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Derek Trucks, guitarist and songwriter in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, is 44 years old today
Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi in the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Beacon Theatre, New York City, Sept. 20, 2013
Photo by Frank Beacham
Derek Trucks is 44 years old today.
A guitarist, songwriter and founder of the The Derek Trucks Band, Trucks became an official member of The Allman Brothers Band in 1999 and formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band in 2010 with his wife, Susan Tedeschi.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Truck’s uncle, Butch, was a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band. According to Trucks, the name of Eric Clapton's band — Derek and the Dominos — had "something to do with the name [Derek] if not the spelling.”
Trucks bought his first guitar at a yard sale for $5 at age nine and became a child prodigy who played his first paid performance at 11. He began playing the guitar using a "slide" bar because it allowed him to play the guitar despite his small, young hands.
By his 13th birthday, Trucks had played alongside Buddy Guy and gone on tour with The Allman Brothers Band. He formed The Derek Trucks Band in 1996 and by his 20th birthday, he had played with artists including Bob Dylan, Joe Walsh and Stephen Stills.
After performing with The Allman Brothers Band for several years as a guest musician, Trucks became a formal member in 1999 and appeared on the albums Live at the Beacon Theatre and Hittin' the Note. In 2006, Trucks began a studio collaboration with Eric Clapton called The Road to Escondido. Trucks found himself performing with three bands in 17 different countries that year.
Trucks was invited to perform at the 2007 Crossroads Guitar Festival and after the festival he toured as part of Clapton's band. Trucks built a studio in his home in January, 2008, and he and his band recorded the album, Already Free.
Trucks and his wife, Susan Tedeschi, combined their bands to form the Soul Stew Revival in 2007. They performed at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in June, 2008.
In late 2009, Trucks and his band went on hiatus and then dissolved. In 2010, Trucks formed the Tedeschi Trucks Band with his wife. He credits guitarist, Duane Allman, and blues man, Elmore James, as the two slide guitarists that influenced his early style.
However, he has since been inspired by John Lee Hooker, Howlin' Wolf, Albert King, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, Django Reinhardt, Charlie Christian, Wayne Shorter, Freddy King and B.B. King. His music is reported to encompass categories such as jam band, Southern rock and jazz, while simultaneously being rooted in the blues and rock genres.
Trucks plays an eclectic blend of blues, soul, jazz, rock, qawwali music (a genre of music from Pakistan and Eastern India), Latin music and other kinds of world music. He became a fan of Ali Akbar Khan and studied at the Ali Akbar College of Music in San Rafael.
Here, Trucks performs a solo on “Desdemona” with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theatre, New York City
Though the Chinese are credited with inventing ice cream, it was introduced to the United States by Quaker colonists who brought their ice cream recipes with them.
Some of the founding fathers, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, ate and served ice cream regularly.
On June 8, 1786, the first ice cream advertisement appeared in Post Boy, a New York City newspaper. “Ladies and gentlemen may be supplied with ice cream every day at the City Tavern by their humble servant, Joseph Crowe,” the ad read.
The first ice cream was sold in New York City at 75 Chatham Street, which is now Park Row.
Residents of Washington, D.C. would be exposed to ice cream three years later, when Alexander Hamilton’s wife, Elizabeth, who discovered it in New York, introduced ice cream at a ball.
First Lady Dolley Madison is also closely associated with the early history of ice cream in the United States. As the wife of President James Madison, she served ice cream at her husband's Inaugural Ball in 1813.
Edward G. Robinson and Fredric March
Several Hollywood figures — including film stars Frederic March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson — were named in a FBI report as Communist Party members 74 years ago today.
Such reports, such as the one in 1949, helped to fuel the anticommunist hysteria in the United States during the late-1940s and 1950s. The FBI report relied largely on accusations made by "confidential informants," supplemented with some highly dubious analysis.
It began by arguing that the Communist Party in the United States claimed to have "been successful in using well-known Hollywood personalities to further Communist Party aims." The report particularly pointed to the actions of the Academy Award-winning actor Frederic March.
Suspicions about March were raised by his activities in a group that was critical of America's growing nuclear arsenal (the group included other well-known radicals such as Helen Keller and Danny Kaye). March had also campaigned for efforts to provide relief to war-devastated Russia.
The report went on to name several others who shared March's political leanings: Edward G. Robinson, Paul Robeson, Dorothy Parker and a host of Hollywood actors, writers and directors.
