Schizophrenia Series-Disabled Legend Charles Buddy Bolden

Charles “Buddy” Bolden was born on 6 September, 1877 and died on 4 November, 1931. Charles Buddy Bolden was buried in an unmarked grave in Holt Cemetery, a pauper’s graveyard in New Orleans. In 1998 a monument to Charles Buddy Bolden was erected in Holt Cemetery, but his exact gravesite remains unknown.

Charles Buddy Bolden was an African American cornetist and is regarded by contemporaries as a key figure in the development of a New Orleans style of rag-time music which later came to be known as jazz.

Charles Buddy Bolden was known as King Bolden, and his band was a top draw in New Orleans from about 1900 until 1907, when he was incapacitated by schizophrenia, which was called dementia praecox at that time. Charles Buddy Bolden left no known surviving recordings, but he was known for his very loud sound and constant improvisation.

While there is substantial first hand oral history about Charles Buddy Bolden, facts about his life continue to be lost amongst colourful myth. Stories about him being a barber by trade or that he published a scandal-sheet called the “Cricket” have been repeated in print despite being debunked decades earlier.

Charles Buddy Bolden suffered an episode of acute alcoholic psychosis in 1907 at the age of 30. With the full diagnosis of dementia praecox, he was admitted to a mental institution where he spent the rest of his life.

Many early jazz musicians credited Charles Buddy Bolden and the members of his band with being the originators of what came to be known as “jazz”, though the term was not yet in common musical use until after the era of Charles Buddy Bolden’s prominence. At least 1 writer has labelled him the father of jazz. Charles Buddy Bolden is credited with creating a looser, more improvised version of ragtime and adding blues to it; Bolden’s band was said to be the 1st to have brass instruments play the blues. Charles Buddy Bolden was also said to have taken ideas from gospel music heard in uptown African American Baptist churches.

Instead of imitating other cornetists, Charles Buddy Bolden played music he heard “by ear” and adapted it to his horn. In doing so, he created an exciting and novel fusion of rag-time, black sacred music, marching-band music and rural blues. Charles Buddy Bolden rearranged the typical New Orleans dance band of the time to better accommodate the blues; string instruments became the rhythm section, and the front-line instruments were clarinets, trombones, and Charles Buddy Bolden’s cornet. Charles Buddy Bolden was known for his powerful, loud, “wide open” playing style.

Joe “King” Oliver, Freddie Keppard, Bunk Johnson, and other early New Orleans jazz musicians were directly inspired by his playing.

Although Charles Buddy Bolden was recalled as having made at least 1 phonograph cylinder, no known recordings of Charles Buddy Bolden have survived.

Some of the songs 1st associated with his band such as the traditional song “Careless Love” and “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It”, are still standards. Charles Buddy Bolden often closed his shows with the original number “Get Out of Here and Go Home”, although for more “polite” gigs the last number would be “Home! Sweet Home!”.

One of the most famous Charles Buddy Bolden numbers is a song called “Funky Butt” (known later as “Buddy Bolden’s Blues”) which represents one of the earliest references to the concept of “funk” in popular music, now a musical subgenre unto itself. Charles Buddy Bolden’s “Funky Butt” was, as Danny Barker once put it, a reference to the olfactory effect of an auditorium packed full of sweaty people “dancing close together and belly rubbing.” Other musicians closer to Charles Buddy Bolden’s generation explained that the famous tune actually originated as a reference to flatulence.

I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say,
Funky-butt, funky-butt, take it away.

The “Funky Butt” song was one of many in the Charles Buddy Bolden repertory with rude or off-colour lyrics popular in some of the rougher places Charles Buddy Bolden played, and Charles Buddy Bolden’s trombonist Willy Cornish claimed authorship. It became so well known as a rude song that even whistling the melody on a public street was considered offensive. However the strain was incorporated into the early published ragtime number “St. Louis Tickle”.

Sidney Bechet wrote and composed “Buddy Bolden Stomp” in his honour.

