“Johnny Just Drop,” in Nigeria, is a person who visits and/or studies in Europe, drops back into Nigeria, and now promotes European values at the expense of Nigerian values. This reminds me of Fela’s other composition, “Gentleman,” in which he describes a Nigerian who promotes European values to an absurd degree, dressing in a three-piece wool suit and hat in the tropical heat to the point where he smells like piss and faints away. Fela’s lyrics are always a sly take on the absurdities and indignities of post-colonial/neo-colonial life in Africa.
The Digital Home for Duke University Professor and Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal
Source: NewBlackMan (in Exile)
Check out this blog by Mark Anthony Neal. Not only highly substantive, but also visually stunning. I love Neal’s writing about music, and I’m glad to see he is a committed blogger. I’m going to spend a lot of time on this one.
Groovafunkinliciousness. Yaaaas. Check out this episode of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts featuring George Clinton and (some of) the P-Funk Allstars. Strip it down to an office-friendly mini-group and it still hits the groove like a funky freight train on it’s way to Saturn. George Clinton is a groove conductor, for sure.
The first tune is essentially “Blue Monk,” though it feels more like “A Blues for Monk.” This is a great album, featuring Davis with Jack DeJohnette and Joe Beck. Davis’s tone and intonation are spotless, and DeJohnette is at his spare-space best – never overwhelming. Beck is like a blues guitarist on a half-tab of acid, fluidly moving from the B.B. King mode to a shape-shifty jazz-ish thing. I love this album, even when it is straight up free improv. I’ll be listening to this one for a while.
I thought for a change I might comment for a moment on media and news sources. I found an excellent new blog titled All Generalizations are False, in which the author, Vanessa Otero, systematically breaks down news sources according to their relative biases and level of analytical thought. Below is the third iteration of her chart. Also check out her original analysis of the chart as well as her update.
I host a number of recordings on ReverbNation.com in order to share some of what I have composed. In the future I hope to post a lot more, but I have not always been consistent in recording my compositions.
Please note that I barely play the piano. As such, “Livingston at Deception” is a midi rendering using some really nice piano samples. The four-part composition “Mpho” is also a midi rendering using samples, though there is no piano in these pieces. “Mpho” is meant to include improvisation, so the recordings of these pieces are only a rough estimate of what the entire composition should sound like.
This is how laid back the guitar should feel. Grant Green is an under-sung performer, and this is his most classic album. Everything, no matter the form, comes across as the blues. Beautiful behind-the-beat accompaniment throughout, and really lush and touching compositions.
Musicians: Grant Green (Guitar, Main Performer), Al Harewood (Drums), Bob Cranshaw (Bass), Bobby Hutcherson (Vibraphone), Duke Pearson (Liner Notes, Piano), Joe Henderson (Sax Tenor).
One thing I recognize about this blog is that I am in the habit of posting very superficial commentary on, essentially, a bunch of unrelated YouTube videos. I need to do better. Let me think through how I might approach creating a more substantive contribution to the internet.
With commentary from Chris May, an Afrobeat historian, this is an interesting YouTube version of this tune. Kalakuta was the name Fela gave to his home compound, claiming to be a republic separate from Nigeria. As you can imagine, this caused problems with the Nigerian authorities, but it was a brave stance nonetheless.
This is the tune that Fela identified as his first truly African composition. While that might be debatable – highlife is African, for sure – it really does represent a change to the Afrobeat style that Fela stuck to for the remainder of his career. This tune has no lyrics, but the same modal structure and bottom-heavy horn section that characterizes his music are definitely in play here. A-fro-BEAT!!