Where to begin? Percussionists first. On National Postal Worker Day, a round of recognition for all the mail carriers who deliver our birthday wishes to Ndugu Chancler, Sameer Gupta, and Rashied Ali. Chancler’s energizing fireworks and climactic beats lit up Yoshi’s in Oakland, in 2002, in a historic rebirth of Miles Davis’ On the Corner, with four other Miles veterans. Chancler was also Michael Jackson’s drummer on “Billie Jean”—and played his final drums in 2018, after battling prostate cancer. Happy birthday, and rest in rhythm and power, to Chancler.
Fellow birthday-haver Gupta is a tabla legend who co-founded Brooklyn Raga Massive and supercharges the Supplicants and VidyA, saxophonist Prasant Radhakrishnan’s project. Every band Gupta joins is stronger and steadier for it, with a syncopating pulse that grounds the music. Happy 44th. And happy 87th to Rashied Ali, who gave John Coltrane’s final years their signature sound, thanks to Ali’s kinetic, expressive style, famously on their Interstellar Space duet.
You may also know July 1 as the day ice-vending machines were introduced in Los Angeles, and as Canada Day, but most importantly, it marks the greatest of them all: The happiest birthday in human history to the singularly creative, infinitely inspiring, always-celebrated Rita King, this Recharge writer’s mom and muse.