Remembering MARVIN GAYE...

I grew up listening to many of Marvin Gaye tunes. Back in the day, there are many wonderful memories I have of songs like, What's Going On, I Want You, Let's Get It On, Sexual Healing, Distant Lover, and Got to Give it Up. His music touched millions of lives and still does today with a host of his songs being featured covered tracks by artists of varied genres. Even Marvin's Inner City Blues track is a covered album title of my favorite contemporary jazz guitar artist, Doc Powell.

A biography of Marvin Gaye was discovered online at www.history-of-rock.com. I have included a portion of that biography below.
Marvin Pentz Gaye Jr. (the e was added later) was born April 2, 1939 in Washington D.C. His father was a preacher with the obscure House of God and the two often clashed. He had a brother Frankie and sisters jeanne and Zeola (Sweetsie). Gaye was three years old when he began singing in his father's church choir and was soon playing the organ and drums, too. Gaye returned to his hometown of Washington, D.C. and started signing in streetcorner doo wop group The Rainbows.. In 1957 he formed his own group the Marquees. Backed by Bo Diddley, they recorded "Wyatt Earp" for the Okeh label. In 1958, Harvey Fuqua hired the Marquees to be the latest version of the Moonglows, his backing group. However the group soon broke up and Fuqua moved to Detroit to form Tri-Phi Records with his girlfriend Gwen Gordy, bringing Marvin with them.

It was Gwen that introduced Gaye to her brother Berry at Motown's 1960 Christmas party. Soon Gaye was signed to his new Motown Tamla label in 1961. Gaye started as a session drummer at Motown , playing on all the early hits by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles.
"Stubborn Kind of Fellow" Gaye's fourth single, was his first hit in 1962. Over the next ten years working with nearly every producer at Motown, including Holland-Dozier-Holland, Smokey Robinson, and Norman Whitfield, Gaye had over twenty hits. Specializing in mid-tempo ballads, he also had dance hits: "Hitch Hike," (#30, 1963), "Can I Get a Witness" (#22, 1963), and "Baby Don't Do It" (#27, 1964).

Gaye favored romantic and sometimes sensual ballads and felt that his desire to move into a more mainstream, sophisticated style was hampered by Motown's demand for hits. For a singer as unenthusiastic as Gaye later claimed to be, he gave almost every song an inspired reading. His Top Ten Hits include "Pride and Joy," (#10, 1963), "I'll Be Doggone" (#8, 1965), "Ain't That Peculiar" (#8, 1965), and "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You" (#6, 1965). Among his other thirty nine Top Forty singles of this period were "Try It Baby" (#15, 1964) with background vocals by the Temptations, "You're A Wonderful One" (#15, 1964, with backing vocals by the Supremes).

In 1964, Gaye did duets with Mary Wells "Once Upon a Time (#19, 1964) and "What's the Matter With You" (#17, 1964) and Kim Weston for "It Takes Two" (#17, 1967). However, his greatest duets were with Tammi Terrell: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" (#19, 1967), "Your Precious Love" (#5, 1967), "Nothing Like the Real Thing" (#8, 1968), and "You're All I Need to Get By" (#7, 1968) all written and produced by Ashford and Simpson. In 1967 concert, Terrell collapsed into his arms on stage, the first signs of a brain tumor that would kill her three years later. Gaye had his biggest hit of the Sixties with "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" (#1, 1968).

The second phase of Gaye's career began in 1971 with "What's Going On". One of Motown's first artist to have complete artistic control over his records. "What's Going On" was a self-composed and produced song cycle that could be called a concept album. The album hit number six and produced three Top Ten Singles: "What's Going On" (2, 1971), "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler" (#9, 1971, and "Mercy Mercy Me (the Ecology)" (#19, 1974), but the project was one of the many things Gaye did with Motown that he felt was forced upon him. In 1977, he had a #1 hit, "Got to Give It Up, Part 1."

