Please visit my sites Queer Music Heritage and OutRadio

Monday, April 30, 2012

Aaron Bridgers, Jazz Pianist and Partner of Billy Strayhorn

Fans of jazz know Billy Strayhorn as perhaps the genius behind Duke Ellington, and their collaboration lasted almost three decades.  The classics “Take the A Train,” “Lush Life,” Satin Doll,” and others are among the masterpieces of that relationship. Strayhorn seemed content to stay in Ellington’s shadow and perhaps that enabled him to be as openly gay as he was in those times, the 1940’s. 

And this is my introduction to another jazz musician, Aaron Bridgers. I admit he attracted my interest because he was lovers with Strayhorn, from around 1939, until 1948, when Bridgers moved to Paris for a music career there. His recordings were not numerous and are quite rare, and it took me around a year to find what is probably his only album as a solo artist. It was released in France in 1950 and includes works by Gershwin, Ellington, and of course Strayhorn. I have set up a special page of my website where you can listen to several of the LP's tracks.

The first photo at the top is a screen capture from the 
1961 film "Paris Blues," in which he has a small role 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

New EP by LP: “Into the Wild - Live At EastWest Studios”

If you’ve had your television on in the last year, then you've heard the song “Into the Wild,” as used extensively in Citibank commercials. You'll recognize it immediately. It was written by Laura Pergolizzi, who just goes by her initials, LP. She attracted a bit of attention as a solo artist in 2004 with her solo CD, “Suburban Sprawl & Alcohol.”

For the last few years her success has mainly been as a writer, and that’s been some terrific success, co-writing “Beautiful People” (Christina Aguilera), “Cheers” (Rihanna), and a number of others. She’s working on a full-length album for later this year, but has just released a live EP, and I think it’s terrific. And, you can stream all of it at her website.

Above, 2004 CD; below, studio shot


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Women's Music Portal on QMH

Hey, did you know there's now a sort of Women's Music Portal on the Queer Music Heritage website? 
No, it doesn't look like it might above, on Stargate, or below, on Star Trek...

Instead, it's just a link to a page with this graphic...

I've been doing QMH for over 12 years and shows relating to "Women's Music" are quite spread out among the over 1700 pages of my website, so I set up an entry page, or index, to the various shows and features to be found.

Todd Alsup

And here’s how I discovered the music of Todd Alsup. In the summer of 2009 I was visiting the site of an artist friend of mine, Josh Duffy, as he was performing at a GLBT Expo in NYC, and I went to that event site next, and there was a poster for the Expo on the main page. It included a cute young artist I was not familiar with, so I checked him out, and was glad I did. I contacted him immediately and he sent me his new EP, “Facts & Figures,” and a couple demo CDs of new songs. I played him on my radio show the first chance I had, and one of those demos was the song “How I’m Made.” 

Well, that song is now on his brand new full-length album, just called “Todd Alsup,” and I’m delighted by the entire CD. I loves me some piano-driven music, so this was right down my street, blending pop, rock and a dash of soul. It’s a digital only release, drat, as I like to hold things in my hands. One of the songs, “The Only Thing,” has a remix single available, if you’re into that…hey, whatever finds an audience. Tough to pick just one track to give you, so I picked the opener.

And there are a number of live videos to be found by Todd on YouTube, like the one below, at my favorite NYC venue, Rockwood Music Hall.

Above, Todd's 2008 EP, and below the new remix single

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dyke, A Quarterly

“Dyke, A Quarterly,” is a very cool part of our history. Usually I blog about GLBT music, but I love it when archiving our history is done so well. Liza Cowan and Penny House were the editors and their website states: “All over The United States Lesbians were getting together to make culture: music, literature, theater, art exhibits, film, poetry, and all kinds of media. We were right in the thick of it, enjoying every minute, and decided that making a magazine would be our contribution.” 

That’s right, I said website, as you can now read, and soak up the period culture of the times – 1976 through 1979. It’s a labor of love, and most of the issues are already available to see. For some reason I always love the 70’s ads and put several of them in the collage above, of course including one for Alix Dobkin.

We take for granted these days, when it seems every third person has their own blog, literally How Much Work this was. I understand. In 1978-79 I was Editor of “Our Own Community Press,” Norfolk’s gay & lesbian newspaper. I know the nights of typing the articles, finding and sizing graphics, photos, ads (when you were lucky to get them), etc, etc. 

And the headlines…that’s a time travel trip itself..we used something called Chartpak, where you find the size of a letter you need on a transparent sheet and place it over where you need it, and rub it, with a coin, pen or whatever, until it transfers…one…letter…at…a…time. Every headline had to be done that way. Then of course you have to layout everything by hand on the page, get the proofs to the printer, get them back and collate them and fold them into size. And, of course someone had to write all those articles to begin with…and there were never enough willing to do that. Editors must be very much into S&M. We surely were a dedicated bunch.

Below is a collage of their intro flyer and five of the six magazine covers. Please visit their site. It’s not just an archive, as there are current articles to feast on.