The FBI report was part of a continuing campaign by the U.S. government to suggest that Hollywood was rife with communist activists who were using the medium of motion pictures to spread the Soviet party line. Congressional investigations into Hollywood began as early as 1946.
In 1947, Congress cited 10 Hollywood writers and directors for contempt because they refused to divulge their political leanings or name others who might be communists. The "Hollywood Ten," as they came to be known, were later convicted and sent to prison for varying terms.
In response to this particular round of allegations from the FBI, movie tough-guy Edward G. Robinson declared:
"These rantings, ravings, accusations, smearing and character assassinations can only emanate from sick, diseased minds of people who rush to the press with indictments of good American citizens. I have played many parts in my life, but no part have I played better or been more proud of than that of being an American citizen."
Boz Scaggs is 79 years old today.
A singer, songwriter and guitarist, Scaggs gained fame in the 1960s as a guitarist and sometimes lead singer with the Steve Miller Band. In the 1970s, with several solo Top 20 hit singles in the United States, he released the #2 album, Silk Degrees. He continues to write and record music.
Born in Canton, Ohio, Scaggs is the son of a traveling salesman. The family moved to McAlester, Oklahoma, then to Plano, Texas (at that time a farm town), just north of Dallas. He attended a Dallas private school, St. Mark's School of Texas, where a schoolmate gave him the nickname "Bosley." This was later shortened to "Boz."
After learning guitar at the age of 12, he met Steve Miller at St. Mark's School. In 1959, he became the vocalist for Miller's band, the Marksmen. The pair later attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison together, playing in blues bands like The Ardells and the Fabulous Knight Trains.
Leaving school, Scaggs briefly joined the burgeoning rhythm and blues scene in London. After singing in bands such as the Wigs and Mother Earth, he traveled to Sweden as a solo performer, and, in 1965, recorded his solo debut album, Boz, which was not a commercial success.
Returning to the U.S., Scaggs promptly headed for the booming psychedelic music center of San Francisco in 1967. Linking up with Miller again, he appeared on the Steve Miller Band's first two albums, Children of the Future and Sailor.
After being spotted by Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Scaggs secured a solo contract with Atlantic Records in 1968. He his second album, Boz Scaggs, the next year.
Despite good reviews, his sole Atlantic album, Boz Scaggs, featuring the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section and session guitarist, Duane Allman, performing Fenton Robinson's "Loan Me A Dime," achieved only moderate sales. So did his follow-up albums on Columbia Records.
The Atlantic album (SD-8239) eventually went out of print and in 1977, it was completely remixed and reissued on Atlantic (SD-19166). This remix is the version currently available on CD.
In 1976, using session musicians who would later form Toto, he recorded Silk Degrees. The album reached #2 on the U.S. Billboard 200, and #1 in a number of countries across the world. It spawned three hit singles: "Lowdown," "Lido Shuffle" and "What Can I Say," as well as "We're All Alone," later recorded by Rita Coolidge and Frankie Valli. "Lowdown" sold over a million records in the United States.
Scaggs continued to record and tour throughout the 1980s and 1990s. For a time, he was semi-retired from the music industry. He opened the San Francisco nightclub, Slim's, in 1988.
Scaggs and his wife, Dominique, grow grapes in Napa County, California, and have produced their own wine.
On this day in 1949 — 74 years ago — George Orwell's novel of a dystopian future, Nineteen Eighty-Four, was published.
The novel's all-seeing leader, known as "Big Brother," became a universal symbol for intrusive government and oppressive bureaucracy.
George Orwell was the nom de plume of Eric Blair, who was born in India. The son of a British civil servant, Orwell attended school in London and won a scholarship to the elite prep school Eton, where most students came from wealthy upper-class backgrounds, unlike Orwell.
Rather than going to college like most of his classmates, Orwell joined the Indian Imperial Police and went to work in Burma in 1922. During his five years there, he developed a severe sense of class guilt. Finally, in 1927, he chose not to return to Burma while on holiday in England.
Orwell, choosing to immerse himself in the experiences of the urban poor, went to Paris, where he worked menial jobs. He wrote Down and Out in Paris and London in 1933, based on his observation of the poorer classes. In 1937, Road to Wigan Pier documented the life of the unemployed in northern England. Meanwhile, he had published his first novel, Burmese Days, in 1934.
