Tag Archives: music

Fragility

This was originally written right after Roy Hargrove’s passing.  I needed some separation from the time of writing until now.

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Woke up this morning with my mind staid on Jesus but wasn’t about to go to church while fending off the vestiges of some cold/sinus/whatever this thing is I have going on. So I’m home, in the bed writing those inconsistent morning pages and I started thinking about the foolery that is my life as I currently live it. I generally do this life assessment thing when something jarring happens. The jarring this time was the untimely death of the trumpet great Roy Hargrove. This brother just turned 49 and now he’s gone.

I didn’t write when Prince passed. Though I loved him the majority of my life, there was nothing to say, too much grief,  too many well known, highly talented, music writers and cultural critics filled that space. Besides, I’m just a fan. The same holds true in this instance as well but something mundane happened this morning that put my thoughts about Hargrove and life in perspective. I broke a bowl into a million pieces.

Hargrove’s death is personal. When I discovered his music, all I lived, breathed and  spent money on was jazz. This was the early nineties. I heard everything,  I knew what was hot, I was down for sure but my genre of choice was jazz and as far as I was concerned,  Hargrove was the hottest with his cool. What I loved about him was that he wasn’t trying to blow up the trumpet,  the mic or my ears. His tone, his phrasing, his technical aptitude, his respect for the artform was all I heard and it was beautiful.  The brother was a hard bopper, a balladeer, a funkateer, soulful and hip-hop. He did it all. He was the soundtrack for my life, his music felt good.

Whenever he dropped something I was on it. When he dropped Habana? It was over. People often talk about seminal recordings, landmarks what have you, Habana was it for me. As I write this I hear the opening cut O My Seh Yeh clearly. I felt the music, I felt him, the musicians, Cuba and the continent of Africa.  This was soul music, for real. And I’m thankful for having experienced it.

I listened to it all, his quintet, fronting a big band, the Soulquarians, absolutely bumpin’, always stellar. I kept Hargrove on my hotlist of artists to see. I saw many that he collaborated with from Herbie Hancock to Erykah Badu, but I never saw him. When I heard he was gone I literally clutched my heart, it was broken. As I read about his death I learned that he was broken, fragile. He had kidney disease, was on dialysis for years. He had some ups and downs, but he was still playing, still recording, still working though he was clearly ill.

Maybe that’s what I’ve gotten from his life, his work. He didn’t have it all together anymore. He was fragile, yet he continued to keep it moving. He continued to inspire and mentor, he continued to do the work that he loved regardless of his fragility. So I say,  thank you Brother Hargrove for sharing your art with us. May your trumpet sound all the more beautiful in eternity.

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Photos: MsThorns
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Not a Music Journalist Rolls with McBride

So this is how it went down. I found out that a certain artist whom I love coming to town. I really wanted to go but being a “solo artist” the venue wasn’t a good choice for me.  As it turns out another supremely talented musician was coming to town the same week.  I first heard this musician back in the 90s as a part of Joshua Redman’s band.  Since then HE has been on a trajectory as a leader/musician/composer that has crossed genres, but to me he is a jazz man, that likes to make it funky.  After some crowd-sourcing and a reality check  I got a ticket to check out super-bassist/composer/band leader Christian McBride, this time as leader of a trio of the same name on November 3.

The Scene

I’ve been to Clayton State several times but this was my first time at Spivey Hall.  There was an immediate fail upon arrival as the lights in the parking lot were out.  It was completely black, no security and no police on site.  There were officers on site after the show, to the University’s credit. Spivey is an older, but beautiful facility.  The concert hall is small and intimate with some great architecture.  They have a strict no photo policy so I only managed to snap a few photos on the sly of the stage area.  I dare not take any of the artist though I did see one guy get one after the show.
Having come fairly fresh off another jazz show, this crowd was a bit different.  From what I could tell this was more of the jazz aficionado crowd.  Older, decidedly un-trendy and whiter than the last show I attended.  Atlanta (I think) has gotten better in terms of African-American attendance at jazz shows.  This is a hip-hop town after all, but from what I can see we have gotten a bit better than when I first started going to shows here in the early 90s.  My folk are giving me hope.  Additionally there were very few late arrivals at this show (thank God).

