jazz drummer Steve Reid


Posted: 2010-04-14

Steve Reid: 1944-2010

On Monday night, drumming great Steve Reid died at the age of sixty-six after a battle with cancer. He leaves behind a legacy that’s explicitly known by few but surely felt by many. A couple of years ago we profiled what is sadly now his last record released in his lifetime, the superb Daxaar, the result of an inspired collaboration with Kieren Hebden (Four Tet). Below is a reprint of that original review, which also sheds light on his amazing background and why his passing is a great loss in the music world:

For both the man and the music, it’s a story of three continents.

Bronx native drummer Steve Reid has been everywhere and played for nearly everyone. He grew up across the street from Thelonius Monk and three blocks from John Coltrane. As a teenager he drummed for Martha Reeves and the Vandellas–that’s his distinctive backbeat on “Dancing In The Street"— and eventually worked with a staggering array of artists ranging from Fats Domino to James Brown to Miles Davis to Henry Threadgill and everyone in between.

To escape the draft and the Vietnam War in the late sixties, Reid hopped on a cargo ship to Africa and lived there for three years. Upon returning to the States, he was tried and convicted of draft evasion and was sentenced to four years in a federal pen. Even then, he made music connections, meeting jazz legend Jimmy Heath while in the clink. At some point after release, Reid moved to Switzerland.

Except for a spurt of activity in the mid-seventies, it’s only recently in his long and colorful career that Reid had earnestly begun to record his own albums. Even more recently, Reid has taken on electronica guru Four Tet aka Kieren Hebden as his collaborator (Spirit Walk (2005), The Exchange Session, Vols. 1 & 2 (2006) and Tongues (2007)).

Now, Reid has come full circle in a sense by going back to Africa, a continent he hadn’t set foot in for decades, and recording a set of tracks in the city in Senegal called Dakar but was formally spelled Daxaar. The product of these Janaury, 2007 sessions was released this past February 5th.

Reid took Hebden with him there to be the producer as well as his Russian keyboardist Boris Netsvetaev and they hooked up with African musicians Jimi Mbaye (guitar), Dembel Diop (bass), Roger Ongolo (cornet/trumpet) and Khadim Badji (percussion). His ensemble for this release is truly a multi-continental one. And the music?

Well, the first track “Welcome" is decidedly African. Isa Kouyate guests on it and the piece features his kora (West Africa harp) as well as his vocals sung in a local language. It’s a pleasant, fairly short tune but isn’t indicative at all of the rest of the album.

For the remainder of the recordings, Reid set the rhythms and asked his band to just play around it. As he put it, “when you can improvise on the rhythms you can’t go wrong." The results are five, 6-10 minutes tracks that are soul-jazz jams, with subdued improvising and little in the way of changes.

These jams’ blues-based chords set by Netsvetaev’s organ and Mbaye’s Les Paul, and underscored by a strong percussion section, make the music sound more like early Santana than anything straight out of Africa. Mbaye even goes as far as aping Carlos a bit in “Big G’s Family." Unlike most of the San Francisco area jam-based bands of the late-sixties and early-seventies, however, Reid’s ensemble is more steadfastly dedicated to the groove. You’d sometimes like to hear the soloists stretch out a bit more, though, as Ongolo and Mbaye in particular hint of being able to do much more. On “Dabronxxar," for example, they begin to suggest of their abilities before they fade back into the mlange.

In addition to handling the production chores, Hebden supplies the odd electronic sounds on some of the tracks, but without making it too intrusive. It’s perhaps the only hint that these otherwise-organic sounds were made in the 21st century.

Make no mistake; this isn’t the heavy, avant garde ethereal jazz of Spirit Walk, Reid’s last record. Daxaar is exactly what Steve Reid described it as: “regular groovy, happy music." On those more modest terms, Reid succeeded and succeeded well.

Below is a short documentary on the making of this album in Dakar, Senegal, including snippets from a few of the tracks:

author J.D. Salinger


Author J.D. Salinger Dies at 91

Thursday January 28, 2010

J.D. Salinger, whose iconic novel Catcher in the Rye is considered a cultural high point of the middle 20th century, died Wednesday. He was 91.

The reclusive author died of natural causes at his home in Cornish, N.H., his son said in a statement released by Salinger’s literary representative. The Manhattan-born and raised Salinger had lived for more than 50 years in self-imposed isolation in New England.

Jerome David Salinger earned his lofty reputation with his 1951 novel about iconoclastic teenager Holden Caulfield. The writer also became something of a legend for, among many things, turning down decades’ worth of requests from Hollywood to turn his most famous work into a movie.

