Remembering Jazz Luminary and St. Louis Native Clark Terry, 1920-2015

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/commons.wikimedia.org / Brian McMillen
Clark Terry at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1981.

If it's true that St. Louis is the city of Gabriels, Clark Terry was our must swinging archangel. In the annals of St. Louis jazz, he was second only to Miles Davis for his influence and recorded output. The trumpeter, flugelhornist, mentor, composer and ambassador for jazz passed away at the age of 94 on February 21 at his home in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.


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Remembering Don Covay and Giving a Soul Giant His Due

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From the album Travelin' in Heavy Traffic - Philadelphia International Records

For three full days, rumors of the passing of Don Covay made the rounds on the social networks and soul fan blogs, making notice only in venues like Oregon Music News and the Examiner, without official confirmation from a single major outlet in the states or elsewhere.

The omission was emblematic. Don Covay, who died January 31 in New York at the age of 76 (some cite his age as 78), never became a household name, though he was one of the major -- as in absolutely indispensable and influential -- figures in American music. A Grammy-winning songwriter, producer, singer and eventually A&R man for Mercury Records, Covay wrote a few songs you probably know: "Chain of Fools" (Aretha Franklin), "Mercy, Mercy" (The Rolling Stones), "See Saw" (Aretha again), "Watch Dog" (Etta James), "Pony Time" (Chubby Checker), "I'm Hanging Up My Heart for You" (Solomon Burke), "Letter Full of Tears" (Gladys Knight & the Pips), "I'm Gonna Cry" (Wilson Pickett) and "Sookie Sookie" (Steppenwolf).


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The Time Kim Fowley Financed a Daniel Johnston Cassette

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Wikipedia / Jean-Daniel Pauget
RIP Kim Fowley
Last week, Kim Fowley -- perhaps the most notorious, morally ambiguous, calculatedly outrageous, oddly likable producer/hustler in music history -- passed away after a long illness. Appropriately enough, the Internet has since exploded with Fowley tributes. If all he had done was write "Bubblegum" (made famous by Sonic Youth), produce the Modern Lovers' early demos and help put together the Runaways, that alone would represent a life worthy of tribute. But Fowley made thousands of recordings over his half-century career, and many have been forgotten.

For example, there was the brief moment in 1985 when Fowley worked with Texas singer/songwriter Daniel Johnston, even financing his first studio recordings.

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Blues Guitarist Alvin Jett Dies at 54

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Photo by David Walthall
Alvin Jett could often be seen at BB's Jazz Blues and Soups or Beale on Broadway.

A long-time presence on the St. Louis blues scene, guitarist, singer, bandleader and songwriter Alvin Jett passed away on December 23. He was 54.


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Plush in Midtown To Close January 3

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Photo by Steve Truesdell
Plush was packed to capacity at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in October.

Following the Gramophone's decision to switch its focus from music to food and Bad Dog's upcoming closure in the Grove, Plush will close on January 3 -- with less than two weeks' notice. Music fans have more than a few chances to show their support with acts like Little Falcon, Farewell Angelina, Buku and Day 26 still on the way.

The announcement was made yesterday afternoon through a Facebook status update. Lacking any sentimental tone, the quick message says more about drink specials than any remaining concerts.


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Bad Dog Bar & Grill To Cease Operation On New Year's Day

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Photo by Bryan Sutter
Bad Dog was a featured venue at last year's RFT Music Showcase. Click here to view the full slideshow.

"We've always been considered a gay Cheers," says Chuck, bartender and manager of Bad Dog Bar & Grill. Located at the corner of Vandeventer and Chouteau in the Grove, the beloved clubhouse has a warm, communal vibe. Bad Dog is known for hosting many niche events in the LGBT community, but also the occasional punk-rock show -- an oddity for bars of its type.


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Composer Stephen Paulus Dies at Age 65

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Sharolyn Hagen Photography
Composer Stephen Paulus died on October 19 as a result of complications from a major stroke he suffered in July of 2013. Paulus was well known in the St Louis area for his contributions to the orchestral and symphonic communities.

Paulus wrote hundreds of pieces of choral and operatic music over his 40-year career. In the '70s and '80s he created some of his most famous works for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis. As the first composer commissioned by the theater in 1979, only three years after it was founded, he debuted several important operas in its early years.

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Apop Records Closing After Ten Years In Business

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Mabel Suen
Cherokee Street storefront Apop Records will be closed by the end of October.

After more than a decade in business, Apop Records (2831 Cherokee Street) is shutting its doors for good. The exact closure date hasn't been set in stone, but fans of the store should anticipate sales in the coming weeks. It was only back in June when we spoke to owner Tiffany Minx about the store's ten-year anniversary.


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R.I.P. Jesus Ayala, Mythical Burrito Man

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Jesus Ayala, center, with some satisfied customers.
It is with sadness that we dutifully announce the passing of Jesus Ayala, known to many as the Burrito Man. At age 58, Ayala passed away from congestive heart failure.

As outlined in our 2013 article about the various foods present at the Gathering of the Juggalos, Ayala's food-truck-turned-covert-culinary-haven dispensed almost impossibly tasty burritos at a bargain price -- but only to those clever and adventurous enough to find its location, tucked away in the campgrounds of the festival.

See also: Juggalo Eats and the Quest for the Mythical Burrito Man

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The Rap Music of Mike Brown, Slain Ferguson Teenager

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Ray Downs
Mourners gather for a candlelight vigil in Brown's honor.
The family of Mike Brown, an eighteen-year-old Ferguson teenager shot and killed by police on Saturday, August 9, has said that the young man recently took up a passion for music, with an interest in sound engineering and plans to study at Vatterott College next week. According to his grandmother, Desuirea Harris, "All he wanted to do is make music."

"Everyday he made one or two more records," she explains. "He rapped about life in general -- about what he went through and people went through. Just life."

See also: Family of Michael Brown, Teenager Shot to Death By Ferguson Police, Talks About His Life

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