Billy Zane Stars In The First Greek Zombie Film- “To Kako II”

Billy Zane came by the my recording studio (Joey’s Place) yesterday to do some additional voice-over work for the Greek Zombie film “To Kako II”. This is a sequel to the first film (Evil-To Kako) which received critical acclaim globally and has already become a bit of a cult classic. Mind you, these films are the first of their kind from Greece, directed by Yorgos Noussias, who did a fine job not only in the horror aspect, but also with the humorous element inherent to this particular genre.

Don Byas By David Stone Martin

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Somehow Don Byas hasn’t ranked high as far as the value of his records are concerned, probably because he isn’t thought of as a bebop/post war player like Dexter Gordon per se (even though he helped create the idiom), and also because he didn’t record for Blue Note Records (as far as I know). Nevertheless, he was an outstanding tenor player-up there with Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, and the like. This David Stone Martin illustration has always been one of my favorites, and this particular piece is not found as frequently as other releases such as the Jazz At The Philharmonic series.

R.I.P. George Russell

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To say George Russell was a profound musician and thinker is a great understatement. At the age of twenty six years old he penned the classic “Cubana Be Cubana Bop” for Dizzy Gillespie feauturing Chano Pozo (RCA Victor). Then came Ezzthetic, which was recorded by Miles Davis circa 1953. Russell was a disciple of pianist Lennie Tristano, who’s otherworldly music influenced what would become The Lydian Chromatic Concepts Of Tonal Organization. I was fortunate to have studied this theory with David Wheat (aka Buckwheat) back in 1985. It was a bit too advanced for me at the time, but over the years I have been able to understand and apply more and more of it. The Lydian Concept actually helped open my ears, enabling me to hear and write music in a whole new way. Wheat once told me that he and George Russell were at the bedside of Lennie Tristano (as he lay dying in the hospital), taking dictation and transcribing musical information that had never written in books. Russell’s music had a wonderful magic all it’s own, and one of my favorite of all his work is a big band album entitled New York, New York (1959) featuring Jon Hendricks, Bill Evans, and John Coltrane (among other star solists).
This was released the same year as Coltrane’s Giant Steps and Miles’ Kind Of Blue (in fact, without the influence of Russell, there might’ve never been a Kind Of anything). NYNY should’ve ranked as an equally groundbreaking album, but unfortunately it got buried due to the fact it was released on Decca Records which was not known as a Jazz label. In recent years it has been re-released through the Impulse label.
I owe a huge debt to George Russell for having such a profound influence on my musical studies and some of my more sophisticated compositions. He deserves to be more of a household name like Dizzy, Bird, Monk, Miles, Trane, Russell etc etc etc.
George Russell Obituary

Happy Birthday Darlene Love 7-26-1938

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Soul diva Darlene Love was born on July 26, 1938. One of her most noted hits was as lead singer of The Crystals for Phil Spector’s “He’s A Rebel”.
I’ve had the great pleasure of working with Darlene when I was producing music for “Shake, Rattle & Rock”(directed by Allan Arkush). I’ll never forget being in the studio, listening to her warming up with wordless “mmm…mmm…mmms…”. Something about her voice struck me as a thumbprint from my collective childhood memory, then it hit me. I turned and asked if she had recorded the theme song and ending credits from The Jeffersons in the early 70’s. She stopped momentarily, smiling and said, “You’ve got a good ear Joey.”

1959 Mercury Monterey Station Wagon

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As a child during the 70’s post hippie era, these were probably the most dorky cars in existence. Since then though, the station wagons of the 50’s & 60’s have actually taken on a whole different quality of appreciation and rarity. Most of them went through the junk yard crunchers, making them more scarce than traditional sedans. I wonder if the AMC Pacer or Gremlin will ever become a sought after vehicle.