Orwell became increasingly left wing in his views, although he never committed himself to any specific political party. He went to Spain during the Spanish Civil War to fight with the Republicans, but later fled as communism gained an upper hand in the struggle on the left.
His barnyard fable, Animal Farm (1945), shows how the noble ideals of egalitarian economies can easily be distorted. The book brought his first taste of critical and financial success.
Orwell's last novel, Nineteen Eighty-four, brought him lasting fame with its grim vision of a future where all citizens are watched constantly and language is twisted to aid in oppression.
Orwell died of tuberculosis in 1950.
Publicly, the move would be cast as an amicable split, with Brian Jones stating of his fellow Rolling Stones, "I no longer see eye-to-eye with the others over the discs we are cutting."
Behind the scenes, however, Jones' prodigious appetite for drugs and alcohol had long rendered him almost a non-functioning member of the band.
A prodigious musical talent who was said to be able to master a new instrument in a single day, Jones had helped pioneer the use of exotic instruments in rock and roll on such classic Stones tracks as "Lady Jane" (featuring Jones on dulcimer), "Under My Thumb" (marimba) and "Paint It Black" (sitar).
On this day in 1969 — 54 years ago — Jones' bandmates declared his decadence more than they could bear, firing the once-brilliant instrumentalist who had given so many early Rolling Stones songs their distinctive sound.
It was Brian Jones who had brought the Rolling Stones together in the first place and given the group its name back in 1962. Though he was barely out his teens, Jones had already established himself as one of the most talented guitarists on the burgeoning blues revival scene in Britain.
He had also earned a reputation as a committed nonconformist, having shocked his upper middle class family by leaving school and fathering two children out of wedlock by the time he was 16.
"Many attitudes and sounds of the 60s were developed from Brian's style and determination," wrote fellow-Stone, Bill Wyman, in his 1990 book, Stone Alone: The Story of a Rock 'n' Roll Band. "He was the archetypal middle-class kid screaming to break away from his background, bumming around in dead-end jobs before finally finding his niche. And when he found it, he hammered it across to the world, with idealism and commitment."
It was Mick Jagger and Keith Richards who went to Jones with the news that he was out of the group on this day in 1969. "Nowadays, you could say, 'Brian, you have to go to this centre in Arizona for a couple of months to clean up,'" Mick Jagger has said, "but in those days that wasn't as obvious an option."
Less than one month after his departure from the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones was found dead in his swimming pool at his Sussex, England, home. He was 27 years old.
Frank Lloyd Wright, architect, was born 156 years ago today.
Wright was not only an architect, but a interior designer, writer and educator who designed more than 1,000 structures and completed 532 works. He believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment — a philosophy he called organic architecture.
This philosophy was best exemplified by his design for Fallingwater (1935), which has been called "the best all-time work of American architecture."
Wright was a leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture and developed the concept of the Usonian home, his unique vision for urban planning in the United States. His work includes original and innovative examples of many different building types, including offices, churches, schools, skyscrapers, hotels and museums.
Wright also designed many of the interior elements of his buildings, such as the furniture and stained glass. He authored 20 books and many articles and was a popular lecturer in the United States and in Europe. His colorful personal life often made headlines, most notably for the 1914 fire and murders at his Taliesin studio.
Already well known during his lifetime, Wright was recognized in 1991 by the American Institute of Architects as "the greatest American architect of all time."
He died at age 91 in 1959.
Jerry Stiller was born 96 years ago today.
A comedian and actor, Stiller spent many years in the comedy team, Stiller and Meara, with his wife, Anne Meara, who died on May 23, 2015.
Stiller and Meara were the parents of actor Ben Stiller (with whom he co-starred in the movies, Zoolander, Heavyweights, Hot Pursuit and The Heartbreak Kid) and actress Amy Stiller.
Stiller was best known for his recurring role as Frank Costanza on the television series, Seinfeld, and his supporting role as Arthur Spooner on the television series, The King of Queens.
In the 1953, in a Phoenix Theater production of Coriolanus (produced by John Houseman), Jerry Stiller, Gene Saks and Jack Klugman formed a trio of Shakespearian clowns.
Stiller died from natural causes at his home on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on May 11, 2020.
Tony Rice was born 72 years ago today.
A guitarist and bluegrass musician, Rice was considered one of the most influential acoustic guitar players. His work spanned the range of acoustic music, from traditional bluegrass to jazz-influenced New Acoustic music to songwriter-oriented folk.
