Monday, December 19, 2011

The Billionaire Who Loved Bluegrass

The Bay Citizen has a colorful obituary for F. Warren Hellman, a banjo-picking billionaire and philanthropist. Hellman was a highly-successful financier, which gave him the opportunity to pursue his love of bluegrass and become a moderately successful banjo player; his band the Wronglers appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and at South by Southwest. Among his many philanthropic efforts was founding and endowing San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

The article describes how Hellman took up banjo:
It was also around that time that Hellman discovered the banjo. He bought an instruction book, “How to Play the 5-String Banjo,” by folk legend Pete Seeger. Frustrated at how slowly he was learning, Hellman decided he wanted to take lessons from Seeger himself and called up the singer’s manager. Hellman took it in stride when he was rejected.
We offer no promises that it will turn you into a billionaire, but the library does have Pete Seeger's book, MT562.S44 H6.

The Billionaire Who Loved Bluegrass

Thursday, December 15, 2011

RIP Music Therapy Pioneer Clive Robbins

Clive Robbins, who with Paul Nordoff pioneered music therapy methods for disabled children, died December 7. The library's collection includes lots of material by Robbins. The Nordoff Robbins web site has a full obituary.

In memoriam: Clive Robbins 1927-2011 - Nordoff Robbins - Music Transforming Lives

Monday, December 12, 2011

Unique Grammy Campaigning

The library has lots of books on music marketing such as Booking, Promoting and Marketing Your Music: A Complete Guide for Bands and Solo Artists by Nyree Belleville (ML3790 .B44 2000) and Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution, and Retail by Mike King (ML3795 .K56 2009). But Christopher Morris reports in Variety about a unique marketing scheme. Linda Chorney had not chalked up a single sale of her self-released album Emotional Jukebox on SoundScan, but she still managed to get a Grammy nomination for it through vigorous self-promotion aimed directly at NARAS members.

Grammy's self-help poster girl - Entertainment News, Weekly, Media - Variety

Thursday, December 8, 2011

RIP Blues Guitarist Hubert Sumlin

Blues guitarist Hubert Sumlin, who worked as a sideman with Howlin' Wolf, died December 4 at the age of 80.

Downbeat has an obituary.
Hubert Sumlin, Guitarist for Howlin’ Wolf, Dead at 80

Chicago radio station WXRT has reported that Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have offered to pay for the funeral expenses.
Local Memorial Set For Hubert Sumlin, Mick And Keith Reportedly Pay For Funeral

The library has CDs and DVDs featuring both his work with Howlin' Wolf and his solo material.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RIP Soul Singer Howard Tate

Soul singer Howard Tate died December 2 at age 72. Andy Schwartz pays tribute to him in Rock's Backpages Writers' Blogs:

Howard Tate – REDISCOVERED (2003 CD, liner notes by A.S.)

Discover Tate for yourself with these CDs in the Media Center:

Get It While You Can: The Complete Legendary Verve Sessions (CD 32939)
Howard Tate (CD 19263)
Rediscovered (CD 25975)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Jason Moran named Kennedy Center Artist Advisor for Jazz

Pianist and composer Jason Moran, 36, has been appointed the artistic advisor for jazz for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He replaces Dr. Billy Taylor, who died last year. A Blog Supreme from NPR Jazz offers an analysis praising the appointment.

Gangsterism On The Potomac: Jason Moran And The Kennedy Center : A Blog Supreme : NPR

You can also listen to Moran's work in the Media Center.