Duke Ellington paid tribute to Charles Buddy Bolden in his 1957 suite “A Drum is a Woman”. The trumpet part was taken by Clark Terry.

Dr. John, in the liner notes to his Goin’ Back to New Orleans (1992), describes “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say” (track 5) as “Jelly Roll Morton’s memory of a jazz pioneer”.

Charles Buddy Bolden has inspired a number of fictional characters with his name. Most famously, Canadian author Michael Ondaatje’s novel Coming Through Slaughter features a “Buddy Bolden” character that in some ways resembles Charles Buddy Bolden, but in other ways is deliberately contrary to what is known about him.

Charles Buddy Bolden is also prominent in August Wilson’s 7 String Guitars. August Wilson’s drama includes a character (King Hedley) whose father, in the play, deliberately named him after King Buddy Bolden. King Hedley constantly sings, “I thought I heard Buddy Bolden say…” and believes that Buddy Bolden will come down and bring him money to buy a plantation.

Additionally, August Wilson’s King Hedley II continues 7 Guitars, thus Charles Buddy Bolden continues in the play as well.

Charles Buddy Bolden is a prominent character in David Fulmer’s murder mystery titled Chasing the Devil’s Tail, being not only a bandleader but also a suspect in the murders. Charles Buddy Bolden also appears by reputation or in person in Fulmer’s other books.

Charles Buddy Bolden is the titular character in the film Bolden!, which is currently in production. Charles Buddy Bolden is being portrayed by Anthony Mackie.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Gabriel Faure

Gabriel Urbain Fauré was born on 12 May 1845 in Pamiers Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées and died on 4 November 1924 in Paris, France from pneumonia. Gabriel Faure was given a state funeral at the Église de la Madeleine and is buried in the Cimetière de Passy in Paris.

Gabriel Faure was a French composer, organist, pianist, and teacher. Gabriel Faure was the foremost French composer of his generation, and his musical style influenced many 20th century composers. Gabriel Faure’s harmonic and melodic language affected how harmony was later taught.

Gabriel Fauré was born to, Toussaint-Honoré Fauré and Marie-Antoinette-Hélène Lalène-Laprade. Gabriel Faure was sent to live with a foster-nurse for 4 years. At the age of 9 he was sent to study at the École Niedermeyer, a school which prepared church organists and choir directors in Paris, and continued there for 11 years. Gabriel Faure studied with several prominent French musicians, including Camille Saint-Saëns, who introduced him to the music of several contemporary composers, including Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt.

In 1870, Gabriel Fauré enlisted in the army and took part in the action to raise the Siege of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War. During the Paris Commune he stayed at Rambouillet and in Switzerland, where he taught at the transported École Niedermeyer. When he returned to Paris in October 1871, he was appointed assistant organist at Saint-Sulpice as accompanist to the choir, and became a regular at Saint-Saëns’ salon. Here he met many prominent Parisian musicians and with those he met there and at the salon of Pauline Garcia-Viardot he formed the Société Nationale de Musique.

In 1874, Gabriel Fauré stopped working at Saint-Sulpice and began to fill in at the Église de la Madeleine for Saint-Saëns during his many absences. When Saint-Saëns retired in 1877, Gabriel Fauré became choirmaster. In the same year he became engaged to Marianne Viardot, daughter of Pauline, but the engagement was later broken off by Marianne. Following this disappointment he travelled to Weimar, where he met Liszt, and Cologne in order to see productions of Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen. Gabriel Fauré admired Richard Wagner, but was one of very few composers of his generation not to come under his influence.

In 1883, Gabriel Fauré married Marie Fremiet, with whom he had 2 sons. In order to support his family Gabriel Fauré spent most of his time in organising daily services at the Église de la Madeleine and teaching piano and harmony lessons. Gabriel Faure only had time to compose during the summers. Gabriel Faure earned almost no money from his compositions because his publisher bought them, copyright and all, for 50 francs each. During this period Gabriel Fauré wrote several large scale works, in addition to many piano pieces and songs, but he destroyed many of them after a few performances, only retaining a few movements in order to re-use motives.

