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Rhythm and Blues

Vanessa Collier: “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” and “Two Parts Sugar, One Part Lime”

Check out a couple of songs from Vanessa Collier. Collier is a blues and jazz singer, writer and, most of all, saxophone player.

She certainly is busy. This year, according to the bio at her site, Collier will alternate touring the U.S. with her five-piece band and playing in 11 European countries with Ruf’s Blues Caravan.

Collier is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music. She toured with Joe Louis Walker’s band in 2012 and 2013. Collier’s debut album, “Heart Soul & Saxophone,” was released in 2014. Her second album, “Meeting My Shadow,” was released in March. She is an active sax teacher.

There is a good deal of video of Collier on YouTube. Check out two: “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy” was written by Cannonball Adderley. “Two Parts Sugar, One Part Lime” is her composition.

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.