Monthly Archives: December 2010

Vinyl KC: “Lean on Me” by Bill Withers

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The most important lesson I learned as a musician is also one of the hardest to apply: it’s not the notes you play, but the notes you don’t play.

To put it another way, playing simply is sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do.  A master class on how to do it is contained in the Bill Withers classic Lean on Me.

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The Clicklist: I Read So You Don’t Have To

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Stuff I’ve been reading and can recommend:

KCK Native Janelle Monáe was nominated for two R&B Grammies.

  • The Kansas City Star ran a short article Sunday noting that the Kansas City Symphony and Janelle Monáe, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., were nominated for Grammy Awards. I would add that KC-born Burt Bacharach was nominated for Best Musical Show Album for the Broadway revival of Promises, Promises.
  • In other Broadway news, Scottsboro Boys will close Sunday after 78 performances and an estimated loss of $5 million. KC native John Kander composed the score. There is talk of a film adaptation, according to Playbill.
  • Last Sunday’s Kansas City Star Magazine had a nice feature on Walter Bryant, who plays with some great people around town and is a major composer for advertising.
  • I love stories about sidemen and people who work behind the scenes. KCjazzlark has a good one about Buster Smith, a sax player who tutored Charlie Parker and played in some important KC bands in the 1930s.
  • Tomorrow is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder. The York Times has an interesting story on the Dakota, the NYC co-op where Lennon lived the last years of his life.
  • One of the themes at the jazz blog Happy in a Bag is that jazz musicians need to find new ways to promote and market themselves. It’s great advice for all musicians, not just jazzers. A report on a “jazz hang” that occurred Sunday is full of great insights, per usual.
  • I’m not a gearhead, so this hasn’t been on my radar. JHS Pedals modifies existing pedals and builds their own. Over at the Pitch, the Wayward Blog has an item on JHS Music, their retail store that will open Friday in Grandview.

This Week in KC’s Music History: “The Story of My Life” Hits No. 1

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Burt Bacharach (left) was born in Kansas City, Mo. With lyricist Hal David (right), he wrote some of the greatest songs of the 1960s, particularly for Dionne Warwick.

It’s not a significant song in the history of its principals, but there is a tie to Kansas City when The Story of My Life by Marty Robins hit No. 1 on the U.S. country chart on Dec. 1, 1957.

The song is the first significant success for the legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Bacharach was born in Kansas City, Mo., in 1928 and his family lived here before moving to Queens, N.Y., when he was four years old.

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