Gaye to move to Europe to record his 1981 release, In Our Lifetimes, which concentrated on his philosophies of love, art, and death. In 1982 he left Motown for Columbia. His first Columbia album Midnight Love sold two million copies and included Sexual Healing" which won a 1982 Grammy for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Male. The instrumental version of Marvin's Sexual Healing was the grammy winner for Best R&B Instrumental Performance. He sang live at the Grammy broadcast and in 1983, in concert at the Radio City Music Hall. Also in 1983, he appeared in one of the more memorable segments of the Motown 25th anniversary television special.

He moved back to the U.S. and into his parents home. where he often quarreled with is father who he had been at odds with since his teenage years. Sadly, his father shot & killed him following a Sunday morning shouting match April 1, 1984. After his death Columbia and Motown collaborated to produce Dream of a Lifetime and Romantically Yours, both based on unfinished recordings from the Sexual Healing sessions. Marvin Gaye inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 1987. In 1992, his daughter Nona launched her own recording career on Third Stone Records. Motown issued a tribute album to Marvin Gaye in 1995.

Thanks, Marvin for sharing your gifts and talent to the world and for ALL the great songs you have written and recorded that even today we still listen to and enjoy and will continue to.

Rest in peace Marvin...


Jazz Violinist Regina Carter Performer Extraordinaire!

High accolades to Regina Carter's exquisite expression of jazz on the violin. I was taken in by her awesome stage presence and performance to the point that I was in tears because my heart was deeply touched. Her grandeur performance was so personal to me because the violin was the first instrument I was formally trained as a youngster. I recall years and years of studies, practice, rehearsals, performances from elementary through high school.

Violinists are known mainly to perform in a highly structured, sheet music environment. This wasn't the case at this concert but this was an adventure that took every listener into another dimension that shifts the paradigm of those that associate a violin in a classical ensemble with overtures, minuets, and numbered movements.

Ultimate improvisation was clearly heard and felt as this violinist extraordinaire poured herself out from within the core of her being. Swinging her violin was done with passion with the bow soaring back and forth across this 4-stringed instrument was fascinating to behold. I'm even more inspired than ever to continue my music theory studies focusing on improv and contemporary jazz more than ever now!

For anyone, who hasn't seen Regina perform, I highly recommend you attend one of her concerts accompanied with her 4-bandmember team. I guarantee you won't be disappointed but will gain an added appreciation for the expression of jazz with this totally LIVE stringed instrument performed by this fascinating jazz artist!


LIVE Hot Cuban Jazz with Eddie Palmieri!!

I recently enjoyed myself while watching and listening to this great bandleader for the first time who among many music recognitions also holds seven Grammy Awards with his first being within the Best Latin Album category!

At a young age he was influenced mostly by jazz, latin, & afro-carribean music but also says that Cuban music provides him with the fundamentals from which he never moves or alters his course. As a man of short stature, he performs many of his songs onstage at the piano while standing but he offers the audience great zeal, excitement & enthusiasm about his wonderfully energetic & spiced up music.

We, in the audience, at his urging willingly gave great support with the latin flavored rhythmic hand clap to accompany his 5-piece percussion & horn playing band members. The audience participation elevated this LIVE salsa experience to a degree that I believe everyone had an added pep in their step that night!!!


An "Exotica" Island Love Story

The following story was written by me June 2004 and inspired from a few titles of songs recorded by contemporary jazz saxophone artist, Paul Taylor.


Not long ago, there was a young maiden from the "Exotica" island near the "Enchanted Garden" of the South Pacific. This island looked rather small from an "Aerial" view but down below it was an oasis of tropical delights with exotic fruits, vegetation, springs with waterfalls, beaches and floral scents everywhere.

The young maiden lived within a small village of beautiful people amidst other villages that "Thrive" on making their island a "Dream Come True" away from home communal to those that "Come Over" from far away places. The "Allure" of this island was also a frequent "Till We Meet Again" and "Runaway" place for the "Pleasure Seeker" at heart. It was common to see couples together in an "Hypnotic", "Dream State", sliding through a "Velvet Rope" whispering sweet somethings to each other with "Sunshine" smiles aglow and "My Love" thoughts in their hearts.