The Band
Christian McBride – Acoustic (upright) bass
Christian Sands – piano
Ulysses Owens Jr – drums
McBride started young and in Jazz years he’s still young, 40 but his trio mates are even younger, the pianist Christian Sands is 23 and a virtuoso.  The drummer Owens, didn’t look to be yet 30 himself but these dudes played their tails OFF.  They had tremendous energy and looked to enjoy playing together.  The interplay between the three was so natural and there were plenty of smiles.  In my years of observation, jazz musicians are oh-so serious.  These guys were playing serious music, they certainly had “the look” from time to time but when they were riffing off each other it was all fun and a joy to watch.  McBride is a master of his craft AND proved to be a master showman as well at times charming and witty and quite engaging.

The Music
The music was the star of the show and in a word was absolutely OUTSTANDING.  Here’s the set list (as I recall it).
  1. Duhty Blues – it’s named blues but this tune was swinging.  We were treated with our first taste of Sands and Owens via solo.
  2. I Mean You – immediately recognizable though I couldn’t recall the name.  A very uptempo and fun interpretation of Thelonius Monk’s composition.
  3. I Guess I’ll Have to Forget – This tune had a distinct beginning, middle and ending. Slow in the beginning, uptempo in the middle and slow at the conclusion with the piano featured.
  4. The Most Beautiful Girl in the world – the drummer, Owens went off on this one, an outstanding solo.
  5. My Favorite Things – had us pretty much whipped into a frenzy.  The way McBride flipped this was incredible.  It started off sweetly with Sands’ piano and moved into the tune that we all know.  The song progressed into a sort of futuristic feel as we heard and watched the drummer and pianist play their instruments in unconventional fashion.  The drummer using elbows and a variety of brush sticks and other things I can’t name. The pianist placed a towel on the inside of the piano and played the inside of the piano.  McBride grounded the future and sent it into funk mode which he does WELL.  The song ended in the same sweet fashion it began in.
  6. Easy Walker – a Dr Billy Taylor composition
  7. I Have Dreams – from the King and I.  This one was all McBride with him employing a bow on the bass, it was really beautiful.  I just closed my eyes remembering it.
  8. Who’s Making Love – McBride made no bones about being a funk guy and from this selection a blues guy, letting us know that the muse for the Trio is Johnnie Taylor.  The band got DOWN on the last tune of the set.  I thought at any minute the show would turn into a blues show, with all the head nodding and lip-syncing.  McBride and the guys didn’t stop however they mixed Michael Jackson’s Shake Your Body, the Gap Bands Shake in which we were treated to a bit of scatting and singing from McBride.  Nobody wanted this to end and it didn’t.

Encore
A dear friend and former classmate of McBride’s was in the audience.  This friend was called to the stage and blessed us with My Funny Valentine and brought me nearly to tears.  Who was it? Ms Avery Sunshine.  Some of the crowd didn’t know who she was, us soul heads knew and she killed it. I even heard folks leaving commenting on how great the encore was.

Final Impressions
Christian McBride/The Christian McBride Trio is the absolute total package. McBride’s talent is incomparable. Just watching his hands put in work was amazing. The two young musicians rounding out the trio bring great energy (not that McBride needs it as he is quite lively) and a level of talent that is really awe-inspiring.  As stated earlier, these guys work well together and it showed.  If the Christian McBride Trio makes a stop in your city, just hit the submit button, make the phone call or run, not walk to the box office to get a ticket.
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Not a music journalist but I dug “Ladies of Jazz”

I know a good ticket when I see one and this ticket was a deal. For $40 + all those ridiculous surcharges, on Friday night October 19, the old broad headed to Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center for the Ladies of Jazz show featuring Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding.

