Miles Davis: Over 20 years gone, but surely not forgotten

Miles Davis is a name that pretty much needs no introduction – even to a younger generation that was born after his passing. His music has survived the two decades since his death; being heard during a plethora of television commercials, movies and, who would have thought, in hip-hop music. This is a testament to the genius that was Miles Davis: a trumpet player that was as committed to perfecting his craft as any artist before or since.

For those that are not quite familiar with the jazz artist, Miles Davis III was born in Illinois in 1926, and picked up his first trumpet at the age of 13. This was the beginning of a love affair with that instrument: a love affair that came through crystal clear every time he’d pick up the trumpet as an adult. Known for Birth of the Cool, Miles Davis was a part of the musical history of African Americans. Jazz has become more than what is commonly referred to as crossover, it is uniquely universal.

Hailing from the era of music that transformed itself from basements to ballrooms and on to arenas, Miles Davis exhibited tremendous staying power, and his music has remained relevant to this day. His accolades include several platinum albums and a posthumous induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Miles Davis has been called one the central figures in the entire history of jazz music, no small feat when you consider the many prolific artists that have come and go over the life of the genre. Even very late in his life, Miles personified the cool, artistic type. Sporting his signature dark shades and long locks, he was the picture of cool. With a little something for everyone, it’s quite apparent that his music will continue to play on. –mark anderson


Lincoln’s Shawn Thompson, Lianne La Havas Sparkle During Grammy Weekend

British R&B singer Lianna La Havas and Lincoln Motor Company's manager of Multicultural Marketing Shawn Thompson

It's a new day for Lincoln Motor Company and Shawn Thompson, Lincoln’s manager of Multicultural Marketing, is excited to make the reintroduction.

During a luncheon at Ago, an authentic Italian eatery in West Hollywood, Thompson declares, “Be open minded when you think of Lincoln now; it’s the Lincoln Motor Company. We’re not your grandfather’s Lincoln Continental anymore. We’re fresh, new and bold.”

Hosted by Lincoln, the meet-and-greet honored Lianne La Havas, the British-born R&B sensation. She’s known for her hit single, “Is Your Love Big Enough?” and has received the blessings of über-pop star Prince and soul songstress Jill Scott.

Thompson adds, "The MKZ is coming out later in the year and next is the MKC."

Later that evening, Thompson and La Havas face-off with the luxurious all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ on the purple carpet at the Essence Black Women in Music event held at Hollywood’s Greystone Manor Supperclub.

Lianne La Havas steps out of the all-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ in style.
Shawn Thompson, Lincoln Motor Co.'s manager of Multicultural Marketing glows in a sunshine yellow dress paired with black sandals and jewelry
All-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ
All-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ
All-new 2013 Lincoln MKZ

Grace Jones at the Grammys

Grace Jones and the late Rick James were co-presenters for the "Best Male R&B Artist" category at the 1982 Grammy Awards. After her runway-esque swirl to the microphone, topped only by the sexually charged banter with James, Grace Jones had the attention of every viewer while sporting a hat resembling an umbrella’s frame anchored by her most blinding smile. Even winner Marvin Gaye had a nano-second’s pause when approaching the podium helmed by the tall, lithe Grace Jones. Gaye’s winning song was the apropos "Sexual Healing."

 

Thirty years ago, the gangly model from the West Indies set New York on fire. Grace Jones scorched to the ground every fashion house whose door she darkened. The camera loved her features as each fashion layout revealed yet another something new to study about bone structure. Sometimes irreverent, she was immediately an A-lister who didn’t give a damn about any list. Grace Jones exuded confidence, dramatic poise, and was a shameless heartbreaker. The tabloid rumor mills had Eddie Murphy, Rick James, Dolph Lungren and most men within a mile of Studio 54 scorched in her wake. Icons are anything but static.

There was little surprise when she segued into a singing and acting career. Even adding those occupations to her modeling resume seemed fruitless in containing her. Was it that her personality was just that big? Or, was it her talent? (We will back away from that one and let you decide. Talk amongst yourselves.) A songwriter and vocalist, Grace Jones was a precursor to the Cirque de Soleil-type of showmanship that is the live show standard today. But, what really solidified the Grace Jones experience were her mod fashions. Even skirts had angles to parallel her haircut. Getting next to her could get you stabbed by her jacket, dress or hat. Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj are really neat. But, until they are Bond girls or Bond villains, they are just taking notes in school because Grace Jones already handled that.



The Urban Harp Youth Ensemble: Sounds Like Heaven

In 2000, with two borrowed harps, Elisabeth Remy Johnson, principal harpist for the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Roselyn Lewis, an Atlanta Public Schools teacher, began a program to teach urban youth to read music and play the harp. Today, the program accommodates over 45 students from ages 10 to 18. Earning income for performances including everything from concerts to weddings present great opportunities for the students, but so does the possibility to attend college on scholarship.


