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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Newport Folk Festival. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Newport Folk Festival. Show all posts

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Ball and Chain - Big Mama Thornton with Buddy Guy

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. She was the first to record the hit song "Hound Dog" in 1952. The song was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks in 1953. The B-side was "They Call Me Big Mama," and the single sold almost two million copies. Three years later, Elvis Presley recorded his version, based on a version performed by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys. In a similar occurrence, she wrote and recorded "Ball 'n' Chain," which became a hit for her. In 1965 she performed with the American Folk Blues Festival package in Europe. While in England that year, she recorded Big Mama Thornton in Europe and followed it up the next year in San Francisco with Big Mama Thornton with the Chicago Blues Band. Both albums came out on the Arhoolie label. Thornton continued to record for Vanguard, Mercury, and other small labels in the 1970s and to work the blues festival circuit until her death in 1984, the same year she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

During her career, she appeared on stages from New York City's Apollo Theater in 1952 to the Newport Jazz Festival in 1980, and was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. In addition to "Ball 'n' Chain" and "They Call Me Big Mama," Thornton wrote twenty other blues songs.

In the 1970s years of heavy drinking began to hurt Thornton's health. She was in a serious auto accident but recovered to perform at the 1983 Newport Jazz Festival with Muddy Waters, B.B. King, and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson, a recording of which is called The Blues—A Real Summit Meeting on Buddha Records.

Thornton died of a heart attack in Los Angeles on July 25, 1984, at age 57.
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Saturday, November 12, 2011

News from Stephanie Trick

Newsletter headerTraverse City Concert
I had the opportunity to play a concert with Mr. B. (Mark Braun, the fantastic blues and boogie pianist from Ann Arbor, Michigan) in beautiful Traverse City. We had a blast playing duets with each other, and the attendees were so lovely and enthusiastic. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures or videos from this concert, but you'll have to take my word for it that there was a lot of energy in that auditorium! I also had some free time to enjoy the changing fall colors on the peninsula, as well as some delicious chocolate-covered dried cherries from the "cherry capital of the world!"
Piano Summit in Cincinnati
Another highlight of my travels was Ricky Nye's Blues and Boogie Piano Summit, which took place last weekend at the historic Southgate House in Newport, Kentucky.  Ricky is an excellent organizer and host, and the musicians had the chance to play together in many different situations.  So by the time the concert rolled around on Saturday night, we were all very excited to get to present the show.
Blues and Boogie Summit musicians
With pianists Jörg Hegemann, Rob Rio, Chase Garrett, Ricky Nye, and Fabrice Eulry in Newport, Kentucky, at Ricky Nye's 13th Annual Blues and Boogie Piano Summit (Photo credit: Andrew Elias)

It was an honor for me to share the bill with Ricky, who does so much for the music scene in Cincinnati; Jörg Hegemann, one of the leading disciples of Albert Ammons from Dortmund, Germany; and Rob Rio, a fine blues and boogie pianist from Los Angeles.  I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities to play with the other musicians: Jörg and I did a duet on an Ammons boogie, and then I performed several selections, including this one, with Chris Douglas (bass) and Brian Aylor (drums).  It was a total blast, and I hope that those of you who are in the area next year during Ricky's event make a point to go.  I'm sure you'll have a great time!
Something More Available on CD Baby
I'm happy to announce that the first shipment of my new CD, Something More, has already sold out on CD Baby!  More are on the way.  So if you don't already have your copy, you can go and place your order.  It will be shipped to you next Wednesday, by which time it should be back in their inventory.  This is my first album with a trio.  I think you'll like it!  Here's what some fellow musicians who have listened to it have said:
  • Your technique and clarity of approach are amazing.  "These Foolish Things" is especially beautiful.
  • "I'm Gonna Sit..." is great.  Your playing there often evokes Ralph Sutton.  Great that you added "Look Out Lion" to your repertoire.  It's a fantastic piece.  Very nice articulation and accentuation!  Your stride showpieces ("Minor Drag," "Valentine Stomp") are very impressive, as usual!!  Beautifully quiet rendition of "These Foolish Things."  The coda, especially, is wonderful!  Your rendition of "Passionette" is beautiful, especially the touch, with a lot of swing.
  • "Black Beauty" - absolutely sublime!  Your treatment of "These Foolish Things" is so poignant.  "Tango Seville," "Jubilee Stomp," "The Minor Drag" - killah!  These tunes mean so much to so many people, and your performances continue to bring fresh relevance to them!
On the Road Again
After this weekend's concert in the Ozarks, I'll be in California for a month.  If you are near where I'm playing, I hope you'll stop by at a concert and say hello!  More information about these events may be found on my website.