The Scene
Last time I went to the Center was four years ago. Having been open only a few months at the time, it was a sparkling facility and it’s just as sparkling now as it was then. The ushers were very friendly and helpful, the bathrooms and common areas were spotless. Upon being seated in the auditorium the crowd seemed to be fairly light. Which was unusual because for a Friday evening, there were no traffic snarls on the way to the venue. Little did I know that there would indeed be a full house. People were just late and not even fashionably late but rudely late. Many arriving halfway through the first artist’s set. Atlanta music patrons, please get it together. The artists deserve better than that.

The Artists

Terri Lyne Carrington
Drummer, Terri Lyne Carrington and her band opened the show. Her set was short, too short for me which amount to about seven songs some of which were from her most recent release Mosaic. I’d only recently discovered her music after watching a YouTube video with footage from some of the Mosaic recording sessions and finally purchased Mosaic a few weeks ago. Carrington opened her set with “Triad” (from Mosaic) which is a burner. Her band consisted of guitar, acoustic bass, trumpet and saxophone. Moving quickly through her set, other standouts tunes included the third cut “Hopscotch” followed by a cut entitled “Sweden” which she said was inspired buy a recent tour date there. The finale which I cannot name opened with an outstanding drum solo, which from what I hard and saw, makes me really dig her playing, which is her efficiency. There’s no wasted energy, no theatrics, flying drumsticks, sweaty brow and such. Carrington takes command of her kit like a bawse! I’ve heard many a drum solo in my day and have watched drummers play as if they’re trying to kill their kit no such thing with Carrington. She commands while being understated and it works.

Impressions
The saxophonist, who also played in Spalding’s band is special. Her name is Tia Fuller. She’s released a few albums as a leader and can flat-out blow. I also would have like to hear more from the bassist. The guitarist was efficient and the trumpeter seemed to be having some wardrobe malfunction with her shirt sleeves. I don’t know how she played as I was distracted by her shirt sleeve fidgeting :-/
Upon hearing Carrington live and reading up on her I regret being late to the party. From this show, I’d say she’s a musician first and a performer second. There’s no doubt that more of Terri Lynne Carrington’s music will be added to my library and hopefully additional opportunities to hear her live.

Esperanza Spalding
Turns out that the auditorium was full for the second set when bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding hit the stage. I first heard Spalding via @Fave and his former podcast show Friday Favecast. She was all the hype at the time and won a best new artist Grammy in 2011. Though I’m not a music journalist, I am a bit of a music snob and when I hear hype or what I perceive as hype I steer clear. Fast forward to 2012 and he release of Spalding’s Radio Music Society. I “caved” copped it and loved it. She has a sweet vocal and in my ear I hear shades of two important vocalists, Michael Franks and Minnie Ripperton. Divergent, a bit, but to me she references them both in delivery and tone but let’s be clear it’s not just Spalding’s vocals that garner attention, she gets down on the bass, acoustic and electric.

The Set
This is my recollection of Spalding’s set (with comments), all from Radio Music Society:

  1. City of Roses – Spalding entered the stage on electric bass, the crowd was bananas and there were catcalls from my section (fans please get it together, this isn’t appropriate). She introduced her entire band which included, piano/keyboards, three saxophonists, two trombonists, two trumpeters (the female trumpeter was also a vocalist) a male vocalist, drummer and guitarist.
  2. Hold On Me – Spalding simmered on this. Nice range and beautiful clear tone. She nailed this.
  3. I Can’t Help It – MJ would have been pleased with this rendition.
  4. Smile
  5. Crowned and Kissed
  6. Black Gold – The intro featured the male vocalist who referenced Trayvon Martin. The intro nearly brought me two tears for both the vocal and the content. Algebra Blessett joined Spalding for the remainder of the song.
  7. Land of the Free – Spalding provided narrative on this one. Telling the story of Cornelius Dupree who was imprisoned for 30 years and set free as a result of the efforts of the Innocence Project. Proceeds from merchandise at the show were donated to Innocence Project
  8. Endangered Species – the entire band went hard on this one, male trumpeters solo was excellent.
  9. Radio Song – finale with audience participation and was great fun
  10. Encore – I’m not sure of the name of the tune but Spalding played acoustic bass accompanied by Terri Lyne Carrington on drums. Brief but nice with a stripped down sound and feel.

