Love Theme From Spartacus, composed by Alex North for the 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick, starred and produced by Kirk Douglas. The supporting cast included Laurene Olivier, John Gavin, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton, Tony Curtis and Peter Ustinov, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, one of the four the film received. The film became the biggest moneymaker in Universal Studios’ history, until it w as surpassed by Airport in 1970.
The Story: It was inspired by the life story of the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity, Spartacus, and the events of the Third Servile War. In the 1st century BC, the Roman Republic has slid into corruption, its menial work done by armies of slaves. One of these, a proud and gifted man named Spartacus, is so uncooperative in his servitude that he is sentenced to fight as a gladiator. Spartacus forms a quiet relationship with a serving woman named Varinia, whom he refuses to rape when she is sent to “entertain” him in his cell. Rebellion ensues, the senate war is lost, and Spartacus is ultimately crucified but Varinia shows him his new born son before he dies.
Donald Ray Brown was born on March 28, 1954 in Hernando, Mississippi but was raised in Memphis, Tennessee where he learned to play trumpet and drums in his youth. From 1972 to 1975 he studied at Memphis State University by which time he had made piano his primary instrument.
Donald was inducted into Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers from 1981 to 1982, then took teaching positions at Berklee College of Music from 1983 to 1985. He went on to accept a position at the University of Tennessee in 1988.
Brown has recorded extensively as a leader amassing eighteen albums for Evidence, Muse, Sunnyside Records and since 1996 for the Space Time record label. As a sideman he was a part of the recording sessions for three Art Blakey albums – Killer Joe, Keystone 3 and Feeling Good. Jazz pianist Donald Brown continues to perform, record and tour.
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Victor Bailey was born on March 27, 1960 in Philadelphia, New Jersey. He attended Boston’s Berklee College of Music after being disqualified from naval service due to asthma.
Bailey has been extremely active on the jazz scene recording seven albums as a leader. However, he has been more prolific as a sideman recording and touring with the likes of jazz legends and musicians such as Sonny Rollins, Miriam Makeba, Larry Coryell, Lenny White, Kenny Garrett, Roy Haynes, Kenny Kirkland, Sadao Watanabe, Hamiet Bluiet, Kevin Eubanks, Bobby Broom and Steps Ahead among numerous others.
Victor has also worked with Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Sting, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Tom Brown, Najee, Olu Dara and Patrice Rushen. He has a Victor Bailey Signature acoustic bass released by Fender, as well as the Victor Bailey Jazz Bass (Artist Series), available in 4, 5-string, fretted and fretless versions. Jazz bassist Victor Bailey, best known for his contributions to Weather Report during their final years from 1982 to 1986, continues to perform, record and tour.
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Flip Phillips was born Joseph Edward Filipelli on March 26, 1915 in Brooklyn, New York. In the mid-1940s, he was one of the anchors of the Woody Herman band, and also played with the Woodchoppers, a small spin-off group that Herman led. After this period he went out on his own and joined Jazz at the Philharmonic. His deep, strong and articulate playing with a very full sound contrasted him to his successors such as Stan Getz in the subsequent Herman bands.
Phillips recorded extensively for Clef Records, now Verve, in the 1940s and 1950s, including a 1949 album of small-group tracks under his leadership, with Buddy Morrow, Tommy Turk, Kai Winding, Sonny Criss, Ray Brown and Shelly Manne. He accompanied Billie Holiday on her 1952 Billie Holiday Sings album. He became a frequent player at the Odessa Jazz Party in Odessa, Texas from 1971 to 1991.
Tenor saxophonist and clarinet player Flip Phillips, best known for his work with Jazz At The Philharmonic from 1946 to 1957, passed away in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on August 17, 2001 at the age of 86.
Lonnie Hillyer was born on March 25, 1940 in Monroe, Georgia but moved with his family to Detroit at age three, and began studying music at 14 under Barry Harris. By 1960, he moved to New York City where he played with Charles Mingus, Yusef Lateef and Clifford Jarvis. His association with Mingus lasted more than a decade, performing on records such as “My Favorite Quintet” and “Let My Children Hear Music”.
In 1966, Lonnie and fellow Detroit friend Charles McPherson formed a quintet performed together during the years following. Around 1983 he and former Monk tenor saxophonist Charles Rouse formed a jazz quintet “Bebop Quintessence”, with drummer Leroy Williams, pianist Hugh Lawson and bassist Ben Brown.
Over the years of his career Hillyer performed with Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones, Willie Bobo, Barry Harris, Walter Davis Jr., Abbey Lincoln, Eric Dolphy and Pharoah Sanders among others.
Jazz trumpeter Lonnie Hillyer, who was strongly influenced by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Thelonious Monk and other bebop legends of the era, passed away of cancer on July 1, 1985 in New York City.
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