Tag: obituaries

Sunday Jazz: RIP Joe Sample (1939-2014)

Sunday Jazz: RIP Joe Sample (1939-2014)

Music, Sunday Jazz
It's been far too long since my last Sunday Jazz installment, but I'm compelled to post now to mourn the loss of one of my all-time favorite musicians -- the great Joe Sample, who passed away yesterday at age 75. Sample's contributions to the music world are immeasurable, but primarily I will remember him both for his work with the Jazz Crusaders and for some of his great solo music. What once was contemporary jazz is now known (derisively by some) as smooth jazz. Writers far better than I will have much more profound thoughts to share on Sample's music, so I'll just share some of my favorite moments from his long career. First up is a fine Jazz Crusaders side, "Tortoise and the Hare," from the group's 1962 LP Lookin' Ahead. It's a prototypical slice of the particular brand of sou...
RIP Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013)

RIP Roger Ebert (1942 – 2013)

People
Better writers than I will doubtless be weighing in shortly on the passing of legendary film critic Roger Ebert. It would probably be a waste of your (and my) time to try and add my own paltry two cents. So instead I want to remember Roger and his old partner Gene Siskel in happier days, on the set of their timeless syndicated review program At the Movies. These outtakes represent the unique bond and vicious senses of humor the two shared. Warning: This is definitely not for the easily offended.
More Than 50 Years After the Music Died

More Than 50 Years After the Music Died

Music
It hardly seems possible that it's been more than half a century since a single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza and its occupants departed from an airstrip in the dark of the Iowa night, bound for Minnesota, and flew into history. But that's exactly what happened on February 3, 1959 when, shortly after 1 am local time, the plane carrying Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson crashed just after takeoff in Clear Lake, Iowa, killing the three musicians and their pilot instantly. While many beloved musicians have died before and since, this is known as The Day the Music Died. It's easy to overlook the impact these musicians had on rock and roll and American society -- particularly Holly and Valens -- but it is incalculable. Countless musicians to come in the s...
Football Friday: A Gallery of Alex Karras Detroit Lions Football Cards

Football Friday: A Gallery of Alex Karras Detroit Lions Football Cards

Football Friday, Sports
Former NFL great and all-around media star Alex Karras died earlier this week from complications due to kidney failure. He had been in extremely poor health the last few years of his life. While most of my generation knows him best as Mongo in Blazing Saddles or George Papadapolis from Webster, Karras was first and foremost an outstanding defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions. Karras racked up four Pro Bowl selections in his Detroit career (1958 - 1970) -- which was interrupted by a season-long suspension for gambling in 1963 -- and was later named to the NFL's 1960s All-Decade Team at defensive tackle. As a small tribute to Karras, here is a gallery of football cards representing nearly each of his 12 NFL seasons. (more…)
Football Friday: What Steve Sabol Meant to Me

Football Friday: What Steve Sabol Meant to Me

Football Friday, Sports
One of the few things about the nearly interminable one or two-week buildup between the NFC/AFC championship games and the Super Bowl that I looked forward to was tuning into ESPN and watching hours upon hours of NFL Films' Super Bowl highlight packages. In some ways, watching those 30-minute capsules -- replete with their sweeping orchestral scores and booming narration by John Facenda -- was more rewarding than the games themselves. Through the magic of eBay and torrent sites, I've had the opportunity to watch Super Bowls from the 1970s and early '80s, that I wasn't around to see or was too young to remember. In almost all cases, watching those contests was almost a letdown after memorizing practically every line and every beat from the NFL Films version. Take, for example, ...
Listening Booth — Fleetwood Mac, “Hypnotized” and “Miles Away”

Listening Booth — Fleetwood Mac, “Hypnotized” and “Miles Away”

Listening Booth, Music
Yesterday the sad news broke that former Fleetwood Mac guitarist and singer Bob Welch had died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest. He was 65 years old. This has been an especially bad year for deaths in the entertainment world. Just so much loss. But let's try to forget that for a moment and remember the great music Welch left behind. Here's a rare Listening Booth two-fer in Bob's memory. Both of these come from Fleetwood Mac's underrated 1973 LP Mystery to Me, which I've discussed on this site previously, and they were both written by Welch. There's the melodic, mid-tempo treasure "Hypnotized" and the harder-edged "Miles Away," both of which showcase Welch's talents in singing, songwriting, and guitar playing. Enjoy "Hypnotized" and "Miles Away." RIP Bob. Related articles...
Sunday Jazz: Remembering drumming great Paul Motian

Sunday Jazz: Remembering drumming great Paul Motian

Music, Sunday Jazz
Jazz drumming legend Paul Motian died last Tuesday at age 80 due to complications of a bone marrow disorder. My first exposure to Motian was through his output with Bill Evans in the late '50s and early '60s. Motian was a member of Evans' trio when they recorded a pair of immortal albums at New York's Village Vanguard in 1961 -- Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby. Motian recorded and performed almost up until his death, although to be honest it's his Evans stint I remember the most. But hey, there are worse things to be remembered for, right? For my humble remembrance of Motian, then, a selection from Waltz for Debby. It's the Miles David modal workout "Milestones." Listen to Motian carry the tune along as Evans and bassist Scott LaFaro play off each other brilliantl