The World Loses A Monumental Musical Figure: Prince Rogers Nelson

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The historic City Hall building in Los Angeles was illuminated in purple lights in honor of Prince on the night of the musician’s passing.

It’s been six days and the music world is still in shock over the death of the genius known as Prince. The details surrounding his death continue to perplex even those closest to him. However, here on the mining blog it is the music that continues to inspire.

Since his debut in 1978, Prince has released 34 original studio albums, 7 additional albums under different names, and numerous compilation albums. That is at the least one album per year since he was 19 years old. Prince died April 21, 2016 at his Paisley Park Studio in Minneapolis, MN at the age of 57.

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Amoeba Hollywood Celebrates What Could Be the Biggest Record Store Day Yet

IMG_20160416_131045349_HDRSaturday was the 9th Annual Record Store Day, and most certainly the biggest splash in LA was made at Amoeba Music in Hollywood. And as a vinyl enthusiast I will definitely give it its place here on the mining blog.

An aerial view of Amoeba Music at high noon shows a line of record buyers wrapped around the building along Sunset Blvd and down Ivar St. Record Store Day releases became available at 1:00 PM.

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Fair-like activities took place outside the store, including a stand where East Los Angeles’ own caricature artist Rene Pompa provided his unique artistry
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An inside shot of the store as RSD got underway.

T-shirt silk-screeners were hard at work meeting the demands of the droves of vinyl heads. All proceeds went to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music. Record Store Day has really become the beacon for the unique culture of the neighborhood record store. And of course nobody does it quite like Amoeba.

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American producer, composer, percussionist, and DJ Toby Dammit contributed his spinning skills to the festivities.
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Yo Gabba Gabba! host DJ Lance Rock took over at the wheels for Toby at 3:00 PM.
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Record collectors showing off their acquisitions: A limited edition, orange-splattered vinyl LP of Phish’s fifth studio album Hoist.

Musician and comedian Fred Armisen (from NBC’s Late Night with Seth Myers)closed out the last DJ set. The festivities then continued at Space15Twenty across the street (1520 N Cahuenga Ave) with more music and outdoor activities.

Since its inception in 2008, Record Store Day has grown incrementally each year. With nearly 350 exclusive releases this year, RSD 2016 had the makings of being the biggest yet.

The Musical Legacy of South Central LA and Beyond

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Historic city marker located at the corner of Central Ave and Vernon Ave. Photo courtesy of Hemy He.

Does the image of a vibrant live jazz and blues scene come to mind when thinking of South Central Los Angeles? Well, that probably depends on who you ask. For nearly forty years, Central Avenue was the place to be for jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues. Artists like Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, and T-Bone Walker collaborated and played along the Central Avenue strip, and slept at the only luxury hotel for blacks city-wide. The Dunbar Hotel was the corridor’s kingpin, and folks from all over the city came down to hear legendary musicians jamming at speakeasys and after-hours spots, and not to mention get their gambling on.

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The Dunbar Hotel circa 1941. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.
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Lionel Hampton (Top left) with DJ Joe Adams (Standing right) in front of Club Alabam at 4215 S Central Avenue. Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library.
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Club goers dancing on Central Avenue. Courtesy of the University of California, Los Angeles Archive.

Together with film major Steve Wittrock, I spent most of the winter quarter conducting interviews with veteran musicians, and capturing field footage as well as archival material to produce a documentary titled Historic Sounds of Central Avenue. For Steve, a native Angeleno, the project served as a real eye-opener. “I had no idea that Los Angeles had a deep history of Jazz. You proved yourself by teaching me one of your passions and introducing me to a whole new world.” The documentary is set to debut at the 19th Annual Golden Eagle Film Festival held at California State University, Los Angeles.

You can visit this site for more information on the festival: https://www.facebook.com/goldeneaglefilmfestival

This vibrant artist community has long been a tradition of South Los Angeles. With the arrival of established musicians such as Jelly Roll Morton and Kid Ory in the early 20th Century, South Los Angeles has proven itself to be a pivotal cradle for innovative artists. That tradition continues today.

As a native Angeleno, I have always been drawn to the many artistic communities that can be found throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan areas. Local broadcasting units such as KPFK, KPCC, and KCRW have proven to be consistent outlets for many local talents and projects, and have served as pivotal sources of inspiration for me.

Music is fashion with rhythm. Through vibrant pockets of Downtown LA or the Arts District of Little Tokyo, this blog will explore this unique culture. The music suffuses the life of LA, and reflects it in artist communities from Highland Park to East Los Angeles, from Long Beach up to North Hollywood and the valley. Everyone has their soul to share, and this blog is there to mine that groove you may not have heard or known about. This is what Los Angeles cultivates.

For more information on the history of the Central Avenue corridor please visit the Central Avenue Collective produced website: http://scalar.usc.edu/works/historic-central-avenue-los-angeles/index