The familiar standard, Jeepers Creepers is a collaborative effort between Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer for the 1938 musical comedy film Going Places. In the film Louis Armstrong sings the song to a horse by the name of Jeepers Creepers. Dick Powell and Anita Louise are the film’s stars and it received a nomination for an Oscar for Best Original Song when it premiered in the movie.
The Story: A sporting goods salesman is forced to pose as a famous horseman as part of his scheme to boost sales and gets entangled in his lies.
Malachi Favors was born on August 22, 1927 in Lexington, Mississippi. He learned to play the double bass at age fifteen and began performing professionally upon graduating high school. His early performances included working with Dizzy Gillespie and Freddie Hubbard. By 1965, he was a founder of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and a member of Muhal Richard Abrams’ Experimental Band.
A protégé of Chicago bassist Wilbur Ware, his first known recording was a 1953 session with tenor saxophonist Paul Bascomb. He recorded an LP with Chicago pianist Andrew Hill in 1957. He went on to work with Roscoe Mitchell in 1966 and this group eventually became the Art Ensemble of Chicago.
Malachi worked outside the group, with Sunny Murray, Archie Shepp and Dewey Redman. His most noted records include a solo bass project Nature and the Spiritual in 1977 and Sightsong a duet with Muhal Richard Abrams. In 1994 he played with oudist Roman Bunka at Berlin Jazz Fest where they recorded the German Critics Poll Winner album Color Me Cairo.
Double bassist Malachi Favors, who played in the bebop, hard bop and free jazz genres, passed of pancreatic cancer in 2004 at the age of 76. Though his primary instrument was the double bass, he also plays electric bass, guitar, banjo, zither, gong, and other instruments. At some point in his career he added the word “Maghostut” to his name and because of this he is commonly listed as Malachi Favors Maghostut. He recorded some 46 albums as a member of the Art Ensemble of Chicago and another 24 as a collaborator and sideman.
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William John Evans was born August 16, 1929 in Plainfield, New Jersey and grew up in a turbulent household of abuse. While staying with his aunt family somewhere between age 3 and five he soon began to play what he had heard during his brother’s class and soon he would also receiving piano lessons. At age 7, Bill began violin lessons and also flute and piccolo but eventually dropped those instruments, though it is believed they later influenced his keyboard style.
From age 6 to 13 Evans would only play classical music scores of Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert. During high school he was exposed to Stravinsky and Milhaud but also the jazz of Tommy Dorsey and Harry James. At 13 he stood in for a sick pianist in Buddy Valentino’s rehearsal band where he got his first deviation from the written music, in an arrangement of Tuxedo Junction, leading him to listen to Earl Hines, Coleman Hawkins, Bud Powell, George Shearing, Stan Getz and Nat King Cole among others.
Bill was soon playing dances and weddings throughout New Jersey and then formed his own trio, met Don Elliott, and bassist George Platt who taught him the harmonic principles of music. He would go on to study at Southeastern Louisiana University and in 1955 he moved to New York City where he worked with bandleader and theorist George Russell. In 1958, he joined the Miles Davis Sextet, where he was to have a profound influence. In 1959, the band, then immersed in modal jazz recorded Kind of Blue, the best-selling jazz album of all time.
In late 1959, Evans left the Miles Davis band and began his career as a leader with Scott LaFaro and Paul Motian, a group now regarded as a seminal modern jazz trio. In 1961, ten days after recording the highly acclaimed Sunday at the Village Vanguard and Waltz for Debby, LaFaro died in a car accident. After months of seclusion he re-emerged with bassist Chuck Israel. In 1963, Evans recorded his first innovative solo project Conversations with Myself, and in ’66 met bassist Eddie Gomez who he would work with for eleven years.
He would work with Don Elliott, Tony Scott, Mundell Lowe, Jerry Wald, Lucy Reed, George Russell, Dick Garcia, Art Farmer, Barry Galbraith, Milt Hinton, Joe Puma, Charles Mingus, Oliver Nelson, Eddie Costa, John Coltrane, Cannonball Adderley, Paul Chambers, Philly Joe Jones, Sam Jones, Marc Johnson, Tony Bennett, Marty Morell, Joe LaBarbera and the list goes on.
Despite his success as a jazz artist, Bill suffered personal loss and struggled with drug abuse. Both his girlfriend Elaine and his brother Harry committed suicide, and he was a long time user of heroin and later cocaine. As a result, his financial stability, personal relationships and musical creativity all steadily declined during his later years.
On September 15, 1980 pianist, compose and arranger Bill Evans who played in the modal, third stream cool and post-bop genres, passed away at age 51in New York City from complications due to peptic ulcer, cirrhosis, bronchial pneumonia and untreated hepatitis. His recordings for Riverside, Fantasy and Verve record labels left a seminal collection for the avid and casual listener, he was inducted in the Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, was nominated for 31 Grammys, winning seven awards, and was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
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Stix Hooper was born Nesbert Hooper on August 15, 1938 in Houston, Texas. He developed an interest in music, drums and percussion at a very early age and starting in junior high, under the direction of George Magruder, the school’s band director, he began devoting much of his time to the study of all aspects of music including composition and song writing.
Studying at Phyllis Wheatley High School, spearheaded by band director, Sammy Harris, Stix eventually formed a band called the Swingsters, later on the Modern Jazz Sextet. While matriculating at Texas Southern University he received continual coaching from members of the Houston Symphony Orchestra and other local professional musicians.
A move to the West Coast, he studied music at California State University, Los Angeles and also received coaching from well-known private instructors and his personal mentors. During this time the Jazz Crusaders were formed eventually becoming the Crusaders, a world-renowned entity.
Hooper has performed, collaborated, composed with and produced for a wide range of music greats, including Arthur Fielder, George Shearing, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London, B.B. King, Grant Green, Grover Washington, Jr., Quincy Jones, Marvin Gaye, Nancy Wilson, The Rolling Stones and numerous others.
He is credited with creating an original style of drumming called “Jazz Funk” that has been incorporated in jazz as well as other musical genres. In addition, Stix Hooper has contributed through his work with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences serving as the National Vice Chairman and the first African American to do so, having previously served three terms as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of NARAS, the first ever three term President, and only the second African American President of that chapter.
Among the numerous acknowledgements and accolades he has garnered are 12 Grammy nominations, No. 1 awards from various music media, named one of the top drummers/musicians by Down Beat, Playboy and other publications, and has received an invitation to the White House, keys to major US cities and several international honors. Soul jazz, jazz funk and mainstream drummer Stix Hooper continues to compose, perform, record and tour.
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Thurman Green was born on August 12, 1940 in Texas where he learned to play the trombone. He spent time playing in Los Angeles, California with swinging big bands including the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and was an occasional member of the Horace Tapscott Quintet, unfortunately one of the groups no one bothered to record. He was open-eared enough to play quite credibly in free settings now and then.
In 1962, Green and baritone saxophonist Hamiet Bluiett were jamming buddies at the Navy School of Music in Washington D.C. but they soon went their separate ways hoping to team up again some day. He wpould perform and record with Willie Bobo, Donald Byrd, Ella Fitzgerald, Bobby Hutcherson and Jean-Luc Ponty.
Some thirty-two years later, in 1994, Bluiett who had been recording for the Mapleshade label was able to give his old friend his first opportunity to lead his own record date, Dance of the Night Creatures. It is a shame that it took over four years for the music to finally come out because on June 19, 1997, bebop trombonist Thurman Green suddenly died at age 57.
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