Betty Davis, a nasty gal to the end

Monday, 21 February 2022 — New Frame

[If you’ve not listened to Betty Davis and you’re into the funk and into truly liberated women, then Betty Davis is for you. Read on… B]

The American funk pioneer ruffled feathers in the 1970s, creating a feminist message spanning three albums that still resonates today.

During a 2005 interview with journalist James Maycock, 1970s funk pioneer Betty Davis said she’d never felt ahead of her time. That she recorded three astounding albums in the early part of that decade that only got their due when reissued early in the new millennium suggests that she was, but Davis made an important distinction: “I don’t think I was ahead of my time, I think I was just testing the time.”

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‘It’s not the notes, it’s how they’re played’

Friday, 28 January 2022 — New Frame

Pianist Sibu Mashiloane’s new album enacts the collective dance of South African jazz. It is his sixth album in six years, and a work of many trusted hands.

9 January 2022: A portrait of pianist Sibu Mashiloane. His new album, Music From My People, is his sixth in six years. (Photograph by Hugh Mdlalose)

Setting goals is one thing; meeting them sometimes another. But pianist Sibusiso “Mash” Mashiloane vowed in 2017 he would release an album a year until 2023 – and number six, Music From My People, has just landed. Conceived on a much grander scale than its predecessors, it involves 17 other musicians and brings together his music praxis and the theoretical insights his academic research into the identity of South African jazz is mining.

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Gil Scott-Heron spells out why “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

6 July 2020 — MRonline —  Open Culture

by Josh Jones

Gil Scott-Heron (Flickr: steph1874)

Consider the influence of television, even in the digital age. Consider the power that networks like Fox and CNN continue to wield over that nebulous thing called public opinion; the continued dominance of NBC and CBS. These giants don’t really inform so much as sell packaged ideological content paid for and approved by corporate sponsors. There’s really no need to update poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron’s radical, 1971 classic “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” unless we wanted to change the names. His voice still speaks directly to the moment we live in.
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Universal Music Group coverup continues in response to artists’ class-action lawsuit By Kevin Reed

30 July 2019 — WSWS

The social and legal fallout from the June 2008 music vault fire in Hollywood, which destroyed an invaluable popular music archive at Universal Studios and which Universal Music Group (UMG) covered up for years, is continuing.

Artists in the class action suit against UMG – Soundgarden, Courtney Love, Steve Earle, Tupac Shakur and Tom Petty

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Behind the cover-up of the 2008 Universal Music Group vault fire By Kevin Reed

17 June 2019 — WSWS

The New York Times Magazine feature “The Day the Music Burned” by Jody Rosen published June 11 has brought to light important details about the inferno that destroyed an invaluable popular music archive in 2008 at Universal Studios in Hollywood. Of equal significance are Rosen’s revelations about the cover-up of the disaster by Universal Music Group (UMG).

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The ignorant, repressive attack on Frank Loesser’s “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” By David Walsh

14 December 2018 — WSWS

In late November, a Cleveland, Ohio, radio station, WDOK, decided to stop playing the popular Frank Loesser song from the 1940s, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” In the song, as it is generally performed, a man encourages a woman to stay the night and she expresses concerns about what her family and the neighbors will think if she does.

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Fort Apache Lives: In Memoriam, Jerry González (1949-2018) By Dr. José E. Cruz

27 October 2018 — Centro Voices
[I have to own up to more than a passing connection to Jerry Gonzālez, one because I was designer and constructor of El Museo del Barrio in East Harlem for six years, under the direction of my dear friend and colleague, Jack Aguéros (who is sadly, no longer with us).  And two, because I used be part of the team that produced the Centro Buletin, from which this essay is taken and I knew Jerry, if only in passing but had also worked on another long essay that the Centro Buletin produced in 1989 on Jerry and Andy, his brother and the Fort Apache Band. But above all, Jerry left us his music which will never die. Read on… W.B.]


