Mellow maestro, smooth jazz keyboardist-producer Wenso Ashby’s new album is Artistry, paying homage to, among other jazz masters, Joe Sample and Duke Ellington. In a modest setting, the collection showcases this internationally accomplished veteran on such lush offerings as “Signature” and “Midnite Walkin,’” piano backed on bass by guests Charles Hayes, Julius Walker and Duane … [Read more...]
The MSR celebrates Black Music Month
Black Music Month began after Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams came up with the idea to set aside a month to celebrate the impact of Black music. The group successfully lobbied President Jimmy Carter to host a reception June 7, 1979, to formally recognize the cultural and financial contributions of Black music. Each president since then has announced the June observance.
On May 31, 2016 President Obama issued a proclamation to honor the month stating: “This month, we celebrate the music that reminds us that our growth as a Nation and as people is reflected in our capacity to create great works of art. Let us recognize the performers behind this incredible music, which has compelled us to stand up — to dance, to express our faith through song, to march against injustice, and to defend our country’s enduring promise of freedom and opportunity for all.” Read President Obama’s entire statement at whitehouse.gov.
If you catch one club act this weekend, make sure it’s jazz maestro pianist James “Cornbread” Harris at Loring Pasta Bar where he’s a regular Friday draw. The evening I made it over, the master was in fine form. I arrived in time for his off-the-cuff ode to transportation and a rambling missive somehow connecting Jimmy Forrest’s “Night Train” and Duke Ellington’s “Take the … [Read more...]
Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize win is a major milestone for hip hop, a genre that celebrates its 45th birthday this August. It’s also a triumph that many, a mere decade ago, would have never predicted. As someone who teaches and studies the politics of hip hop and rap, I was pleasantly surprised myself. I thought of hip hop’s early years when some were adamant that the … [Read more...]
The print date for this issue of MSR also happens to mark what would have been the 60th birthday of Prince Rogers Nelson. As Prince’s faith journey ultimately led him away from celebrating birthdays, I will respect his beliefs and refrain from wishing him a happy one here. As fate would have it, however, the month of June also happens to be Black Music Month, which by a bit … [Read more...]
With a rough airy voice, Tre Aaron is hoping to make a space for himself in country music. Aaron is often shy concerning his good looks and muscular build, but exhibits the personality of an extrovert when his feet hit the stage. Tre Aaron and The Sidewalk Blues Boys decided to make themselves official as a country music band in October 2016. The band, made up of five … [Read more...]