Friday, November 26, 2010

Shiny Heads Talk Jazz

One of my fantasies has always been to be a jazz DJ. I sort of got my chance, for the second time, this week on Chet Hanley's Jazz in the Modern Era. We put together a play list based upon my nove, Now's the Time, and then talked about the music and the book. Check it out:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Mood music

It is easy to argue that straight ahead jazz, with its complexity and energy and spontaneous invention is the great jazz music and that the electronic soul jazz of the 1970s is somehow inferior. It's all too easy, too smooth. It just couldn't be anything too special. But when a sound can transport you--when simplicity is a small beauty, is a desert rose on a thorny day--then how can we deny its greatness.

MFSB--the soul ensemble responsible for, among other things, the Soul Train TV theme music--has never been taken very seriously as a jazz entity, but if a piece of music can capture a mood, can capture a time and place, the gray skies of those bleak days in the 1970s when urban American seemed to be dying of a soul sickness but with enough good people, dazed good people stumbling around believing in their communities, believing in the future.

For me, My Mood isn't just a personal statement. It's political. It's a revolution of hope against dispair, of seeing beauty in the gray sky backlit by the sun.