Besides Catcher, Salinger also wrote the collection Nine Stories and two compilations, each with two long stories about the fictional Glass family. They were Franny and Zooey and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction.

actress Frances Reid


Days of Our Lives Matriarch Dies at 95

Thursday February 04, 2010

Days of Our Lives matriarch Frances Reid, who played Alice Horton on the long-running soap, died Wednesday at the age of 95.

Reid appeared last on NBC’s hit show in December of 2007. She also had roles on As the World Turns and The Edge of Night.

"I’m so sad to hear the news about Frances Reid," Tweeted actress Alison Sweeney, who plays Sami on Days. "She was a truly talented actress and we are all lucky and proud to have known her."

Reid played the silver-haired, mild-mannered matriarch of the show’s Horton clan since 1965 – a role she initially turned down.

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, Reid was raised in Berkeley, Calif., and later moved to New York to pursue her acting career on the stage. She landed roles in Cyrano de Bergerac, Hamlet and Twelfth Night.

Her character on Days was seemingly killed off by the show’s Salem Stalker in 2004, but it turned out to be a hoax and she returned later the same year.

Reid won the Daytime Emmy’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004 and was married to late actor Philip Bourneuf for 43 years. She had no children.

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Dixie Carter, ‘Designing Women’, dies 70

Dixie Virginia Carter (May 25, 1939 – April 10, 2010)  was an American actress, having appeared in films, television and on stage. She was best-known for her long-running role in the sitcom Designing Women (1986-1993). She had been nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives in 2007.

Death of Dixie Carter
Dixie Carter died on April 10, 2010. No cause was immediately disclosed. Carter is survived by Hal Holbrook, her husband of nearly 26 years, and two daughters from a previous marriage.

In 2006-07 Carter found renewed fame with a new generation of fans as the very disturbed and disturbing Gloria Hodge on Desperate Housewives, earning an Emmy nomination for her work on the series. Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry started out in Hollywood as Carter’s assistant on the set of Designing Women.

Lech Kaczy?ski, President of Poland, dies in Plane crash

Lech Aleksander Kaczy?ski (June 18, 1949 – April 10, 2010) was the President of the Republic of Poland from 2005 to 2010, a politician of the party Prawo i Sprawiedliwo?? (Law and Justice, PiS). Kaczy?ski served as Mayor of Warsaw from 2002 until 22 December 2005, the day before his presidential inauguration. He was the identical twin brother of the former Prime Minister of Poland and current Chairman of the Law and Justice party, Jaros?aw Kaczy?ski.

Death of Lech Kaczy?ski
On 10 April 2010, he and his wife Maria Kaczy?ska died when a Polish Air Force Tupolev Tu-154 crashed while attempting to land at Smolensk-North airport in Russia. There were no survivors on the plane, which was carrying senior Polish government officials on a trip to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

Lech Kaczynski was 60 yearsold at the time of his death

All 96 passengers died in a 26 years old plane. most passengers were Polish state delegates. 

News Clip on the Airplane

*comment closed for politician

Meinhardt Raabe, ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Munchkin Coroner, Dies 94

Meinhardt Raabe (September 2, 1915 – April 9, 2010) was an American  actor. One of the last surviving Munchkin-actors in The Wizard of Oz, he was also the last surviving cast member with any dialogue in the film.

Raabe still made occasional appearances at Wizard of Oz conventions and celebrations across the country. In 2008 he was honored by the International Wizard of Oz Club with the organization’s L. Frank Baum Memorial Award.

Death of Meinhardt Raabe
He died on April 9, 2010 from a heart attack at age 94.

He was the coroner in The Wizard of Oz in 1939, with his only lines being:

As coroner, I must aver
I thoroughly examined her
And she’s not only merely dead
She’s really, most sincerely dead!

John Forsythe, ‘Dynasty’, ‘Charlie’s Angels’, Dies 92

John Lincoln Freund
Born: January 29, 1918 Penns Grove, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 2, 2010 (aged 92) Santa Ynez, California

John Forsythe an American  stage, television and film actor. Forsythe starred in three television series, spanning three decades, as single playboy father Bentley Gregg in the 1950s sitcom Bachelor Father (1957–1962); as the unseen millionaire Charles Townsend on the 1970s crime drama Charlie’s Angels (1976–1981), and as ruthless and beloved patriarch Blake Carrington on the 1980s soap opera Dynasty (1981–1989). He hosted World of Survival during the 1970s. Forsythe appeared each year to read children’s fiction during the annual Christmas program near his home at the rural resort community of Solvang, California, north of Los Angeles.

