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Abdullah Ibrahim composers Dollar Brand Jazz Keyboardists Music photography pianists

Supreme Being: Dollar Brand, aka Abdullah Ibrahim.

Tintinyana (African Piano 1969).
Bra Joe from Kilimanjaro.
The Moon.

The great South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, a keyboard giant, is here featured. Though his work reflects the gospel and traditional works of his ancestral home, as well as that of jazz legends Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington, he is much more than their sum. Ibrahim is a master of improvisational high-wire acts that leave the listener spellbound. His is a unique, powerful, mesmeric musical vision.

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Bands hit singles Music music videos photography Sweet

Glam Rampage: The Sweet.

Brian Connolly, Steve Priest, Andy Scott, and Mick Tucker comprised the glam maestros known as {The} Sweet. SchrΓΆdringer’s definite article notwithstanding, these great men rose to achieve world domination in the 70s. Extraordinary catchiness paired with pure power escalated Sweet to the uppermost echelons. They also projected a sense of great fun, often sorely lacking in hard rock.

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composers Jazz Music photography saxophone Sonny Rollins

Jazz Titan: Sonny Rollins.

Tenor saxophone colossus Theodore WalterSonnyRollins is responsible for a great many of the most monumental jazz tracks ever produced. With John Coltrane, he’s unquestionably at the top of the mountain as far as tenor sax is concerned. As an interpreter of ballads, he remains unsurpassed. Those included here are dramatic, monumental. Given the apparent relaxation with which Sonny plays, the cliff-hanging tension he creates is uncanny. His work with calypso material was groundbreaking. Presented here is but a minute offering from the great man’s catalogue. A premier pantheon inhabitant.

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composers Momus Music photography singer songwriters

Mr. Nicholas Currie, aka Momus.

Nick Currie obtained his stage name from the Greek God of satire and mockery. An apt moniker, as the gifted singer/songwriter is supremely adept in both departments. Erudite in the extreme, and equipped with an unfailing wit, the acerbic yet playful Currie has been not only prolific, but highly influential. No less than Jarvis Cocker and Suede’s Brett Anderson list the redoubtable, dependably quirky Momus as an inspiration.

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Bands Cheap Trick hit singles Music music videos photography

Trick, Cheap.

Robin Zander, Tom Peterrson, Bun E. Carlos, and Rick Nielsen made copious amounts of aural nirvana, particularly in the late 70s, as Cheap Trick. The concerts in Budokan were recorded in 1978, but not released in the US until demand became so frenzied that Epic had little choice. Intended solely as a Japanese album, the LP jettisoned the band into the realms of world domination. This was preceded by Heaven Tonight, the band’s greatest studio achievement. Several pieces from this classic are captured here performed live at various venues. Cheap Trick’s highs were nothing short of vertiginous.

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composers Eerie Spatiality epoch-defining Geniuses Jazz Keyboardists Music music videos photography pianists Thelonious Monk

The Mysteries of Monk.

Unquestionably one of the titanic figures of 20th century music, Thelonious Monk composed and performed mountains of material that now has classic status, but during his initial heyday in the 40’s, it was often dismissed as too quirky, too dissonant, too…weird. Well, Monk’s work is indeed all of those things, but in just the right amount. There is an uncanny air of ineffable mystery that permeates his playing that is striking. His style is angular, uses silence beautifully, and is deeply personal and idiosyncratic. Although hugely influential, no one has ever sounded remotely like him.

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Bands composers Music music videos photography Robyn Hitchcock Soft Boys

Dreamer of Trains: Robyn Hitchcock.

Robyn Hitchcock is one of the more prolific and gifted figures in a certain (eccentric) quadrant of music history. After leaving The Soft Boys, a Neo-psych outfit he founded, Hitchcock emerged as a most formidable solo figure. Heavily influenced by Dylan, and Syd Barrett, his compositions tend towards the obscure, the ineffable, the humorous, the surreal. He remains a vital figure to this day.

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Audio Bands hit singles Lou Reed Music music videos photography Punk Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground, and Lou Reed.

The Velvet Underground consisted, in their heyday, of vocalist/guitarist Lou Reed, keyboardist/bassist John Cale, guitarist Sterling Morrison, and Moe Tucker on the drumkit. Doug Yule replaced Cale in 1969, and Teutonic songstress Nico appeared on the group’s debut record.

Often cited as Godfathers of Punk, this hugely influential New York band mixed art rock, minimalism, garage rock, and often quite taboo lyrical subject matter. Brian Eno commented on the group’s initial lack of sales, “Everyone who bought one of those 30,000 albums (referring to the “Banana Album”) ended up starting a band.”

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Music Singers Syd Barrett music videos photography composers Poetic Genius hit singles Auteurs Psychedelic Music Bands

Look Homeward, Angel: The Great Syd Barrett.

Syd Barrett, co-founder and main braintrust of Pink Floyd until his mental state made his departure inevitable, was without doubt one of the greatest, most original musicians of his time. Until being ousted from the band, he contributed the vast majority of the material.

Embarking on a solo career, Barrett composed and performed a wealth of brilliant, if patchwork, songs. Flashes of his genius abounded, but his increasingly erratic behavior made production quite challenging, indeed. Syd released 2 albums worth of material, then retired to private life for the rest of his days.

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Allan Holdsworth Fusion Jazz Miles Davis Music music videos photography

Electric Jazz.

Great moments in so-called Fusion. Miles pretty much invented it, then along came Mahavishnu Orchestra. The latter’s John McLaughlin is a towering instrumentalist, and is featured also in Davis’s Jack Johnson. Belew and Fripp are gods. But perhaps this music’s most brilliant practitioner might be guitarist Allan Holdsworth. A titan of the instrument, revered by Eddie Van Halen, Frank Zappa, and countless others, Holdsworth’s improvisations induce breath-holding and goosebumps.

Addendum: as this post evolves, more will be revealed. Inserting now some Weather Report, featuring Wayne Shorter. And *now*, Jeff Beck.

And furthermore: Pat Martino. And Larry Coryell.