Archive for the ‘Audibles’ Category
As I may have mentioned previously, my wife and I are anticipating the arrival of a baby boy very soon. While there is much that I hope to impart upon him as a father, I’m especially looking forward to introducing him to good music. I decided to call upon some of my talented friends to put together some music mixes so I could play them for my son as he grows up. In the spirit of education, I asked that they use music that was formative in helping them to develop their own tastes – and to use classic songs, nothing too modern.
My buddy Aaron Lopez, aka DJ Moral One, came through with a world music mixtape with some distinctly latin leanings. He told me the common thread amongst them were strong drums and grooves. In addition to djing and producing, he plays drums for a Chicago-based hip hop band called Alert. They recently signed to my friend Braille’s label Humble Beast and released their first single: “All I See is Red.” (you can check out the video here). The mix and tracklisting are below; or you can download it directly here. Many thanks, Aaron.
1. Tema De Batman by Celio Balona
2. Pontos De Luz by Gal Costa
3. Che Che Cole Makossa (feat. Mayra Vega) by Antibalas
4. Laranjeiras (4 Hero Remix) by Azymuth
5. Soul Bossa Nova by Pretty Purdie
6. Rico Suave Bossa Nova by JayDee
7. Zip Zap by Bobby Valentin
8. Me Libertei by Toni Tornado
9. Dirty Old Bossa Nova by Visioneers
10. Cascavel by Antonio Adolfo
11. Grains de Beauté by Céu
12. No Hay Nada Mas by Mos Def
13. Tereza Guerraira by Antonio Carlos & Jocafi
14. Dre en Cumbia by Quantic y Conjunto
15. Caetano Veloso by Joia
16. Talking Drum by Africa Messengers/ Ginger Johnson
17. Joe Cuba’s Mambo by Joe Cuba Sextette
18. Quimbara by Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacecho
19. Micaela by El Conde Rodriguez
20. Hit The Bongo by Tito Puente
21. Suadade Vem Correndo by Stan Getz Luiz Bonfa Maria Toledo
Last Friday, I got the chance to catch Los Straitjackets – an instrumental surf rock band from Nashville, TN – live for the first time. The band leader, Eddie Angel, is a legend in the rockabilly scene and helped form the band in the late 80′s along with Danny Amis (who is now unfortunately sidelined with cancer). Their live performance is something to behold – the band dresses in nondescript black suits and luchador masks, and no speaking occurs besides Eddie introducing songs in horribly accented Spanish. Jason “Teen Beat” Smay tore it up on his drum solo at the end of the night:
Two weeks ago, a few friends and I headed to the Village Vanguard to see the Robert Glasper Trio. This was my first time knowingly seeing him live; I say this because L brought me to see Mos Def at the Blue Note almost two years ago, and there was a fantastic jazz band backing him. Only after discovering Glasper’s music early this year did I put two and two together and realize that he led that very band. In fact, when I met him after the show last week, I brought this irony to his attention but it came out more awkwardly than I had rehearsed in my mind. Oh well.
The show did not disappoint; although I was hoping to see Glasper’s electrifying drummer, Chris ‘Daddy’ Dave, his replacement – Jamire Williams – was phenomenal. Glasper played quite a few songs from his last two albums and threw in a few covers as well. Interspersed throughout the set were his trademark interludes that vamped off old samples any hip hop fan would recognize. I enjoyed the first set so much that I, along with one friend, decided to stay for the second set without thinking twice.
Last photo taken by John Rogers (johnrogersnyc.com) – I wasn’t sitting close enough to get a shot like this.
It’s hard to pinpoint how my love for jazz began, but in a previous post I’ve attributed some of it to my affinity for hip hop and the samples that I’ve discovered along the way. It’s a complex genre, as my friend Victor says – listening to jazz takes work. Over the years, I found that my personal preferences lean towards ’60s Blue Note hard bop; all the artists and albums I love the most seem to come from that era. Most modern jazz doesn’t really do it for me, and yet I latched onto Glasper’s music almost instantaneously. To me - and many others, I’m sure – he makes jazz accessible without watering it down. I feel like I could play his music for friends who have no interest in jazz and it would intrigue them.
I attribute some of this accessibility to his hip hop sensibilities: he’s not only backed Mos Def, but has toured with Bilal (a classmate and longtime friend of his) and has worked with Q-Tip, Slum Village, Jay-Z, Common and many more. He’s a true jazz pianist through and through, but you can catch smatterings of his love for hip hop in the songs he plays – from the drum beats to the quick nods to famous jazz samples that he’ll throw in. In fact, he’s so firmly entrenched in the worlds of both jazz and hip hop that his newest album, “Double Booked,” features songs from both his jazz band (The Robert Glasper Trio) and his neo-soul/hip hop band (The Robert Glasper Experiment). The album concept dictates that his two bands are booked on the same night, which is a little peek into the way his two loves are constantly pulling at him.
“Most people, if they have different bands, they do separate albums. But I felt I’d be making more of a statement if I put it all on one joint. This is what I’m dealing with. It’s not like I play jazz but I also play hip-hop now and then. I’m in it, for real, both sides of the spectrum. That’s my life. A lot of people go in stages; they might focus on trio for a long time, then they change or whatever. My thing is both, all the time.”
The night we went to see him, the Trio played a rousing interpretation of Herbie Hancock’s “I Have a Dream” sped up to a Dilla-esque beat. I recognized the tune instantly, but their version gave an incredible classic new life. NPR and WBGO/88.3 had a live stream of the band’s set the night before which I tracked down, and upon listening to it I realized that they played it then as well. I’ve included it below for your enjoyment. The song I’m referring to is the third one, but the entire set is killer.
Jazz doesn’t have to be something that’s lofty and inaccessible, and Robert Glasper is changing perceptions of the musical genre with every show that he plays. That night, I saw young kids in the audience sitting next to 70 year olds in Christmas sweaters bobbing their heads to the infectious beats. I’m glad to have gotten the opportunity to see him live again.