All Articles Tagged "Jazz"
When you win a Grammy and a resounding response is, “WHO,” you want to make sure that never happens again. With that in mind, Esperanza Spalding’s new album Radio Music Society is widely “mainstream jazz” so that it appeals to more than just jazz fans. The result? An album where the only real theme is, “I want them all to love me.” I don’t know that she can reach the pop world and this album certainly won’t do it but if you’re an R&B fan, you’ll definitely want to give this a listen.
Esperanza starts off with “Radio Song” which basically addresses those who don’t know who she is by basically saying, “Even though you never heard it, you keep singing along…this song.” It is quite uptempo and serves perfectly as an introduction to what most of the album will sound like. Here’s the thing about her voice: I think it is fairly strong but because she’s trying something new, it often sounds a little like…a Broadway singer. Most Broadway singers are good singers but I’m sure that isn’t the intent with her voice. As we go on, there are songs like “Cinnamon Tree,” “Hold On” and “Smile Like That” which offer a good and bad look at love. Then there’s “Land of the Free” and “Endangered Species” (which features vocal beast Lalah Hathaway) that tackle social issues. She even covered Michael Jackson’s “Can’t Help It” which quite frankly, people will hate or love – I guarantee there won’t be an in-between with that one.
Without a doubt, my absolute favorite track is “Crowned & Kissed.” Yes, it is a love song (though many lines in the song could be references to a Higher Power) but it isn’t even about that; the horn section epitomizes musicianship to me. They take the song to another level. In fact, if you find that you can’t get into Esperanza the artist (and I strongly encourage everyone to listen to her previous albums), just listen to the accompanying music. If that doesn’t make you sway, then maybe you just haven’t learned to fully appreciate music just yet.
Esperanza Spalding’s Radio Music Society is in stores on March 20th. Pick it up and add a little something more to your collection!
Judging by her Grammy and some live performances we’ve seen over the last year or so, there’s no denying that Esperanza Spalding is talented. But she’s really outdone herself with her newly released single, “Black Gold.” A tribute to Black History Month, the song is a collaboration with songtress Algebra Blessett.
The song is truly inspiring and the visuals are equally beautiful. If you haven’t seen it, be sure to check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
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Beyonce is set to star in Clint Eastwood’s “A Star is Born” remake and from the sounds of things, the director already thinks a jazz star is being born out of the 30-year-old new mommy.
Beyonce apparently offered to write some material for the upcoming movie and she impressed Mr. Eastwood so much that he thinks she could be the second coming of some of the biggest female jazz singers in history. Here’s what he said about Bey:
“She asked if she could write stuff for the movie, I said yes, great. But I also told her I would make one or two things very classical. Still classicism. But I don’t want Beyonce to be too classic! She has a superb voice. She could become a new Sarah Vaughan or the next Ella Fitzgerald. She has the same class. I don’t know if she knows their music, but I intend to do a good education for the movie!”
With that comment, Clint Eastwood has certainly set the bar high for what we should expect from Beyonce in this film. We already know she has amazing stage presence and I think more people than not agree she has the powerful vocals to channel one of these lady’s sound, I’m just not sure Beyonce has the ability to draw the sort of emotion and believability that Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald could. But, if anyone is willing to give it a try, I’m sure she is.
What do you think about Clint Eastwood’s compliment? Could Beyonce be in the same league as these famous jazz icons or is Clint overestimating her talent?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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by R. Asmerom
The Black soul. It’s a wonder, isn’t it? That the most oppressed people and hated people on earth can create the most powerful music and influential art in the world. It’s a paradox that is not lost on Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam, a professor of Music and African studies at University of San Francisco, who just released the book “From Timbuktu to the Mississippi Delta: How West African Standards Shaped the Music of the Delta Blues.” In his insightful and rare book, the Senagelese-French historian illustratates just how under-rated African ancestry and culture is when it comes to assessing the musical history of the United States.
“What I’ve noticed in teaching jazz history courses was that there was a significant amount of academic amnesia when it came to the contribution of the populations that migrated from West Africa to the southern plantations of the United States between the 16th Century and the 19th Century,” he said.
Thiam contends that jazz is essentially a fusion of blues and gospel, a music that conveyed the sorrow and hopes of a population marginalized and dehumanized. In general, the evolution of jazz follows the theme of other popular music forms which emerged from the experience of hardship.
“In order to understand the way creativity happens you have to understand what is called rhythmic creative intuition,” said Thiam. “And that’s a mechanism by which oppressed communities, in this case the African American community, have to dig deep inside their collective soul to project onto the arts something that is fundamental to their identity in order to survive the social political conditions in which they are living.”
The saxophone, the main symbolic instrument of jazz, may have been created in Europe, but the style and form of jazz was molded by the Black experience and didn’t “crystallize” until the early 20th century. One of the main points that Thiam makes is that New Orleans was not the birthplace of jazz, as the New Orleans tourist board may want you to believe. Instead, the birthplace of jazz is the collective of African-American communities where slaves and their descendants were concentrated.
Now is this holiday really necessary for us? Probably not. We need no excuse at all to pump up the volume, open up our iTunes or cruise through the streets riding to our favorite jams.
Whether it’s a soul-stirring spiritual from Mahalia Jackson, a moon-walk inducing hit from Michael Jackson, a soulful ballad from Anthony Hamilton or a thought provoking joint from Duke Ellington, we can take pride in knowing that some of the best contributions to the art of sound have come from black people.
Since you celebrate the genius of black music everyday take this month to introduce a co-worker, younger sibling or grandparent to some stuff they ain’t never heard before. Enrich their life with the gift of music. It’s timeless.