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music memories


French composer, Olivier Messiaen
Keith Chaffee, December 06, 2019

Olivier Messiaen was born on December 10, 1908. The French composer wrote primarily keyboard and orchestral music, often focused on his two primary devotions—the mysteries of his Catholic faith, and birds.

Billy Strayhorn is a jazz composer, pianist, lyricist and arranger.
Keith Chaffee, November 30, 2019

Billy Strayhorn was born on November 29, 1915. Strayhorn was a jazz composer and arranger who spent most of his career as Duke Ellington’s creative partner.

Randy Newman, singer-songwriter and composer of film scores
Keith Chaffee, November 22, 2019

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943. Newman is a singer-songwriter and composer of film scores, capable of writing both darkly ironic songs and lush orchestral Americana.

Songwriter, Johnny Mercer
Keith Chaffee, November 15, 2019

Johnny Mercer was born on November 18, 1909. For a quarter-century, Mercer was one of America’s most successful songwriters, writing more than 1,200 songs; he was primarily a lyricist, but occasionally wrote the music as well.

Bonnie Raitt, a blues and rock singer
Keith Chaffee, November 08, 2019

Bonnie Raitt was born on November 8, 1949. Raitt is a blues and rock singer who was a critical favorite for twenty years before finding commercial success in the early 1990s.

musician k.d. lang
Keith Chaffee, November 01, 2019

k.d. lang was born on November 2, 1961. lang is a singer-songwriter whose music crosses genre lines from country to dance-pop, and an activist on behalf of LGBT and animal rights issues.

Niccolò Paganini, a celebrated Italian violinist, guitarist, and composer
Keith Chaffee, October 25, 2019

Niccolò Paganini was born on October 27, 1782. Paganini was a composer, primarily of music for violin or guitar, and the most celebrated violinist of his era. Today, we focus one small piece of his music and its influence on 200 years of composers.

Portrait of Laura Nyro from her album, Eli and the Thirteenth Confession
Keith Chaffee, October 18, 2019

Laura Nyro was born on October 18, 1947. Nyro was a singer-songwriter whose critically acclaimed records never found a large public audience, but whose songs became hits when recorded by others.

Musician John Prine
Keith Chaffee, October 04, 2019

John Prine was born on October 10, 1946. Prine is a singer/songwriter, acclaimed for his lyrics, which mix sincere emotion, dry wit, and occasional flashes of cynicism.

Johnny Mathis
Keith Chaffee, September 27, 2019

Johnny Mathis was born on September 30, 1935. Mathis is best known as an interpreter of romantic ballads, but in his 60-year career, he’s recorded in a wide range of musical styles—standards and show tunes, jazz, country, Latin, tropical, and R&B.