September 19: This Day in Black History
FEATURED: Soledad O’Brien
1887: Lovie Austin was born. She was a was a Chicago bandleader, session musician, composer, and arranger during the 1920s classic blues era. She and Lil Hardin Armstrong are often ranked as two of the best female jazz blues piano players of the period. She passed in 1972 at age 84.
1930: Muhal Richard Abrams was born. He is an is an educator, administrator, composer, arranger, clarinetist, cellist, and jazz pianist in the Free jazz medium. He turns 83 today.
1931: Brook Benton was born. He was a singer, songwriter and actor. He passed away in 1988, aged 56, of pneumonia.
1942: Freda Payne was born. She is a singer (million selling single ‘Band of Gold’). She is also an actress in musicals and films as talk show host. She turns 71 today.
1952: Nile Rodgers was born. He is a musician, producer, composer, arranger, and guitarist. He is the lead guitarist and founding member of the band Chic, which has been active since 1976. He turns 61 today.
1953: Big Joe Turner charted R&B with “Honey Hush,” reaching #1 for eight straight weeks. Turner’s big chance came when he performed at Carnegie Hall’s Spirituals to Swing concert in 1938.
1958: Kevin Hooks was born. He is an actor and television and film director. He turns 55 today.
1960: Hank Ballard & the Midnighters became the first group with three hit singles on the Top 100 at the same time.
1960: ‘The Twist’ by Chubby Checker & the Dreamlovers was the number one song this day.
1960: Seventeen-year-old Mary Wells played a song for producer Berry Gordy Jr., and on the basis of “Bye-Bye Baby” she was signed to his newly-formed Motown label. The song (which she originally wrote for Jackie Wilson) was released today, reaching #45 pop and #8 R&B.
1966: Soledad O’Brien was born. She is a is a broadcast journalist, executive producer, and philanthropist. She is 47 today.
1970: Diana Ross’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” reached #1, becoming her first chart topper minus the Supremes. Produced by its writers, Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford, it was originally a hit (#19) in 1967 for Tammi Terrell and Marvin Gaye.
1971: Sanaa Lathan was born. She is an actress of film and Broadway. She turns 42 today.
1976: Jay Electronica was born. He is a rapper and record producer. He turns 37 today.
1991: “Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music” was filmed to be aired on October 6. The show was filmed in Pasadena, CA, and a highlight was ray’s duet with Stevie Wonder on “Living For the City.”
1992: Michael Jackson performed in Bucharest, Romania, while on his Dangerous tour.
1992: Patti LaBelle’s NBC-TV “Out All Night” debuted with the diva playing a singer in her own Los Angeles nightclub.
1996: George Benson was honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.
2008: Earl Palmer passed away at age 84. He was a session drummer whose pioneering backbeats were recorded on such classics as Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” and The Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’,” among many others.
2010: Buddy Collette passed away at age 89. He was a Grammy-nominated jazz saxophonist, flutist, bandleader, and educator who played important roles in Los Angeles jazz as a musician and an advocate for the rights of black musicians.
2011: Bobbie Lee Holmes passed away at age 84. He was a former Los Angeles public school teacher who won an early ‘60s victory for fair housing in California when she and her research scientist husband used the courts to challenge the racism of their Pacoima neighbors.