James Intveld Portrays Art Pepper At Joey Altruda’s

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Some years ago Laurie Pepper (widow of saxophonist Art Pepper) shot some footage here at my studio for her film project Straight Life, starring James Intveld. It was a stranger than fiction moment as I had read the book Straight Life some years before, had mutual friends with Laurie Pepper (but had never met her), and of course had been friends with James Intveld since the early 80’s L.A. Rockabilly scene. I’m not sure if the film was ever completed as it was a major labor of love for all involved, but I have heard that Laurie P. has made the rounds to various Jazz functions/conventions lecturing and showing some of the footage. The book was a phenomenal read by the way.

Bob Mitchell R.I.P.

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I just returned from Hollywood Forever Cemetery, where funeral services were held for Bob Mitchell. It was nice to see a full house in attendance for this magnificent musician.
For those not aware, Bob Mitchell had a musical career that spanned eleven decades, beginning in 1924 (at age 12) as an organist playing for silent films at the Strand Theater in Pasadena. He later formed the Bob Mitchell Boy’s Choir, which made many film appearances in the 1940’s (most notably with Bing Crosby in Going My Way, and Cary Grant in The Bishop’s Wife). The Choir also made records with Crosby, Frank Sinatra, et. al. When Dodger Stadium opened in 1962, it was Mitchell behind the organ keys, playing “Take Me Out To The Ballgame”.
Music was Bob’s life for 92 years, and his involvement with church was his first and foremost occupation, training generations of choir singers (over 600) for seventy years. At one point he was musical director for six churches and also a synagogue all at the same time. He was completely selfless in his generosity as a teacher, musician and human being . I’ll never forget his radiant smile and beaming soulful eyes, as he accompanied Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, The Keystone Cops and so many other legends of the silver screen at The Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax Ave. Mr. Mitchell was indeed a Hollywood institution and a great role model for many. He passed away Wednesday July 1, at age 96.

Billy Lee Riley Needs Your Help!

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I just read this on Boogie Woogie Flu blog

This notice originally appeared on the Rockabilly Hall of Fame site:

Billy Lee Riley, one of the remaining original Sun Records artists is in VERY bad need of help! Billy has had his share of health problems, and is now battling Stage FOUR bone cancer.

Although MusiCares is helping with house payment, car and such, He and Joyce are totally out of money and can barely afford to eat. This is a CALL FOR HELP to all musicians and fans. Please remember, twenty bucks from all of us would make a HUGE difference in Billy’s life! What if this was you? Let’s all get together and send something today to Billy and Joyce and show them that he means alot to us. If you have a website, a facebook or myspace, please post this need for help on it! We can’t save the world, but it will mean alot in Billy Lee’s life!

His Address is:

Billy Lee Riley
723 Crest Drive
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401

Django Reinhardt + Katie Morgan + Joey Altruda =Fang Bang Stomp!

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Last season I was hired by HBO to compose the theme song for “Katie Morgan’s Sex Tips: Questions Anyone?” (an offshoot miniseries from Pornucopia).
They were looking for something in the tradition of Django Reinhardt’s gypsy swing music of the 1930’s. Needless to say, I immediately thought of a melody that had played through my head several months before when I was bicycling down Fang Bang Road (the old section of Shanghai). The outcome: Fang Bang Stomp, which has just recently been released digitally through about 80 different online stores including iTunes, eMusic, Napster, Rhapsody, LimeWire, Amazon etc. This track also features the saxophone styling of Allen Mezquida, creator of Smigly.