Over the last several years that I have written this blog, I have used the lists of birthdays that I have found at several sites as a source to find new music. What I do is read down the lists, find names of musicians that I don’t know then go to Spotify listen and if I like the music I go and read more about the artist, then I write about them. Here is a post I wrote last year on October 14th, when I discovered Garrison Fewell, and Chris Thomas King…….
This morning I was thinking about how reviewing the birthdays everyday has given me another avenue for discovering new artists Over the last week, I have discovered Terry Gibbs, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Dave Robinson and Mark Whitfield to name a few, which to me is pretty cool! With that being said, it seems that a review of today;’s birthday’s has yielded possibly two more artist and if additional listening confirms what I heard this morning that possible will turn into a definite!!
The first artist that caught my eye was a jazz guitarist born on October 14, 1953 Garrison Fewell. From his biography at AllMusic.com:
”The guitarist formerly known as one of Boston’s most eloquent inside players has become one of its leading experimenters,” writes Boston Phoenix’s Jon Garelick, who included Fewell’s ensemble, the Variable Density Sound Orchestra, on his best of 2009 list. Fewell, a professor at Berklee College since 1977, has toured the globe for more than 35 years as one of the jazz world’s premier performer/educators. He has released 13 recordings for Soul Note, Koch, Splasc(H), Boxholder, Accurate, Nubop and CNM Records. For the past decade, he has collaborated with such renowned avant-garde musicians as John Tchicai, Steve Swell, Roy Campbell, Khan Jamal, Borah Bergman and Curtis Clark. The Variable Density Sound Orchestra, founded in 2008, released three recordings on Creative Nation Music, and balances both aspects of Fewell’s musical personality by showcasing the melodic accessibility and sturdy framework of his compositions as well as the unbridled freedom of free improvisation. Read More
Now I’m not much of a fan of avant-garde jazz or improvisation, at least until I had listed to the Zen Bicycle Band (Dave Robinson) and now, well, I think Mr Fewell will get a good listen either this afternoon or tonight!!
The second artist was a little more difficult to hone in on, the name listed at All About Jazz was Chris Thomas, born on today’s date in 1963, The first Chris Thomas that I came across was born on January 13, 1947 in Perivale, England – not the right Chris! As I searched on, I found a blues musician named Chris Thomas who had the correct birthday! As I read about Chris, I learned that he performed early in his career as Chris Thomas and then added King to his name and became Chris Thomas King. From his biography at AllMusic:
Chris Thomas King (born Chris Thomas on October 14, 1964, Baton Rouge, LA) is the son of respected Louisiana bluesman and club owner Tabby Thomas and thus was surrounded by music from a very young age. He began playing trumpet in sixth grade and learned guitar shortly thereafter, soaking up as much as he could by hanging out at his father’s club. Even so, the young Thomas was still affected more by rock (especially Jimi Hendrix), soul, and early rap music; he didn’t really settle on the blues until his late teenage years when he accompanied his father on a tour of Europe and found the audiences much larger and more enthusiastic than he’d ever experienced at home. Upon his return to the States, Thomas (as he was still known) recorded a demo tape that landed him a deal with Arhoolie Records. He played all the instruments on his debut album, The Beginning, which appeared in 1986. Thomass upported the record with tour dates in Europe and Texas, and afterwards he relocated to Austin, where he spent the next four years expanding his musical horizons and honing a more contemporary sound
Then I discovered that I have seen and heard Chris in the movie “Oh, Brother Where Art Thou”
In late 2000 came King’s breakthrough. For their Deep South retelling of Homer’s Odyssey O Brother, Where Art Thou?, the Coen Brothers cast King in the prominent supporting role of real-life Delta bluesmanTommy Johnson, who claimed to have sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads even before a similar legend spread about Robert Johnson.King also recorded an eerie version of Skip James’ “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” for the soundtrack, which became an unexpected multi-platinum sensation over the course of 2001 and won a surprise Grammy for Album of the Year. King also appeared on Down From the Mountain: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, a live album featuring many of the O Brother artists. Read Full Biography