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.
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.
Even when the band leader changes key in the middle of a song — something he does from time to time — the solos are sweet to the point that two other guys at my table go to the amen corner, calling “Look out!,” and “Don’t hurt nobody!” and such.
Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a similar dynamic with rap music. While some have attempted to silence rap because of its raw portrayal of life in inner-city communities, people increasingly see its value. Like slave narratives, rap music has given an authentic and candid voice to the voiceless.
As fate would have it, however, the month of June also happens to be Black Music Month, which by a bit of cosmic irony was first declared by President Jimmy Carter on June 7, 1979, Prince’s 21st birthday.
So in recognition of the 39th anniversary of Black Music Month, let us use make full use of this column’s chief purpose and honor of —if not the — greatest musicians of all time: Minnesota’s favorite son, Prince.
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 […]
Legendary artist still in top form at last show (This story was originally published June 2, 2016) It was a clear departure from his previous live performances over the years, but his Thursday night concert in Atlanta is one Kenya Taylor will never forget. “The minute he walked out on stage, everybody lost it. He […]
It was in March of 2013, while presenting songs to music mogul Wyclef Jean, that members of #MPLS discovered how much they liked to work together. From working together on a case-by-case basis, to doing shows around the city as a cover band, group leader Brandon Commodore says one day they just had to ask […]
Hooked when he first saw his dad drop a needle on a record Sitting in the Avenue Eatery on West Broadway, second-generation DJ Chuck Chizzle recently offered his treatise on Black music. “Music is the only thing in this world that keeps culture together. It’s the great equalizer,” stated the young man whose 40th […]
The MSR caught up with our beloved locally-based vocalist Debbie Duncan. Duncan (DD) shared her thoughts on Black Music Month, the importance of jazz festivals, and gave the lowdown on her upcoming shows, having recently performed at the Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha. MSR: June is Black Music Month. What is your definition of Black […]
Born and raised in Chicago, 39-year-old Samantha Montgomery moved to New Orleans in 2006. By day, she works as a caregiver for the elderly and, by night, she fearlessly performs as Princess Shaw online and at local open mics. Inspired by her personal joy and pain from past and present, Princess’ lyrics resonate with […]