Saturday, April 12, 2008

Wynton Marsalis - "Slavery Was Long!"

This is an excerpt from and interview with Wynton Marsalis and Charlene Hunter-Gault of PBS...It is really exceptional stuff.....

CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: So the story evolves, or you had that pretty much in your head as you went along, or did you get to a point--because jazz is about improvisation, and you're the master of that--was this a story that was improvised?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, no, the story is written down. You know, in jazz all the ensemble parts have to be written. What you do in jazz composition is you try to find a suitable framework to inspire improvisation in the reading of the parts and also when--you have to know when to use improvisation to give that feeling of freedom that's needed. But you also have to balance it with that arrangement because if you just improvise constantly, it can be exciting, but it can also be very boring. It can also lead to chaos.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: In the pantheon of jazz pieces, though, jazz subjects, this is very unusual, isn't it? I mean, aren't most jazz subjects about the here and now?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Well, I don't think that's--people write that but not in the history of jazz. Most of it--most music really is connected to memory, as just a characteristic that music has. I don't know--it could be the music of Bach, or it could be Duke Ellington's music, or, like John Coltrain is a good example, I think that's obvious, because he was known to be really in the avant garde or the vanguard of the 1960's. But the sound that he--when he really got his conception, he went all the way back to the spiritual, the sound of the spiritual.
Now he had--when the music--you can have the ancient and the modern at the same time. But the far back you can reach you reach back to something that's just human. And when you get to the--like a whale is a whale. When you get to that human element, it really--it exists outside of time.
CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT: Now speaking of time, this piece, three hours long, puts it in a class all by itself. I mean, why three hours, and is it going to stay three hours?
WYNTON MARSALIS: Yeah. I tried to cut it, but you know some stuff is just long. And slavery was long. We're still long, you know, in the human sense, it's still long, and it--is long. We all say that in the band, because we're playing it every night, you know, and everybody is like, this is long, and we say it's long. Well, let's try to cut it. But then when I would cut pieces out, they would say, no, don't cut that part out, keep this part in. So it's just one of those things that's long, and we have other pieces that are thirty minutes long and forty-five, but this one is actually three hours and fifteen minutes.


Amen Brother

Alicia Keys Lays the Blame on Rap

Keys Talks About Her Conspiracy Theories
Apr 11, 6:22 PM (ET)

(AP) U.S. singer Alicia Keys performs in Madrid, March 17, 2008. There's another side to Alicia Keys:...Full Image
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NEW YORK (AP) - There's another side to Alicia Keys: conspiracy theorist. The Grammy-winning singer-songwriter tells Blender magazine: "'Gangsta rap' was a ploy to convince black people to kill each other. 'Gangsta rap' didn't exist."
Keys, 27, said she's read several Black Panther autobiographies and wears a gold AK-47 pendant around her neck "to symbolize strength, power and killing 'em dead," according to an interview in the magazine's May issue, on newsstands Tuesday.
Another of her theories: That the bicoastal feud between slain rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. was fueled "by the government and the media, to stop another great black leader from existing."
Keys' AK-47 jewelry came as a surprise to her mother, who is quoted as telling Blender: "She wears what? That doesn't sound like Alicia." Keys' publicist, Theola Borden, said Keys was on vacation and unavailable for comment.
Though she's known for her romantic tunes, she told Blender that she wants to write more political songs. If black leaders such as the late Black Panther Huey Newton "had the outlets our musicians have today, it'd be global. I have to figure out a way to do it myself," she said.
The multiplatinum songstress behind the hits "Fallin'" and "No One" most recently had success with her latest CD, "As I Am," which sold millions.

Ozzie Cadena

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-cadena12apr12,1,3396544.story
From the Los Angeles Times
Ozzie Cadena, 83; recorded jazz greats
By Jocelyn Y. StewartLos Angeles Times Staff WriterApril 12, 2008Ozzie cadena, a producer for the famed Savoy Records who played a key role in recording a long list of jazz luminaries and later led an effort to commemorate the role of Hermosa Beach in the history of West Coast jazz, has died. He was 83.Cadena, who suffered a stroke last year, died of pneumonia Wednesday at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance, said his daughter, Lori Cadena. The height of his career in recording came during the 1950s and '60s, but Cadena later owned record stores and booked acts for several clubs in Southern California -- including the legendary Lighthouse Cafe and the Sangria restaurant in Hermosa Beach -- a role he continued to play until shortly before his death."I think Ozzie must have lived and breathed jazz every day of his life," said jazz writer Don Heckman. "He obviously had an impact via his production work for Savoy. . . . But his biggest contribution was the love and support of jazz that impacted everyone who knew or had any contact with him." Born Oscar Cadena on Sept. 26, 1924, in Oklahoma City, Cadena moved with his family to Newark, N.J., where he spent his childhood. As a kid, he shined shoes on the street and made weekly trips to Harlem to hear music. His love for music also led him to regularly visit African American churches. After graduating from high school, Cadena enlisted in the Marines and served from 1941 to 1945 in the South Pacific. After the war, he studied bass and piano at a music school in New York. In the early 1950s, Cadena was working with a jazz radio show in Newark when the owner of Savoy hired him. Savoy Records has a storied role in jazz history. The label was the early recording home of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. The owner of Savoy was a businessman with a spotty reputation among musicians, who thought his contracts were unfair. Cadena took a philosophic view: "Whether you like the cat or not, at least he made the music available," Cadena said in a 2002 article in Newark's Star-Ledger. At Savoy from 1951 to 1959, Cadena was responsible for the early recordings of Cal Tjader, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans, Donald Byrd, Cannonball and Nat Adderley, and many others, according to his resume.He also recorded or produced Kenny Clarke, Gillespie, Davis, Fats Navarro, John Coltrane and Charles Mingus. "I was able to coordinate all these great talents, hear them make marvelous music," he said in the Star-Ledger article. He recorded vocalists Little Jimmy Scott, Esther Phillips and John Lee Hooker. Cadena also played a key role in the careers of artists working in other genres. In the world of gospel, he recorded Clara Ward, James Cleveland and a group that included Cissy Houston, the mother of Whitney Houston.After leaving Savoy, Cadena worked for other labels, including Prestige, Blue Note, and Fantasy Records. In 1974 he and his family relocated to Hermosa Beach, which he began visiting in the late 1940s."It was such a perfect place," he said in a 2005 issue of South Bay People magazine. "I could have the beach and the sunshine by day and jazz during the night."In Southern California he promoted jazz and booked talent at such clubs as the Hyatt on Sunset. Since the '70s he had promoted jazz and become involved with the Lighthouse, a club that is renowned for its role in the birth of West Coast jazz. In 2000 he began organizing free concerts on the plaza in Hermosa Beach every Wednesday. He also led the effort to place plaques on the city's Pier Avenue Plaza honoring the Lighthouse and the musicians who played there. In addition to his daughter, Cadena is survived by his wife, Gloria, of Redondo Beach; two sons, Pru of Madison, N.J., and Dez of Newark, who is a member of the punk band the Misfits; two grandsons, Kyle and Bret Cadena of Madison, N.J.; and two sisters, Victoria Shear and Beatrice Festagallo of Union, N.J. A daughter, Janus Cadena, died in 1959.Services are private. A public tribute is to be announced at a later date.jocelyn.stewart@latimes.com