Thanks for supporting live music!

Best wishes,

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fishing Blues - Dom Flemons

Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist and a songster. Playing in a broad range of old-time blues, country, string band, rock and jazz, he has impressed audiences with his outrageous performance style. "I always try keep the audience guessing," Dom says, "it makes the performance more interesting." Dom currently in upper Manhattan in New York City. As a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Dom has toured all over the world going as far as Ireland, England, Scotland, France, Holland and Belgium. He is up for most any type of gig having played from coffee houses to street corners to house parties to the big-time venues.
Dom has performed at such venues as the National Folk Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, The Grand Ole Opry, Prairie Home Companion, Merlefest, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, The Tavis Smiley Show, The Bob Harris show on the BBC, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Spoleto Music Festival, Bonnaroo, The Fillmore in San Francisco, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, The Bowery Ballroom in NYC, Schomburg Center For Research in Black Culture in New York, The Ryman Auditorium, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Ottawa Folk Festivals, The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, The Sage in Gateshead, England, The New Morning in Paris, The Paradiso in Amsterdam, The Carter Family Fold, Old Town School of Folk Music and Bristol Rhythm and Roots just to name a few. "I have been very fortunate to play in so many places because I know for a fact that many before and after may not get the opportunities to do so. I do not take it for granted. It is just a thrill to be here as fan and music collector myself."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Stephanie Trick Update

Newsletter header

Happy October! I hope you are doing well. As I'm writing this, I'm on the plane coming home from Seattle, after the two debut concerts of Nouveau Stride with Lorraine Feather...

I get a big kick out of sharing this melodic, swinging music from the 1930s with people, and I'm grateful that I have these opportunities. Since my last newsletter, I had concerts in the Washington, DC area; Kansas City; Chicago; Syracuse, NY; and finally, the Seattle area.

"It was a fun show! I didn't realize that I liked stride... I guess I didn't even know what stride was!"
-- Comment from a recent thirty-something concert attendee
It was fun to meet so many enthusiastic fans of this music at these events. Some had traveled hundreds of miles to come, including the Diamonds of Newport News, VA, who shot this video from the Northern Virginia Ragtime Society concert in Fairfax.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival

I really enjoyed being on the campus of the University of Chicago again, performing at International House (my old college dorm!) for the students, faculty, and members of the community as part of the fifth annual Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

Syracuse University Artist-in-Residence

It was a blast to be a university Artist-in-Residence for the first time -- an exciting collaboration with Syracuse University that I hope will happen again in the future, with them and with other universities.

Syracuse University visit
Photo courtesy of John Herr

While there, I had the opportunity to play for a History of Jazz class, where the students had just been reading about Louis Armstrong, the original masters of stride piano, and other luminaries of early jazz. It was fun to demonstrate the techniques and characteristics of ragtime, stride, and boogie woogie at the piano and talk about this music to students who are just a little younger than myself.

I also was able to do a presentation for members of the Phi Beta Kappa organization at the university. This was another unique opportunity, in an intimate and informal setting, to talk about stride, its main exponents (Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, Willie "The Lion" Smith, and Donald Lambert), and its importance in jazz history.

High School Visit
Syracuse high school photo
Photo courtesy of Carol Terry
Another chance I had to interact with some of the younger students was a workshop for concert and jazz bands at a Syracuse area high school. This was especially rewarding because I had two hours with these kids and, in addition to demonstrating early jazz piano styles to them, I was able to answer their questions about a career in music. That, along with other reactions from the students at S.U., was truly thrilling, because it's one of the first chances I've had to share this kind of music with people my age, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.
First Tweeted Concert!

