I was flipping through my album collection and thought I’d write about another forgotten composer. The late Herbie Mann was born in Brooklyn NY in the 1930s, and grew up to be a very well known musician/flutist. Herbie has performed many types of music (but mostly classical). However, in my opinion, I think it’s safe to say he is most remembered for some of his disco tunes.
His Music Was Very Popular, But His Billboard Ranks Were Mediocre
It’s kind of weird to explain Herbie’s music, because a lot of his music rankings were mediocre, yet at the same time many of his music were very popular. I guess the only possible explanation for that is his connection to the club & disco scenes. This particular album, “Super Mann,” released in 1978 I feel is his best work. My most favorite song on the album is “Super Mann.” Super Mann is a song with intense flirtatious energy and heavy dance beats. The piece peaked at #26 on the Top 100 Charts.
Another great composition (I think) from the same album is called “Rock Freak.” Both composition are disco infused with a Brazilian influence. Herbie had another hugely popular hit from his “Discotheque” album called “Hi-Jack (1975).” This was my jam back in the day too. This was actually an instrumental cover, taken from the original band called Barrabas. For pure disco fans, I think the works I’ve mentioned in this article will appeal to you the most. Everything else would probably be too mellow for most disco fans. However, if you like instrumental jazz, check out his cover of “Comin’ Home Baby,” written by Ben Tucker, and originally performed by Mel Tormé w/vocals. But it was made popular by a Ray Charles TV performance. I don’t remember if it was a concert or on a variety TV show. I honestly don’t remember hearing Tormé’s original until after I heard Ray sang it. Herbie died while in Mexico c. 2003.Shop JSport Shoes
Harold Faltermeyer is a music composer and record producer born in Munich, Germany. Although I’ve tagged him as being a forgotten artists, technically he’s not depending whether or not we’re talking about the public or the movie industry. Within the movie industry, he is one of the most sought after composers I can think of.
Famous Behind The Scenes
Harold is one of those talented musicians that is famous from behind the scenes. Despite the fact that he has composed scores for some pretty big well known movies, such as “American Gigolo (1980)” starring Richard Gere, and “The Midnight Express (1978),” starring Brad Davis; composers are not given the same notoriety as lead singers to a sound track unfortunately. I’m not quite sure why is that.
I’ve always wondered what is the method of figuring out a truly successful sound track producer? Because it’s not exactly the same thing as your traditional mainstream vocal performer right? Because part of their success is also about the success of the movie, which technically has nothing to do with each other. Someone can make a legitimate argument that people only buy sound tracks when they’re a fan of the movie.
Harold pretty much stayed unknown to most music fans, until his success with “Beverly Hills Cop (1984).” It was so successful, he got a Grammy Award for best original sound track (co-writer) some time in 1986. The composition that blew up the charts was Axel-F. The piece shot to #3 on the Hot 100 Charts. It is probably (as far as I’m concerned) one of the few biggest dance/synth-pop tunes of all times.
You know, it’s a beautiful thing as a blogger, to have literally thousands and thousands of great artists on the lists to write about!! Today, I’d like to switch gears a little bit. Violins and hip hop? How many of my readers knew such a genre called “classical hip hop” even existed? I’d like to bring to your attention, a genre within hip hop that appears to be almost ignored. Partly because I feel it’s not mainstream enough, which is a shame ’cause it would certainly add a completely new layer of diversity in regards to hip hop.
A Phenomenal Group, Black Violin
I’d like to introduce my readers to a phenomenal group, Black Violin! I’ve been a fan of theirs for a long while now. They are an extremely talented duo, that happens to be both African American, and both are classically trained violinists. Wilner Baptiste & Kevin Sylvester are from Florida, and I believe they started their group somewhere around 2003. Now, certainly Black Violin was not the first to use classical hip hip in their music. However, they are the first hip hop group I’ve ever seen that can actually not only play the violin, but are phenomenal lyricists, and creatively incorporated those skills in to their string sounds, giving us a whole new level to hip hop.
Their cultural background speaks loudly in their work! There’s so much clean quality in their music, oppose to that same ol’ repetitive gangster shit that are burned in to the minds of the young on a daily basis. Their first CD is the one I fell in love with. However, it’s extremely hard to get. I suspect something went down between them and their label. I did manage to discover it on SoundCloud. There are a couple of nice remixes of some old classics on that album. One of the pieces I really liked from that first album is “Jammin’.” Sort of reminds me of the rapper Juvenile a little bit. You’ll know what I mean when you hear it. Also, check out “Dirty Orchestra,” which is also on the first album.
Now, there are a number of songs I do like that are available for streaming. One piece that I think is real hot is called “A-Flat,” from their 2012 album called “Classically Trained.” It’s a damn shame this didn’t even register on the billboard. Another one that I think is hot is a piece called “Stereotypes,” from their 2015 album “Stereotypes.” This piece only registered at #146 on the billboard. Most young people are not ready for this kind of music; or perhaps their just not looking for it. Despite not hitting #1 on the charts, they’ve worked with some powerful people in the music business, which includes Fat Joe & the Wu-Tang Clan. Check out their Black Violin’s website.
I think it would be extremely rare that anybody under 30 years of age would know anything about this Quartet. “Take Five,” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, was (and still is) my top favorite jazz piece. The piece was originally recorded with instrumentals in 1959; but Dave also written lyrics to his masterpiece, and it was rerecorded in 1961 with Carmen Mcrae on vocal. However, I much prefer the versions with out the vocals. It is my understanding that a couple of years after its first release, “Take Five” became the biggest selling jazz hit single ever made at the time. It was also used in many movie soundtracks.
If you love “Take Five” like I do, there are a few re-interpretations that I think are worthy of your ear! Starting with the late legendary Tito Puente’s version of “Take Five.” Once known as “The King Of Latin Music,” Tito had the gift of literally turning any kind of music into something everybody wants to dance to. Next is a reggae version of “Take Five,” by a group called the “New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble.” I really love this version, I don’t hear reggae musicians make good classic instrumentals anymore. Next is Chet Atkins. Chet has done a wonderful guitar version of “Take Five.” Very smooth and relaxing. Lastly, a group that calls themselves “The String Cheese Incident,” has performed a really nice version of “Take Five.” Those guys know how to pick a guitar let me tell you! So, I recommend that you take a listen. I don’t think you’d be disappointing.