his sax and wailed, I was floored by his musicianship. Shortly after, I bought his Country Preacher album, one which sounds great to this day.

Julian’s healthy appetite earned him the high school nickname “cannibal”, which morphed into “Cannonball”. Beginning as a Florida High School band director in, Cannonball moved to New York in 1955. He and younger brother Nat (cornet player extraordinaire) formed a band, the first time not quite successful.

Cannonball then joined Miles Davis and recorded the albums Somethin’ Else, Milestones, and Kind of Blue with Davis’ band-stellar albums.

This time, the reformed Cannonball Adderly Quintet (featuring Nat Adderly) was a smash. This Here, The Jive Samba, Work Song, Mercy, Mercy Mercy, Walk Tall, and Pops Staples’ Why (Am I Treated So Bad)? were just some of his more well-known pieces.

Sadly, Cannonball Adderly died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1975. He was only 46 years old, but his music lives on.

Cannon Ball Adderly – Country Preacher album

George Duke

Keyboard genius/composer/vocalist/producer George Duke actually played with Cannonball Adderly between 1971 and 1972 after first performing with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and (believe it or not) Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention (joining him again 1973-1975). His musicianship and wild sense of humor fit right in with Zappa. George originally had no intention of singing, but Frank gave him his first synthesizer and urged him to sing. The following ensued:

George Duke’s first recorded vocals and synthesizer- Inca Roads

After leaving Zappa, George Duke would play with Billy Cobham, Sonny Rollins, Stanley Clarke, and many others, besides recording several hit solo albums. He was also a highly successful producer of many of the eighties’ hits. Here is a more in-depth bio:

George Duke passed from this earth August 5, 2013 from chronic lymphocytic leukemia, a year after Corine (his wife of 40 years) passed from cancer complications.

Legacy

Cannonball Adderly and George Duke each left a broad legacy of music for us to marvel. Both started out as teachers and, not surprisingly, left us as teachers. They were indeed music masters. Check them out…

© 2020 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot Media Skyypilot.com

What’s Going On?

Hate Speech

What’s going on with “Hate Speech”? A sad host at a failed network asked a former crooked FBI director: “Do you, in retrospect, wish that people like yourself, the head of the FBI, the people in charge of law and order, had shut down that language, that it was dangerous potentially, that it could have created violence, that it’s kind of hate speech? Should that have been allowed?”

This host referred to the “Lock Her Up! (Hillary Clinton) chants at Trump rallies during the 2016 election campaign. The host believes that ONLY speech SHE believes in should be allowed. Anything else, to her, is “Hate Speech” and should be banned.

Let me be clear. There was NEVER violence started by Conservatives at these events. This “Hate Speech” label is NEVER given to anti-Semites, anti-Conservatives, anti-Christians, anti-Capitalists, anti-White, anti-American, etc. It doesn’t matter how much of this bile they spew from the television and social networks if it’s against the approved-by-the-mob crowd.

The fact is, the whole word is upside-down. I DO want a full investigation leading to the prosecution of MANY people. Of course, Hillary Clinton is just ONE of them. That’s MY opinion and I’m entitled to it by the First Amendment, something evidently not taught in our government schools.

Blind Justice

What’s going on with blind justice? Does it even exist? It doesn’t appear so. Celebrities and politicians (mostly Democrats) blatantly and gleefully break laws and suffer NO consequences. These same people trash President Trump and those of us who support him. I’ve taken this abuse long enough, so I’m speaking out while I still can. Remember: RESPECT IS A TWO WAY STREET.

Have you ever heard of the Cloward -Piven strategy? In 1966, Richard Cloward and Francis Fox Piven theorized that if you should overload the welfare system (which is what’s happening with ushering in the illegal aliens into the United States). You then cause a crisis that will collapse the system and be replaced by universal income for all and “end” poverty. Yeah, right… Do the math and get back to me.

This, of course, is unsustainable, which is whole idea. An authoritarian then swoops in, millions die, and those left will be left in the perpetual poverty that they claimed would be eliminated with no chance of personal freedom (unless, of course, you are one of “the ruling elite class”). That’ why civics and the Constitution aren’t taught in school any more. They want the students dumb and compliant-set for a dictator to rule.

As we are witnessing, free speech is being thwarted at every turn. If you are “progressive” (a fancy term for communist), you can pretty much say or do anything until you serve no further purpose for them (think “useful idiot”). Then they use social media (think social justice), political correctness, the many convenient laws they can subvert for their “cause” and “erase” you from the database. Like a Conservative, you’re shadow-banned and you can “freely” speak, just that it will be in the bottom of a sealed barrel-silenced.