Because the young maiden was very amorous toward the beauty of nature, she had a tendency to "Fade Away", "Deeper" into the island springs and she just loved to "Free Fall" into the flowing showers of the island's "Real Surreal" waterfalls. After coming out of her "Dream State" she begins to realize that she has a "Long Way Home". She thinks to herself…I don't mind it at all and continues "Movin' On" her long journey back home.

One particular day as she is out on her adventurous journey, she comes upon a clear blue water spring. As she kneels and looks intently into this pool of blue as if it were a "Looking Glass" she has the strongest feeling in her heart and hears these words, "Someone Watching Over You". These words woo her and capture her senses so intensely that she holds her breath for a second and then listens intently and hears this time the words the "Time Is Now".

She knows within her exactly what this means. So she stands and listens again intently and she hears a song "On the Horn". A song she has heard many a times in her dreams. A song, she says of my "My Love" beckoning me. She hears him howling with a loud yell from the west and hears the sound of his horn, so she turns toward his sound. She hears the strong rhythm of his heart and his song (the cry of his heart) "Looking for Eve" so she turns and follows his heart and the sound of his song for she says in her heart, Oh how I long to be "Alone with You". He cries out again for his Eve and blows his horn…and she continues to follow his sound and his heart. As he begins to sense his Eve drawing near to him and he sees her coming, he watches her very intently "Undercover", listening to his own heart as he watches her every step & her every move…and he is pleased by her and his heart smiles and is glad.

As they come face to face and heart to heart for the first time, they begin speaking heart to heart "I Want Your Love" with their eyes…through the window of their soul… and as they walk through life together, they enjoy each other through "Groove Zone" because they both love to groove. They also both reveal their romantic heart tendencies to one another during their own private "Twilight Ride" and then again "When the Morning Comes" at the "Summer Park" with warm syrup made from "Raw Sugar".

One late "Tuesday Afternoon" while riding in a "PT Cruiser", they saw a port on the other side of the "Cantina" near the "Hacienda" and decided to take love "Flight 808", to another "Enchanted Garden". Their flight arrives just in time for a beautiful view of a sun setting beach of which the onset brings on those "Deeper", intimate longings they have for one another.

So they live happily ever after doing all the things that bring them longevity and wealth, being lavished in each other's love always and forever.


Doc Powell at Jazz In the Spirit Concert!

I was wonderfully excited to learn that contemporary jazz guitarist, Doc Powell would be performing shortly after my flight arrived in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept 2nd. It seems that for the past year I've wanted to see this artist perform but either he would be somewhere I couldn't be or I would just miss him perform in a city by one week or something like that. Earlier this year, in May, I thought these missing out episodes would change but I couldn't believe that inclement weather was the reason an outdoor, already purchased tickets concert event featuring Doc Powell as well as other great artists such as George Duke, Marion Meadows, Roy Ayers was cancelled.
I was like...oh well...life goes on.

Life does go on but within 4 months I did finally hear and see him perform and I truly enjoyed every moment as not only does his music sound so good but he is one with each song he plays with his own unique style of head motions. I raved when I heard "We'll Make It Last" track from his Inner City Blues CD at this recent LIVE show. Awesome song and awesome CD but on his Cool Like That CD, my favorite tracks are Hatujambo and Push.

Doc Powell's has worked with many rnb icons such as Aretha Franklin, Jeffrey Osborne as well as Grover Washington, Jr., but he gained his first international exposure and recognition while touring with the late Luther Vandross back in the 80's & 90's. His delicate guitar riffs are heard in songs by Luther such as Forever, For Always, For Love; Busy Body; The Night I Fell In Love; Give Me The Reason; and with the Stop To Love track he has this cool "Rock It" groove going.

Solo CD's to his credit include:

97th & Columbus
Life Changes
Inner City Blues
Laid Back
Cool Like That
I Claim the Victory

Word's out that he is working on another recording project that will be released soon!


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