During his youth Gabriel Fauré was very cheerful, but his broken engagement combined with his perceived lack of musical success led to bouts of depression which he described as “spleen”. In the 1890s, however, his fortunes reversed somewhat. Gabriel Faure had a successful trip to Venice where he met with friends and wrote several works. In 1892, he became the inspector of the music conservatories in the French provinces, which meant he no longer had to teach amateur students. In 1896, he finally became chief organist at the Église de la Madeleine, and also succeeded Jules Massenet as composition instructor at the Conservatoire de Paris. At this particular post he taught many important French composers, including Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger.

From 1903 to 1921, Gabriel Fauré was a critic for Le Figaro. In 1905, he succeeded Théodore Dubois as director of the Paris Conservatory. Gabriel Faure made many changes at the Conservatoire, leading to the resignation of a number of faculty members. This position meant that he was better off in terms of income, and he also became much more widely known as a composer.

Gabriel Fauré was elected to the Institut de France in 1909, but at the same time he broke with the Société Nationale de Musique, and supported the rogue group which formed out of those ejected from the Société, mainly his own students. During this time Gabriel Fauré developed ear trouble and gradually lost his hearing. Sound not only became fainter, but it was also distorted, so that pitches on the low and high ends of his hearing sounded like other pitches. Gabriel Faure made efforts to conceal his difficulty, but was eventually forced to abandon his teaching position.

Gabriel Faure’s responsibilities at the Conservatoire, combined with his hearing loss, meant that Gabriel Fauré’s output was greatly reduced during this period. During World War I Gabriel Fauré remained in France. In 1920, at the age of 75, he retired from the Conservatoire mainly due to his increasing deafness. In this year he also received the Grand-Croix of the Légion d’Honneur, an honor rare for a musician. Gabriel Faure suffered from poor health, partially brought on by heavy smoking. Despite this, he remained available to young composers, including members of Les Six, who were devoted to him.

Gabriel Fauré is regarded as the master of the French art song, or mélodie. Gabriel Faure’s works ranged from an early romantic style, when in his early years he emulated the style of Mendelssohn and others, to late 19th century Romantic, and finally to a 20th century aesthetic. Gabriel Faure’s work was based on a strong understanding of harmonic structures which he received at the École Niedermeyer from his harmony teacher Gustave Lefèvre, who wrote the book Traité d’harmonie (Paris, 1889), in which Lefèvre sets forth a harmonic theory which differs significantly from the classical theory of Jean-Philippe Rameau in that 7th and 9th chords are no longer considered dissonant, and the mediant can be altered without changing the mode. In addition, Gabriel Fauré’s understanding of the church modes can be seen in various modal passages in his works, especially in his melodies.

In contrast with his harmonic and melodic style, which pushed the bounds for his time, Gabriel Fauré’s rhythmic motives tended to be subtle and repetitive, with little to break the flow of the line, although he did utilize subtle large scale syncopations, similar to those found in Brahms works. Aaron Copland referred to him as the ‘French Brahms’.

Gabriel Fauré’s piano works often use arpeggiated figures with the melody interspersed between the 2 hands, and include finger substitutions natural for organists. These aspects make them daunting for some pianists, but they are nonetheless central works.

Gabriel Fauré was a prolific composer, and among the most noteworthy of his works are his Requiem, the opera Pénélope, the orchestral suite Masques et Bergamasques (based on music for a dramatic entertainment, or divertissement comique), and music for Pelléas et Mélisande. Gabriel Faure also wrote chamber music; his 2 piano quartets are particularly well known. Other chamber music includes 2 piano quintets, 2 cello sonatas, 2 violin sonatas, and a number of piano pieces including the Nocturnes. Gabriel Faure is also known for his songs, such as Après un rêve, Les roses d’Ispahan, En prière, and several song cycles, including La Bonne Chanson with settings of poems by Verlaine, and L’horizon chimérique.