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Remembering Bra Hugh Masekela

26 January 2018 — Jazz on the Tube

Hugh Masekela (April 4, 1939 – January 23, 2018)

Hugh Masekela “Grazing In The Grass” live at the Kuumbwa, March 24th, 2014

I had the pleasure, and the honour of hanging out with Bra Hugh on a number of occasions when I lived Johannesburg as well as here in London when he visited here. A modest and honest human being, who was the same offstage as we was on, and who dedicated his life, not only to the wonderful music of South Africa but to the struggle to free its people from the evil of Apartheid.

As they say  in SA, Hamba Kahle Bra Hugh, you are forever in our memory Continue reading

An Interview with Louis Moholo-Moholo

13 April 2017 — Cafe Oto

My friend, the fabulous, and apparently immortal Bra Louis Moholo-Moholo is performing at Cafe Oto tomorrow, Friday 14 April. It’s been nine months since he was here, so all you London bods who are into SA music should try and make it. He will be joined by longtime music partners The Four Blokes (now upgraded to The Five Blokes), Jason Yarde and Shabaka Hutchings (saxophones), John Edwards (bass), and Alexander Hawkins (piano) and of course, Bra Louis on drums.

Here’s an interview with Bra Louis recorded, recorded I think, sometime ago. Enjoy Continue reading

Sun Ra’s Solar Archestra Live in London!

2 June 2014 — Cafe OTO

I don’t often do this, advertise a gig but Sun Ra’s Solar Archestra has to have an exception made for it. I went to one gig at Cafe Oto a couple of years back and although Sun Ra relocated to the celestial sphere some while ago, the Archestra, under the direction of Marshall Allen, who as been with the Archestra since the very beginning, is, as they say, kickin’ arse! So, if you live in or around London this month, why not check it out.

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Video: Alive Inside: How the Magic of Music Proves Therapeutic for Patients With Alzheimer’s and Dementia

22 January 2014 — Democracy Now!

Could a pair of headphones change the lives of millions of Americans suffering from Alzheimers and dementia? “Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory,” a new documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, follows a social worker named Dan Cohen who has launched a campaign to bring iPods and music therapy to nursing homes. One of the central characters he works with is a 90-something Alzheimer’s patient named Henry Dryer, who was featured in a video posted online that went viral in 2012, with nearly 10 million views. Continue reading

Juan Formell: Talking about salsa By Rafael Lam

15 November 2013 — Granma

El músico argentino, Fito Páez (centro) junto a músicos de la orquesta cubana, Los Van Van, durante la inauguración del XXXIV Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, en el teatro Karl Marx, en La Habana, Cuba, el 4 de diciembre de 2012. AIN FOTO/Abel ERNESTO/sdl

El músico argentino, Fito Páez (centro) junto a músicos de la orquesta cubana, Los Van Van, durante la inauguración del XXXIV Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinoamericano, en el teatro Karl Marx, en La Habana, Cuba, el 4 de diciembre de 2012. AIN FOTO/Abel ERNESTO/sdl

JUAN Formell has a new award this year, the Grammy Special Prize for Excellence. With his group Los Van Van, he has already received the Artist of the World Prize at the WOMEX Expo (October 23-27, 2013 in Cardiff, Wales). This is the first time that a Cuban has received this prize.

“All prizes are always merits to Cuban music, to the sustained work of our musicians with the rich music that identifies us,” Formell affirmed.

During the 14th Grammy Latino Awards, scheduled for the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas (November 20), a special recognition will go to Formell, the Special Prize for Excellence 2013, from the Latin American Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (LARAS). Continue reading

Hip-Hop Against the World! BY Jared Ball

16 November 2011 — Black Agenda Radio Commentaries

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by editor and columnist Jared Ball

Propaganda agencies operate on the principle that everything can be turned to advantage, even the cultural properties of the oppressed.‘ Like jazzman Louis Armstrong’s ‘good will’ tours for the U.S. State Department in the Fifties, rappers today are dispatched on foreign missions to ‘cleanse an image that simply defies cleanliness.’ Hip Hop, the culture that was said to have the potential to unite the global oppressed, instead becomes a weapon of oppressor. ‘The goal is to turn hip-hop against the very communities who create it and ultimately to turn it against the world.’ Continue reading

Jazz genius Zim Ngqawana dies at 52 By Matthew Burbidge

10 May 2011 — Mail & Guardian Online

South African musician Zim Ngqawana has died in the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Hospital after suffering a stroke on Monday. He was 52.