I gave a concert at the end of my residency in the beautiful and resonant Setnor Auditorium. It was attended by a combination of people from the community who were already familiar with this music, as well as students from the university. One exciting element of the evening was my hosts' "live tweeting" of the concert (on Twitter)! You can read a transcript of what was written that night, and also see pictures and short videos that people from the audience contributed as I played!

Nouveau Stride Debuts

After the brief stay in Syracuse, I headed to Washington State to team up with Lorraine Feather on beautiful Orcas Island to give the first two Nouveau Stride concerts! I've been talking up this duo and have had a link on my website home page for many months now, and it finally came together this past weekend. The people of Orcas Island (one of the San Juan Islands off the coast of Seattle) flocked to the event, and we could feel the excitement in the air even before the show started. Lorraine's witty and lightning fast lyrics, an aerial view of the piano keyboard, and a couple of old Fats Waller soundies were projected onto a screen behind us. We received much positive and encouraging feedback. Now to get the show booked elsewhere so more of you can see it too!

Nouveau Stride Album

Lorraine and I will also be recording a Nouveau Stride album together. We don't want to make you wait for months until the whole project is completed. So we've decided to release digitally one track at a time until the complete album is ready. When we have fourteen tracks (hence the album title, Fourteen), it will be released. The CD will include Lorraine's original lyrics set to the compositions of the stride pianists, Duke Ellington, Dick Hyman, and others. The first download is slated for release on November 14, and subsequent ones every month thereafter until the album is out. Stay tuned!

Upcoming Performances

More information about all of these events may be found on my website at

  • Concert with Mr. B in Traverse City, Michigan
    October 22 - 8:00 p.m.
  • "Art After 5" Concert at the St. Louis Art Museum
    October 28 - 7:00 p.m.
  • 13th Annual Blues & Boogie Piano Summit in Newport, Kentucky (Cincinnati, OH area)
    November 5 - 9:00 p.m.
  • Duo concert with Dave Majchrzak for the Ozark Jazz Society in Lake Ozark, Missouri
    November 13 - 6:30 p.m.
  • Solo concert in San Francisco, California
    November 15 - 2:00 p.m.
  • House concert in Oakland, California
    November 16 - 7:30 p.m.
  • West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, California
    November 18-20
  • Master classes and concert at Deep Springs College in Big Pine, California
    November 22
  • 32nd Annual San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival
    November 25-27
  • Afternoon concert in Laguna Hills, California
    December 3
  • Evening house concert in Yorba Linda, California
    December 3
  • House concert with Paolo Alderighi in Palos Verdes, California (email me for invitation)
    December 7 - 7:00 p.m.
  • House concert with Paolo Alderighi in Mission Viejo, California (email me for invitation)
    December 8 - 7:30 p.m.

Hope to see you at one or more of the above events. Talk to you again next month!

Best wishes,


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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

North Country Blues - Bob Dylan - Newport

Bob Dylan (play /ˈdɪlən/, born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of his early songs such as "Blowin' in the Wind" and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his initial base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan proceeded to revolutionize perceptions of the limits of popular music in 1965 with the six-minute single "Like a Rolling Stone".

His lyrics incorporated a variety of political, social, philosophical, and literary influences. They defied existing pop music conventions and appealed hugely to the then burgeoning counterculture. Initially inspired by the songs of Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, and the performance styles of Buddy Holly and Little Richard, Dylan has both amplified and personalized musical genres. His recording career, spanning fifty years, has explored numerous distinct traditions in American song—from folk, blues and country to gospel, rock and roll, and rockabilly, to English, Scottish, and Irish folk music, embracing even jazz and swing.

Dylan performs with guitar, keyboards, and harmonica. Backed by a changing line-up of musicians, he has toured steadily since the late 1980s on what has been dubbed the Never Ending Tour. His accomplishments as a recording artist and performer have been central to his career, but his greatest contribution is generally considered to be his songwriting.

Since 1994, Dylan has published three books of drawings and paintings, and his work has been exhibited in major art galleries. As a songwriter and musician, Dylan has received numerous awards over the years including Grammy, Golden Globe, and Academy Awards; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 2008, a road called the Bob Dylan Pathway was opened in the singer's honor in his birthplace of Duluth, Minnesota. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.
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