The Requiem, Op. 48, was not composed to the memory of a specific person but, in Gabriel Fauré’s words, “for the pleasure of it.” It was first performed in 1888. Gabriel Fauré is thought not to have had strong religious beliefs. It has been described as “a lullaby of death”. In setting his requiem, he left out the Dies irae, though the reference to the day of judgment appears in the Libera me, which, like Giuseppe Verdi, he added to the normal requiem mass. Several slightly different versions of the Requiem exist, and these have given rise to a number of different recordings. Personal grief may have influenced the composition as it was started after the death of his father, and before it was completed, his mother died as well. The Requiem can thus be seen as an expression of Gabriel Fauré’s personal tragedy written after the death of his parents. The Requiem is also acknowledged as a source of inspiration for the similar setting by Maurice Duruflé.

Gabriel Faure’s music is used in “Act I: Emeralds” of George Balanchine’s ballet Jewels (1967).

In the UK, the Berceuse from his Dolly Suite became known to several generations of children when it was used as the closing music for the radio programme Listen with Mother, which ran from 1950 to 1982.

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Hearing Impairment Series-Disabled Legend Johnnie Ray

John Alvin Ray was born on 10 January, 1927 in Hopewell, Oregon, USA and died on 24 February, 1990 in Los Angeles, California, USA of liver failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. Johnnie Ray was interred at Hopewell Cemetery near Hopewell, Oregon.

Johnnie Ray was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Johnnie Ray developed a unique rhythm based style, described as alternating between pre-rock R&B and a more conventional classic pop approach. Johnnie Ray was partially deaf because of an injury sustained at the age of 13. Johnnie Ray became deaf in his right ear at age 13 after an accident during a Boy Scout event. Johnnie Ray later performed his music wearing a hearing aid. Surgery performed in New York in 1958, left him almost completely deaf in both ears, although hearing aids helped his condition.

Johnnie Ray spent part of his childhood on a farm, eventually moving to Portland, Oregon. Johnnie Ray was of Native American origin; his great-grandmother was a full-blooded Indian and his great-grandfather was Oregon pioneer George Kirby Gay of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England.

Johnnie Ray first attracted attention while performing at the Flame Showbar in Detroit, Michigan, an R&B nightclub. Inspired by rhythm singers like Kay Starr, LaVern Baker and Ivory Joe Hunter, Johnnie Ray developed a unique rhythm based style, described as alternating between pre-rock R&B and a more conventional classic pop approach.

Johnnie Ray’s first record, the self-penned R&B number for OKeh Records, Whiskey and Gin, was a minor hit in 1951. The following year he dominated the charts with the double-sided hit single of “Cry” and “The Little White Cloud That Cried”. Selling over 2, 000,000 copies of the 45 single, Johnnie Ray’s delivery struck a chord with teenagers and he quickly became a teen idol.

Johnnie Ray’s performing style included theatrics later associated with rock ‘n roll, including beating up his piano, writhing on the floor and crying. Johnnie Ray quickly earned the nicknames, “Mr. Emotion”, “The Nabob of Sob”, and “The Prince of Wails”, and several others.

More hits followed, including “Please Mr. Sun”, “Such a Night”, “Walkin’ My Baby Back Home”, “A Sinner Am I”, and “Yes Tonight Josephine”. His last hit was “Just Walkin’ in the Rain”, in 1956. Johnnie Ray was popular in the United Kingdom, breaking the record at the London Palladium formerly set by Frankie Laine. In later years, he retained a loyal fan base overseas, particularly in Australia.

Johnnie Ray had a close relationship with journalist and television game show panelist Dorothy Kilgallen who gave a boost to his sagging career during his engagement at the Tropicana Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1965.

In early 1969, Johnnie Ray befriended Judy Garland, performing as her opening act during her last concerts in Copenhagen, Denmark and Malmo, Sweden. Johnnie Ray was also the best man during Garland’s wedding to nightclub manager Mickey Deans in London.

Johnnie Ray’s American career revived in the early 1970s, with appearances on The Andy Williams Show in 1970 and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 3 times during 1972 and 1973. Johnnie Ray’s personal manager Bill Franklin resigned in 1976 and cut off contact with the singer a few years later. Johnnie Ray’s American revival turned out to be shortlived. Johnnie Ray performed in small American venues such as El Camino College in 1987. Australian, English and Scottish promoters booked him for their large venues as late as 1989, his last year of performing.