Over the course of his career, he played alongside J. D. Crowe and the New South, David Grisman (during the formation of “Dawg Music”) and Jerry Garcia. He led his own Tony Rice Unit, collaborated with Norman Blake and recorded with his brothers, Wyatt, Ron and Larry. He co-founded the Bluegrass Album Band.
Rice recorded with drums, piano, soprano sax, as well as with traditional bluegrass instrumentation.
Born in Danville, Virginia, Rice grew up in Los Angeles. There he was introduced to bluegrass by his father, Herb Rice, a semi-professional musician. Tony and his brothers learned the fundamentals of bluegrass and country music from hot L.A. pickers like the Kentucky Colonels, led by Roland and Clarence White.
Clarence White, in particular, became a huge influence on Rice. Crossing paths with fellow enthusiasts like Ry Cooder, Herb Pedersen and Chris Hillman reinforced the strength of the music he had learned from his father.
In 1970, Rice had moved to Louisville, Kentucky where he played with the Bluegrass Alliance. A short time later, he joined J.D. Crowe's New South. New South was known as one of the best and most progressive bluegrass groups — eventually adding drums and electric instruments (to Rice's displeasure).
But when Ricky Skaggs joined up in 1974, the band recorded "J. D. Crowe & the New South," an acoustic album that became Rounder’s top-seller up to that time.
At this point, the group consisted of Rice on guitar and lead vocals, Crowe on banjo and vocals, Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Skaggs on fiddle, mandolin and tenor vocals and Bobby Slone on bass and fiddle.
Around the same time, Rice met mandolinist, David Grisman, who played with Red Allen during the '60s. He was now working on some original material that blended jazz, bluegrass and classical styles.
Rice left New South and moved to California to join Grisman’s all-instrumental group. As part of the David Grisman Quintet, in order to expand his horizons, as well as make himself more marketable, Rice began studying chord theory. He learned to read charts and expanded the range of his playing beyond his first and foremost love, Bluegrass.
Renowned guitarist John Carlini was brought in to teach Rice music theory, and Carlini helped him learn the intricacies of jazz playing and musical improvisation in general.
The David Grisman Quintet's 1977 debut recording is considered a landmark of acoustic string band music. In 1979, Rice left Grisman's group to pursue his own brand of music. He recorded "Acoustics," a jazz-inspired acoustic record, and then Manzanita, a collection of vocals and instrumentals, mostly in the bluegrass, but also folk style. This album doesn't include the five-string banjo.
In 1980, Rice, Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Doyle Lawson and Todd Phillips formed a highly successful coalition, attacking bluegrass standards under the name the Bluegrass Album Band. This group recorded six volumes of music from 1980 to 1996. These recordings have become as famous and are imitated as the originals.
Rice’s solo career hit its stride with "Cold on the Shoulder," a collection of bluegrass-inspired vocals. With this album, "Native American" and "Me & My Guitar," Rice arrived at a formula that incorporated his disparate influences. He combined bluegrass, the songwriting of folk artists like Ian Tyson, Joni Mitchell, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, Bob Dylan and especially Gordon Lightfoot, with nimble, jazz-inflected guitar work.
Simultaneously, he pursued his jazz-infused, experimental “spacegrass” with the Tony Rice Unit on the albums "Mar West," "Still Inside" and "Backwaters,"
In his final years, Rice had health issues. He developed a condition in his vocal chords — muscle-tension dysphonia — in the 90s that has made it difficult to near impossible for him to sing. He also had tendinistis and arthritis.
During the IBMA 2013 Award show, Rice demonstrated to the audience that his voice was gradually coming back. However, it was the last time he played guitar in public due to the lateral epicondylitis that affected his ability to play in his final years.
The authorized biography of Tony Rice, titled "Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story," by Tim Stafford (a member of award-winning bluegrass ensemble, Blue Highway) and Hawaii journalist Caroline Wright, was published by Word Of Mouth Press in Kingsport, Tennessee in 2010.
Rice died at his home in Reidsville, North Carolina on December 25, 2020. He died while making coffee, according to a statement from longtime friend and collaborator Ricky Skaggs.
Here Rice and his Tony Rice Unit perform “Shady Grove” in 2011 at the Fur Peace Ranch
Skirt, New York City, 1942
Photo by Helen Levitt