Impressions
I can honestly say that I’m now a believer. For me the true test is always how a musician comes across live and quite frankly she nailed it. She has the musical and performance chops and is really engaging. Her band was excellent and didn’t miss a beat. Spalding definitely has the chops and will hopefully be around a long time to bless us with her talent. I’d certainly see her again.

If you caught the Atlanta Ladies of Jazz show or have heard these artists live in your town. I’d love to hear your thoughts, please feel free to do so in the comments.

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Not an Opera Connoisseur but LaRoche was Lovely

As a matter of fact I know nothing about opera other than what I seen on TV and what my parents told me as a child. I can name who I know on one hand, Marian Anderson, Leontyne Price, Kathleen Battle and Luciano Pavarotti. I’m not an opera hater, quite the contrary, I recall “fake opera singing” quite a bit as a child. I just never carried any enthusiasm for it into adulthood until now early one Sunday I watched with bleary eyes a community program on TV People to People which did a segment on a local opera production called LaRoche by Americolor Opera Alliance. The story was compelling, centered around Joseph Philippe Le Mercier LaRoche, the only black passenger on the Titanic. I called up my always game for something new girlfriend and we set out for LaRoche.

The Sights

The performance was held at Atlanta Metropolitan College in a classroom. The set was minimal with the chamber (musicians) seated diagonally from the state. The stage was soon lit up upon the arrival of the performers, who in the first scene of Act I were in a Haitian marketplace.

The Sounds

From the opening of Act I to the finale in Act III I really enjoyed all that I heard. The cast members all sounded beautiful in chorus in each of the scenes that featured choral type vocals. There were of course some really standout performances as follows:

Reisha Lauren, soprano – Ni Ni, flower vendor in the market place. Lauren had a beautiful voice and great stage presence Her range could probably break glass. I tapped my girlfriend and said “that girl can SANG.”

Timothy Harper, tenor – President La Conte, Mr. Futrelle, Father Byles. There was no raised seating in the room and I was seated behind some fairly tall people. When I heard his voice, I had to stand up and see from whom that sound was coming. His voice was really moving.

Marlyssa Brooks-Alt, soprano – Juliette LaFargue LaRoche. The clarity and strength of her voice was the perfect vehicle to portray the heartache Juliette must have felt as she first separated from her father to go back to Haiti with her husband, and when she separated from Joseph who went down with the ship.

Wendel Stephens, bass – Joseph LaRoche. Stephens voice was surprisingly beautiful. Not because I had an expectation that he couldn’t sing, but surprising because his voice had “boom”. I guess I expect a big guy to sound like that, yet he was a really average sized guy who produced a really big vocal which was fitting as the lead of the production.

Special Treats

This wasn’t all opera as it had elements of a stage play, parts of which were absolutely hilarious. The farewell dinner with the back and forth between the LaRoche servants as they mocked Madame LaRoche (Joseph’s mother) was dead on and Madame LaRoche had the aristocratic demeanor down pat. There was also a funny scene (if you can imagine) as the Titanic was going down between two drunken card players, who continued to “drink to that” as though the fun they were having at that moment was all that mattered.

Overall Impression

LaRoche was a perfect first timer’s Opera. The founder and director of Americolor Opera Alliance, Sharon J. Willis has done a masterful job at bringing opera to the masses in a palatable form, while telling a compelling story. That the company is primarily made up of persons of color made it all the more worthwhile for this first timer and has even piqued my interest to go hear more. What I’d like to see happen with the Alliance is growth and that growth can happen through sponsorship. As such if you’d like to know more about Americolor or become a sponsor, please visit their website.

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Not a music jounalist finds heaven near the grind

The intention was to get a little walk, talk and look for a photo to post for the G+365 Project with a girlfriend of mine.  While looking for something compelling to photograph, across the street I saw some nice artwork on the side of a building.  I looked at the front of the building to see the name of the business which was Decatur CD.  Girlfriend and I decided we would stop in for a second on the way back to the office.

