Kenny Clarke was a jazz drummer and an early innovator of the BeBop style of drumming. As the house drummer at Minton's Playhouse in the early 1940s, he participated in the after hours jams that led to the birth of modern jazz. He is credited with creating the modern role of the ride cymbal as the primary timekeeper. Before, drummers kept time on the snare drum ("digging coal", Clarke called it) with heavy support from the bass drum. With Clarke time was played on the cymbal and the bass and snare were used more for punctuation. For this, "every drummer" Ed Thigpen said, "owes him a debt of gratitude." Clarke was nicknamed "Klook" or "Klook-mop" for the style he innovated.
When it comes to one-man bands, guitarist and singer extraordinaire Steve Hill has no limits. Anything goes. He is the true exponent of a one-man band. Steve performs standing up while singing and playing guitar, his feet playing bass drum, snare drum, hi-hats and with a drum stick fused to the head of his trusty guitar, any other percussion within reach.
Perhaps the funkiest album of Herbie Hancock's early- to mid-'70s jazz/funk/fusion era, Man-Child starts off with the unforgettable "Hang Up Your Hang Ups," and the beat just keeps coming until the album's end. "Sun Touch" and "Bubbles" are slower, but funky nonetheless. Hancock is the star on his arsenal of keyboards, but guitarist Wah Wah Watson's presence is what puts a new sheen on this recording, distinguishing it from its predecessors, Head Hunters and Thrust. Others among the all-star cast of soloists and accompanists include Wayne Shorter on soprano sax, Stevie Wonder on chromatic harmonica, and longtime Hancock cohort Bennie Maupin on an arsenal of woodwinds.
Pianist Eliane Elias follows her Latin Grammy win for 2017's magnificent Dance of Time with this set of tunes from the iconic musical Man of La Mancha. During the mid-'90s, Elias was approached by Mitch Leigh, the Tony-winning composer of her musical; he'd followed her career and greatly admired her work. Accompanied by Neil Warner, arranger for the original musical, he commissioned the pianist to rearrange songs from the show. Elias was given complete freedom to choose which songs she wished to record. She hired two rhythm sections: One featured drummer Jack DeJohnette and bassist Eddie Gomez; the other bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Satoshi Takeishi, and master percussionist Manolo Badrena (who plays with both groups). Elias and her sidemen recorded nine songs live in studio. Unfortunately, the completed album was shelved due to contractual issues and seemed doomed to obscurity. Leigh passed in 2014 and never saw its release. Concord rescued the album and added it to their catalog some 23 years after recording.
Self-Made Man contains nearly 80 minutes of all original steamy blues and smokin’ blues-rock, incorporating Chicago, boogie, swamp, swing, and harmonica blues, all recorded with a live-in-the-studio sound that is true to Studebaker John’s stage performances. For more than 25 years, John has been writing, recording and performing only original compositions, along with continuous touring throughout the US, Canada, UK and Europe in support of his music. His songs have been featured in major motion pictures and prime-time TV commercials. Many articles have been written about John in various publications including Guitar One magazine US, Blues in Britain, and a cover story in Back to the Roots magazine in Belgium. His music can be heard on blues radio shows every day around the globe. As a songwriter and musician, Studebaker John has emerged as a major creative force in the world of the blues today. If “Alternative Rock” is a meaningful description of progressive variations of this style of music, then John has laid the foundation for “Alternative Blues”. Ahead of the pack, with vision and foresight, creating a new standard and landscape for this music’s future… with John at the wheel, the future is now.