What Does This Have to do With Music?

So, what does all this have to do with music? The Beatles (and their producer, George Martin) made unforgettable and truly unique pop music. The recordings still hold up 55 years later! They made recording a true art form. They quit touring and made recording their full time job. Their records were better because they took chances (and the time) to make them that way. They were the top influencers of the 60’s because they made people think.

Since they were so popular, they could afford to play and say what they wanted. They didn’t have to play the same music night after night. They were impossible to control by the recording business since they owned their own label, Apple Records- the ultimate freedom.

This could never be allowed to happen again in the music racket. (It is a racket.) Their plan- keep people on the road to do the same assembly line stuff, record, rinse, and repeat. Staying in the same genre is paramount to ensure predictability. There’s no time to really experiment, so after the first couple of albums, most become homogenized, formulaic, and lowest common denominator-boring, drivel. Lots of flash to say nothing. Free speech is not allowed. Too dangerous… People might THINK!

So goes the way of today’s “recording artist”-all cookie-cutter image, no substance. They are, instead, performance artists. Frank Zappa would be run out of business if he were still with us. They tried back in the day. The the fix and politically-correct mob are in.

Don’t get me wrong, there are recording artists out there, but very few can generate livable income from that because they are never promoted by a major entity.

I won’t play the one-sided game.

© 2019 J. Mark Witters Skyypilot.com

The “Recording Artist”

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The “Recording Artist”

It’s All About Semantics

Semantics  DO matter.  Most introductions for a live recording proclaim:       “(record label) recording artist (name)”.    What many don’t understand is that they are performance artists.   Outside the improvisation (artistic),  you’re hearing a copy of their original recording (maybe artistic, maybe not).  I’m not slighting the skills of the performer.  They have great skills to do what they do.  The question remains: who is a  “recording artist”?

It can be argued that the at present, creation of most recorded music is left to the producer.  This has not always been the case.  The Beatles were true recording artists and had an artistic producer (George Martin) as well.  Why?  They took chances on sounds never before put on record added to masterful songwriting.  There are but few instances of that now, mostly due to economic and political forces.

For the most part, in music today (I’m talking pop music),  we have recordings made largely by matching mediocre (or even rotten) homogenized “songs” with “cookie-cutter”  producers.    Safe, boring ground and because you can market anything to sell, sell it will.  Nothing like hearing that “Millennial Whoop” again!

A work of art must make the rules: rules do not make a work of art...I tell people I am not a musician; I work with rhythms, frequencies and intensities...tunes are merely the gossips of music. - Edgard Varese

Edgard Varese

I first heard of Edgard Varese  from Frank Zappa (one of my major influences).  Turns out, Varese was his biggest influence. This, of course, led me to his music.  It is difficult to listen to.  Varese said, “to stubbornly conditioned ears, anything new in music has always been called noise”.   He only had about three hours worth of music published in his lifetime.

Despite lack of  “commercial success”, Varese founded the International Composers’ Guild in 1921 and the Pan-American Association of Composers in 1926.  He has been referred to as the “father of electronic music” for his addition of newly invented electronic instruments such as the ondes Martenot and Theremin , even inventing them himself.

I will cover Frank Zappa at a later date because he deserves his own blog post.  Varese’s influence is all over  Zappa’s music.  They were both true artists and were not shy about blazing trails.

The Road Least Traveled

Being a true recording artist is definitely the road least traveled.  It’s very lonely.  Everyone yearns for acceptance, so it’s totally against the grain to go it alone.  But face it, you are on your own.  Hours and hours spent thrashing things out that you know will probably not even get listened to because it’s different from everything else.  You get to the point that, good or bad, you just want people to hear what you’re doing.

When growing up, I  wanted to be part of a band.  It didn’t work out for me, so I just  wrote and produced the music myself.  I  became a recording artist, spending  90% of my adult life toiling in blue-collar jobs so I would have the artistic license to do music my own way, warts and all.  I learned a lot from my mistakes (Lord knows I made a ton of them).  The fact I am an old white male Christian conservative who doesn’t mince words has certainly had an effect as well.  Reality can suck.  Oh well…

I don’t play live.  It’s not me.  The studio is my instrument.   I use whatever tools are available to get the sounds  to complete my current vision;  fresh every day.   That’s it.  No apologies.  I’m no better, and certainly no worse than anyone else.  I can live with what I’m doing.  How many can look in the mirror and say that?

My motto: “Live to record another day! ”

© 2018  J. Mark  Witters   Skyypilot.com