In 1947, Forsythe joined the initial class of the soon-to-be prestigious Actors Studio, where he met other promising young actors including Marlon Brando and Julie Harris. During this time he appeared on Broadway in Mister Roberts and The Teahouse of the August Moon.

In 1955, Alfred Hitchcock cast Forsythe in the movie The Trouble with Harry, with Shirley MacLaine in her first movie appearance. The film was unsuccessful at the box office.

Death of John Forsythe
John Forsythe died from complication of pneumonia.
John Forsythe was 92 years old at the time of his death

John Forsythe & Linda Evans on Donny & Marie

 John Forsythe’s Filmography & TV work continues next page


    * Northern Pursuit (1943)
    * Destination Tokyo (1943)
    * The Captive City (1952)
    * It Happens Every Thursday (1953)
    * The Glass Web (1953)
    * Escape from Fort Bravo (1953)
    * American Harvest (Revised Edition) (1955) (short subject) (narrator)
    * The Trouble with Harry (1955)
    * The Ambassador’s Daughter (1956)
    * Everything But the Truth (1956)
    * Dubrowsky (1959)
    * Kitten with a Whip (1964)
    * Madame X (1966)
    * In Cold Blood (1967)
    * Silent Treatment (1968)
    * Murder Once Removed (1971)
    * Topaz (1969)
    * The Happy Ending (1969)
    * Goodbye and Amen (1977)
    * …And Justice for All (1979)
    * Scrooged (1988)
    * Stan and George’s New Life (1991)
    * We Wish You a Merry Christmas (1999) (voice) (direct-to-video)
    * Charlie’s Angels (2000)
    * Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle (2003)

Television work

    * Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)
    * Bachelor Father (1957–1962)
    * The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962)
    * See How They Run (1964)
    * The John Forsythe Show (1965–1966)
    * A Bell for Adano (1967)
    * Shadow on the Land (1968)
    * To Rome With Love (1969–1971)
    * Murder Once Removed (1971)
    * The World of Survival (1971–1977) (narrator)
    * The Letters (1973) (unsold pilot)
    * Lisa, Bright and Dark (1973)
    * Cry Panic (1974)
    * The Healers (1974)
    * Terror on the 40th Floor (1974)
    * The Deadly Tower (1975)
    * Charlie’s Angels (1976–1981)
    * Amelia Earhart (1976)
    * Tail Gunner Joe (1977)
    * Emily, Emily (1977)
    * Never Con a Killer (1977) (pilot for The Feather and Father Gang)
    * Cruise Into Terror (1978)
    * With This Ring (1978)
    * The Users (1978)
    * A Time for Miracles (1980)
    * Dynasty (1981–1989)
    * Sizzle (1981)
    * Mysterious Two (1982)
    * On Fire (1987)
    * Miss Universe Pageant (1989)
    * Opposites Attract (1990)
    * Dynasty: The Reunion (1991)
    * The Powers That Be (1992–1993)
    * I Witness Video (host from 1993–1994)
    * People’s Century (1995) (miniseries) (narrator in U.S. version)
    * Dynasty Reunion: Catfights & Caviar (2006)

Robert Culp, ‘I Spy’, ‘The Greatest American Hero’, Dies 79

Robert Martin Culp
Born: August 16, 1930 Oakland, California, United States
Died: March 24, 2010 (aged 79) Los Angeles, California

Robert Culp was an American actor and scriptwriter, perhaps best known for his work in television. Culp earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy (1965-1968), the espionage  series, where he and co-star Bill Cosby played a pair of secret agents.

Culp came to national attention very early in his career as the star of the 1957-59 Western television series Trackdown  in which he played Texas Ranger Hoby Gilman.

He played a murderer in three separate Columbo episodes.
In 1981 he got his big break back into the television realm when he starred in The Greatest American Hero.

One of his most recent recurring roles was a part on Everybody Loves Raymond as Warren Whelan, Ray’s father-in-law.

He appeared on episodes of many other television programs including a 1961 season three episode of "Bonanza" titled Broken Ballad, as well as The Golden Girls, The Nanny, The Girls Next Door and Wings.

Death of Robert Culp
Culp died on March 24, 2010 after a fall that took place outside his Los Angeles home.  Robert Culp was 79 years old at the time of his dealth.

Robert Culp (as a waiter) on "Get Smart"