Donald Byrd remembered (with thanks to Al Young)

February 9, 2013
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Recent word that Donald Byrd had passed sent me to Al Young’s poetic prose about the trumpet-bari sax team of Byrd and Pepper Adams back in the Detroit of the 1950s. It’s in Young’s “musical memoir” Bodies and Soul (the first of at least three musical memoir collections by Young, all apparently out of...
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Slicing the economic pie: Why the rich get fatter

September 18, 2012
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If you aren’t among the 47 percent of Americans Mitt Romney considers to be freeloaders who will support Barack Obama no matter what (check out the video, obtained by Mother Jones magazine), and are instead one of the undecided Mitty must attract in order to win come November, we want to direct your attention...
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Beyond the Moth: The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers

September 6, 2012
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Beyond the Moth: The Secret Society Of Twisted Storytellers

The Moth Storytelling sessions sponsored by WDET and held at Cliff Bell’s have been one of the most successful additions to the cultural landscape hereabouts these last few years. Translation: It caught on almost immediately and keeps going strong. Don’t even try to get a seat if you’re not willing to stand in line...
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Detroit bluesman Johnnie Bassett dies at 76

August 5, 2012
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Detroit bluesman Johnnie Bassett dies at 76

  Johnnie Bassett, a blues eminence and a connection for today’s Detroit musicians to the era of Fortune and early Motown, has died at age 76. The singer-guitarist-front man died Saturday night at St. John Hospital in Grosse Pointe, losing a battle with cancer that had hospitalized him about three weeks earlier. “It sounds...
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Newly discovered Griot Galaxy footage from 1978, 1984

June 5, 2012
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Although there is a good deal of video documenting the last decade of Faruq Z. Bey‘s music-making with various groups, there’s a dearth of material from the 1970s and 1980s showing Griot Galaxy, the evolving Faruq-led collective that made such an enormous impression on the local community. But two clips have come to light....
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Detroit jazz and avant scenes lose icon in passing of Faruq Z. Bey

June 2, 2012
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Detroit jazz and avant scenes lose icon in passing of Faruq Z. Bey

Faruq Z. Bey, local legend and icon of avant garde music in Detroit, has died after years of emphysema and other ailments. A friend who spoke to Bey regularly last heard from him Thursday and was unable to reach him on Friday. Her concerns lead to other friends entering his residence with police on...
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Headline envy: ‘The GOP Sees Dead People’

June 1, 2012
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A couple weeks ago, Curt Guyette‘s News Hits column took aim at the widely discussed and totally bogus crisis of voter fraud — and the less-discussed but all too real crisis of looming voter suppression. “Mess of suppression: Why voter ID laws are solutions to a problem that doesn’t exist” was our headline.” Today...
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Tribute Thursday for Brainstorm & P-Funk singer Belita Woods

May 16, 2012
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Update: We just heard that there will be a tribute to Belita held Thursday night at Bert’s Marketplace, 2727 Russell Street, Detroit; 313-567-2030. Just over a year ago we wrote about and shared pictures from a benefit for singer Belita Woods in the wake of her massive heart attack. The Detroit singer’s resume goes...
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Remembering Alma Smith, Detroit music countess

May 9, 2012
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“With so many beautiful people, Detroit is bound to last,” Alma Smith sang in one of the many songs she penned, this one an eloquently swinging mash note to her hometown. You can hear her wonderful ivory tickling behind her vocal lines  in the video embedded here, and hopefully, it will inspire others to...
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Boycott The Avengers?

May 3, 2012
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Unless an Occupy Comics Movement has been stealthily plotting and rears its head at the opening of The Avengers tomorrow, we can write off the effort to bring some justice and remuneration to Jack Kirby just now. Artist Kirby, any major fan’ll tell you, is of artistic import at least on par with Stan...
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