Why on earth did we do that?


The place gets no interior design points but it gets MASSIVE points for its music collection and the memories it invokes of the neighborhood record shops of old.  They have CDs and Vinyl which collectors will surely enjoy. What made me particularly excited was the jazz collection.  Being a worshipper of the Emperor Coltrane, the jazz section was my first stop.  A large portion of my Coltrane collection was on cassette, all of which was discarded over a decade ago with the intention of replacing these items by either recording to CD my father’s vinyl (which is massive) or re-buying everything on CD.  Digital was never an option for Coltrane as I MUST HAVE the liner notes to see the musicians and as well as the where and when of the recording. Low and behold two of my favorites (well they all are) were in the stack, Impressions and Africa/Brass.  Since I didn’t have sufficient funding I hustled my tail back to the office to get my card and went back to make the purchase.

The store owner’s sales records are decidedly old school, notebook and pen.  He said, “this is how we kept track of everything before computers.”  (He does have a credit card machine).  I’ve got no qualms with the way he keeps records as long has he has good music, I’m good.

If you’re in the neighborhood, go check out my man at Decatur CD and forget about leaving there empty handed.

 

Note: Africa/Brass was my first listening selection.  When I heard those first bass notes of the intro, I went into a FULL SHOUT in the car.

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Not a Music Journalist doesn’t do Award shows

But thanks to Twitter I can get real-time results on them and flip to see performers I like. But, seriously I don't watch award shows. I went started boycotting them in 1989. I've watched two all the way through since then, the Source Awards the year Suge Knight dissed Puffy (yeah he was Puffy back then) and last years BET Awards in hopes of a Michael Jackson tribute, which was awful and to see Maxwell after his long hiatus (he was last).  In fact I probably haven't been really excited about music award shows since MJ's Thriller days and Prince's Purple Rain days. What I found is that the people that I like never won and the shows were always too long and showed categories that I had absolutely NO interest in.  As for 1989, two egregious things happened that turned me off FOR GOOD!

I was watching the American Music Awards with my sister. The category was Favorite Male Vocalist Soul/R&B, the nominees were Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and George Michael. George Michael won now granted this was his first solo joint it was hot but he was NOT R&B. My reaction and I'll never forget it, "a white boy who ain't even from here  won best R&B male. My mind was made up I was THROUGH with music award shows.  But this was a double whammy year.  The biggest whammy of all came from the Grammy Awards. 1989 was the first year that Hip-Hop was category at the Grammys, the category was a mash-up called Best Rap Performance. The nominees were all over the place, JJ Fad, LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, Kool Moe Dee and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh.  Hip Hop had ARRIVED or so we thought, the revolution would NOT be televised. The award was not televised and Public Enemy, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince and more boycotted the Grammy's. I joined them. The music was too important, it was moving a nation of young folk, urban folk, black folk and white folk. I was appalled and I still am.
Seems not much has changed since then.  It's 2010 and as I watched the tweets roll by I didn't see ANYTHING about the hip-hop categories being televised. I then lucked up and saw one, best Rap/Sung collaboration (who comes up with these things?) Jay-Z won it and he was there to accept it, but Kanye wasn't.  The story as far as I'm concerned remains the same. The folks you want to win usually don't, people who have zero skills usually do and the categories that the fan really cares about are not televised.  That's the surface stuff. The beneath the surface stuff is that OUR music, music created by US, originated by US STILL after all these years and now gazillions of units sold and gazillions of $$ into the majors pockets and we still can't get air time.  
That's why I don't watch. I can take your word for what happened or read about it on the web later.

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Not A Music Journalist Listens to Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 by Nicolay

This
actually arrived on a day when I was not feeling well. Having been knocked out
by pain relievers the UPS delivered me from my near comatose state and
delivered Shibuya.  Here’s my track by
track opinion.