Some writers suggested that the reason American entertainment bookers and songwriters ignored him in the 1980s was because they simply did not know who he was or what his sound was like. Johnnie Ray’s exposure during the new era of cable television was limited to a few seconds in Dexys Midnight Runners’ 1982 music video for Come On Eileen, using archival footage of Johnnie Ray from 1954. Johnnie Ray’s other video appearance was in Billy Idol’s 1986 “Don’t Need a Gun”, in which Johnnie Ray appeared on-camera.

Johnnie Ray had issues regarding his sexuality surface several times in his career, including 2 arrests for solicitation. Johnnie Ray quietly pleaded guilty and paid a fine after the first arrest, in the restroom of the Stone Theatre burlesque house in Detroit, which was just prior to the release of his first record in 1951. Johnnie Ray went to trial following the second arrest in 1959, also in Detroit, for soliciting an undercover officer in one of the city’s gay bars. Johnnie Ray was found not guilty.

Despite these issues, Johnnie Ray married Marilyn Morrison a short time after he gave his first New York concert, which was at the Copacabana in 1952. The wedding ceremony, attended by New York mayor Vincent R. Impellitteri, made the cover of the New York Daily News. Morrison, the daughter of a Los Angeles nightclub owner, was aware of the singer’s sexuality from the start, telling a friend she would “straighten it out.” The couple separated in 1953 and divorced in 1954.

In the years hence, writers have noted that the marriage occurred under false pretenses, and that Johnnie Ray had a long-term relationship with his manager, Bill Franklin. Johnnie Ray also had a relationship with columnist Dorothy Kilgallen, whom he met following an appearance on What’s My Line? in 1956. Dorothy Kilgallen was a strong support for Johnnie Ray during the 1959 solicitation trial.

Johnnie Ray drank regularly and his alcoholism caught up with him in 1960, when he was hospitalised for tuberculosis. Johnnie Ray recovered but continued drinking, and was diagnosed with cirrhosis at age 50.

For his contribution to the recording industry, Johnnie Ray has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6201 Hollywood Boulevard.

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Dyslexia Series-Disabled Legend Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte – Harold George Belafonte, Jr. was born on 1 March, 1927.Harry is an American musician, actor and social activist. One of the most successful Jamaican musicians in history, he was dubbed the “King of Calypso” for popularizing the Caribbean musical style in the 1950s. Due to problems with dyslexia, Belafonte dropped out of high school and at the age of 17, he joined the US Navy for a couple of years. After that, he returned to New York and settled there. Belafonte became involved with the American Negro Theatre and soon began singing in clubs around the city.

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Spina Bifida Series-Disabled Legend Frida Kahlo

Frida Kahlo was born on 6 July, 1907 and died on 13 July 1954. Frida was a Mexican painter, who has achieved great international popularity. She painted using vibrant colors in a style that was influenced by indigenous cultures of Mexico as well as European influences that include Realism, Symbolism, and Surrealism. Kahlo contracted polio at age six, which left her right leg looking thinner sometimes than the other (a deformity Kahlo hid by wearing long skirts). It has also been conjectured that she also suffered from spina bifida, a congenital disease that would have affected both spinal and leg development.

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Mood Disorders Series-Disabled Legend Dick Cavett

Richard Alva “Dick” Cavett was born on 19 November, 1936. Dick is an American television talk show host known for his conversational style and in-depth discussion of issues. Dick has openly discussed his bouts with clinical depression in recent years, an illness he has had to deal with since his freshman year at Yale. Dick was the subject of a 1993 video produced by the Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association called A Patient’s Perspective. Dick underwent electroconvulsive therapy to treat his depression. In 1992, he was quoted in People: “In my case, ECT was miraculous. My wife was dubious, but when she came into my room afterward, I sat up and said, ‘Look who’s back among the living.’ It was like a magic wand.”

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