Happy Birthday Marvin Gaye!

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Marvin Pentz Gay, Jr., better known as Motown legend Marvin Gaye, was born April 2, 1939. Celebrate this singer/songwriter's birthday by checking out some of his music from the AADL. Try Blue Velvet: The Ultimate Collection by his early R&B band The Moonglows, or pick up some of his solo classics like the 1971 release What's Going On, his 1973 release Let's Get It On, Love Songs, or the Marvin Gaye Concert Anthology.
To learn more about this Grammy winning musician and his tragic personal life, check out the biography Mercy, Mercy Me: The Art, Loves and Demons of Marvin Gaye, Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, or What's Going On? : Marvin Gaye and the Last Days of the Motown Sound. Many Marvin Gaye fans also recommend reading Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye, which isn't terribly well-written, but is largely based on interviews for a projected autobiography that was cancelled after Gaye's death in 1984.

A little Raphael Saadiq for your soul:

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Raphael Saadiq has been playing music since the ripe old age of six. His professional music career began with the R&B-dance group Tony! Toni! Toné!. He then moved onto the short-lived, grammy nominated group Lucy Pearl. In 2002 he released his first solo album, Instant Vintage, followed by Ray Ray, both critically acclaimed. He got into producing and has collaborated with Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, and Joss Stone, among many others.

Last fall’s release of Saadiq’s The Way I See It was nominated for three R&B related Grammy Awards. The album is definitely new soul that is comparable to old soul, with remnants of The Delfonics, The Four Tops, and Al Green springing to mind. If you close your eyes you might just think it's the 1960s.

Great concerts this weekend, for free!

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The The University of Michigan School of Music offers some outstanding free concerts. Two are coming up tonight. The first, at 5:15 p.m., at the School of Music's Rehearsal Hall, is by the the Prism Quartet. These U/M alums perform progressive saxophone music. The New York Times calls the group "mellifluous and stylistically versatile." The second concert, at 7 p.m., in the Stamps Auditorium, features Daniel Bernard Roumain, a Haitian-American composer who combines classical influences with funk, rock and hip-hop. He will be joined by U of M faculty and students. Take advantage of this great opportunity to hear some excellent and innovative music.

The first piano in Ann Arbor

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(Submitted by Wystan Stevens)

This is the house where little Lucy Ann Clark (later Mrs. Judge James Kingsley) played the piano that made the Potawatomi Indians dance. (Her instrument was the first piano in Ann Arbor, and the first west of Detroit in Michigan Territory.) The site of this house is now the outdoor area of the Downtown Home and Garden store, on Ashley at Liberty. In the left background of the photo is a building on First Street with a lot of lettering on its walls. Can anyone make out what the lettering says. (Click on the photo for a larger view.)

"Sometimes when Miss Clark played, the Indians would lurk around the door and windows and some would dance on the strip of bare floor at the edge of the room that the carpet was not wide enough to cover." (From the Cornelia Corselius papers).

Chick Corea Reunites with John McLaughlin

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On Saturday, April 4, at the Hill Auditorium, Chick Corea and John McLaughlin lead a phenomenal jazz combo called Five Peace Band, showcasing the talents of alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett, bassist Christian McBride, and drummer Brian Blade. Any of these artists alone is worth the price admission, but all of them playing together is sure to be a spectacular evening of live music. The performance is a University Musical Society event, and is likely to feature tunes from the early 70s fusion era -- when Corea and McLaughlin played with Miles Davis' Bitches Brew lineup -- in addition to more recent pieces from these artists. The AADL owns recordings of all of these musicians, and through our recently updated Picture Ann Arbor gallery, aadl.org also has pictures of Corea / McLaughlin from the early 1970s and from their reunion tour this year.

Corea/McLaughlin/Ann Arbor: Then and Now

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The University Musical Society and AADL invite you to participate in Then and Now: Community and Cultural Change from the Fusion Era to Today, an online exhibit in celebration of Ann Arbor’s community heritage from 1968-1975 and the return of Chick Corea and John McLaughlin to UMS on April 4. Both of these musicians have continually reinvented themselves over the years while maintaining an exceptional level of artistry and commitment to their music.

Help us to show Ann Arbor's parallel evolution in its cultural, musical, and community landscape. Do you have a photograph from that era or the present day that you’d like to share? We’d love to include it on our site. Go to pictureAnnArbor to find out how to submit your photographs online, or email AADL Productions at productions@aadl.org to arrange a time to submit your photographs in person.

U2 Releases 'No Line on the Horizon'

U2 released their twelfth record, No Line on the Horizon, on March 3 to mixed reviews, ranging from Rolling Stone's five star accolade to Allmusic's tepid 3 star review, and all the way down to Pitchfork's scathing 4.2/10 diatribe. Reuniting with producers Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, this U2 record features several longer, more sonically reaching songs rather than the tightly anthemic cuts off 2000's All That You Can't Leave Behind and 2004's How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb. The only songs on the latest release that directly point to the band's most recent singles are "Get on Your Boots" and the long-winded "I'll Go Crazy if I Don't Go Crazy Tonight." The hold list for AADL's copies of No Line on the Horizon is growing quickly, so if you're a fan be sure to get on that list today.

Stories, songs of Latino women

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Celebrate Women's History Month by attending a concert by Grupo Sur, a band led by Uruguayan singer, Cristina Burgueno. They explore different musical traditions, some folk, some popular, all representing the rich cultural traditions of women from Latin America. The concert is this Saturday, March 14 at 8 p.m.

"Feast for the Senses"

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Spend an enjoyable evening at Canterbury House, a campus ministry housed at 721 E. Huron St. Canterbury House offers a great concert series open to the general public. This Friday, March 6, they will offer "A Feast of the Senses" which includes among other sensory delights, music by Laurel Premo who plays a variety of folk instruments and sings, her music drawn from Celtic, American and Scandinavian traditions. Also performing will be "Pear and the Pepper, a jazz band and Dry County, formerly Dry County Boys, an indie rock group. The fun starts at 8 p.m. Admission is $10 or $5 for students and seniors.

Bettye LaVette to visit The Ark next week

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Hot off her performance at Obama’s Inaugural Celebration on January 18, Detroit native Bettye LaVette brings her soulful self to The Ark for a night of blissful singing and bringing down the house on Thursday, March 5th at 8pm.

After years of top singles, the 2005 release of I’ve Got My Own Hell to Raise brought LaVette back into the spotlight, 43 years after her first single was released when she was a teen. She’s been unstoppable since. Juke Blues Magazine describes her music as “tortuous soul at its most raw and almost frightening in its intensity.” Indeed.

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