1)Lose Your
Way – The vocal is light and breezy, mixed with the instrumentation and I can’t
really tell what all was used, it makes for an overall breezy track.  Based on the lyrics and again the music you
feel like no matter what’s going on in the city, you still love losing your way
in it.

2)Shibuya
Station – this has a very metropolitan sound and puts me in the mind of Weather
Report brand fusion. The tune conveys a hustle and bustle, an energy that makes
you want to go do something.

3)Crossing –
Really a continuation of the previous tune. I didn’t pay attention to the track
listing so thought it was the same song that had changed up a bit. The
transition is flawless.

4)Rain in
the Ueno Park – The rain sound is a nice back drop. This isn’t a dreary rain
song, but more of a comforting kick back rain sound. Again I’m hearing fusion.

5)Satellite –
what hear on this one is fusion meets Jack Your Body era house.

6)Saturday
Night  – This is a party song. I love the
vocal, the house style beat and keys. You can see the party going on and it’s
the part of the party where everybody is feeling it, dancing and enjoying the
music.

7)A Ride
Under the Neon Moon  – this is the on the
way out the party transition.

8)Omotesando
– This is a perfect wind down song, it has a jazz flavor but not smooth jazz,
not fusion either.  This is the sit down
and kick your shoes off exhale song.

9)Meiji
Shrine – this sounds like a shift. There’s a sound in that sounds either like a
bell or breaking glass I’m not sure. There is a mystery to this cut and I want
to know what it is.

10)Shadow
Dancing – I don’t know anything about Asian musical tradition, but I feel like
some of it might be conveyed here.  This
also sounds theatrical when those string sounding keys come in.

11)The Inner
Garden – this conveys rejuvenation, like the sun is coming up and everything is
waking up to meet it.

12)Bullet
Train – on the first pass this sounded like a Monday morning time to go get it
as I listened a few more times it sounds more like it is about focus on any day
of the week.

13)Wake up
in another life – the vocals make sense on this and I like how they are layered
near the end.

14)Departure
– like the “horn” sounds.  The title
conveys, departure from the city as well as departure from this musical experience.

15)Shibuya Epilogue
– I will say that Nicolay is dead wrong for this one. Dead wrong because it’s a
teaser. I was feeling it, it was swinging, and the vocalist was swinging. This
should have been a full length track.

16-18)Are
instrumental versions of Lose Your Way, Saturday Night and Wake Up In Another
Life

 

I didn’t
read any press on this I knew it was coming out and the only expectation that I
had was if this was a Nicolay project that it would be good and it is.  What makes it good is that: 1)There are no
songs to skip through on this CD.  It’s
tightly produced, the songs are not opus length but are a length that is
enjoyable (with the exception of Shibuya Epilogue, which was too short), and
the number of tracks is right. 2)The CD tells a story.  For me it tells a story that is in a certain
locale but could be in any metropolitan area. The story is told in two parts
and the two parts work together to make a whole. 3)I believe that the sound is
cross cultural, cross genre and cross generational.  It could be listened to in the home, car or iPod
of anyone and finally 4)the vocalist Carlitta Durand. What I hear is that she is
comfortable singing in more than a few musical genres. We got a taste of what
she can do on Shibuya, let’s hope we get more.

 

If you have
any rotation right now, I recommend Shibuya: City Lights, Vol. 2 for heavy
rotation. 

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Not a Music Journalist Listens To Kamaal the Abstract by Q-Tip

 

I don’t know if there was journalistic hype about the
project, but I know I was hyped about the release of Kamaal The Abstract.  Q-Tip is a musician not just an MC, not just a
lyricist, not just a producer.  We all
get to hear his musicality on this set. 
Here’s my track by track opinion.

1)Feelin – this cut is heavy on the guitar and keys with
about a one minute rap vocal. The remaining vocals are all sung by Q-Tip and
female background vocalists with a solid musical arrangement.  The sound is hip-hop in the beginning but
becomes more groove as it goes on.

2)Do You Dig You – all vocals on this cut are sung and at
about three minutes in the song becomes all about the music particularly the
flute by Gary Thomas. Upbeat with the synth bass making the cut hip-hop in
sound but the remaining instrumentation has more of a fusion sound.