Manager Ayanda Nhlapo said Ngqawana, who played the flute and saxophone, had been rehearsing at his home in Troyeville for a show at Wits on the weekend when he had the stroke.

Read the rest…

How Michael Jackson’s Music Changed The World by Alexander Billet

3 July, 2009

young-mj.jpgThe last 15 years of Michael Jackson’s life are almost enough to obscure the true greatness of this artist. During that time, we saw the handsome, charming pop star go through myriad plastic surgeries that made him look more like a latter-day Peter Pan. We saw the trappings of unprecedented fame manifested in beyond bizarre behavior–the kind for which “eccentric” seems a mild term.

And then, there are the child molestation scandals. The media were ready to somehow link his strange persona with his alleged sexual abuse of minors–few were willing to draw the same link to his own father’s abuse.

It’s almost enough to overshadow his legacy. Almost, but not quite. None of these are what Jackson is being remembered for as millions mourn his sudden passing the world over. They aren’t the reasons that we see footage of people breaking down in sobs of grief at news of his death. We are hearing condolences coming not just from musical icons like Madonna and Paul McCartney, but world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Hugo Chávez. Influence like that can’t be rubbed out.

Over 40 years, Michael Jackson’s voice and performance style reached a level of universality that nobody–and I mean nobody–has ever reached in music. One would be hard pressed to find a single soul who hasn’t been touched by his recordings. That a video of Filipino prisoners performing the “Thriller” dance can become a Web phenomena is but one small testament to this.

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Gilad Atzmon in Valencia – And the Bush Burned

21 Nov 2008 03:29

[WRITTEN BY Manuel TALENS, Translated by Mary Rizzo]

atzmon.jpgLast night, in the auditorium of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, the saxophone player Gilad Atzmon and his group The Orient House Ensemble performed in the November 2008 Jazz Festival.

Atzmon, an author that is frequently published in Rebelión and Tlaxcala, where he tirelessly defends the cause of the Palestinian people, victims of racism and Zionist occupation, did not disappoint in his role of virtuoso musician and committed artist. The concert, an hour and a half of intense musical emotions, was based on four themes taken from two important albums of the group, MusiK (2004) and Refuge (2007), in which Atzmon articulated and developed a line of reasoning and discourse that is explicitly dedicated to describing through chromatic scales the current Iraqi tragedy undertaken by the hands of the Empire. Among these four themes, which I will comment on in a moment, the band performed another half dozen pieces from their repertory, were they emerged in all their rage and glory Atzmon himself, the pianist Frank Harrison and the drummer Asaf Sirkis, accompanied by the solid mastery of the bassist Yaron Stavi.

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M.I.A.’s Kala Representing the World Town By Sukant Chandan

18 September 2007

MIA+boyzNot since the days of Punk have we seen commercially successful music feature accents reflecting the actual country and cities in England where artists are from, rather than copying US accents, a trend that has been rejected by cultural genres that have been sprung up spontaneously from the grassroots here such as Jungle/Drum & Bass, Garage and Grime. Artists like Dizzee Rascal, Kano, Skinnyman, and Lady Sovereign have succeeded in representing British, mainly London urban working class youth. But Mathangi ‘Maya’ Arulpragasam aka M.I.A’s (Missing in Action/Acton) new album Kala, named after her mother (the first album Arular named after her father) has brought the closest thing in modern urban music that has so ingeniously fused many international influences into modern urban dance music, with a definite tilt towards South Asian sounds. Asian Dub Foundation, and FunDaMental, especially on the amazing There Shall Be Love album have tried to do this and continue to, but M.I.A. has taken this all to a whole new, sophisticated and yet still beat-banging level.

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