Nina Simone (1976)

Watch Nina Simone perform a medley of Stars and Feelings live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1976

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Nina Simone was one of the great female vocalists of the 20th Century. She was equally at home singing jazz, blues, soul, gospel or pure pop. Hugely prolific throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, she recorded only rarely in her later career, but remained a major live performer until well into the nineties when, becoming increasingly frail, she retired to France where she died in 2003 at the age of 70.

Nina Simone made four appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. This clip features a segment of the performance from 1976 as the main feature.

Nina Simone was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone.

When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman,” the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While thirty-three years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Nina’s uncompromising musical trademark.

By the end of her life, Nina was enjoying an unprecedented degree of recognition. Her music was enjoyed by the masses due to the CD revolution, discovery on the Internet, and exposure through movies and television. Nina had sold over one million CDs in the last decade of her life, making her a global catalog best-seller.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Los Yesterdays (2021)

I was just a puppet on your string, until you cut me down.

Los Yesterdays is a “Souldies” project featuring Gabe Rowland, Vic Benavides, Gabe Roth, and Tommy Brenneck.

Founded by producer/drummer, Gabriel Rowland and singer/songwriter, Victor Benavides in Pasadena, CA in 2017, Los Yesterdays wanted to create music that recalled their childhood days as young chicanos. “Souldies” is how they describe their contemporary take on the deep soul tracks they modeled their sound after. R & B greats such as Little Anthony, Gene Chandler, and James & Bobby Purify to name a few. After writing and recording a few tracks, the songs eventually ended up in the hands of acclaimed producer/guitarist, Tom Brenneck who was working with the late Charles Bradley amongst other projects. Tommy was a fan of the songs but finding out Los Yesterdays were only a duo, he decided to see if his friend Gabe Roth would be interested in starting a project. Roth, being best known as producer/bass player/bandleader for the late Sharon Jones, as well as the co-founder of Daptone Records. After a few barbecues and meetings with Roth and Tommy, they decided to have a jam session and, in the summer of 2018, a band was formed. And so, we give you, Los Yesterdays