3)A Million Times – all vocals are sung and there are only
two phrases “We’re gonna do it again and again.” “I thought I told you a
million times.” The song is really about the guitar, the keyboards, the groove.

4)Blue Girl – all vocals are sung, with a brief verse and
repeats of the chorus. The feature on this cut is the piano.

5)Barely in Love – Q-Tip and the female vocalist singing
about a girl and being barely in love. The cut has more of a rock vibe. This
one is made for live performance.  (Did
see the Jimmy Fallon performance but unable to pull it)

6)Heels – this song immediately put me in mind of early 90’s
Red Hot Chili Peppers. Q-Tip performs a rap vocal about high heels and the
sexiness of said heels on a girl in different settings. The refrain, “put your
heels on girl, put them heels on lady.” Love the energy of this one.

7)Abstractionisms – Q-tip delivers “abstractionisms” on a
brief rap vocal but the cut is really all about THE alto saxophonist Kenny
Garrett.

8)Caring – a sweet short song that features more of the
female vocalists than Tip.

9)Even If It Is So – My favorite track on the CD is about a
girl doing what she has to do to get educated and make things better for
herself and her daughter. Really nice groove on this one.

10)Make it Work – This is the only cut in which Q-Tip
delivers a full-on rap vocal that is longer than a minute or two.  This is most hip-hop of all the cuts on the
CD and could have easily fit on the last ATCQ CD.

My first spin through Kamaal the Abstract was cool. I wasn’t
hot, hot for it I believe because I’ve spent the last year listening to The
Renaissance which had a much bigger sound. 
 Kamaal the Abstract for lack of a
better term is “tighter”. The tracks are more intimate, more out of a jazz
tradition and more about Q-Tips  musicianship and the musicianship of the
artists featured on this project.   If the
listener is looking for a hip-hop record I would say, it is hip-hop but not
like anything we hear right now.  He’s
not Jeezy, Weezy, Ye nor Hov and this CD is void of all things autotune,
thankfully. The shelving of the project was mind boggling to me but in the end the
timing turned out to be fortuitous. There is a major vacuum in hip-hop. Outside
of the hot boys mentioned above (of which Jay is the only one I listen to)
there is a dire lack of creativity, artistry and musicianship. As such hip-hop
fans of “a certain age” like me and fans who just don’t like all that’s being
played on traditional radio right now are left wanting.  That said, Kamaal the Abstract is welcome
relief, one that will stay in the rotation. 
Good music is good music, that’s what Q-tip is delivering on this one.

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How I got over

Two bad days in a row. My usual tools to get over the hump were either unavailable or undesirable. I turned to my sustenance. This is the end of WTF.

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Daddy’s Office – #1 Fusion Funk Jazz

We lived in a brick house on 12th Street,
probably my favorite home of the places we lived in. My dad had an office,
right in between the dining room and the living room. In that office housed his
desk, his work and most importantly to me, his music. It was in this house, in Daddy’s office that
I was first authorized to touch his stereo system. I was fairly young, around
seven or so, when he showed me how to work it. What knobs on the receiver we
work what we called back then, the record player and what knobs would work the eight
track player. He was and still is a big
time audiophile, and thankfully into component systems instead of those
monstrous all-in-one wooden units. He’s been an owner of vitually every music
related piece of technology except for a DAT machine, including way way back in
the day a reel-to-reel. In Daddy’s
office, on Daddy’s stereo was where my musical tastes were formed. Daddy’s Office is a sampling of some of the
music heard in the office or inspired by it and the memories that were created
there.

The first entry from Daddy’s office, is dedicated to what we
now call jazz fusion, funk jazz and smooth jazz. Back then I didn’t have any earthly idea what
it was. All I knew was that it sounded
good, it was a good backdrop for anything that was going on around the house
and that daddy always played his music the same way I do to this day, LOUDLY! Enjoy.

Note: The version of Scratch is a MUCH later live
version, if you have the original recording, please hit me up.


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