Yasiin Bey- A Modern Marvel in Marvelous Times

Yasiin Bey paid a visit to The Shrine in Chicago and Cam Be was there to record the experience. There are moments of Bey talking about his home in New Orleans, Chicago’s and there are performance bits of “Umi Says,” “Casa Bey,” “The Panties” and “Hip-Hop.He also talks about why he’s been carrying his own microphone for the past five years.


AlunaGeorge Showcases Art in "Your Drums, Your Love"

Here’s a hot new song from London duo AlunaGeorge,“Your Drums, Your Love”.It is directed by Henry Scholfield and sees Aluna and George in a gallery space filled with the ever-evolving work of the much in demand London based illustrator Arran Gregory.

Arran Gregory showcases his life size fiber glass wolf sculpture. Arran’s wolf could remind you of some old fashioned video-games or a graphic rendering, but at the same time it is out there in the real world. Its image has been idealised and digitalised. But the idea of the wild, of the perfection of nature is still there.

The new 'Your Drums, Your Love' single is available from 15th October. Keep your eyes peeled for a forthcoming debut album in Spring 2013.


Imani Uzuri Shares Her Musical Journeys on "The Gypsy Diaries"


Imani Uzuri Shares Stories and Musical Journeys on her New album "The Gypsy Diaries" from imani uzuri on Vimeo.

Imani Uzuri brings her global experiences to her latest album, The Gypsy Diaries. 

Uzuri, offers a glimmer of what brilliant and varied delicacies are found on The Gypsy Diaries. The album features a good mix of melodies, instruments, rhythms, and Afro-pop magnificence for audiences of all ages and locations.

 


American Music Legends

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American Music Legends

The music world lost a great man this past weekend, as Adam “MCA” Yauch of the Beastie Boys passed away from cancer. I won’t claim to be a huge fan of the Beastie Boys, I honestly only know a few songs well, but Yauch is part of a generation that has influenced pop culture for 25 years, and his contributions deserve acknowledgement.

The band was the first rap group to grace the cover of Spin Magazine as well as the first to top the Billboard charts. I can attest to the appeal of the band’s eccentric sound, borrowing influences and samples from all kinds of music and making it accessible even to those who might not typically like rap music.

There is a great write-up on Spin.com about “the Yauch generation,” which details the exploits of the Beastie Boys and other musicians and artists from the same era in New York City, comparing them to modern “hipsters,” which puts in perspective the influence that that this group has had on our culture. It is also mentioned the Beastie Boys’ background in hardcore punk, mentioning the EP the band released in 1982, Polly Wog Stew. Give this a listen on YouTube and see the massive change in the band’s sound.

There’s not much more that I can personally say about Adam Yauch, other than to point toward sources like Spin and Pitchfork to see what they have to say about the man and his other projects, including the Tibetan Independence movement and Oscilloscope Productions. I would also like to look at other artists who, like Yauch, transcended their given genre and influenced great changes in music.

Joe Strummer, rhythm guitarist and vocalist for the iconic band the Clash, was another musician who changed perceptions of genres and created a unique sound that is still celebrated. The work that Strummer and the other members of the band did widened the appeal of punk rock and helped to sustain the genre as more than just a passing movement. While the band would implode after the Combat Rock album, the headway they made in combining the sounds of punk, ska, reggae and other genres solidified them as a wide influence.

Buddy Holly, an early pioneer of rock and roll, had a relatively short career but was a profound influence on both contemporaries and later artists. Holly’s rockabilly style was similar to the Sun Records sound of Elvis Presley, but was further influenced as he played with other musicians. Holly is known for singles “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll be the Day” and “Oh Boy!” Holly had the unique opportunity to shape rock and roll and is cited as a major influence by musicians like Elvis Costello and the sound that he pioneered can be heard all over. After dying in a plane crash at the age of 22, Holly is remembered in the song “American Pie” by Don McLean, which laments the deaths of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson.

Jimi Hendrix is recognized as one of the greatest guitar players of all time in many circles, pioneering the use of wah-wah pedals in mainstream music, as well as the overdriven sound that is now pervasive in modern rock. Hendrix is famous for his appearances at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and Woodstock in 1969. Hendrix has had a profound influence on modern music, even influencing his predecessors, as Bob Dylan plays Hendrix’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” live. The recording techniques which he pioneered, such as stereophonic phasing, are still popular in today’s music. Hendrix is also known for his antics, including behind the back playing, playing with his teeth and setting a guitar on fire at the end of a set.